BSc Archaeology with Forensic Science with Study Abroad

UCAS code54ZW
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAB-BBB; IB 34-30
LocationTaught in Exeter Streatham (Exeter)


The BSc in Archaeology with Forensic Science with Study Abroad combines the study of two exciting scientifically-related disciplines and allows you to develop skills in uncovering the detail of past events, particularly death and burial.

This unique programme will provide you with a sound knowledge of archaeological periods and the techniques of forensic archaeology and anthropology, including the study of human remains. You will also gain an insight into the forensic techniques used in criminal cases. You will hear from a series of experts, including scenes of crime and police officers, lawyers and ballistics specialists to understand how modern forensics are used in the investigation and detection of crime.

You do not need an A level in Archaeology as our introductory modules will quickly bring you up to speed with the key topics and principles underpinning archaeological research. In your first year, you will acquire general archaeological knowledge, as well as an introduction to a selection of key scientific skills that are useful to both archaeological and forensic sciences. In addition to modules in your specialism, you will also be able to choose options from a wide range of archaeology modules or from another discipline such as criminal law or criminology.

In your second year, you will be introduced to the basic principles of the study of human remains to establish personal identity (with emphasis on the characterisation of skeletal shape and size and application of demographic reference standards for age and sex determination and population affinity). You will be introduced to pathological and anatomical variation applied to establish human identity, and its relevance within the discipline of biological anthropology. Your studies will also cover aspects of forensic science, such as ballistics, DNA fingerprinting and drugs analysis. This includes sessions carried out by visiting experts involved in the criminal justice system.

Students studying the four-year ‘with Study Abroad’ degrees have the fantastic opportunity to spend their third year at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You may apply directly for the four-year programme or transfer from the three-year programme once you are at Exeter. Your work during the year abroad is assessed and contributes to your final degree classification and ‘with Study Abroad’ will be recorded on your degree certificate.

During your final year, you will study the complexity and variability of funerary treatment and rituals through a series of lectures based upon a chronological development in Europe and the Near East, from the Middle Palaeolithic to the Medieval period. You will also examine the relationship between the funerary domain and the once-living society that created it. You will be offered a choice of options, which may include a Professional Placement or a module from another discipline. In addition, you can choose your dissertation topic from either archaeology or forensic archaeology.

You will have the opportunity to take part in field work in the UK and further afield. Field work opportunities for undergraduate students have recently included surveys and excavations of an Iron Age/Roman 3 settlement in Devon, prehistoric settlements in Kazakhstan and Romania, a prehistoric Indian village in South Dakota, and the environmental archaeology of the Amazon basin in Brazil.

Programme structure

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.

At each year of study you are based at the University of Exeter (i.e. excluding your year abroad), you may take optional modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

The modules are designed like building blocks, with modules at later stages building on the work of the preceding stage, helping you to progressively develop your academic skills. The ‘level’ of a module within these stages is designated by the first number in the module code; you will find that your work becomes more specialized as it becomes more advanced. The availability of all modules as options is subject to timetable and staffing constraints, and to permission from the relevant Director of Education.

Assessment marks obtained in Year 1 do not contribute to the overall mark for the summative classification of the award, although 90 credits must be awarded for progression to Year 2. The overall mark for the summative degree assessment is calculated from the marks for Years 2, 3 and 4, which are weighted in the ratio 2:1:4.

The programme is offered as a four-year Single Honours programme leading to the degree of BA with Honours. In Years 1, 2 and 4 students take a combination of core and optional modules. Students spend Year 3 abroad at an agreed partner institution; the academic structure of this year will be as organized by the institution in question and students are expected to fully participate in the activities of the host institution.

Year 1

In your first year, the modules you take will give you a solid grounding in the techniques of archaeology and Forensic Science.

Year 2

In the second year you will advance your grasp of archaeological and forensic science knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules, including fieldwork. Optional modules give you the flexibility to tailor your degree to your particular areas of interest.

Year 3

Students spend this stage in a partner university on an Erasmus/Socrates exchange or other approved programme of study. The year abroad comprises 120 credits. Assessment is normally based on the credits gained at the partner institution abroad.

Year 4

The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. Many students find the dissertation the most rewarding part of their degree. It gives you the chance to carry out independent research in an area of most interest to you. You will also choose optional modules which may include a work placement.

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions please visit the Archaeology website.

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

AAB-BBB; IB 34-30

Programmes with Study Abroad

Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

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

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.

Research-led teaching

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.

Academic support

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.

During Year 2 you will have the chance to hear from “expert witnesses” including police and scenes of crime officers, lawyers and ballistics specialists, about how forensic science is used in the investigation and detection of crime.

Study abroad

Students studying the four-year ‘with Study Abroad’ degrees have the fantastic opportunity to spend their third year at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You may apply directly for the four-year programme or transfer from the three-year programme once you are at Exeter. If you are studying our three-year Archaeology programmes, it may be possible to study abroad for one semester.

The ‘with Study Abroad’ degree allows you to spend up to a year with one of our partner universities abroad. Your work during the year abroad is assessed and contributes to your final degree classification and ‘with Study Abroad’ will be recorded on your degree certificate. You may apply for direct entry to these degrees or students can transfer from one of the other degree programmes during their second year.


Fieldwork at Ipplepen

In 2010 the University of Exeter, the British Museum and Devon County Council started a survey and excavation that aimed to explore the nature of this Roman and early medieval British site. In this short video, Danielle Wootton explains the origins of the dig, and the unique features of Ipplepen.

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.

Graduate careers

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 TrustOxford 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: 

  • Anthrozoology
  • 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

Contact us


Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Website: Visit the Archaeology website