Archaeology and German (BA)

Archaeology and German BA (Joint Honours) is an ideal degree scheme for those interested in supplementing study of past human communities through material excavations, with the study of a popular European language at higher education.

The BA in Archaeology and German (Joint Honours) gives students the opportunity to combine learning a major world language with the study of the human past from the earliest human origins through to the late middle ages. 

With in-depth study of both Archaeology and German, graduates will develop the tools to compete in an increasingly global workforce.This is a four-year degree programme which includes core modules that provide essential skills and training as well as a wide variety of optional modules for you to select in order to tailor your degree to meet your interests.  Year 3 is spent abroad.

This joint honours degree has a highly flexible modular structure, and will ensure an understanding of both disciplines, as well as the development of a host of transferable skills. 

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills and that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. This is a four year degree with a third year spent studying abroad.

Archaeology is the science of investigation. It addresses the 'big questions' about the human past over the huge periods of time for which there are no written records, so that the forensic skills of the archaeologist are to the fore, as well as combining written records with material evidence in the investigation of historical periods.Our Archaeology degree schemes focus on the British Isles, Europe, Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean.

Key facts

Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration4 years
Typical places availableThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.
Typical A level offerABB. Three A-level subjects, generally including a B in a modern foreign language for beginners or B in German for the advanced pathway. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core and grades BB at GCE A-level, to include grade B in a language subject.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer27 points. A minimum score of 5 in Higher Level German plus at least 5 in all other Higher Level subjects.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark



Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Andrew Cochrane, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

The BA in Archaeology and German aims to develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the material evidence for a wide range of periods and societies, and to cultivate intellectual skills such as the
ability to assess evidence critically, to evaluate different interpretations of the evidence, to construct arguments on the basis of evidence, and to express opinions cogently in speech and in writing.

In German, you develop high-level language skills with the aim of achieving near-native competency along with in-depth knowledge of aspects of the culture, history, politics and society of Germany. Students spend their third year in Germany, practising and developing their language skills. The course will enable you to develop your writing skills through a range of exercises including resumes and essays with your oral and aural skills being practised through a varied pool of audio-video material, websites, films and computer programmes.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas you are able to gain a better understanding of Italian culture and of how Italy has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today.

 Archaeology addresses big questions about the human past for much of which no written record is available. The Archaeology degree schemes at Cardiff concentrate on the British Isles, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, including Egypt. As a student at Cardiff, you will learn with staff who undertake exciting, new research on all periods from early human origins to the recent past. You will also benefit from the department’s facilities which include bespoke teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts.

During the summer after the second and fourth years, you will complete a four-week archaeological fieldwork placement; placements are arranged, approved, funded and assessed by the department.

You will be studying in a vibrant and exciting capital city with the university campus at its heart but close to some of the richest archaeological landscapes and monuments in Britain.

The degree provides the training necessary for students who wish to study Archaeology or German at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who enter other professions.

Year one

As well as students with A-level German, we also welcome students who have no previous knowledge of German. Such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language. 

Students studying this course will take 60 credits in Archaeology and 60 credits in German. 

Our ‘Key optional modules’ indicate the modules you would be required to study depending on your subject specific A-levels, for example, modules at beginner or advanced level. 

Please note that for 2016/17, the Language element will increase from 20 credits to 40 credits.

Year two

You will undertake 4 weeks of excavation or another archaeological work placement.

Module titleModule codeCredits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Surveying and ProspectionHS231410 credits
German Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML729920 credits
German Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML729820 credits
Innovations in European LiteratureML129820 credits
Principles of Translation TheoryML229920 credits
Drama in GermanML729620 credits
Later Bronze Age BritainHS230510 credits
Iron Age BritainHS230620 credits
Early Anglo-Saxon EnglandHS230710 credits
Middle and Later Saxon EnglandHS230910 credits
Neolithic EuropeHS231120 credits
Post-Roman Celtic BritainHS234020 credits
Aegean Bronze Age: Emergence To CollapseHS238720 credits
Art & Archaeology of Classical GreeceHS238920 credits
Pharaohs of The SunHS241020 credits
Introduction to Spatial Techniques and TechnologiesHS241810 credits
Geographic Information Systems for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
Ceramics in ArchaeologyHS243120 credits
BioarchaeologyHS243220 credits
Structure & Decay of Organic MaterialsHS231910 credits
Analysis of ArtefactsHS232010 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS243320 credits
Conservation of Wet Archaeological WoodHS239210 credits
Life in Ancient RomeHS435810 credits
Houses in Roman ItalyHS436310 credits
Death and Burial in the Roman WorldHS430820 credits
Greek WarfareHS436620 credits
Business German IML728820 credits
Storm and StressML729120 credits
Bertolt BrechtML729020 credits
National Socialism in History and MemoryML729320 credits
At the Roots of European CulturesML129520 credits
Archaeology Fieldwork 1HS234110 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (German)ML229520 credits
Museums Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Heritage CommunicationHS242820 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits

Year three: Sandwich year

You spend year three studying abroad.

Year four

In Year 4, you choose a further 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of German, including a core module in the German language. If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either Archaeology or German. This provides a chance for you to focus your interests on a particular area, period or technique. 

