Philosophy and Archaeology (BA)

The Joint Honours degree in Archaeology and Philosophy provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects.

The BA in Archaeology and Philosophy gives you the opportunity to combine the study of philosophy with the study of the past from the earliest human origins through to the late middle ages. 

Archaeology addresses big questions about the human past for much of which no written record is available. This course concentrates on the British Isles, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, including Egypt.

As a student at Cardiff, you will learn with staff who undertake cutting-edge research on all periods from early human origins to the recent past. You will also benefit from our state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts.

Philosophy at Cardiff is distinct for its strong emphasis on ethics, politics, and aesthetics and its equal attention to ‘analytic’ and ‘Continental’ styles of Western philosophy.

Many students find joint honours both stimulating and rewarding as they observe both similarities and differences between 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.

Each school involved in delivering the degree offers a challenging course of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • a strong emphasis on ethics, politics, and aesthetics
  • equal attention to ‘analytic’ and ‘Continental’ styles of Western philosophy
  • close contacts with local historical sites such as St Fagans National History Museum, Caerleon and Caerwent – allowing additional links with archaeology as an academic discipline
  • an excavation or archaeological placement at the end of year two and year three, organised and funded by the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff.

Key facts

UCAS CodeVV54
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Studying in WelshUp to 33% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information
Typical places availableThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically has 350 places available. The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications. The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.
Typical A level offerABB. Three A-level subjects.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer30 points. A minimum score of 5 in all Higher Level subjects.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This full-time course lasts for three years with two semesters per year, split between the two subjects. There are 120 credits a year. Most modules are worth 20 credits.

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 July 2017.

Year one

You will take 60 credits in archaeology and 60 credits in philosophy.

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.

The compulsory philosophy modules focus on the nature of thinking and introduce the central concepts, theories, arguments, and approaches of contemporary moral and political theory. 

Year two

You will take 60 credits in archaeology and 60 credits in philosophy.

You will undertake four weeks of excavation or another archaeological work placement and choose from a large range of optional modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeology Fieldwork 2HS234310 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
MetaphysicsSE436420 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS235020 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Philosophy of Contemporary PoliticsSE436320 credits
Surveying and ProspectionHS231410 credits
Philosophy of MindSE431320 credits
EpistemologySE439820 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Museums Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
Credoau'r CymrySE440020 credits
Modern Moral PhilosophySE437320 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth WleidyddolSE439520 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS243320 credits
Philosophy of LanguageSE435820 credits
French ExistentialismSE436920 credits
Ancient PhilosophySE440520 credits
Technology and MaterialsHS240010 credits
Neolithic Beginnings: Last Foragers and First Farmers in the Eastern MediterraneanHS242420 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 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
Hellenistic Art and ArchitectureHS435610 credits
Egyptian Funerary ArchaeologyHS237620 credits
Computer Projects for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241710 credits
Early Rome: History and ArchaeologyHS436010 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

Year three

You will take 60 credits in archaeology and 60 credits in philosophy.

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 or period.

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

Module titleModule codeCredits
Archaeology Fieldwork 2HS234310 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
The Problem of ConsciousnessSE437920 credits
Dissertation in PhilosophySE438520 credits
MetaethicsSE436720 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS240710 credits
Archaeological PhotographyHS241410 credits
Surveying and ProspectionHS231410 credits
Moral PsychologySE437220 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS242910 credits
Museums Collections ManagementHS242120 credits
Archaeological IllustrationHS243010 credits
Cyfiawnder Byd-eangSE439420 credits
Philosophy of ScienceSE431220 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
Archaeology DissertationHS243540 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruSE439620 credits
Feminist PhilosophySE438620 credits
FairnessSE440320 credits
Philosophy of Time TravelSE440420 credits
Philosophy and Modern ArtSE440220 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
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
Early Rome: History and ArchaeologyHS436010 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?

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management.

You will be taught both by lecture and seminar. 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 lectures. 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.

You will also learn through archaeological practicals and field trips, and take part in one-to-one tutorials.

How will I be supported?

Your scheduled contact hours will be supplemented by the opportunity for individual meetings with academic staff, by supportive academic progress meetings with your personal tutor and by the opportunity to attend research seminars and careers activities.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Feedback

We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance.

Coursework will be marked by your module tutor and your tutor will give you written feedback on your work. You will also have a feedback class after each assessment. Students will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor as part of the monitored student self-assessment scheme.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

Essays 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.

Coursework, exams, practical work and oral presentations will test the different skills you have learned.

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and 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.

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’, which will allow you to:

  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.

SCHOOL OF ENGLISH, COMMUNICATION AND PHILOSOPHY

In 2013/14, 91% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

Philosophy graduates have excellent analytic and communication skills that fit them for a full range of professions and further training. Their cultural expertise and intellectual abilities are valued in the public and private sector, and in contexts as varied as the classroom, the law courts or the media.

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.

We believe that archaeology students are particularly well placed to compete for employment as their degree involves a range of practical and academic skills which have a wide value beyond archaeology. These transferable skills have permitted our graduates to find work in journalism, banking, finance, teaching and a wide range of other areas.

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. Many of our graduates enter professions which make direct use of their academic expertise such as work in archives or museums. The majority, however, compete very successfully in a wide range of other fields.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

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

Waterproofs and suitable footwear, and sometimes a tent and sleeping bag, may be needed for field trips and fieldwork.  The University has funds available if you have difficulty in affording this equipment.

You will undertake four weeks of archaeological excavation or another archaeological work placement at the end of your second and third years. Placements are arranged, approved, funded and assessed by the School of History, Archaeology and Religion.


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.