Archaeology and History (BA)

Entry year

2017 2018

Archaeology and History BA (Joint Honours) offers students the opportunity to study History at higher education with an added element of experiential archaeological excavation.

The BA in Archaeology and History gives students the opportunity to combining the study of History with the study of the human past from the earliest human origins through to the recent past. 

Many students find joint honours degrees both stimulating and rewarding as they observe both similarities and differences between the two subjects. Often there are complementary issues and perspectives and skills that link the subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research.  The degree provides the training necessary for students who wish to study Archaeology or History at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who enter other professions.

Archaeology addresses big questions about the human past for much of which no written record is available. Archaeology at Cardiff University concentrates on the British Isles, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. You will learn with staff who undertake exciting research on all periods from early human origins to the recent past. You will also benefit from our bespoke teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts.

History at Cardiff University enables you to learn about the very different worlds of people in the past and to better understand the present. It gives you an insight into the process of change from ancient Greece and Rome, through the medieval to the modern periods. You may study the history of societies in diverse parts of the globe, from India and China, through Germany and France, to Britain, Wales and Cardiff. Above all you will learn to 'do history' yourself, and will thus acquire the sorts of skills that employers prize. You will learn to think independently, and to analyse and assess a body of material, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and present your conclusions clearly.

The degree 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.  We deliver a degree which offers a challenging and diverse programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships within the School.

Key facts

UCAS CodeVV14
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
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.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerABB. Three A-levels, including History. Note: Normally no offers are made on a point basis. We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades AB at A-level, including History.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34 points Please click here for a full list of entry requirements and admissions criteria for this degree programme.
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

This is a three-year degree programme of 360 credits, 120 credits in each year comprising core modules, which provide essential skills and training, and a wide variety of optional modules that allow you to tailor your degree to meet your interests. The course is structured so that you acquire in successive years the knowledge and skills required to become an independent researcher, equipped for high-level professional employment. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2017.

Year one

In Year one, you take 60 credits of Archaeology modules and 60 credits of History modules.

The archaeology modules introduce you to the material evidence for the ancient Mediterranean societies of Egypt, Greece and Rome and the study of Britain from the Ice Age to the medieval period. 

All first-year History students take ‘History in Practice’ which introduces you to the different frameworks that underpin historical research and the many different ways of writing history, while providing training in the skills necessary to practice history at undergraduate level.

The Year Two archaeology fieldwork project is taken in the summer at the end of the first year, although it is credited to the Autumn Semester of Year Two.  This project is taught through four-weeks of student participation on archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

Year two

In Year Two, you take 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of History.

Year two Archaeology for joint honours students includes one 10 credit fieldwork project and 50 credits from a wide range of period, topic, or technique specific modules within Archaeology and Ancient History, allowing you a great deal of flexibility to follow the subjects you are most interested in.

The Year Three fieldwork project is taken in the summer at the end of the second year, although it is credited to the Autumn Semester of Year Three.  This project is taught through four-weeks of student participation on archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.  

In History, you may study past societies in diverse parts of the globe, including China, the United States, Russia, and Britain.  You will learn to think independently, assess the strengths and weaknesses of a body of historical evidence for yourself, and present your findings in clearly.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeological Field and Practical Skills 1 and 2HS220020 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Approaches to HistoryHS170130 credits
Exploring Historical DebateHS170230 credits
The Later Roman Empire, A.D. 284-480HS170630 credits
Heresy and Dissent, 1000-1450HS171030 credits
Poverty and Relief in Medieval EuropeHS171430 credits
From Dreyfus to the National Front: France, 1898-2012HS174130 credits
The British Civil Wars and Revolution, c.1638-1649HS174230 credits
Managing The Mind: Psychiatry, Psychology, and British Culture, 1800-2000HS174530 credits
Nations, Empire and Borderlands from 1789 to the presentHS174930 credits
A Great Leap Forward China Transformed, 1840-PresentHS175230 credits
The American RevolutionHS175430 credits
From King Coal To Cool Cymru: Society and Culture in Wales, 1939-2000HS175630 credits
Diwydiannaeth, Radicaliaeth a'r Bobl Gyffredin yng Nghymru a Phrydain mewn Oes Chwyldro, c. 1789-1880HS175730 credits
Radicalism and the Common People, 1789-1880HS175830 credits
"An Empire for Liberty": Race, Space and Power in the United States, 1775-1898HS176030 credits
Urban Visions, Rural Dreams: City and Country in Britain and the United States, 1850-2000HS176430 credits
India and The Raj, 1857-1947HS176530 credits
The Making of 'World Religions' in South Asia: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from the Fifteenth Century to the Present DayHS176630 credits
The Search for an Asian Modern: Japanese History from 1800 to the Post-War EraHS176830 credits
Martyrs and Collaborators: Catholicism behind the Iron CurtainHS177230 credits
Europe, East and West, 1945-1995HS177530 credits
The Soviet Century: Russia and the Soviet Union, 1905-1991HS177630 credits
Medicine and Modern Society, 1750-1919HS179930 credits
The Archaeology of the Anglo-SaxonsHS220120 credits
Geophysical SurveyingHS220220 credits
Later Bronze Age BritainHS230510 credits
Iron Age BritainHS230620 credits
Neolithic EuropeHS231120 credits
Post-Roman Celtic BritainHS234020 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Evidence Based PreservationHS236920 credits
Material Change in Context: OrganicsHS237320 credits
Aegean Bronze Age: Emergence To CollapseHS238720 credits
Art & Archaeology of Classical GreeceHS238920 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Pharaohs of The SunHS241020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Introduction to Spatial Techniques and TechnologiesHS241810 credits
Geographic Information Systems for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241910 credits
Museums' Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Heritage CommunicationHS242820 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
Ceramics in ArchaeologyHS243120 credits
BioarchaeologyHS243220 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS243320 credits
Death and Burial in the Roman WorldHS430820 credits
Greek WarfareHS436620 credits
Life in Ancient RomeHS437020 credits