You will undertake another 4 weeks of excavation or another archaeological work placement.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

School of History, Archaeology and Religion
The School of History, Archaeology and Religion enables you to develop in a high-quality learning environment, supported by a student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

You will develop a range of intellectual skills: critical thinking, evaluating evidence, constructing evidence-based arguments, and presenting opinions effectively in writing and in debate. Additionally, you will gain practical skills such as team-working, independent research, and time management. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors. Assessment, including coursework, exams, practical work, and oral presentations, will test the different skills you have learned.

School of Modern Languages
Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing students’ capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enables students to produce their best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling students to develop their strengths and address any weaker areas.

Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study; to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

Pastoral Care: You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

School of History, Archaeology and Religion
In 2013/14, 92% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

School of Modern Languages
In 2013/14, 95% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

The destinations from the School are often international in nature, with many graduates enjoying their overseas student experience to such an extent that they opt to take time out to travel further, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of securing employment. 

Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies. Their employment options are varied and many opt to utilise the language skills that they have developed over their degree, in roles such as Translators, Language Assistants, Export Assistants and Proofreaders, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.


4 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

Not specified

Applications received

Typical applications received



QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark



What are the aims of this Programme?

The BA in Archaeology and German (Joint Honours) gives students the opportunity to combine learning a major world language with the study of the human past through its material remains.  Students divide their modules equally between Ancient History and German, with a third subject in the first year.  The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics aims to create ‘global citizens’ of its students and, with in-depth study of both Archaeology and German, graduates will be an asset in an increasingly global workforce.

In German, students develop high-level language skills with the aim of achieving near-native competency along with in-depth knowledge of aspects of the culture, history, politics and society of Germany and other German-speaking countries. Students spend their third year in Germany, practising and developing their language skills.

Archaeology offers students a unique perspective as the only subject, which deals all the temporal and spatial dimensions of the human past.  Defined as the study of human past through its material remains it includes a very broad range of evidence including landscapes, buildings and monuments; buried material such as artefacts, biological remains, and structures; and written sources.  Archaeology can range chronologically from the earliest hominids circa five million years ago to the present day and geographically across the entire inhabited world.

What is expected of me?

As a student, you are expected to demonstrate that you are progressing and engaged academically by regularly attending lectures, laboratory classes, seminars, fieldtrips, fieldwork and tutorials

A 10 credit module will normally comprise a minimum of 100 study hours plus associated assessment.  Examinations and assessed work are marked on the assumption that you have fulfilled these requirements.

What this means in practice, is that during each semester a student in full-time education is expected to spend the equivalent of 35-40 hours per week on their studies. These hours include attendance at lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, with the remainder of the time spent in independent study, particularly in reading and in making notes on what you have read in preparation for seminars, and when appropriate, in preparing and writing items of coursework and revising for and sitting examinations.

It is extremely important that you attend all of your classes for the following reasons:

  • It is in the lectures that you find out what the key topics in your subject are, which can help you structure your additional reading.
  • Your seminars are the place for you to discuss issues raised in the course and from your reading, and to enhance and develop your understanding.
  • Laboratory courses provide an overview of theory, application, and hands-on experience in both archaeological and scientific techniques
  • Your field trips and fieldwork training introduce you to vital aspect of archaeology which enables archaeologists to develop their understanding of past societies at a detailed level.  As well as teaching, important employability skills are developed - such as teamwork, task management, documentation, problem solving, health and safety awareness, report writing, quantitative data handling and perseverance in carrying out sustained physical and mental work.
  • All forms of classes will help you to prepare for your assessed work
  • Your presence can also help others to learn (as well as you), whilst student absence disrupts the learning process for the whole group.

Attendance at lectures, laboratory classes, seminars, field trips, fieldwork and tutorials is compulsory.  Therefore, if you are unable to attend, you must notify your tutor or departmental administrator in advance by telephone, by email or in writing in order to explain your absence. Further information on illness, reporting extenuating circumstances, and leave of absences can be found in student handbooks and the Academic Regulations Handbook.

The departments expect that students will:

  • attend all classes, punctually, and to explain any absence (in advance where possible)
  • prepare adequately for and contribute to seminars, tutorials, laboratory classes, field trips and fieldwork
  • avoid plagiarism (plagiarism being work which uses the words or ideas of others without acknowledging them as such)
  • take responsibility for their own learning, with appropriate guidance  monitor their own progress and take account of the feedback given
  • show respect for their fellow students, tutors and the learning environment
  • manage their time effectively so that they are adequately prepared for all classes and assignments
  • complete their assessments on time and in compliance with the instructions given
  • take responsibility for advising themselves of the regulations governing assessments
  • ensure that they are registered for the requisite number of modules and that the academic registry are aware of which modules they are taking
  • read all handbooks carefully and take appropriate action
  • regularly access their University e-mail account
  • ask members of staff before using their names as referee

How is this Programme Structured?

BA Archaeology and German is a four-year degree programme, including a year spent abroad.Students take 120 credits in each year, progressing from more general modules in the first year to more specialised modules in the second and fourth years.

