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BA (Hons) Historical Archaeology

Hands-on history

2018/19 entry

UCAS code

V401

Institution code

Y50

Length

3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

ABB-BBB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fees

£16,620 per year (2018/19)

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Historical Archaeology explores the material remains of the last 2,000 years - the period for which texts and document sources exist.

Understanding and analysing these sources enables us to understand human lives, from the spread of the Roman Empire to everyday life for the Vikings.

If you are considering a degree in History, but want a course which will make you stand out from the crowd, our BA Historical Archaeology could be for you. Many of our students have studied history, but also have a passion for historic sites, material culture or museums. With Historical Archaeology, you get the best of both worlds.

Our department is renowned for being friendly and welcoming, meaning you'll get to know your lecturers, and they'll get to know you. You'll have endless opportunities to get involved, from joining the Archaeology Society to working abroad on a research project. We're based in the King's Manor in the city centre - a beautiful and truly unique Medieval building, with additional state-of-the-art facilities on the main campus. 

York is the UK’s archaeological capital, with historic buildings and significant remains from the Roman, Viking and Medieval periods. You'll find it a great place to call home.

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The thing I enjoyed most about first year were the seminars. I was really nervous to begin with but over the course of the year your confidence builds and the chance to discuss history, theory and practice with your peers and an experienced seminar leader becomes invaluable.
Matt, BA Archaeology, 2nd Year. See more student profiles

Academically excellent

Archaeology at York is 12th in the World for Archaeology (QS World Rankings 2018) and top ten in the UK (Guardian University league table 2018 and Complete University Guide 2018).

Happy students

We have high levels of satisfaction - in nine of the last ten years, over 94% of our students have stated that they are satisfied overall with their course (National Student Survey).

Engaged and supportive staff

Our lecturers love to teach in their own fields of research, which means you gain current and cutting edge knowledge. They'll help you get the most out of your archaeology degree.

Course content

Our five undergraduate courses all have a common first year, so it's easy to change between them. If you choose to transfer onto the BA Archaeology and Heritage, you'll need to complete the heritage project rather than the excavation during the Summer Term.

We emphasise flexibility - there's very little restriction on the modules you can choose to study.You'll take 120 credits each year - usually two to three modules each term.

We'll ask you to critically consider the relationship between material culture and texts in both past societies and modern academic disciplines, and we'll prepare you to address the unique challenges which face archaeologists who work in historically documented periods.

Study abroad

You can opt to study abroad during your degree.

Gaining a place on our European Exchange allows you to study for a year at the University of Lund, Sweden. 

Alternatively, the University offers worldwide exchange programmes to North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia and South Africa.

If you don't fancy spending a whole year abroad, you can apply for one of the University's study centres or summer schools and spend your summer abroad.

Archaeology also offers plenty of opportunities, during vacation breaks, to get involved with research abroad.

Year 1

Core modules (20 credits each):


During the Summer Term of your first year, you will take part in an excavation (20 credits).

This will give you hands-on experience in all aspects of assessing, collecting and analysing primary excavation data, as well as post-excavation techniques. It is a unique opportunity to be part of a really exciting phase of a research project.

It is taught during the academic year, so you won't be required to find an excavation placement during the summer vacation. If you are interested in taking part in further excavations during the vacation, we can help you find volunteering and paid opportunities to do further excavations - sometimes abroad!

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

During your second year, you can begin to choose modules that interest you.

Core modules

You'll study two modules on Historical Archaeology:

You'll also prepare for your dissertation with the following modules (10 credits each):

Option modules

You'll study one World Archaeology I module (20 credits)​. These options are updated each year, but you'll usually be able to choose from around five options. Examples include:

You'll also study one Practical Skills module (20 credits). You'll choose from roughly seven options. Some Practical Skills modules offered recently have included:

During the summer term, you'll complete a team project (20 credits) which follows on from your Practical Skills module. Using the subject-specific knowledge you have gained, you will work as a group to analyse and interpret data, and produce a report to a professional standard.

