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.
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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.
- Highly rated department – Our Department of African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked 7th in the Complete University Guide 2017.
- 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), which 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.
In the first year, you gain a firm grounding in both intellectual and practical foundations of archaeology, with one of the highlight of the year being the two-week Archaeology Field School. In parallel, you gain an introduction to anthropological perspectives.
- Practical Archaeology (20 credits)
- World Archaeology (20)
- Project module: two small-group seminar courses chosen from a range of about eight special topics, such as Archaeology as Anthropology, Bog Bodies, and Mycenae (10 + 10)
- Introduction to African Culture (20)
- Thinking Anthropologically (20)
- Focus on Studying Societies (20)
The second year develops your understanding of the interpretative frameworks and methods of archaeology and anthropology, while at the same time allowing you to pursue specialist areas of study through the seminar module and range of optional modules.
Students take a total of 120 credits and can choose to take one module from each discipline or take both in the same discipline.
- Artefacts and Material Culture (20)
- Seminar option: small-group seminar series, chosen from a range of about eight period/region/thematic archaeology topics, such as Virtual Worlds, Ritual and Religion, Roman Army as a Community, and Bronze Age Europe (20)
- Theory and Ethnography (40)
Optional modules - Archaeology:
- Catastrophes: Human Societies and Environments (20)
- Mediterranean and European Archaeology (20)
- Field Archaeology (20)
Optional modules - Anthropology (Anthropology options are delivered to second and final year students together, some on alternate years only):
- African Canon (20)
- African New Writing (20)
- African Popular Culture (20)
- Aid, NGOs and Development (20)
- Atlantic Slavery (20)
- Perspectives on Africa
- Rural Livelihoods (20)
- South Africa in the 20th Century (20)
- Trajectories of Emancipation (20)
- 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.
Optional modules currently include:
- Death, Burial and Society (20)
- Seminar: Archaeology and Anthropology of Ritual and Religion (20)
- Seminar: Archaeology in the Lab (20)
- Seminar: Bronze Age Europe (20)
- Seminar: Virtual Worlds (20)
- Smash the Past: Breakage, Violence and Transformation (20)
- African Ritual and Religion (20)
- Caribbean Fiction (20)
- Caribbean Poetry (20)
- Gender and Development (20)
- South Africa in the 19th Century (20)
- South Africa Since Apartheid (20)
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:
Home / EU: £9,000
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; for 2016/17 this will be £1,350
Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £6,930
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.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- General Studies:
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 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.
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:
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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 Archaeology and Anthropology involves analysing evidence of human activity throughout human history. This helps the development of skills in research, 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 is University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. Archaeology and Anthropology graduates have excellent employment prospects with 95% 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
- Civil Service
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.
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.
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.