Archaeology and History (BA)

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 2016
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.
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 offerPlease click here for a full list of entry requirements and admissions criteria for this degree programme.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

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. 

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
Archaeology Fieldwork 1HS234110 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Approaches To HistoryHS170130 credits
Exploring Historical DebateHS170230 credits
From King Coal To Cool Cymru: Society and Culture in Wales, 1939-2000HS175630 credits
Surveying and ProspectionHS231410 credits
Heresy & Dissent 1000-1450HS171030 credits
Into The Vortex: Britain and The First World WarHS178730 credits
Making Empires: Britain and the World, 1541 - 1714HS179330 credits
Museums Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
War, Peace and Diplomacy, c.900-c.1250HS170730 credits
The British Civil Wars and Revolution, C.1638-1649HS174230 credits
Building the Modern WorldHS174430 credits
Nations, Empire and Borderlands from 1789 to the presentHS174930 credits
"An Empire for Liberty": Race, Space and Power in the United States, 1775-1898HS176030 credits
The Search for an Asian Modern: Japanese History from 1800 to the Post-War EraHS176830 credits
The Soviet Century: Russia and the Soviet Union, 1905-1991HS177630 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS243320 credits
A Great Leap Forward China Transformed 1840-PresentHS175230 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
'The Devil's Brood' The Angevin Kings of England 1154-1272HS171330 credits
Land and Landscape in Modern BritainHS176230 credits
The Making of 'World Religions' in South Asia: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from the fifteenth century to the present dayHS176630 credits
Martyrs and Collaborators: Catholicism behind the Iron CurtainHS177230 credits
Europe, East and West 1945-1995HS177530 credits
Archaeology Fieldwork 2HS234310 credits
Technology and MaterialsHS240010 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 credits
The Archaeology of the VikingsHS237920 credits
Complex Societies in Barbarian EuropeHS236510 credits
Egyptian Funerary ArchaeologyHS237620 credits
Structure & Corrosion of MetalsHS235910 credits
Structure & Decay of Inorganic MaterialsHS236010 credits
Introduction to Computing for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241610 credits
Computer Projects for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241710 credits
Early Rome: History and ArchaeologyHS436010 credits
Hellenistic Art and ArchitectureHS435610 credits
Art and Power in Rome, 211 BC - AD138HS436810 credits
Neolithic/Early Bronze Age BritainHS235720 credits
Roman BritainHS236220 credits
Art & Archaeology of Archaic GreeceHS238620 credits
The Roman ArmyHS436720 credits
Neolithic Beginnings: Last Foragers and First Farmers in the Eastern MediterraneanHS242420 credits
Medieval ArchaeologyHS238220 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
Archaeology Fieldwork 2HS234310 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Surveying and ProspectionHS231410 credits
DissertationHS180130 credits
Culture, Soc & I.D. in Wales 1847-1914HS186530 credits
Class, Protest and Politics: South Wales 1918-39HS186830 credits
Deviants, Rebels and Witches in Early Modern Britain and IrelandHS182830 credits
From Bismarck To Goebbels: Biography and Modern German History, 1870-1945HS182930 credits
Museums Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
The World of the Anglo-Saxons, c.500-c.1087HS180330 credits
Glimpses of the Unfamiliar: Travellers to Japan from 1860 to the Post-War EraHS185830 credits
Violence and Ideology in Inter-War Soviet RussiaHS188330 credits
Europe and the Revolutionary Tradition in the Long Nineteenth CenturyHS188730 credits
Slavery and Slave Life in North America, 1619-1865HS189030 credits
Gender, Power and Subjectivity in Twentieth-Century BritainHS189430 credits
Archaeology DissertationHS243540 credits
Cultures of Power: The Gentry of Tudor and Stuart EnglandHS182730 credits
Conflict, Coercion and Mass Mobilisation in Republican China 1911-1945HS183830 credits
Socialism, Society and Politics in Britain 1880-1918HS186030 credits
Llafur, Sosialaeth a Chymru, 1880-1979HS186230 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS243320 credits
The Military Orders 1100-1320HS180530 credits
Slavery and SinHS181830 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
Men in Black: The Jesuits in the Early Modern WorldHS184430 credits
Czechoslovakia: The View from Central EuropeHS188430 credits
The Arts in War and Peace: Culture and Politics in Britain, c.1930-1960HS189730 credits
Nineteenth-century British Social HistoryHS189830 credits
Technology and MaterialsHS240010 credits
Neolithic Beginnings: Last Foragers and First Farmers in the Eastern MediterraneanHS242420 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 credits
Egyptian Funerary ArchaeologyHS237620 credits
The Archaeology of the VikingsHS237920 credits
Complex Societies in Barbarian EuropeHS236510 credits
Structure & Corrosion of MetalsHS235910 credits
Structure & Decay of Inorganic MaterialsHS236010 credits
Introduction to Computing for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241610 credits
Computer Projects for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241710 credits
Early Rome: History and ArchaeologyHS436010 credits
Hellenistic Art and ArchitectureHS435610 credits
Art and Power in Rome, 211 BC - AD138HS436810 credits
Neolithic/Early Bronze Age BritainHS235720 credits
Roman BritainHS236220 credits
Medieval ArchaeologyHS238220 credits
Art & Archaeology of Archaic GreeceHS238620 credits
The Roman ArmyHS436720 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.

UK and EU students 2016/17

EU students entering in 2016/17 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2017/18 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our Funding and fees 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 2016/17

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. Please check with us for full clarification.

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£14,500None

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.


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.