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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Course details

This exciting BA Single Honours degree enables students to develop their passion for studying history in combination with archaeological training in historic-period material and visual culture, museum collections, buildings and landscapes and world heritage. With a particular focus on the archaeology of the last 2000 years, this course offers a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and skills providing an opportunity across all three years to study a combination of modules in the Departments of Archaeology and History and complement this with modules from other subject areas.

Classroom-led teaching and small-group seminar work are combined with practical, lab and collections-based training, field visits and participation in the annual field school. Students can choose from a range of specialist modules on the archaeology of historic period societies in Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, East and South East Asia, the Indian Ocean and Middle East as well as thematic modules covering aspects of the early modern and modern world, such as colonialization, transatlantic connections, slavery, trade and industrialisation.

In the first year, students acquire the basic range of intellectual and practical archaeological skills. In the second and third years students move to more in-depth study of particular topics and methods working closely with staff and developing their own independent research project in their third year.

Students studying this course can also follow a route accredited by CIfA, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Choosing an accredited undergraduate degree is widely recognised as the first step on a career pathway leading to professional status. To obtain a CIfA accredited degree, students study modules that equip them with the requisite theoretical and practical knowledge to act as a foundation for a career in the UK commercial archaeology sector.

Course structure

Year 1

Core modules:

  • Archaeology of the Medieval to Modern World
  • Archaeology Practicals
  • Historical Archaeology: Methods and Sources.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Archaeology in Britain
  • Cities in Antiquity
  • Ancient Civilizations of the East
  • Discovering World Prehistory.

Plus: Up to TWO modules from History or ONE module from any other department including Ancient History and Classics.

Year 2

Core modules:

  • Professional Training
  • Developing Archaeological Research
  • Debates in Historical Archaeology.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Archaeology of Medieval and Post-Medieval Britain
  • Becoming Roman
  • Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations: East and West
  • Advanced Skills (Single or Double)
  • Up to TWO modules from History
  • East Mediterranean in the Bronze Age

Plus: ONE module from another department including Ancient History & Classics or ONE module from the above AND a language module.

Year 3

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (Double module)
  • Specialised Aspects in Archaeology.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Current Archaeology
  • Advanced Professional Training
  • Interpreting Heritage
  • Museum Representation
  • Up to ONE module in History

Plus: Up to ONE module in any other department or a language module.


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


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, Learn Ultra. 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 allow hands-on experience of the work professional archaeologists do. 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 your learning experience rather than the number of formal sessions. In fact, this 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 your personal academic advisor (provided to all students when they enter the course) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by your final year classroom time gives way to independent research, including a dissertation, you will be supported by one-to-one supervision and this will make up a third of your final year credits.

This degree will transform you from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. These 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.

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

Entry requirements

A level - AAB.

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

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:

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