BA Archaeology and Ancient History

Uncover the ancient world by combining both historical and archaeological approaches to studying the past.

Our BA Archaeology and Ancient History programme combines the best of both disciplines into one discrete programme. It provides you with the opportunity to study the ancient civilisations of Egypt, the Near East, Greece and Rome, and prehistoric societies in the Mediterranean, Europe and Britain. By interpreting historical and archaeological evidence together, you can build a rounded picture of the life and culture of these ancient societies.

At the University of Birmingham, we place a distinctive emphasis on the combination of archaeological and historical approaches in the study of the ancient world, including modules in field archaeology, material culture studies and historical interpretation, with exciting opportunities for specialisation in Archaeology, Ancient History, or both disciplines. 

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Jessica Stevens

Jessica Stevens

“I love the choice of modules available to me at Birmingham. It allows my degree to be specific to me and my interests. This term, for instance, I could be doing modules as varied as Athenian Drama and Practical Archaeology.”

On this programme you will be taught by ancient historians specialising in Egypt, Western Asia, Greece and Rome, and archaeologists whose expertise covers north-west Europe, Classical Greek and Roman societies, and early medieval states in Europe and the Mediterranean.

In your first year, you will undertake a Field School on which you will gain core practical skills and first-hand knowledge of archaeological fieldwork methodology. In your second year, you will undertake a unique two-week Study Tour where you will develop a research project and travel with fellow students to countries such as Italy and Greece to visit sites, monuments and museums of interest to you. The University offers financial support for both of these invaluable learning experiences. 

Throughout the degree, we place a distinctive emphasis on the combination of archaeological and historical approaches in the study of the ancient world, and our extensive expertise allows you to study a wide choice of periods, countries and cultures to suit your interests. In addition to compulsory modules in both disciplines, the course offers flexibility and you can tailor your own degree from the variety optional modules available.

Why study this course

  • Taught by experts – Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the Top 5 Russell Group departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. We are also ranked in the Top 10 among UK universities by the Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017
  • Excellent employability – 90% of our graduates enter work or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE 2015)
  • Study tour – Our unique two-week Study Tour gives you the opportunity to plan and undertake travel to countries such as Italy and Greece to visit sites, monuments and museums of interest to you. Take a look at our student-led Study Tour blog
  • Exceptional learning resources – You will have access to a range of learning resources including environmental and material culture teaching collections, the Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Museum, and the Eton Myers Collection at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts
  • Field work opportunities – There are many opportunities to take part in field work and develop your practical archaeology experience. Recent digs include a middle-saxon site in nearby Shrophire and a long-term project to uncover an imperial palace in Carnuntum, Austria

Open day talk

Modules

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2017. We aim to publish any changes to compulsory modules and programme structure for 2018 entry by 1 September 2017 and recommend you refer back to this page shortly after that date for any changes. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

First year

In the first year, you gain a firm grounding in the archaeology of Britain and the Mediterranean and the history of Egypt and ancient Western Asia through introductory lecture courses. Small-group project work will allow you to study a particular aspect of the ancient world in greater detail and you gain practical experience on an archaeological Field School.

In addition, you choose 40 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory modules:

  • Early Civilisations: Egypt (10 credits)
  • Early Civilisations of Western Asia (10)
  • Project A (10)
  • Project B (10)
  • Practical Archaeology (20)
  • World Archaeology (20)

See our first year modules

Second year

In the second year, your compulsory modules build upon the foundations in the first.  You will also take our unique Study Tour module. With financial support from the University, you plan a research project and travel with fellow students to a country relevant to your studies such as Italy or Greece. 

In addition to the compulsory modules, you take 40 credits of optional modules, which include the opportunity to develop your practical and project planning skills by taking the Field Archaeology module and participating in the Year 2 Field School.

Compulsory modules:

  • Artefacts and Material Culture (20)
  • CAHA Study Tour (20)
  • Mediterranean and European Archaeology (20)
  • Seminar II (choice of seminar topics) (20)

See our second year modules

Year abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final year

The highlight of the final year is your dissertation. Working one-on-one with a supervisor, you will complete a substantial research project on a subject of special interest to you. In addition, you choose a seminar topic and 60 credits of optional modules. 

Compulsory modules:

  • CAHA Dissertation (40)
  • Seminar III (choice of seminar topics) (20)

See our final year modules

Fees and funding

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2017, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2017/18 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £15,570

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
General Studies:
Accepted.

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered on a case by case basis - contact us for further guidance.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Joint Honours combinations

You can study Archaeology and Ancient History as part of a Joint Honours degree with the following subjects:

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Welfare tutors - We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Contact hours

In your first year, you can expect to have 9- 12 contact hours, depending on your module choices. These will consist of a mixture of lectures and small-group teaching. You will also undergo a formal transition review to see how you are getting on.

In your second year, you can expect to have 8-12 contact hours, depending on your module choices. These will consist of a mixture of lectures, small-group teaching, and supervision.

In your third year, you can expect to have 8.5-9.5 contact hours, depending on your module choices. As before, these will consist of a mixture of lectures, small-group teaching, and supervision. There are also many additional activities that are also available to students.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Our unique degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development – a balance that is highly sought after by employers in today’s competitive graduate market.

The skills of an ancient and archaeology historian – research, analysis, organisation, self-management and reasoning – are highly attractive to graduate employers. Graduates from BA Ancient History and Archaeology are capable of working independently and as part of a team, and eloquently articulate judgements and arguments, which makes them highly sought-after employees.

Archaeology and Ancient History graduates have excellent employment prospects with 90% of graduates entering work and/or study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2015).   

You will be in high demand and well placed to forge a rewarding career in a variety of spheres, including:

  • Law
  • Education
  • Media
  • Publishing
  • Local government
  • Museums and charities
  • Cultural and heritage organisations

Therefore studying Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham opens doors to a wide range of careers. Some graduates will go onto undertake further study and research in pursuit of higher degrees.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.