Year One students study:

  • 40 credits of Archaeology modules;
  • 40 credits of German language modules at Beginners or Advanced level;
  • 40 credits in another Humanities subject.

Year Two students study:

  • 60 credits of modules in Archaeology, including a core Fieldwork module;
  • 60 credits of modules in German, including a core module in German language.

Year Three is spent abroad.

Year Four students study:

  • 60 credits of modules in Archaeology, including a core Fieldwork module;
  • 60 credits of modules in German, including a core module in German language.

Students may opt to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice in either subject.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

What the student should provide:

Suitable clothing (e.g. waterproofs and suitable footwear) and sometimes accommodation (e.g. tent and sleeping bag) for field trips and fieldwork.  The University has funds available for students experiencing financial difficulties in purchasing this equipment.

What the University will provide:

  • tools and  personal protective equipment for archaeological fieldwork
  • survey and remote sensing equipment for archaeological fieldwork including total stations, survey and navigation grade GPS systems and resistivity and magnetometer geophysics systems.
  • departmental minibus for field trips and field work. 
  • range of teaching and research archaeological and conservation science laboratories
  • state-of-the art conservation laboratories, one environmental laboratory, osteoarchaeology and materials analysis laboratories, sample preparation laboratory, environmental chambers, a kiln, analytical equipment including a microscopy suite, oxygen meters, a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, Scanning Electron Microscope, Transmission Electron Microscope, X-ray Diffraction and portable XRF.
  • dedicated computing suite for teaching and learning with 24 networked computers including Geographical Information Systems for spatial analysis.
  • digital photographic and visual evidence studio equipped with Nikon and Pentax cameras with processing facilities for the production, manipulation and storage of conventional and digital photographs and other visual records (e.g.  Adode Creative Suite) including high quality printing and plotting facilities.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Students will practise and develop the following skills

  • Generation of coherent strategies and propositions in response to complex situations.
  • Structuring and writing reports of appropriate length on set questions and research topics.
  • Effective communication of ideas and arguments in oral and written presentations.
  • Organised and efficient working practices – individually as well as in a team.
  • Access to and utilisation of information from a variety of resources, including libraries and the internet.
  • Employment of Information Technology e.g. word processing, spatial technologies (including GIS), visualization, data management, archaeological prospecting, modelling, social media, digital film and audio.
  • Rigorous and professional practices: able to take initiatives and accept significant responsibility within organisations.
  • Also develop evidence based critical thinking?Skills on cpd via dedicated seminars?
  • Development of high-level language skills with the aim of achieving near-native competency in German.

How will I be taught?

Modules are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, private study, practicals with individual supervision of dissertations and fieldwork; the precise methods depend on the modules you are taking. Archaeology fieldwork includes one-day site visits as well as extensive periods of excavation, laboratory analyses or museum-based study in locations as close as Stonehenge and Orkney or as distant as Africa and the Middle East.

The optional Independent Second Year Study introduces students to research aims and methods, which are developed through the optional Dissertation.

German is taught in small interactive classes designed to enable students to acquire grammatical precision and advanced written and oral communication skills.

How will I be assessed?


Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, examinations, class/laboratory tests, and oral presentations.  Practical archaeological skills are assessed through written coursework, class tests and fieldwork reports.

Alternative arrangements can be made for any students with disabilities for whom a full laboratory or fieldwork programme may present particular difficulties.


Students receive written feedback on all their coursework assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and work done in classes and seminars. Feedback on assessed coursework may be supplemented by one-to-one tutorials. Individual or class feedback may be provided for exams. Students receive oral and written feedback from their supervisor on preparatory work and drafts for the Independent Study and Dissertation.

How will I be supported?

Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor in both Archaeology and German with whom to discuss and reflect upon academic progress and discuss any problems or circumstances that adversely affect your studies. Students are informed in writing of their allocated Personal Tutor and this information is posted on the relevant departmental notice boards. If your Personal Tutor is unavailable, and you wish urgently to discuss matters with a member of staff, you may seek advice from the Senior Tutor or another member of staff. Every member of staff has weekly office hours posted on their doors in which you may seek further support and they will also be happy to arrange meetings with you at other times in response to e-mail requests.

As part of the Partnership in Learning Programme students are expected to take responsibility for their own development. Consequently, you will be required to fill in a feedback form in which you reflect upon your own performance and put together a pro-active and on-going programme of improvement for each stage of your degree.

What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

Graduates from this programme will be able to:

  • demonstrate a high level of language competency in German, both orally and in writing;
  • demonstrate a knowledge and critical understanding of German history, politics, society and culture;
  • demonstrate awareness of the diversity of historical, social and economic developments in selected periods of world prehistory and history, largely from the evidence of the archaeological record;
  • demonstrate critical understanding of the development of archaeological thought and the main elements of modern archaeological theory;
  • demonstrate familiarity with, and assess the reliability of, a wide variety of archaeological evidence ;
  • apply methodological expertise to the critical analysis of archaeological problems.

Other information


Admissions tutors

Dr Andrew Cochrane, Admissions Tutor

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.


Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.

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