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Archaeology and History (BA)

An Egyptian archaeological artefact

Why study this course

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Purpose-built laboratories

Use our suite of laboratories and access our digital illustration and photographic suite.

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Study with passion

Explore interests with subjects ranging from slavery in America to Soviet and Japanese history.

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Placements - home and abroad

Experience activities including digs, museum projects and lab activities.

Fieldwork adventures

Build practical skills and put what you'll learn into practice; discover exciting locations and uncover a past world.

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Interactive careers workshops

Hone your career skills and gain valuable insights into roles and sectors fit for you.

History at Cardiff will develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the political, social, economic, and cultural structures of past societies. Our expertise reaches an extraordinary breadth of societies, periods and places, spanning the British Isles, Europe (east and west), Africa, Asia, and the Americas. You will have the opportunity to study both well-established areas, such as political, social, cultural and gender history, or explore areas that might be new to you, such as environmental history or digital history. 

In Archaeology, you will be introduced to the archaeology of Britain and the Mediterranean and can pursue specialist study in these areas. The programme also offers opportunities to develop proficiency in a range of archaeological skills. You will develop practical and professional skills through a 4-week placement in Year Two.

Criss-crossing a wide range of time spans and perspectives, our highly respected programme will cultivate intellectual skills such as the ability to assess different forms of evidence critically, to evaluate different interpretations of the evidence, to construct arguments based on evidence, and to express opinions cogently in speech and in writing. Through our degree you will develop the skills advantageous in our digital age: creativity, empathy, critical thinking, persuasive communication skills and the ability to challenge and question

By combining Archaeology and History, you will gain a wealth of transferable skills and knowledge, and creative, critical and employability skills that are of crucial importance in an increasingly competitive jobs market, which opened the doors to a variety of career paths. The time spent on each subject is equally shared, allowing you to study the human past through material, written and visual evidence.

Building on your passions and curiosity, you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in the study of the periods and regions which interest you, ranging from the prehistoric to the twentieth century.

Subject area: Archaeology and conservation

Subject area: History and ancient history

Entry requirements

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:

A level

ABB-BBB

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.


We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Where a grade range is advertised this reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range. Where there is no grade range advertised you will usually receive additional points in the selection process. Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. 

Baccalaureate Wales

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

BTEC

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.

T level

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.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Additional entry requirements

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 59 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 must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

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
  • curfews
  • 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.

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 2023 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,000 None
Year two £9,000 None
Year three £9,000 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 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

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £20,450 None
Year two £20,450 None
Year three £20,450 None

Learn more about our tuition fees

Financial support

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

You should be prepared to invest in some key texts and to cover the costs of basic printing and photocopying for you own use. You may also want to buy copies of other books, either because they are particularly important for your modules or because you find them particularly interesting.

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 and to cover travel for UK placements.

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.

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

Our BA in Archaeology and History is a three-year degree which provides you with the skills, training and knowledge to succeed, whether applying for postgraduate study, for employment in archaeology and the heritage sector or for employment outside of the discipline. It combines academic and practical skills and allows you to follow your interests and passions.  

You’ll study 120 credits in each year - 60 credits of modules in Archaeology and 60 credits of modules in History. You will have substantial optionality in all three years, with optional modules both in Archaeology and History covering themes, methods and periods, to give you the flexibility to pursue a bespoke pathway.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

Year one

In archaeology, you will study the archaeology of Britain from the first humans to the twentieth century and be introduced to the archaeology of the societies of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. You will also be introduced to key archaeological field skills and will participate in fieldtrips to key heritage sites in south Wales and western England.

Our history modules are designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and introduce you to historical themes and areas of study that you may not have encountered at A-level. Our 2 core modules introduce you to the different frameworks which underpin historical study and the different ways of writing history, while also allowing you to explore the big debates over how we understand ‘global’ connections and historical change to challenge how we think beyond set time periods and regional or national borders. Optional modules on medieval, early modern and Welsh history allow you to extend your historical knowledge and skills through a variety of periods and regions to lay the foundation for study in years two and three.

Year two

In the summer between your first and second years, you will undertake a 4-week placement on an archaeological excavation or with a heritage organisation.

The core module in history introduces you to the key theoretical approaches and methods that have influenced historical writing. History optional modules allow you to explore themes across a narrower time range while encouraging a more comparative approach to history. In your second year, the emphasis shifts towards different ways of using evidence with the option to take modules to give you a deeper understanding of the kinds of evidence historians use and ways of using that evidence and the historian’s role in sharing research beyond the boundaries of academia and the voices they privilege or silence. You will also take 2 further optional modules in archaeology allowing you to focus on the archaeology of specific periods and regions.

