BSc Archaeology with Forensic Science
|Typical offer||AAB-BBB; IB 34-30|
The BSc in Archaeology with Forensic Science 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.
During your third 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.
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 BSc Archaeology and Forensic Science degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) 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 theory and concepts, including key scientific skills. 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 forensic science 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 2018
AAB-BBB; IB 34-30
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.
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.
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 is the opportunity to study at one of our renowned partner universities around the world. Last year over 300 College of Humanities students from all disciplines took advantage of a year abroad in countries across the globe.
All students in Humanities can choose to study abroad as part of their degree. The year abroad takes place in the third year of a four-year degree programme. You can apply directly for the four-year 'with Study Abroad' programme, or transfer from another programme once you are at Exeter.
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.
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.