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Religious Studies and Archaeology (BA)

Entry year


Students will study past human communities from material remains with an additional element of religion.

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Course overview

The joint honours BA in Religious Studies and Archaeology allows you the opportunity to combine the study of religion with the study of past human communities through material excavations, from the earliest human origins through to the late middle-ages. Additionally it provides a range of important transferable skills useful for entry into the graduate job market.

You will have the opportunity to explore some of the fundamental questions of existence in a flourishing centre of research. Archaeology addresses big questions about the human past for much of which no written record is available. The Archaeology courses at Cardiff University concentrate on the British Isles, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, including Egypt. 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 the department’s facilities which include bespoke teaching and research laboratories, dedicated geophysical and surveying equipment and a range of sophisticated equipment for the analysis of artefacts. 

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.  Your lecturers are active researchers in their fields, bringing the latest research into teaching.  The course aims 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.

Distinctive features

UCAS codeVV64
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

BBC- BCC. 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.

DMM Humanties or Social Science. Any other BTEC subject if combined with an A-Level excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Achieve the IB Diploma with 655 in 3 HL subjects.6 in HL History, Classics or Ancient History preferable

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

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

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

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall 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.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding 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 (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£17,700None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding 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.

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 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. You will study 120 credits per year. 

 

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 Religious Studies modules and 60 credits of Archaeology modules.

You may study religion through texts, poetry, art, film, biographies, fieldwork and drama. A series of research-led case studies on issues such as blasphemy and slavery introduce key ideas about ritual, gender and place that provide a dynamic foundation for further study across a range of modules offered in Years 2 and 3. You also have the chance to study one of the original languages of religious texts on offer (e.g. Introduction to Arabic) or acquire broad knowledge of the history of Christian theology (The Story of Christianity) and Christian theological thought (Introduction to the Bible).

First year joint honours students take two core modules in Archaeology, one studying the Archaeology of Britain and the other of Mediterranean Societies.

The Year Two 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 in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

Year two

In Year Two, you take 60 credits of Religious Studies modules and 60 credits of Archaeology modules.

In Religious Studies you will have the opportunity to develop a more advanced knowledge of a range of religious traditions, building on introductory modules undertaken in year one and develop your awareness of the role of religion in shaping the cultural, intellectual, and ethical concerns of contemporary societies.

Year two Archaeology for joint honours students includes one 20 credit fieldwork project and 40 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 1HS220320 credits
What is ReligionRT020120 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Now and Next: From Academia to Employment (20 Credits)HS000420 credits
The Archaeology of the Anglo-SaxonsHS220120 credits
Geophysical SurveyingHS220220 credits
Iron Age BritainHS230620 credits
Post-Roman Celtic BritainHS234020 credits
The History of Archaeological ThoughtHS234820 credits
Aegean Bronze Age: Emergence to CollapseHS238720 credits
Art and Archaeology of Classical GreeceHS238920 credits
Pharaohs of the SunHS241020 credits
BioarchaeologyHS243220 credits
Evidence Based Preservation of OrganicsHS243920 credits
Managing Metallic and Inorganic Cultural Heritage HS244020 credits
Museums' Collections ManagementHS244120 credits
Archaeology Independent StudyHS244220 credits
Archaeological Illustration and PhotographyHS244620 credits
Spatial Technologies and Geographical Information SystemsHS245120 credits
Greek WarfareHS436620 credits
Life in Ancient RomeHS437020 credits
Independent Study or Critical TranslationRT020220 credits
Exploring Christian DoctrineRT020320 credits
Christian EthicsRT020420 credits
The Hebrew Bible: Stories, Suffering and JusticeRT020520 credits
Buddhism: The First Thousand YearsRT020820 credits
Intermediate Scriptual LanguageRT021120 credits
Elementary Language for the Study of ReligionRT021220 credits
Further Elementary Language for the Study of ReligionRT021320 credits
Emotions, Symbols and Rituals: Introducing the Anthropology of Religion through FilmRT021420 credits
Foundational EthicsRT021520 credits
From Jesus to the New Jerusalem: New Testament StudiesRT021620 credits
History and Religion of Ancient IsraelRT230120 credits

Year three

In Year Three, you take 60 credits of Religious Studies modules and 60 credits of Archaeology modules.