Year three

The pinnacle of your degree will be the dissertation project, a major piece of independent research, guided by a supervisor, in which you explore a question from the perspectives of history and archaeology.

In archaeology you will take 2 optional modules, which may focus on areas of archaeological method or allow you to develop a particular understanding of a particular period or region.

In history in your the final year, you are challenged to think more deeply about the nature of historical developments. You develop your skills at analysing sources and writing history through studying a range of specialist modules on offer.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Reaching Out: Enterprise, Community and CollaborationHS030120 credits
Geophysical SurveyingHS220220 credits
Iron Age BritainHS230620 credits
Roman BritainHS236220 credits
Art and Archaeology of Archaic GreeceHS238620 credits
Forensic and OsteoarchaeologyHS242320 credits
Museums' Collections ManagementHS244120 credits
Spatial Technologies and Geographical Information SystemsHS245120 credits
Digital Games and the Practice of HistoryHS631020 credits
Spies and Espionage in the Medieval WorldHS631120 credits
Kingship: Image, Power and Portrayal, c.1100-1399HS631220 credits
Gender, Identity and Experience in Medieval EuropeHS631320 credits
Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1750HS631420 credits
An Information Revolution: Politics and Communication in Early Modern BritainHS631520 credits
Health and Illness in Early Modern BritainHS631620 credits
Mobile Lives: Travel, Exile, and Migration in the Early Modern WorldHS631720 credits
Slavery and Enslaved Life in the United States, 1775-1865HS631820 credits
Native American HistoryHS631920 credits
Utopias of Extremism: Revolutions in Comparative ContextHS632020 credits
Czechoslovakia: The Twentieth Century in MiniatureHS632120 credits
France under OccupationHS632220 credits
Inside the Third ReichHS632320 credits
Violence and Ideology in the Inter-War Soviet UnionHS632420 credits
War and Freedom in the postcolonial SudansHS632620 credits
Gender and Imperialism, India c.1800- c.1900HS632720 credits
Change, Conflict, and Mass Mobilisation in Republican China, 1911-1945HS632820 credits
The Dark Valley of Fascist Japan, 1930-1945HS632920 credits
Peripheral Reverberations of the French RevolutionHS633020 credits
Mayhem and murder: Investigating the Victorian UnderworldHS633120 credits
The Making of British SocialismHS633220 credits
Britain at War: Culture and Politics on the Home Front, 1939-1945HS633320 credits
Public and Private: Gender, Identities and Power in Twentieth Century BritainHS633420 credits
Jews, Europe and the WorldHS633520 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

We pride ourselves on nurturing a friendly, personalised and supportive environment, placing a strong emphasis on individual one-to-one meetings at key points throughout the degree. Bringing a wealth of expertise across theme, period and geography, your lecturers will share latest thinking in the classroom, including their own cutting-edge research.

You will learn through a wide range of teaching methods from interactive lectures, lively discussion-based seminars, and workshops to group work and tutorials. Several modules incorporate fieldtrips and you will undertake 4 weeks of professional placement on an archaeological excavation or with a heritage organisation.

Seminars and workshops offer a rewarding experience to engage critically with the key ideas and reading on a topic. They provide a valuable opportunity to explore ideas and work closely with your lecturers and to learn from other students. In your second and third year, you can undertake independent projects with the support of an expert in the field and one-to-one tuition.

Our teaching methods foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management in a supportive environment.

How will I be supported?

You are supported by a number of different staff, some focussing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at learning and progress more holistically.

You will be allocated a personal tutor in both Archaeology and History, who will guide you for the duration of your studies. You will meet with your personal tutors regularly to reflect on your progress and development across your studies. Additional module-specific support is provided by seminar tutors, lecturers and/or module convenors; support for the dissertation is provided by an academic advisor who will meet with you regularly. Your personal tutors can also guide you towards appropriate support if you are experiencing difficulties.

You will have access through the University virtual learning environment plus a host of other digital environments and programs to help you in your studies.

Our undergraduate Education Support Team provides academic and student support and is there to provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have.

The University offers a range of services including Student Futures to help you with your career planning; support services and events to help you manage your emotional; mental and physical health; support with financial issues, and support for students with disabilities.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments include source criticisms, research projects, reviews, social media posts, and presentations, alongside more traditional forms of assessment such as essays. Some of our assessments allow you to work collaboratively on a project, while others include writing and creating for different audiences; for example, you might be asked to design a museum exhibition or create a guide for using sources; and you may have the opportunity to create podcasts and digital texts for social media. Long essays in History allow you to address fundamental historical questions or explore an historical issue or debate in more depth.