Year 3

In your final year, there are no core modules. You'll complete a second World Archaeology module, a Special Topic, an Assessed Seminar and your dissertation.

You'll be able to choose your World Archaeology II module (10 credits) from around five options. Please note that the options may not be the same as in your second year. Examples include:

The Special Topics (30 credits) are linked directly to staff research interests, so you will be engaging with the most up-to-date research and debates in each subject. Each year we offer around six or seven options from you to choose from. Recent examples include:

The Assessed Seminars (40 credits) are a unique opportunity to focus your studies on exactly what interests you. You'll have some introductory lectures from a specialist in the area, then you'll spend some time designing and chairing your own seminar for your classmates. We offer roughly eight modules per year for you to choose from. Recent examples include:

Finally, you'll complete a Dissertation and Assessed Lecture (40 credits). The dissertation is around 10,000 words and on a topic you choose. You'll be assigned a supervisor who'll support you through the process. After writing your dissertation, you will present your work in the form of an assessed lecture.

Recent titles have included:

  • The Roman army's impact on York
  • Power in Death? An exploration of burial practice at Viking age Hedeby
  • Feeding Venice: A comparative study of archaeological and historical approaches, investigating Venetian supplementation of meat products between 14th - 16th century
  • A study of 18th century English culture, consumption and luxury within a changing society.
  • Landscapes of defense: in what ways was the Leeds Liverpool Canal protected from invasion and attack during WWII?

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Engage critically in debates around scholarship that inform current archaeological issues applicable to multiple periods of human society, using evidence from the UK and elsewhere in the world
  • Design, execute and evaluate archaeological research projects to a standard informed by key theoretical, scientific, legal and professional principles and methodologies in an international context
  • Generate, document and manage primary archaeological data from diverse sources of evidence and contexts and conduct analysis using a range of digitial technology
  • Operate effectively as constructive and inclusive leaders and confident participants in teamwork in challenging environments and using data from multi-disciplinary field projects.
  • Apply critical and creative approaches to problem-solving in complex situations with diverse, fragmentary datasets that reflect biases in their generation, survival, identification and documentation
  • Resolve challenges in interpretation and presentation from an interdisciplinary perspective with agility and awareness of ethical issues
  • Confidently explain, communicate and debate ideas through written, visual, and oral forms of presentation to a wide range of public and professional audiences using print and digital media
  • Contribute as independent scholars with their chosen field of study through rigorous and imaginative inquiry in multi-disciplinary contexts

 

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £16,620

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Funding

We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Outstanding and unique facilities

We are based in the historic King's Manor, located in the city centre right next door to York Minster, and once used by Henry VIII. We also have excellent facilities on the main campus in our Bioarchaeology labs. A dedicated experimental archaeology centre is located nearby.

Hands-on experience

We provide hands-on skills in fieldwork throughout the first year, culminating with the first year excavation in the summer term. Even if you're not interesting in becoming a field archaeologist, this is a way to make friends and make lasting friendships with others in your year.

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You'll be taught through a range of lectures, seminars, workshops, practicals, and independent learning projects. All our teaching is research-led, meaning our lecturers are teaching the subjects they're fascinated about, and ensuring you get the most current and cutting-edge knowledge.

We have always been passionate about small group teaching - we feel it is the best way to learn. You'll start off with a variety of teaching formats and as the course progresses you'll spend more time on intensive small group teaching and individual study.

We provide training in presentation skills throughout your course, helping you to prepare for your Assessed Seminar and Assessed Lecture.

Find out more about our teaching

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars300 hours156 hours84 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.

Facilities

At York, you'll have access to a huge range of unique facilities.

