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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

BA Archaeology and Ancient Civilisations

This course gives students a good general overview of world archaeology, but also allows them to focus in particular on the great ancient civilisations of Europe, the Near East and Asia, including Ancient Greece and Rome, Egypt, the Near East, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. This programme offers great flexibility with options to take modules in other departments, including Classics and Ancient History.

VQ48 Archaeology and Ancient Civilisations BA Undergraduate  2020



UCAS code VQ48
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
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Course Summary

Course Summary


Using archaeological techniques and approaches, this course puts the heritage of Greece and Rome under the lens. Drawing on the latest research, it also provides a chance to explore Egypt and North Africa, as well as the lesser-known civilisations of the Near East and South Asia. 

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

  • Archaeology Practicals
  • Ancient civilisations: Methods, Approaches, Sources
  • Cities in Antiquity.

Optional modules:

Choose one or two modules from the following lists of modules which have been available in previous years:


  • Archaeology in Britain
  • Discovering World Prehistory
  • Ancient Civilisations of the East
  • Medieval to Modern: An Introduction to the Archaeology of the Medieval to Post-Medieval World

Or ONE or TWO modules in another department including Classics and language modules.


  • Greek Art and Architecture
  • Living in a Classical World
  • Remembering Athens
  • Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus.

 Year 2

Compulsory modules:

  • Professional Training (requires three weeks of fieldwork in the summer preceding Level 2)
  • Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations: East and West
  • Developing Archaeological Research (required to take a dissertation in Archaeology at Level 3).

Optional modules:

Choose three modules from the following list of modules which have been available in previous years:


  • Becoming Roman: from Iron Age to Empire in Italy and the West
  • Archaeology of Medieval and Post-medieval Britain in its European Context
  • East Mediterranean in the Bronze Age
  • Advanced Skills (Single or Double)
  • A module in any Department including Classics or language modules


  • Roman Religion
  • Roman Buildings and Decoration
  • Crisis of the Roman Republic
  • History of the Hellenistic Age
  • Archaic Greece
  • A module in another department (including a language module).

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a Year Abroad)

Compulsory modules:

  • Dissertation (double module) 
  • Current Archaeology
  • Specialised Aspects in Archaeology.

Optional modules:

TWO modules from:

  • Advanced Professional Training (requires three weeks of fieldwork in the summer preceding Level 2)
  • Specialised Aspects in Archaeology (single or double)
  • Interpreting Heritage
  • Museum Representation
  • A module in any department.


You will undertake six weeks’ compulsory fieldwork; three weeks at our field school in the first year, and three weeks at an excavation of your choice in the second year.

For Single Honours students, only one module in any department may be taken over Levels 2 and 3.

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2020 entry from September 2019.

Study Abroad


We are part of the ERASMUS programme which encourages students to study for part of their course in a university of another EU country. We currently have links with the universities of Gothenburg (Sweden), Mainz (Germany), Bordeaux (France), Vienna (Austria) and the Free University of Berlin (Germany), as well as Bergen (Norway) and Koc (Turkey). Studying abroad through one of these exchanges, like the Year Abroad, will involve inserting an extra year into your programme of study between your second and final years. If, in your second year, your application for a place is successful, you will be transferred from the three-year version of your degree to a four-year version. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in excavations run by members of staff and colleagues of other universities at various places round the world.

Placement Year

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Learning and Teaching

Course Learning and Teaching

On this course you will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes, fieldwork, excavation, informal but scheduled one-to-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing.

All of these are supported by a virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (duo). Seminars, tutorials, and practical classes are much smaller groups than lectures, with tutorials often involving no more than eight students working with a professor or lecturer; seminars and practicals can be larger but are still small enough to allow one-to-one interaction with tutors.

Practicals allow hands-on experience of the work professional archaeologists perform. The same is true of fieldwork, which at Durham is fully funded, and consists of engaging in archaeological work in the field with members of academic staff. This emphasis on small-group and practical teaching reflects the quality of the learning experience rather than the number of formal sessions.

The degree is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent research as you move from your first to your final year. Small-group teaching and one-to-one attention from a personal academic advisor (provided to all students when they start) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to independent research, including a dissertation—supported by one-to-one supervision—that makes up a third of your final year credits. The degree transforms you from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life.

These formal teaching arrangements are supported by “drop-in” surgeries with teaching staff and induction sessions that begin the week before you start and continue at key times throughout each year of the course.

Students can also attend an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research


Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

A level offerAAB.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma DDD.

IB Diploma score36 with 665 in higher level subjects.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors.
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £20,500.00 per year

The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Open Days and Visits

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule