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VQ48 Archaeology and Ancient Civilisations BA Undergraduate  2016


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

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1100

Course Content


Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Archaeology in Action
  • Archaeology Practicals
  • Applied Archaeological Methods
  • Ancient Civilisations of the East.

Optional modules

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


  • Discovering World Prehistory
  • Cities in Antiquity
  • Medieval to Modern: An Introduction to the Archaeology of the Medieval to Post-Medieval World.

Ancient History

  • Greek Art and Architecture
  • Living in a Classical World
  • Remembering Athens
  • Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus or one or two modules in another department.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

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

Optional modules

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


  • Prehistoric Europe: From Foragers to State Formation
  • Becoming Roman: from Iron Age to Empire in Italy and the West
  • Archaeology of medievial and post-med Britain in its European context
  • East Mediterranean in the Bronze Age.

Ancient History

  • 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)
  • Advanced Professional Training (half module) and either Current Issues in Archaeology (half module) or Interpreting Heritage (half module – includes a field trip in the period after the Level 2 exam).
  • Either Advanced Skills in Archaeology or Bones and Human Societies.

Optional modules

  • Either Specialised Aspects in Archaeology (double module) or Specialised Aspects in Archaeology (single module) and a module in another department.


All Single Honours students undertake six weeks’ compulsory fieldwork; three weeks at our international field school at Binchester Roman Fort 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.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this programme learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes, fieldwork, excavation, informal but scheduled one-on-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing.

All of these are supported by a state of the art 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-on-one interaction with tutors.

Practicals also 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 a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the quantity of formal sessions.

In fact, the degree programme is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent research as students move from their first to their final year. Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the programme) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone dissertation—supported by one-on-one supervision—that makes up a third of final year credits. In this way the degree programme systematically transforms the student 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 in the week before the start of the programme and continue at key times throughout each year of the programme.

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

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
  • We will be reviewing our entry requirements for 2016 entry in the summer of 2015 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2016 entry on the University’s website and at UCAS before 1 September 2015
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,000.00
Home Student £9,000.00
Island Student £9,000.00
International non-EU Student £16,500.00

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities


A degree in archaeology will provide you with skills in teamwork, practical and intellectual problem solving and critical analysis of evidence, in addition to providing you with enhanced knowledge on specific aspects of the human past and present.

Durham University as a whole was recently ranked top 25 in the world by employers for the quality of its graduates. Our students are always in high demand in the professional sector, with many gaining employment not only in archaeology-related fields, such as conservation, heritage, museums and commercial labs and units, but also in education, business, finance and defence.

Of those students who graduated in 2014:

82% are in paid employment or further study 6 months after graduation

Of those in employment:

78% are in graduate level employment
• Median salary £21,700

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2013/14 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation)

Specific Archaeology Employment: Commercial field units & consultancies; Museums & Heritage Management; Local Government; Academic sphere; National Heritage bodies (e.g. Inspectors of Ancient Monuments, field workers, Climate Change Managers); The National Trust, Churches Conservation Trust, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings; National Finds Advisors, Portable Antiquities Scheme; Durham University.

Beyond Archaeology: The City; Business Management & Administration; Education (all levels, many subjects); Marketing and Advertising; Small and Medium Enterprises; Armed Forces; International charities; Conservation; Ecological and Environmental spheres (e.g. environmental impact assessments); Forensics (inc. International War Crime investigation); Publishing and journalism; Media production and research; Law.

Employers have included: Deloitte, Boots, E.ON, PwC, Ernst and Young, KPMG, Citi Group, Accenture, Fortnum & Mason, Smith & Williamson, Kuoni Travel, The UK Government, HM Treasury, the British Army, Survival International and Dig Deep (Africa), English Heritage, Historic Scotland, CADW, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and York Archaeological Trust.

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works with closely the department in facilitating student access to job and work experience opportunities, careers and employability events, employer workshops and presentations, skills programmes and tailored individual careers guidance. A dedicated Careers Adviser is available to support Anthropology students individually and collectively.


Development Opportunities

Throughout your programme you will be invited to attend in-department employability talks and evenings, and careers fairs organised by the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre, as well as one-on-one sessions with your personal academic advisor.

Work Experience

In your first year you will spend three weeks working on our internationally significant Binchester excavation.

In your second, you will organise a three week placement working alongside a fieldwork team or in a museum/laboratory. These placements act as opportunities to experience archaeology in 'real-world' situations.

Among the skills valued by many employers around the world, Archaeology at Durham offers you:
  • Team work
  • Evidence evaluation, advocacy and debate
  • Project Management
  • Planning and Budgeting
  • Use of quantitative and qualitative data
  • Oral, written and visual presentation
  • Public engagement
  • Scientific lab work
  • Health and Safety awareness
  • Geography and landscape analysis
  • Sampling techniques and strategies
  • Interpretation of maps and satellite imagery
  • Indepth knowledge of world history, culture and religion

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:

Campus Tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information



One of the most exciting and varied subjects to study. One of the very best places at which to study it.

Archaeology at Durham University covers everything from the Palaeolithic to the Post-Medieval, from Iceland to India, from architecture to ancient DNA, helping us to address some of the most fundamental questions about who we are. A broad and dynamic subject, archaeology changes constantly with new discoveries and the development of innovative research.

This fascinating degree allows you to combine practical hands-on work with traditional academic study. You will take part in fieldwork, on real excavations and finds and learn about historic buildings, scientific methods, archaeological theories, computer techniques and how they all help us to understand the past. Our staff are leaders in their fields, we have professional links with many notable historic organisations and our graduates are highly employable in the archaeology sector and elsewhere.

  • 97% of our Archaeology students said they were satisfied with the quality of their course in the National Student Survey 2014 (sector-wide average 92%).
  • Ranked 1st in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2015.
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2016.
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2015.

Durham has one of the largest Archaeology departments in Britain, with 28 full-time members of teaching staff. The Department is close to the University’s first-class Bill Bryson Library, which has some of the best archaeological holdings in northern Britain. We are one of the most comprehensively equipped Archaeology departments in the UK, offering project rooms, teaching laboratories and internationally renowned scientific research laboratories in DNA, conservation, isotopes, environmental archaeology, luminescence dating, palaeopathology and soil and bone chemistry, which have recently undergone a £3.2 million refurbishment. Other facilities include a computer room, photographic studio, and common room. A commercial archaeological unit, Archaeological Services (Durham University), is also part of the Department and works with the Department to provide training in excavation and fieldwork skills.

You will have access to two University Museums; the Museum of Archaeology on Palace Green houses excellent Roman and medieval material from Durham in an international context and the Durham University Oriental Museum on Elvet Hill, is the only museum of its kind in the UK entirely devoted to the art and archaeology of cultures from Asia and Egypt.


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