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Archaeology and History (BA)

Entry year


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

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An Egyptian archaeological artefact

Course overview

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.

UCAS codeVV14
Next intakeSeptember 2020
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.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements shown are for students starting in 2019. Entry requirements for 2020 will be available in August 2019.

ABB - BBB including a B in History. Please note that General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted.  

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM or DM plus grade B at A-Level History.  Acceptable BTEC subjects for entry - Humanities, Social Science, Applied Science or Computing. Any other BTEC subject will be considered if combined with A-Level History.

Achieve the IB Diploma with 665 in 3 HL subjects including 6 in HL History.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. Alternatively, IGCSE English First Language or English Second Language will be considered at grade C. 

Selection

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

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

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.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

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 Field and Practical Skills 1HS220320 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Now and Next: From Academia to Employment (30 Credits)HS000330 credits
Now and Next: From Academia to Employment (20 Credits)HS000420 credits
Approaches to HistoryHS170130 credits
Exploring Historical DebateHS170230 credits
Entangled Histories: Wales and the wider World, 1714–1858HS170330 credits
War, Peace and Diplomacy, c.900-c.1250HS170730 credits
Heresy and Dissent, 1000-1450HS171030 credits
Poverty and Relief in Medieval EuropeHS171430 credits
The British Civil Wars and Revolution, c.1638-1649HS174230 credits
Nations, Empire and Borderlands from 1789-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
Radicalism and the Common People, 1789-1880HS175830 credits
Spain and the Conquest of the Americas, 1450-1650HS175930 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
Martyrs and Collaborators: Catholicism behind the Iron CurtainHS177230 credits
Europe, East and West, 1945-1995HS177530 credits
Into the Vortex: Britain and the First World WarHS178730 credits
Making Empires: Britain and the World, 1541-1714HS179330 credits
Geophysical SurveyingHS220220 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS234820 credits
Archaeology of the VikingsHS234920 credits
Neolithic/Early Bronze Age BritainHS235720 credits
Roman BritainHS236220 credits
Egyptian Funerary ArchaeologyHS237620 credits
Medieval ArchaeologyHS238220 credits
Art and Archaeology of Archaic GreeceHS238620 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 credits
Evidence Based Preservation of OrganicsHS243920 credits
Managing Metallic and Inorganic Cultural Heritage HS244020 credits
Museums' Collections ManagementHS244120 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS244220 credits
Computing for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS244420 credits
Technology and MaterialsHS244520 credits
Archaeological Illustration and PhotographyHS244620 credits
The Roman ArmyHS436720 credits
Objects of Empire: Ancient Iran Through Material CultureHS437120 credits
Early Rome and the EtruscansHS437220 credits
Hellenistic Art and ArchitectureHS437320 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 Field and Practical Skills 2HS220420 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationHS180130 credits
The World of the Anglo-Saxons, c.500-c.1087HS180330 credits
Sexuality and the Social Order in Medieval EuropeHS180430 credits
The Military Orders, 1100-1320HS180530 credits
The Thatcher Age: Cultural and Social Revolution in Britain, 1975-1997HS181430 credits
Slavery and SinHS181830 credits
Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1750HS182430 credits
Deviants, Rebels and Witches in Early Modern Britain and IrelandHS182830 credits
From Bismarck to Goebbels: Biography and Modern German History, 1870-1945HS182930 credits
Germany's New Order in Europe, 1933-1945HS183230 credits
Conflict, Coercion and Mass Mobilisation in Republican China 1911-1945HS183830 credits
Race, Sex and Empire: Britain and India, 1765-1929HS185530 credits
Wales, the English reform movement and the French Revolution of 1789HS185630 credits
Socialism, Society and Politics in Britain, 1880-1918HS186030 credits
Llafur, Sosialaeth a Chymru, 1880-1979HS186230 credits
Toleration and Persecution in Early Modern EuropeHS186630 credits
Class, Protest and Politics: South Wales, 1918-39HS186830 credits
Latin America: Conquest, Turmoil and Reconstruction, 1492-2000HS186930 credits
Slavery in the United States: National Experiences, Global OriginsHS187730 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
The Dangerous City? Urban Society and Culture, 1800-1914HS189630 credits
The Arts in War and Peace: Culture and Politics in Britain, c.1930-1960HS189730 credits
Geophysical SurveyingHS220220 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS234820 credits
Archaeology of the VikingsHS234920 credits
Neolithic/Early Bronze Age BritainHS235720 credits
Roman BritainHS236220 credits
Egyptian Funerary ArchaeologyHS237620 credits
Medieval ArchaeologyHS238220 credits
Art and Archaeology of Archaic GreeceHS238620 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 credits
Archaeology DissertationHS243540 credits
Evidence Based Preservation of OrganicsHS243920 credits
Managing Metallic and Inorganic Cultural Heritage HS244020 credits
Museums' Collections ManagementHS244120 credits
Computing for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS244420 credits
Technology and MaterialsHS244520 credits
Archaeological Illustration and PhotographyHS244620 credits
The Roman ArmyHS436720 credits
Objects of Empire: Ancient Iran Through Material CultureHS437120 credits
Early Rome and the EtruscansHS437220 credits
Hellenistic Art and ArchitectureHS437320 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.

Learning and assessment

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.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

21%

Guided independent study

79%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

21%

Guided independent study

79%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

23%

Guided independent study

77%

Placements

0%

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.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

33%

Practical exams

8%

Coursework

58%

Year 2

Written exams

38%

Practical exams

4%

Coursework

58%

Year 3

Written exams

38%

Practical exams

8%

Coursework

55%

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.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

In 2015/16, 94% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

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.

Placements

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).

Fieldwork

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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