In the King's Manor, we have:

  • our own teaching rooms and a state-of-the-art lecture theatre
  • a specialist library with dedicated study spaces
  • a large lab space for working with artefacts, soil and environmental samples, and skeletal remains
  • computer labs with printers, scanners and specialised photo software, digital drawing and mapping software
  • a student common room for working and socialising
  • our own cafe

On Campus West, near the Environment Department, we also have our own purpose-built Bioarchaeology labs. A dedicated experimental archaeology centre is located nearby. You'll also have full access to the main campus library and other University resources, including the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

Finally, you'll be able to use an extremely wide range of archaeological equipment, including:

  • drones
  • fieldwork tools
  • Total Station theodolites
  • geophysical survey equipment (resistivity, magnetometry, ground penetrating radar)
  • handheld GPS systems
  • a laser scanner
  • a variety of photo and imaging technology

Teaching location

The Department of Archaeology is located in the King's Manor, in the city centre. Our BioArCh and Palaeo facilities are located in or near the Environment Building on Campus West, around 30 minutes walk from the King's Manor.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed using a variety of methods, including essays, exams, assessed presentations and team projects.

During your degree, we'll help you to develop the skills you'll need to approach your assessments, from presentation skills to designing a research study. We'll take the time to provide detailed and personalised feedback on your work, allowing you to improve and refine your work.

Your course will culminate with the exciting challenge of leading and chairing a seminar, organising and presenting a lecture, and researching and writing a dissertation. You'll graduate confident in your ability to cope with challenges and able to apply your skills to many areas of work.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams33%17%0%
Coursework59%75%77%
Practical exams8%8%23%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

I really enjoyed the science workshops and my heritage field school where I was working as part of team building an audio guide. Never in a million years did I think I would have used some digital work in my archaeology degree (and it was so cool!).
Emmeline, BA Archaeology and Heritage, 2nd Year. See more student profiles

Careers and skills

There has never been a better time to study archaeology. With major new infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Crossrail underway, there is a national shortage of archaeologists in the country.

Studying Archaeology doesn't mean you have to become an archaeologist, however! Our degrees prepare you for a vast range of careers. The unique combination of humanities and sciences at York means you'll be competent in dealing with data as well as able to produce high-quality essays and reports - a combination not often found in graduates today.

If you're interested in going into the heritage sector, you'll be able to choose modules which provide you with a solid grounding in heritage studies alongside the practical skills needed to kickstart your career. York is a real centre for the heritage industry, and you'll have the option to create links with museums and heritage organisations through optional volunteering, internships and placements.

We provide careers support throughout your degree. From information sessions to CV support, we're passionate about helping you find your way after you graduate. Our lecturers can give advice and feedback, and may even help you get a foothold in industry.

Career opportunities

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

 

 

 

  • heritage organisations (e.g. English Heritage, National Trust, Yorkshire Museum)
  • local councils
  • NHS
  • police
  • accountancy
  • media
  • marketing agencies
  • law

Some early career examples include:

  • Broadcast journalist at the BBC
  • Project archaeologist, York Archaeological Trust
  • Civil service fast streamer
  • Stained glass conservator
  • Architectural researcher for a media company
  • Assistant curator, York army museum

Transferable skills

The wide range of assessment types in our degrees, from chairing seminars, managing projects and giving public lectures, ensures you'll graduate with a huge range of transferable skills.

These include:

  • critical thinking
  • data analysis and interpretation
  • structuring arguments
  • communication and presentation skills
  • team working
  • leadership skills
  • management skills
  • flexibility and adaptability
  • creativity and innovation

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

ABB-BBB (A level General Studies and Critical Thinking are accepted)

Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma with DDM
Cambridge Pre-U D3, M2, M2 - M2, M2, M2
European Baccalaureate Overall average grade of 75% or higher
Irish leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3,H3 / H3,H3,H3,H3,H3,H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAABB-AABBB

English language

  • IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all units
  • Pearson PTE Academic: 61 overall with 51 in all parts
  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): grade A
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade C
  • GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first language): Grade C

Applying

To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

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