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 late middle ages.
Many students find joint honours both stimulating and rewarding as they observe both similarities and differences in the two subjects. Often there are complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills and that link the subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research.
We deliver the degree which offers a challenging programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships. A joint honours degree is equal in status to a single honours degree, although the time spent on each subject is effectively halved.
The BA in Archaeology and History 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.
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.
|Entry point||September 2016|
|Typical places available||The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.|
|Typical applications received||The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.|
|Typical A level offer||ABB. 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 offer||Grade A in the Core plus grades AB at A-level, including History.|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||Please click here for a full list of entry requirements and admissions criteria for this degree programme.|
|Other qualifications||Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.|
Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
|QAA subject benchmark|
Dr Lloyd Bowen, Admissions Tutor
Dr Andrew Cochrane, Course Administrator
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.
Archaeology addresses big questions about the human past for much of which no written record is available. Archaeology at Cardiff concentrates 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 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 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 in well-written, lucid prose, as well as verbally.
In Year 1, you take 40 credits of Archaeology modules and 40 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.
In addition you will be able to choose another 40 credits from available practical modules in Archaeology, History or other subjects.
Students of this course can choose to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) core and optional modules. These can be chosen from modules from participating Academic Schools.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|The Archaeology of Mediterranean Societies: Egypt, Greece and Rome||HS2123||20 credits|
|Deep Histories: The Archaeology of Britain||HS2124||20 credits|
In Year 2, you take 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of History. You will undertake 4 weeks of excavation or another archaeological work placement. You will be able to choose from a large range of period, regional and skills modules.
Students studying this course may take one or two modules from another Academic School, selected from the University’s Free Standing Module Collection.
In Year 3 you choose a further 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of History. If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either discipline. 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 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 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.
QAA subject benchmark
|QAA subject benchmark|
Overview and aims of this course/programme
The BA in Archaeology and History (Joint Honours) gives students the opportunity to combine the study of the human past from pre-history to the Viking era through its material remains with insight into the history of people in the past from the medieval to the modern periods.
The programme offers a balance between modules covering specific historical periods, thematic modules that examine broad social and cultural topics, such as warfare, gender, religion, art and science, and modules that provide training in archaeological skills, methods and techniques. It is designed to cultivate the skills of the historian and archaeologist, namely, 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. The programme provides the training necessary for students who wish to study History or Archaeology at postgraduate level or to pursue a career in archaeology or the heritage sector, and a valuable range of transferable skills for students who enter other professions.
What should I know about year five?
Students are expected to attend all scheduled teaching, including lectures, seminars, classes, workshops and tutorials, and to engage in independent study outside scheduled teaching hours in order to familiarise themselves with a good range of primary evidence and modern approaches to the subject. Each 10-credit module should involve a minimum of 100 hours’ work.
Full expectations for students are outlined in the University’s Student Charter:
How is this course/programme structured?
The programme is studied full-time over three years. Students take 120 credits in each year,progressing from more general modules in the first year to more specialised modules in the second and third years. In Year 1, students take: 40 credits of History modules covering the medieval to modern periods; 40 credits of Archaeology modules on key periods of British and world archaeology; and either an additional 40 credits of Archaeology modules, covering archaeological skills and theory, or 40 credits in another Humanities subject. Over Years 2 and 3, students must study 120 credits of History and 120 credits of Archaeology (60 credits in each subject in each year). The Archaeology modules include a core Fieldwork moduletaken in the summer between Years 1 and 2 and another taken in the summer between Years 2 and 3. There are no compulsory modules in History. Students may opt to study an Independent Study on a topic of their choice in Year 2 and a dissertation in Year 3.
What should I know about year four?
Yes. Students are expected to have suitable clothing for field trips and fieldwork (e.g. waterproofs and footwear); they may also need accommodation for field projects (e.g. tent and sleeping bag). The University has funds available for students experiencing financial difficulties in purchasing this equipment. All other equipment will be provided by the University, including tools and personal protective equipment for archaeological fieldwork, survey and remote sensing equipment, transport for field trips, laboratory facilities and analytical equipment, photographic equipment, computers and specialised software, such as GIS and graphics packages.
What should I know about year three?
- 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;
What should I know about the preliminary year?
Teaching is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, classes, practicals, workshops, field trips and individual tutorials. Students also undertake independent study and research, under the guidance of a supervisor. Archaeological skills are promoted through direct participation on fieldwork projects, including excavation, surveys, post-excavation programmes and curatorial projects in museums. Alternative arrangements can be made for any students with disabilities for whom a full laboratory or fieldwork programme may present particular difficulties.
What should I know about year one?
Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, practical work, fieldwork, examinations, class tests and oral presentations. 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. Students have the option of writing a final-year dissertation of up to 10,000 words.
Students receive written feedback and a one-to-one tutorial on all their coursework assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations, seminar and practical work, and fieldwork. They also receive oral and written feedback from their supervisor on preparatory work and drafts for the Independent Study and Dissertation. Individual written feedback is provided for exams, as well as a general report on the performance of the class as a whole.
All modules make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central, where students can access course materials and links to related reading and online resources. In addition to the main University libraries, students have access to the Sheila White Library, which contains additional copies of books on Greek and Roman history and culture. All students are assigned a Personal Tutor, who is able to advise on academic and pastoral matters in a confidential and informal manner. Personal Tutors meet students regularly to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance, and are available for consultation at other times as needed. Opportunities for students to reflect on their abilities and performance are made available through a structured programme of Personal Development Planning and through scheduled meetings with Personal Tutors.
Upon completion of the programme, a typical graduate will demonstrate:
- knowledge of the diversity of human history across a wide geographical and chronological range
- a knowledge and critical understanding of a wide variety of primary source material, including literary, documentary, epigraphic, visual and archaeological evidence;
- a range of practical archaeological skills for recovering, recording and analysing archaeological evidence;
- an understanding of different modern approaches to the study of archaeology and history, and an ability to evaluate and employ a range of approaches and methods;
- an awareness of different modern interpretations of archaeology and history, and an ability to evaluate and critique them;
- an ability to construct arguments and solve problems through critical use of primary evidence, with reference to appropriate modern approaches;
- an ability to appreciate and understand different cultures;
- an ability to formulate research questions and to conduct independent research;
- an ability to present ideas and arguments effectively and coherently in written and oral form;
- understanding of debates concerning the place of history in contemporary society;
- the ability to achieve the above objectives both independently and as part of a team.
How will I be taught?
Students have the opportunity to study abroad during their second or third year through the Erasmus programme and other exchange agreements with universities overseas. The University-wide ‘Languages for All’ programme allows students to study a foreign language free of charge alongside their degree programme.
The programme also provides opportunities to work with heritage industry professionals (e.g. Cadw) as part of fieldwork placements, and to gain further experience in working with the public via a range of initiatives (e.g. the Guerrilla Archaeology outreach group, the CAER heritage project and the Share with Schools scheme).
Dr Lloyd Bowen, Admissions Tutor
Dr Andrew Cochrane, Course Administrator
Dr Andrew Cochrane, Admissions Tutor
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Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.How to apply