Archaeology and Religious Studies (BA)
Students will study past human communities from material remains with an additional element of religion.
The BA in Archaeology and Religious Studies gives you the opportunity to combine the study of religion with the study of the human 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. Archaeology at Cardiff concentrates on the British Isles, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, including Egypt.
Religion has been part of human experience from the earliest traces of human existence up to the present day. It has been the way most cultures have sought to express their understanding of the purpose of life and the foundation of personal and social behaviour.
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.
A joint honours degree is equal in status to a single honours degree, although the time spent on each subject is effectively halved. Students will gain valuable transferable skills ready for entry into the graduate job market, as well as enjoy a highly flexible modular programme with a wide range of career opportunities.
Each school involved in delivering the degree offers a challenging programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.
|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||BBB. Three A-level subjects excluding General Studies. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level.|
|Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offer||Grade A in the Core plus grades BB at GCE A Level.|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||27 points. A minimum of 5 in all Higher Level subjects.|
|Other qualifications||Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.|
Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
|QAA subject benchmark|
Religion and Theology
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 Religious Studies 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.
As a student of Archaeology, 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.
As a student of Religious and Theological Studies, you will have the opportunity to explore your own and other peoples' religious history and culture, and some of the fundamental questions of existence in a flourishing centre of research. Your lecturers are active researchers in their fields, bringing the latest research into teaching.
The degree provides the training necessary for students who wish to study Archaeology or Religious Studies at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who enter other professions.
In Year 1, you take 40 credits of Archaeology modules and 40 credits of Religious Studies 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 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|
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Introduction To Biblical Hebrew||RT2104||20 credits|
|Further Biblical Hebrew||RT2105||20 credits|
|Introduction To The Bible||RT2103||20 credits|
|The Story of Christianity||RT4103||20 credits|
|Introduction to New Testament Greek||RT3107||20 credits|
|Further New Testament Greek||RT3108||20 credits|
|Introduction To Arabic||RT1109||20 credits|
|Further Elementary Arabic||RT1110||20 credits|
|Introduction To The Study of Religion 1||RT1111||20 credits|
|Introduction To The Study of Religion 2||RT1112||20 credits|
|Analysing Archaeology||HS2125||20 credits|
|Discovering Archaeology||HS2126||20 credits|
|Introduction To Sanskrit||RT1106||20 credits|
|Further Elementary Sanskrit||RT1107||20 credits|
In Year 2, you take 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of Religious Studies.
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.
In Year 3, you choose a further 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of Religious Studies. 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|
Religion and Theology
Overview and aims of this course/programme
The BA in Archaeology and Religious Studies (Joint Honours) gives students the opportunity to combine the study of the human past through its material remains with the study of religions and theologies in relation to a wide range of historical, theoretical, and social issues. Students divide their modules equally between Archaeology and Religious Studies (and in the first year potentially with a third subject).
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.
Religious Studies offers acritical understanding of religion and/or theology with relevance to the historical development of religions in contemporary societies. Students are encouraged to explore religions and theologies in relation to a wide range of historical, theoretical, and social issues, and according to a range of methodological approaches (incl. textual hermeneutics, language study, gender theories, cultural and theoretical anthropology, conflict studies, media, globalisation etc.
What should I know about year five?
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 course/programme structured?
BA Archaeology and Religious Studies is a three-year degree programme. 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.
Year One students study:
- 40 credits of Archaeology modules;
- 40 credits of Religious Studies modules;
- 40 credits in another Humanities subject (which may include Theology or a classical Religious Studies source language such as Greek, Hebrew, Arabic or Sanskrit)
Year Two students study:
- 60 credits of modules in Archaeology, including a core Fieldwork module;
- 60 credits of modules in Religious Studies (all optional).
Year Three students study:
- 60 credits of modules in Archaeology, including a core Fieldwork module;
- 60 credits of modules in Religious Studies (all optional);
Students may opt to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice in either subject.
What should I know about year four?
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. Adobe Creative Suite) including high quality printing and plotting facilities.
What should I know about year three?
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.
- Critical analysis of concepts, theories and methods of Religious Studies.
The acquisition of skills and of intellectual understanding generally is progressive. As you progress through your degree we will raise our expectations of the depth and breadth of your studies.
What should I know about the preliminary year?
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.
What should I know about year one?
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.
Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor in both Archaeology and Religious Studies 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.
Graduates from this programme will be able to 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;
- critical understanding of the development of archaeological thought and the main elements of modern archaeological theory;
- application of methodological expertise to the critical analysis of archaeological problems;
- understanding of different approaches to the study of religious traditions/theologies, and an ability to evaluate and employ a range of approaches and methods;
- understanding of debates concerning religious and theological issues in historical context and contemporary society;
- familiarity with, and assessment of, the reliability ofa wide variety of primary source material including literary, documentary, epigraphic, visual and archaeological evidence;
- 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 and religious traditions;
How will I be taught?
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