Why study this course
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.
Where you'll study
Curious about the human experience across millennia and cultures, we are seeking to better understand our past, to illuminate our present and improve our future.
BBB-BBC 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.
Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.
Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.
Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.
At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.
At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.
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.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
UK and EU students (2021/22)
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.
Students from outside the EU (2021/22)
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year.
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.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
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 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
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.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|The Archaeology of Mediterranean Societies: Egypt, Greece and Rome||HS2123||20 credits|
|Discovering Archaeology||HS2126||20 credits|
|The Archaeology of Britain: Prehistory to Present||HS2130||20 credits|
|The Origins and Legacies of Religion in the Modern World||RT0101||20 credits|
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.
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
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.
Scheduled learning and teaching activities
Guided independent study
Scheduled learning and teaching activities
Guided independent study
Scheduled learning and teaching activities
Guided independent study
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.