You will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of religious themes and topics with a range of specialised modules and also have the chance to acquire skills in qualitative and quantitative research into religion(s) in contemporary societies.

Final year Archaeology for joint honours students includes one 20 credit fieldwork project and 40 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.

If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either Religious Studies or Archaeology. This provides a chance for you to focus your interests on a particular area, period or technique. (Students choosing the Final Year Archaeology Dissertation must have taken the prerequisite Independent Archaeological Study in Year Two).

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?

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, 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 students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would 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. Seminars 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 taught through practicals and participation in fieldwork projects, including excavation, surveys, post-excavation programmes and curatorial projects in museums.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

20%

Guided independent study

80%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

23%

Guided independent study

76%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

null%

Guided independent study

null%

Placements

null%

How will I be supported?

You will be assigned a Personal Tutor with whom to discuss and reflect upon academic progress and personal development planning.  As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor in, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad.

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

You will receive written feedback and/or tutorials 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. Dedicated workshops and individual advice enables you to produce their best work, and written feedback on coursework and exams feeds forward into future work.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is largely by written examinations and coursework essays. You will also write longer essays, critical reviews of scholarly articles, and a dissertation.  You will receive close academic support from the academic staff in all your work.  In certain courses, you will give oral presentations as part of your assessment. The marking criteria for this work measure the extent to which you have achieved the learning outcomes for the Programme.

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

Progression is built into assessment, in that you 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 types of lengthier, independent written work, e.g. written portfolios as 100% assessment model. 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 Archaeology Independent Study is chosen by you; 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. The final-year dissertation is up to 10,000 words in length.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

47%

Practical exams

8%

Coursework

45%

Year 2

Written exams

27%

Practical exams

8%

Coursework

64%

Year 3

Written exams

null%

Practical exams

null%

Coursework

null%

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of essential transferable and discipline-specific skills, including:

 

  • intellectual skills such as critical thinking, reasoning, assimilating and summarising complex information and ideas, analysing and evaluating evidence, critiquing interpretations or arguments, coping with uncertain 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, problem-solving, initiative, and independent thinking;
  • research skills (developed especially in the Dissertation module): 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 in Religious Studies:
  • analysing historical problems, locating and using appropriate evidence and bibliographic resources, handling literary and archaeological material, analysing images, reading inscriptions, papyri and coins, and understanding the scholarly conventions used in relation to these types of evidence; exploration of different religious traditions; critical analysis of concepts, theories and methods of Religious Studies (History of Religions, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy, Theology)
  • language skills: the programme offers an opportunity for students to study Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Sanskrit at beginner’s and intermediate level, and to read texts in the original languages
  • Discipline specific skills in Archaeology:
  • Organised and efficient working practices – individually as well as in a team.
  • Utilisation of information from a variety of resources, including libraries and the internet.
  • Employment of Information Technology e.g. 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.
  • Evidence based critical thinking.

Archaeology students may enhance their communications skills by working with schools, museums, businesses and community groups as part of our innovative public engagement activities.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

In 2016/17, 96% 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 believe in giving our graduates the best opportunities to find employment. We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help you identify your skills and attributes and have our own, in-School Workplace Placements and employability officer.

Placements

We have a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports students with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time and careers advice. We offer you workplace experience through our four-week, funded excavation, museum and heritage work placements at the end of the first and second year. You are also encouraged and financially supported to attend fieldwork placements abroad.

Archaeology students are also encouraged to take advantage 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 in archaeological excavations, field-surveys, museum curatorial projects or other post-excavation, laboratory-based activities.

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Spring 2020

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