Guide to Studying Archaeology

What is Archaeology?

  • Archaeology is the study of human and prehistory, conducted through the act of excavation and analysis. 
  • It is very much the physical arm of historical enquiry, as opposed to History and Ancient History which are often concerned with literary sources more than physical remains such as jewellery, skeletons and ruins. 

Why study Archaeology?

  • Archaeology offers a uniquely tangible historical experience and offers personal interaction with the past. 
  • In a discipline like history, it is so often the case that scholarly work is the order of the day. Archaeology offers a hands on approach to this field. 
  • Archaeology helps us to better understand the genesis of our own species. What our distant ancestors ate, wore, lived in and prayed to are all things we can potentially find out with the help of archaeology.

Coursework, Assessment & Exams

  • Essay based exams are used across most institutions, and coursework is common place. 
  • As you might expect, a dissertation awaits in the final two years of study.
  • Some institutions also use fieldwork portfolios as a method of assessment. 
  • At a few unis, it is recommended to take up a certain number of days work experience on an archaeological dig during summer. 

What degree can I get?

  • BA Archaeology
  • BSc Archaeology
  • BSc Bioarchaeology 
  • There are many joint honours opportunities for Archaeology students. 

What qualifications do I need?

  • Entry standards are all subjective, and you should always make sure with your chosen university.

Check out our Course Chooser, which allows you to filter results to your needs.  

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

There is a broad range of postgraduate options: 

  • MA Archaeology
  • MSc Archaeology
  • PhD Archaeology
  • MPhil Archaeology

Check out Postgraduates courses on our Course Chooser.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities

  • An Archaeology degree helps students to develop a range of useful and extrapolatable skills. 
  • These include:
  • Team work and leadership which are developed on fieldwork excursions.
  • Computing skills.
  • Clear written communication skills.
  • An attention to detail, looking for nuances in artefacts which may tell us more about their origins.

The type of job available can vary for Archaeology Postgraduates. Some of the more obvious choices are:

  • Teaching
  • Lecturer
  • Government officer
  • Archaeologist
  • Working in development in an archaeological capacity.