BA Archaeology and Anthropology

Archaeology and Anthropology together seek to understand the nature of human societies, the material worlds they inhabit and the extraordinary variety of cultural life over time.

Every aspect of human experience and expression is open to archaeological and anthropological enquiry, including ritual and religion, social organisation, art, architecture, music, mythology, dress, identity, technology, health, violence, migration, economy and landscape. Each discipline complements and enriches the other, and in combination guide contemporary understandings of global human culture and its diverse forms, achievements and changing character.

The programme includes modules in practical archaeological fieldwork, material culture studies, and ethnography, with exciting opportunities for developing your own individual interests in particular aspects of archaeological and anthropological study. Students on this programme rate it extremely highly – 92% reported that they are satisfied with the quality of the course in the latest National Student Survey.  

This course is run jointly by the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, and the Department of African Studies and Anthropology, who together provide an exceptionally diverse and dynamic learning environment.

BA Archaeology and Anthropology brings together two disciplines concerned with the full diversity and richness of human cultural life around the world and across the whole timespan of human existence. The degree offers study in archaeological and anthropological theory, pre-history, historical archaeology, ethnography, physical anthropology, archaeology and material culture studies. This integrated degree programme is designed both for future archaeologists and anthropologists, and for those seeking an exciting and dynamic non-vocational degree course

There is great emphasis on student choice, small-group teaching, individual research and thematic study. Areas of study are very diverse, including landscape and environment, ritual and religion, health and disease, death and burial, urban culture, and society and economy, all of which together reveal the variety and richness of other cultural worlds, past and present. The coverage of this programme is global, ranging from Europe to Africa, Asia and the Americas, and embraces all human cultural life from the Palaeolithic to the present day.

Why study this course

  • Highly rated department – The Department is ranked 8th by the Complete University Guide 2015 for Archaeology.
  • 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; the Eton Myers Collection at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts; and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts.
  • Flexibility – you will be able to specialise as you progress, culminating in a final-year dissertation that allows you to carry out in-depth research into topics of your choice.
  • Be a part of an exciting department – You will join a lively environment with many opportunities to enhance your student experience, including the highly active Birmingham Ancient History,  Classics and Archaeology Society (BACAS)who organises events such as film nights and museum trips throughout the academic year.  
  • Taught by experts– You will study alongside some of the finest minds at Birmingham. Both Departments have performed extremely well in the recent Research Excellence Framework 2014.


The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

First year (detailed descriptions: Archaeology and Anthropology)

  • Exploring Our Past introductory archaeology module, covering key approaches to archaeological investigation and interpretation)
  • Project work: two small-group seminar courses chosen from a range of about 8 special topics, such as Archaeology as Anthropology, Bog Bodies, and Mycenae.
  • Practical Archaeology
  • Anthropology and Ethnography
  • Introduction to African Environments and Societies
  • Optional module (choose from a wide range of courses, including modules such as Introduction to African Politics and Introduction to African History)

Second year (detailed descriptions: Archaeology and Anthropology)

  • Artefacts and Material Culture (20 credits: archaeology core course)
  • Archaeology in the World (20 credits: archaeology core course)
  • Seminar option: small-group seminar series, chosen from a range of about 8 period/region/thematic archaeology topics, such as Virtual Worlds, Ritual and Religion, Roman Army as a Community, and Bronze Age Europe.
  • Anthropology Debates and Controversies (40 credits: social anthropology core course)
  • Optional module (choose from a wide range of courses, including modules such as Ethnography in Practice)

Third year (detailed descriptions: Archaeology and Anthropology)

  • Archaeology dissertation (40 credits) or Anthropology dissertation (40 credits) 

The additional 80 credits required in the third year may be chosen from a wide range of archaeology and anthropology option modules. This allows students both to specialise in specific areas, periods, approaches and themes if they wish to, and also to create unique combinations of subjects for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding 

Learn more about our scholarships and awards.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:

International baccalaureate update

Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.

Additional information:

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

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 the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at

Learn more about applying.

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


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 welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • 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.

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.

Studying BA Anthropology and Archaeology involves analysing evidence of human activity throughout human history. This helps the development of skills in research and analysis of complex information, working independently and as part of a team, and communicating judgments and arguments.

In your Archaeology-based modules, you will study material remains in addition to other sources such as written evidence, and use scientific principles and concepts. You will have the opportunity to carry out self-directed project work which helps self-management, organisation and research skills.

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 4th in the UK for graduate prospects in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015. Archaeology and Anthropology graduates have excellent employment prospects with 85% of graduates entering work or further study within six months of graduation.

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

  • Professional archaeology
  • Museums and curatorial work
  • Education
  • Civil Service
  • Media

Some example of jobs that our Anthropology and Archaeology graduates have included archives, conservation, heritage and museums roles, project officer and recruitment consultants. 

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.


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.