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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAB
International Baccalaureate 36

Course details

This course offers an extensive overview of world archaeology, with teaching and training in a wide range of social and scientific methods. The diversity of modules on this course will allow you to build subject and geographic specialisms suited to your own interests and career plans. Depending on your module choices you may even be able to receive professional accreditation from the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

Modules in British, European and World archaeology provide you with the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge of archaeology and heritage in different regions including Europe, the Near East, North Africa and South and East Asia.

Advanced skills training, practicals, lab- and field-based options, will help you develop the knowledge and expertise in a variety of areas, such as data analysis, remote sensing, GIS and survey, materials analysis, 3D modelling, museum and heritage skills and osteology.

In the first year you will gain a basic range of intellectual and practical archaeological skills. In Years 2 and 3 you will then move on to more in-depth study of particular topics and methods, working closely with staff to develop your own independent research project. You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.

Drawing on the latest research, and with an exciting combination of field trips, practical work including excavation, as well as great teaching, this course offers you the chance to gain a good understanding of archaeology across the world, from earliest prehistory to the modern day.

Course Structure

Year 1

Core modules:

Archaeology in Britain gives you a wide-ranging introduction to how archaeologists work, how sites are found and excavated, how archaeological information is generated, theorised and interpreted, and the issues facing archaeology today. It will give you the study skills needed for library work, essays, tutorials and computing. The module also gives a brief overview of British archaeology by period, from the Neolithic to the present day.

Archaeology Practicals* introduces field and laboratory techniques for the recording and analysis of primary materials, sites and monuments, using group work wherever possible.

Applied Archaeological Methods* provides you with a grounding in a range of scientific methods and techniques used in archaeology today, and will help you to develop a critical awareness of the potential and limitations of each.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

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

Year 2

Core modules:

Professional Training* (requires three weeks of fieldwork in the summer before starting Year 2) uses practical experience to give you an understanding of the objectives and operation of a fieldwork project and how data and material produced by archaeological projects is processed. You will learn more about the potential careers open to you as a graduate.

Developing Archaeological Research* uses practical experience to develop your understanding of research design for the final year dissertation and the practical skills necessary for archaeological research. You will develop skills in graphics, illustration and presentation techniques as well as learning the basic theory behind research design.

Advanced Skills in Archaeology* trains you in advanced technical and applied techniques for scientific, field and public archaeology. It gives an opportunity to understand the context and purpose of these applied methods and techniques and their correct application. The module also equips you with a range of transferable skills relevant to employment and training beyond archaeology, and makes you aware of the potential careers open to you as a graduate.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Advanced Skills in Archaeology
  • Prehistoric Europe: From Foragers to State Formation
  • Becoming Roman: From Iron Age to Empire in Italy and the West
  • Archaeology of Medieval and Post-Medieval Britain in its European Context
  • The East Mediterranean World in the Bronze Age
  • Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations: East and West
  • Scientific Methods in Archaeology.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement or year abroad)

Core modules:

Archaeology Dissertation* will significantly develop your skills in independent research, the analysis and presentation of evidence and how to structure a persuasive argument. This will involve writing an extended dissertation in your chosen specialist area of archaeology.

Current Archaeology* is based around critical reflection on current issues and breaking stories in world archaeology, including current research in the Department of Archaeology.

Advanced Professional Training (requires three weeks of fieldwork in the summer before starting the final year). This module gives you an understanding of professional practice and ethics in the archaeology and heritage sector, including practical experience in archaeology working on an excavation, in a museum, a lab-based project or a similar appropriate placement. It will give you an understanding of project design and an opportunity to think about the way projects are managed and the ethics of archaeological practice.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Specialised Aspects in Archaeology
  • Interpreting Heritage
  • Museum Representation
  • Scientific Methods in Archaeology
  • Archaeology and Global Sustainable Development.


You will undertake six weeks of compulsory fieldwork – three weeks at our field school in Year 1, and three weeks at an excavation of your choice in Year 2.

Additional pathways

Students on the BA in Archaeology can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.


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


You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes, fieldwork and excavation, with informal one-on-one support alongside self-directed research and reading.

We also offer an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research.

Fieldwork at Durham allows you to get stuck into real archaeological work, supported by academic staff. Along with the practical classes this gives you hands-on experience of professional archaeology. The small-group and practical work prioritises your learning experience over the number of formal sessions, with increasing focus on independent research as you move from your first to your final year. As such, the course transforms you from a consumer of knowledge in a classroom to a generator of knowledge in the field, ready for professional or postgraduate life.


You will be assessed through your coursework, traditional skills and presentations, as well as through hands-on practical exercises, including archaeological fieldwork.

In the final year you will write a dissertation, led by independent research and supported by one-on-one supervision, and this makes up one-third of your final-year marks.

Entry requirements

A level - AAB. 

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

International Baccalaureate score - 36 to include 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.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £25,750 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £25,750 per year

The tuition fees shown for home 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 and EU 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 Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


Our close links with industry specialists coupled with in-house archaeological facilities give you a taste of the industry from the beginning of the course. This experience helps develop a broad range of subject-specific skills from osteology, geochemistry and the conservation of archaeological objects, to survey and remote sensing techniques and applications for Geographic Information Systems. 

Transferable skills include problem-solving, metadata analysis and information technology, as well as teamwork, presentation, project planning and management. These skills are valued across many industries. 

Our graduates work for organisations all over the world, from national and international heritage organisations, museums, environmental agencies, and commercial archaeological services to law and publishing, forensic science, teaching, tourism, and local and national government.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 75% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 75% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £22,000 

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here

Department information


Archaeology at Durham is an exciting and diverse discipline that delves into the past to inform our understanding of the modern world. Covering a wide range of topics from early human development and ancient civilisations to colonialism and slavery in the early modern world, this broad-based discipline can take you into many different careers. 

We are an inclusive and vibrant international teaching and research community that offers plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, from research seminars and reading groups to field-based projects. Our research-led approach to learning means you will be taught by subject specialists whose wide-ranging  interests span World, European and British archaeology from the last ice age to the post-medieval period. 

Combining practical work with traditional academic study, you will explore archaeological sites and historic buildings, study scientific methods, archaeological theories and computer techniques. Fieldwork takes you around the world, with previous projects ranging from Africa to the Lebanon. Closer to home you will learn about the rich and varied heritage of the UK. Our location in Durham is ideal for the study of archaeology with examples of medieval architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and important historic sites, such as Hadrian’s Wall and a Saxon monastery within easy reach. 

We offer a range of single and joint honours BA and BSc degrees with flexible pathways to suit your interests and career goals, and most courses include the possibility of a work placement or year abroad.

For more information see our department pages.


  • 10th in the QS World University Subject Rankings for Archaeology 2023
  • 2nd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2023


For a current list of staff, please see our Archaeology pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 97% of our research outputs graded world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)


We are based in the Dawson Building at the heart of the Durham city campus. We are one of the most comprehensively equipped archaeology departments in the UK with research laboratories in DNA, conservation, isotope analysis, environmental archaeology, luminescence dating, paleopathology and bone chemistry.

The Department is also home to a leading commercial archaeological fieldwork unit. This enables us to provide expert training in excavation and fieldwork techniques from working archaeologists. In addition, we have a number of dedicated library collections and a gallery which hosts our extensive collection of archaeological artefacts. 

Fieldtrips are an important part of the student experience at Durham. First year students undertake a two-week placement, with most working on our internationally significant excavations at Auckland Castle. Second- and third-year undergraduates join us on digs around the world to gain international experience, with recent projects in France, Spain, Kuwait, Nepal and Egypt.

More information on our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:



The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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