BA Archaeology & Ancient History and History

Archaeology, Ancient History and History are complementary subjects that can all be studied alongside each other at degree level.

On this innovative degree programme you will explore the ancient civilisations of Egypt and Western Asia, Greece and Rome, and prehistoric and historic societies in the Mediterranean, Europe and Britain. You will have the chance to investigate unfamiliar territory and to question some of the myths, preconceptions and prejudices that surround these disciplines from the Middle Ages to almost the present day.

By interpreting historical and archaeological evidence together, you can build a rounded picture of the life and culture of these societies.  

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Eleanor Doggart

Eleanor Doggart

“The best thing about my course is being able to study such a variety of topics in modules and it is a course that is pretty unique to Birmingham which adds a whole other level of excitement. ”

You will benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you are a fully supported and active learner.

Our degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development; a balance that’s highly sought after by employers in today’s intellectual, professional and creative industries.

Whatever your interests - whether cultural, social, military, political, economic or religious history - there is someone teaching your kind of history. 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.

We place a distinctive emphasis on the combination of archaeological and historical approaches in the study of the ancient world, and the range of expertise available ensures that a wide choice of periods, countries and cultures may be studied. To a large extent you can build your own degree from the options available.

Why study this course

  • Breadth of expertise - while many Ancient History programmes focus on Greece and Rome, at Birmingham you will have the opportunity to study and the Near East in equal measure. 
  • Taught by experts – You will study alongside some of the finest minds at Birmingham. The Department of History was ranked 1st in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, while the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology was ranked in the top five among Russell Group universities.
  • 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. 

Open day talks

Modules

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 of a Joint Honours degree programme study is split equally between the two disciplines.  Following this you have the option to alter the balance of your study, meaning that you could change to a major-minor weighting.  In your final year you have the option to maintain your second-year balance, switch your major subject to your other discipline or revert to an equal balance.  If you wish, you can maintain an equal balance throughout your degree.  This flexibility allows you to tailor the course throughout your degree programme, once you have had the time and experience to consider where your strengths and interests lie.  The list of modules below are based on studying half of your modules in Archaeology and Ancient History (60 credits) and half in History (60 credits)

First year

Archaeology & Ancient History: This year you gain a firm grounding in the history and archaeology of the ancient world through introductory lecture courses ranging from the history and archaeology of the ancient civilisations of Egypt to the theory and practice of archaeology and the study of human societies and cultural change. You also gain practical experience through archaeological field training.

Compulsory modules:

  • Project (20)
  • World Archaeology (20)

Archaeology and Ancient History first year detailed module descriptions

History:

Compulsory modules:

  • Practising History (A): Skills in History
  • Practising History (B): Approaches to History

You then choose two out of the five survey modules below:

  • Discovering the Middle Ages
  • Living in the Middle Ages
  • The Making of the Modern World 1500-1815
  • The Making of the Contemporary World 1815-2000
  • War and Society

History first year detailed module descriptions

Second year

Archaeology & Ancient History: You may choose a historical core module investigating Greek and Roman society, or one which will provide you with expertise in major archaeological sub-disciplines and professional techniques (for example, forensic or environmental archaeology). You also choose from a range of options in history, archaeology, literature, culture, language, myth, religion, art and philosophy.

Compulsory modules:

  • Artefacts and Material Culture (20)
  • Mediterranean and European Archaeology (20)

Archaeology and Ancient History second year detailed module descriptions

History:

Compulsory modules:

  • Group Research
  • Option B

Choose from one of the following:

  • History in Theory and Practice*
  • Research Methods (Dissertation Preparation) (please note: this module must be studied if a History 40 credit dissertation is to be taken in the final year)*
  • Professional Skills (please note: places on this module are limited)*
  • Option A*

*If you wished to do 80 credits in History you would do two of the non-compulsory courses.

History second year detailed module descriptions

Year Abroad 

Students who have achieved grades of 2.1 or above in their first year will have the opportunity to take a year abroad between their second and final year at one of a wide range of carefully selected partner institutions from around the world. In addition to the tutor support given from the host University, students who choose to take a Year Abroad will be allocated a member of staff from the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology who will monitor their progress while overseas through email and Skype contact.

Final year

Archaeology & Ancient History: You may choose either an archaeological core module or a historical one – this time focusing on Ancient Egypt and Western Asia. You also make your choice from our menu of options. The highlight of the final year is your dissertation: a substantial research project on a subject of special interest to you.

Compulsory modules:

  • Dissertation (40)

Archaeology and Ancient History final year detailed module descriptions

History

Compulsory modules:

  • Special Subject A+B (20 + 20 credits)

Optional Modules:

Students can also take an Advanced Option A, an Advanced Option B or a Joint Honours History dissertation for a further 20 credits or two of these modules for a further 40 credits.

If you studied Research Methods (Dissertation Preparation) in year 2 you would normally be expected to do a 40 credit dissertation in History (for 80 credits in total).

History final year detailed module descriptions

Fees and funding

The Government has announced that it will raise the cap for undergraduate fees in line with inflation. Assuming that the relevant regulations are passed by Parliament, which is expected to happen in Autumn 2016, the University of Birmingham will increase fees to the revised amount, expected to be £9,250 for home/EU students. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250 - TBC
  • 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
Required subjects and grades:
A Level History, Medieval History or Ancient History at grade A

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered on a case by case basis.

Please be aware that you will need to meet the subject specific requirements for both subject areas within the degree programme - please check their Single Honours coursefinder entries for more information. If you need further guidance please contact us.

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

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.

By studying Ancient History and Archaeology and History at the University of Birmingham, you will acquire skills highly sought after by employers within the graduate job market:

  • Understanding complex information
  • Writing clearly and effectively
  • Building a case to critically assess a particular point of view
  • Independent thought
  • Ability to communicate to a variety of different audiences
  • Strong research methods

The University of Birmingham is University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the The Times and the Sunday Times Good Univesity Guide 2016. Our graduates have excellence employment prospects with 85% of Archaeology graduates and 90% of History graduates entering work or further 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
  • International Development
  • Museums and charities
  • Cultural and heritage organisations

Therefore studying this degree programme at the University of Birmingham opens the 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.