Why study this course
Use our suite of laboratories and access our digital illustration and photographic suite.
Study with passion
Explore interests with subjects ranging from slavery in America to Soviet and Japanese history.
Placements - home and abroad
Experience activities including digs, museum projects and lab activities.
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.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ 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.
This grade range reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Eligible students applying for this course will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects.
From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Humanities or Social Science subjects. We will consider BTECs in alternative subjects alongside other academic qualifications and any relevant work or volunteer experience.
Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.
Additional entry requirements
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Interview or selection process
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 for 2022 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2022/23 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
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.
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.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2022 and this page will be updated by end of October 2022 to reflect the changes.
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 2022/2023 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.
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.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|History in Practice Part 1: Questions, Frameworks and Audiences.||HS1119||20 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|
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|The Making of The Modern World, 1750-1970||HS1105||20 credits|
|Medieval Worlds, AD 500 -1500||HS1112||20 credits|
|Renaissance, Reformation and Revolution||HS1117||20 credits|
|Modern Britain: Ideas, Politics, Society and Culture||HS1135||20 credits|
|Introduction to Ancient History 1: Gods, Kings and Citizens, 1000-323 BCE||HS3105||20 credits|
|Introduction to Ancient History 2: Empires East and West, 323 BCE to 680 CE||HS3106||20 credits|
In Year Two, you take 60 credits of Archaeology and 60 credits of History.
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 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.
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 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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.