Year three

In Year Three, you choose a further 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of History, which may include a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either Archaeology or History. 

Students who wish to take their final year dissertation in Archaeology must have taken the prerequisite Independent Archaeological Study in Year Two. 

Final year Archaeology for joint honours students includes one 10 credit fieldwork project and 50 credits from a wide range of period, topic, or technique specific modules within Archaeology and Ancient History, allowing students a great deal of flexibility to follow the subjects they are most interested in.

The Year Three fieldwork project is taken in the summer at the end of the second year, although it is credited to the Autumn Semester of Year Three.  This project is taught through four-weeks of student participation in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.  

Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeological Field and Practical Skills 1 and 2HS220020 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationHS180130 credits
Sexuality and the Social Order in Medieval EuropeHS180430 credits
The Military Orders, 1100-1320HS180530 credits
Slavery and SinHS181830 credits
Gender, Sex and Bodies in Early Modern and Industrialising WalesHS182230 credits
Crime in England and Wales, c.1570-c.1790HS182330 credits
Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1750HS182430 credits
Germany's New Order in Europe, 1933-1945HS183230 credits
Conflict, Coercion and Mass Mobilisation in Republican China 1911-1945HS183830 credits
Fascism and Anti-Fascism in FranceHS184830 credits
Race, Sex and Empire & India, 1765-1929HS185530 credits
Glimpses of the Unfamiliar: Travellers to Japan from 1860 to the Post-War EraHS185830 credits
Socialism, Society and Politics in Britain, 1880-1918HS186030 credits
Llafur, Sosialaeth a Chymru, 1880-1979HS186230 credits
Class, Protest and Politics: South Wales, 1918-39HS186830 credits
Violence and Ideology in Inter-War Soviet RussiaHS188330 credits
Czechoslovakia: The View from Central EuropeHS188430 credits
Europe and the Revolutionary Tradition in the Long Nineteenth CenturyHS188730 credits
From Hernando de Soto to the Seven Years? War: Accommodation, Violence and Networks in Native American HistoryHS188930 credits
Slavery and Slave Life in North America, 1619-1865HS189030 credits
Gender, Power and Subjectivity in Twentieth-Century BritainHS189430 credits
The Dangerous City? Urban Society & Culture 1800-1914HS189630 credits
The Arts in War and Peace: Culture and Politics in Britain, c.1930-1960HS189730 credits
The Archaeology of the Anglo-SaxonsHS220120 credits
Geophysical SurveyingHS220220 credits
Later Bronze Age BritainHS230510 credits
Iron Age BritainHS230620 credits
Neolithic EuropeHS231120 credits
Post-Roman Celtic BritainHS234020 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Evidence Based PreservationHS236920 credits
Material Change in Context: OrganicsHS237320 credits
Aegean Bronze Age: Emergence To CollapseHS238720 credits
Art & Archaeology of Classical GreeceHS238920 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Pharaohs of The SunHS241020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Introduction to Spatial Techniques and TechnologiesHS241810 credits
Geographic Information Systems for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241910 credits
Museums' Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Heritage CommunicationHS242820 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
Ceramics in ArchaeologyHS243120 credits
BioarchaeologyHS243220 credits
Archaeology DissertationHS243540 credits
Death and Burial in the Roman WorldHS430820 credits
Greek WarfareHS436620 credits
Life in Ancient RomeHS437020 credits
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.

How will I be taught?

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.

