BA Archaeology and Anthropology
|Typical offer||AAB-ABB; IB 34-32|
By exploring people and society in the past as well as the present, you will engage with archaeological and ethnographic studies of cultures around the world and explore themes such as human evolution, art, gender, death and war.
The archaeological side of the programme gives you an understanding of the human experience through the study of physical evidence and how such evidence is gathered, analysed and interpreted. Introductory modules will quickly bring you up to speed with the key topics and principles that underpin all archaeological research. You will also spend at least four weeks working on an excavation, field work or related practical work in the UK or overseas.
The physical anthropology aspect of the programme is taught in the Archaeology department, with focus on human remains and the means by which we understand our evolution, health, mortality and mortuary practices. Modules focusing on social and cultural anthropology are taught within the Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology department. You will learn fundamental questions about society and culture, while investigating the diversity of human life across the globe. You will learn about important anthropological ideas concerning ritual, kinship, witchcraft and ethnicity, and how anthropology contributes to current debates including health, war and violence, science and technology, consumption and the environment.
I’ve found the understanding of cultural practices that Anthropology provides to be invaluable. Without this knowledge I think any meaningful archaeological interpretations about past cultures would be almost impossible.
People assume anthropology is only relevant to “primitive” groups, but the modules offered at Exeter show just how current it can be. Topics range from the impact of oil exploitation and the politics of natural resources to drug use and the pharmaceutical industry. You can also tackle classic anthropological problems such as understanding the social construction of gender or different cultural ideas of time and space. Anthropology can be a useful partner to almost any subject along with being a strong stand-alone course.
One of the best things about studying anthropology at the University of Exeter is the staff. They have been really helpful by answering questions over email or making it easy to set up meetings with them. My suggestions have been taken on board and used to improve the course for the future.
I think anyone considering courses in Archaeology, Politics or Sociology should consider Anthropology as a partner. And anyone who wants to expand their knowledge about other cultures and their own should consider Anthropology at Exeter.
Campbell Martin, BA Archaeology and Anthropology.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
The Archaeology and Anthropology degree programme is made up of compulsory and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.
The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of archaeological and anthropological theory and concepts. You will also gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.
In the second year you will advance your grasp of archaeological and anthropological knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules, including fieldwork. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.
The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take up to three other specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.
Full module descriptions
For full module descriptions please visit the Archaeology website.
Entry requirements 2017
AAB-ABB; IB 34-32
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
Nada Khreisheh, Archaeology
The nature of learning at university involves considerable self-guided study and research. You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, field trips and computer-led learning. Led by internationally respected academics at the forefront of research, you will be encouraged to take the initiative by organising study groups, taking advantage of online and traditional learning resources, and managing your own workload and time. You will benefit from our first year tutorial system, which will support you with your study methods and core skills. You will have between one and three hours of teaching per module per week and will need to allow for additional hours of private study. You should expect your total workload to average about 40 hours per week during term time, with at least 10 hours of this being contact time with staff.
We aim to develop your skills of analysis and interpretation as well as providing you with a wide range of transferable skills, both practical and intellectual.
You will carry out a large amount of practical work as you complete assignments and put into practice different archaeological and scientific techniques. We frequently employ experiments in our teaching about ancient technologies (eg, flint knapping, pot making, bronze smelting and casting). Our students complete at least four weeks’ practical work, usually during the first summer vacation, and we have excellent provision of technical equipment for field study, including GPS, total station theodolite and geophysical equipment.
We are actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. Here you can access detailed information about modules and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.
We have outstanding facilities that include: experimental archaeology laboratories; clean lab with fume cupboards for chemical work; a landscape archaeology project office, complete with giant scanner for maps and plans; microscope room equipped with high-spec microscopes and image processing facilities; a kiln room for ceramics and other experimental purposes; wet labs for artefact and environmental sample processing; sets of high and low-power teaching microscopes and state-of-the-art surveying equipment (including resistivity equipment, magnetometer, differential and hand-held GPS and total station theodolite and geophysical equipment). We also have extensive reference collections of artefacts, human skeletons, animal bones and plant remains.
Our teaching is inspired by the latest research, ensuring lectures are cutting-edge and you will benefit from access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources. All staff teach third year options which are linked to their own area of research, which include topics such as bioarchaeology and Egyptology. You will be encouraged to participate in research projects and be able to choose a dissertation topic that contributes to original research to a project.
All students have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.
You will be assessed by a variety of methods. Some modules require you to sit exams whilst others are assessed by essays and projects. The practical modules are examined by the preparation of written reports, portfolios of work, oral presentations, practical assignments, field work notebooks or take-away papers to allow time for research and perhaps appropriate field or museum visits.
You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but these results do not count towards your final degree classification. In order to be eligible for ‘with Study Abroad’ you will need to attain an average of 60% or more in your first year. The assessments in the second year, year abroad (if applicable) and final year will contribute to your final degree classification.
No Archaeology degree is complete without field experience. Field trips are made to local museums, archives and archaeological sites. You will also undertake at least four weeks of excavation, field work or related practical work, usually during your first summer vacation. Current projects see Exeter students engaged in archaeological field work in South Dakota, Brazil, Romania and Devon. Places will be available on these and other projects, though you may wish to go on an approved project elsewhere. You may choose to enhance your field work experience by taking a third year module, which gives you experience of ground-breaking international archaeological research. There is also the possibility for students to spend half a year at a university in America. This will increase your transferable skills, by testing your leadership, teamwork and organisational skills.
Find out more about our fieldwork.
Archaeology programmes at Exeter are designed to develop your skills of analysis, assessment and interpretation as well as the production of written and oral reports. The broad-based skills acquired during your degree will give you an excellent grounding for a wide variety of careers, not only those related to archaeology but also in wider fields such as teaching, media and business. Many of our students successfully progress to postgraduate study or training in a range of areas. Your employability skills are also enhanced through a range of careers initiatives we offer that are specific to the profession, including ‘professional modules’ involving work experience.
The Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award schemes encourage you to participate in employability related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.
Our Archaeology graduates have an excellent reputation with recruiters and compete very successfully in the employment market. 6 months after graduation 90.7%* of our Archaeology graduates are in work and / or further study.
Graduating with a degree in Archaeology will put you in a great position to succeed in a range of different careers. Should you want to progress onto a career in the Archaeology and Heritage sectors, the Archaeology degree at Exeter will equip you with the skills which you will need to succeed. Our recent graduates have gone on to work for companies such as the National Trust, Oxford Archaeology, and Cornwall County Council, with job titles such as:
- Field Archaeologist
- Intern Ranger
- Archaeological Researcher
Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in:
- Experimental Archaeology
- International Relations
- Classics and Ancient History
- Heritage Management
*First–degree University of Exeter graduates of Archaeology. HESA Performance Indicator sourced from the DLHE survey 2013/14.
Find out more about careers beyond your degree in Archaeology and Anthropology
Archaeology Combined Honours
Archaeology Combined Honours programmes - Dr Oliver Creighton