In all cases, our assessments are designed to support you in developing your ideas, skills, and competencies. They help equip you with skills to link your knowledge to local, national and global issues and encourage you to be innovative and creative, to find new ways to address problems or ask questions, to collaborate in solving problems and presenting findings, and to present evidence-based arguments. The skills developed and assessed throughout the programme prepare you for entry into a range of graduate careers.

As part of your skills training in your first year, you will be supported in understanding how the assessments work, what is expected of you, how you will be marked, and how to make the most of your feedback. Progression is built into our assessments: you do smaller guided tasks in your first year, as well as formative work in years two and three. Feedback on assessments and other learning provides you with the opportunity to reflect on your current or recent level of attainment. It can be provided individually or to groups.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:   

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

KU1: Critically appraise the role of archaeology within the wider heritage sector.

KU2: Apply knowledge of archaeological method and theory to the examination of particular temporal and geographic contexts

KU3: Engage critically and conceptually with the changing assumptions and methods that archaeologists and historians use to explain the past;

KU4: Demonstrate systematic knowledge and understanding of the complexity and diversity of situations, events, and mentalities in particular temporal and geographical contexts

Intellectual Skills:           

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

IS1: Collate, describe and present complex and unpredictable archaeological information

IS2: Analyse, debate and interpret complex evidence (including objects, sites, buildings and landscapes).

IS3: Critically relate historical and archaeological knowledge and understanding to other humanities disciplines.

IS4: Utilise knowledge and appropriate skills and methods to identify and critically evaluate historical change in the examination of particular temporal or geographical contexts;

IS5: Formulate and justify arguments about a range of historical issues, problems, and debates using historiographical ideas and methods;

IS6: Identify and locate appropriate sources, reflect upon their nature, and analyse them critically to address questions and solve problems.

Professional Practical Skills:      

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

PS1: Contribute competently to the identification, investigation and recording of archaeological sites.

PS2: Assess the importance of archaeological sites and materials.

PS3: Apply archaeological skills in a professional setting.

PS4: Ask cogent and focused questions and pursue answers to these questions through structured enquiry, selecting and interrogating an appropriate range of evidence

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

TS1: Demonstrate critical thinking, reasoning, and the ability to assimilate and summarise complex information and ideas though the independent selection and critical analysis of an appropriate range of evidence;

TS2: Summarise and critically appraise the relative merits and demerits of alternative views and interpretations and evaluate their significance;

TS3: Present complex findings and arguments clearly, concisely, and persuasively in a variety of formats;

TS4: Show enterprise skills to solve problems and analyse diverse, partial or ambiguous evidence using critical thinking, initiative, and creativity;

TS5: Effectively communicate complex information and arguments, either individually or collaboratively as part of a team.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Graduating with a range of academic and practical skills – including teamworking, leadership and communication –the confidence to deploy them and the ability to see the big picture, you’ll be valued by employers and ideally placed to progress into a range of careers.

Graduates in archaeology and history progress into a wide range of careers using the skills gained throughout their degrees. Some choose to pursue professions making direct use of their discipline expertise (for example working for commercial archaeological companies or national/local heritage bodies, museums or archives), whilst others enter the public or private sectors in finance, publishing, law, journalism, advertising and marketing, and other professional sectors.

Our degree equips you with important skills which employers value from collaborative working and communicating with a wide range of audiences to critical thinking and finding new ways to address problems. Training and careers events are delivered in and out of the curriculum with a focus on developing skills while in university and articulating those skills successfully in future applications.

Placements

As a History and Archaeology student, you will undertake four weeks of placement on an archaeological excavation or with a heritage organisation in the summer between your first and second years. We ensure that placements can be incorporated into your learning in other ways.

Further opportunities for diverse, bespoke placements are offered in Year Two on a module which focuses on translating the skills you gain through your degree into the workplace. In your final year, we offer the opportunity to take a module through which you can develop your enterprise skills, and which equips you with the skills to communicate and collaborate with external organisations. Staff also have close links with a range of local heritage and other organisations, which offer placement opportunities both in and outside semesters.

Through our links with the Student Futures, you can source placements and on-campus internships from 35 hours part-time placements to fit in around your studies to paid summer placements. In addition, Go Wales provides additional support to help you gain work experience.

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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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.