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.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.  Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment.

Seminars 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. They 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.

Archaeological skills are promoted through practicals and fieldwork, including one-day site visits as well as extensive periods of excavation, laboratory analyses or museum-based study.  You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors.

Welsh language teaching

The History side of the degree provides significant opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Subject to staff availability, seminar teaching in Welsh is available on some or all of the major core courses, and at least one Welsh language option is offered in Years Two and Three. Welsh language supervision is also available for long essays (Exploring Historical Debate) and dissertations, and students may elect to write all or some of their assessed work and examinations in Welsh.

How will I be supported?

All modules make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central, where you can access course materials and links to related reading and online resources. In addition to the main University libraries, you will have access to the Sheila White Library, which contains additional copies of books on Greek and Roman history and culture.

You will be assigned a Personal Tutor, who is able to advise you on academic and pastoral matters in a confidential and informal manner. Personal Tutors meet with you regularly to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance, and are available for consultation at other times as needed. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are made available through a structured programme of Personal Development Planning and through scheduled meetings with Personal Tutors.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment

Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, critical reviews, examinations, class tests and oral presentations.

Coursework and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.  Assessment, including coursework, exams, and oral presentations, will test the different skills you have learned. 

Progression is built into assessment, in that you will do smaller guided tasks in Year One, as well as formative essays in Years Two and Three. Progression is also evident in the growing emphasis on lengthier, independent work culminating in an optional 10,000-word dissertation in Year Three.  Final Year modules also demand deeper engagement with independent methods of working, together with greater demands on handling critically a larger number of bibliographical tasks and items.

The format of the assessed work for the second-year Independent Study is chosen by the student; possible formats include an extended essay, a piece of creative writing, sample pages from a book or magazine, a teachers’ pack, a film, or a reconstruction drawing or model.

Feedback

You will receive written feedback on all your coursework assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and seminar work. You will also receive oral and written feedback from your supervisor on preparatory work and drafts for the Independent Study and Dissertation. Individual written feedback is provided for exams.

What skills will I practise and develop?

  • Intellectual skills - such as critical thinking, reasoning, assimilating and summarising complex information and ideas, analysing and evaluating evidence, critiquing interpretations or arguments, coping with uncertainty or incomplete data, constructing arguments based on evidence, and presenting them effectively in writing and in debate;
  • Employability skills - such as effective communication through written reports and oral presentations, contributing to group discussions, working independently and in teams, using IT resources effectively, and time management;
  • Enterprise skills - such as creativity (practised especially in the Independent Study project), problem-solving, initiative, and independent thinking;
  • Research skills - (developed especially in the Independent Study and Dissertation): defining a project, formulating research questions, locating relevant information, and presenting the results in an oral presentation and an extended written report;
  • Discipline-specific skills - analysing historical and archaeological problems, locating and using appropriate evidence and bibliographic resources, handling literary and archaeological material, analysing images,  and understanding the scholarly conventions used in relation to these types of evidence;
  • Practical archaeological skills - such as fieldwork skills, illustration, photography, surveying, geophysics, GIS, dating, scientific analysis of artefacts, bones, soils and plant remains, museum practice and public outreach.

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.

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. Our graduates find work in a wide range of related and non-related professional employment. Some choose to undertake postgraduate study at Cardiff or elsewhere, and some have become internationally reputed historians.

We believe in giving our graduates the best opportunities to find employment. We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes and have our own, in-School Workplace Placements and employability officer. Some of our graduates enter professions which make direct use of their academic expertise. The majority however compete very successfully in a wide range of other fields.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£15,080None

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will need 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.

As per Cardiff University admissions policy.  “Non-traditional” applicants (such as those returning to education via an Access course) might be interviewed for entry.

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports students with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time and careers advice.

We offer workplace experience to our students through our four-week, funded excavation, museum and heritage work placements at the end of the first and second year.

Students are also encouraged and financially supported to attend fieldwork placements abroad. Archaeology students are also encouraged to take advance of the Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP) which provides summer placements for undergraduates in the University research environment. CUROP offers a stipend to support a student on a placement of up to eight weeks duration, working with supervision on staff-defined research projects. There are also opportunities to work with heritage industry professionals (e.g. Cadw) as part of fieldwork placements or the Heritage Communication module and to gain further experience in working with the public of all ages via a range of initiatives (e.g. the Guerilla Archaeology outreach group, the CAER heritage project and the Share With Schools scheme). Finally, there are weekly research seminars with international guest speakers, a student Archaeology Society and a range of other events (e.g. conferences, Bushcraft weekends).

The Years Two and Three fieldwork projects are taken in the summer preceding those academic years.  The Fieldwork projects are taught through four weeks of student participation on archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

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