BA Ancient History and Archaeology
|Typical offer||AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM|
A degree in Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Exeter introduces you to the two most significant civilisations ever to have existed; Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. These historic societies bore some of the greatest thinkers, warriors, scholars, philosophers, artists, athletes, architects and politicians ever known. Today, we still see their influence everywhere in our modern world, from maths and science to art and language, making this a truly fascinating subject to study. Looking at a broad range of topics such as government, conflict, religion, gender, sexuality, migration and economy you will learn to use the past to better understand the world around you. Combining Ancient History with Archaeology provides a unique balance of theory and practice and will further diversify your understanding of how we can examine the past to draw conclusions that are relevant to today’s issues.
In Ancient History, the University of Exeter ranked 5th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and The Complete University Guide 2020. We have one of the largest and most vibrant Classics and Ancient History departments in the country where you join an open, friendly and dynamic community in which to live and study. Our highly-active Classics Society is run by students who organise a lively social and academic programme for you to take advantage of including; plays, balls, debates, film nights, museum visits and opportunities to travel abroad. As part of your studies, you will also pick up one of the classical languages further enhancing your skillset and enabling you to pursue a broad range of career paths.
In Archaeology, you will be guided by expert faculty staff where you will be taught how to consider and assess evidence, draw robust conclusions and communicate them with confidence. Exeter is 3rd in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research, which drives our degree programme to put it at the forefront of cutting-edge developments in the industry. We also hold strong research links across a wide-reaching network in the UK, Romania, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and China. With an exciting mix of lectures, collaborative team work, written assignments, site visits and live fieldwork you will develop as an independent researcher and experiment with ancient technologies such as flint knapping, pot making, bronze smelting and casting. From microscopic analysis of ancient artefacts and human bone, you will piece together the history of landscapes, prehistoric villages and historic buildings.
This combined honours programme equips you with a solid foundation of transferable skills including; communication, persuasion, problem-solving, critical analysis and collaborative working. On graduating, your time spent studying one or more of the ancient languages and experience abroad will make you all the more appealing to potential employers. Recent graduates are now working in areas such as finance, the police, business development, archaeology, law, publishing, journalism and the arts.
No previous knowledge of Latin or Greek is required.
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 Ancient History and Archaeology 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 and ancient history 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 ancient history 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 from previous years, please visit our student website.
Entry requirements 2020
AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
NB. No previous knowledge of Latin or Greek is required.
International students should check details of our English language requirements
If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.
International Foundation programmes
Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:
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
Our department has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and you’ll benefit from small group teaching and plenty of contact with staff. You’ll learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials, field trips and computer-led learning. Seminars complement lectures by encouraging you to explore issues in small group discussion meetings and our first year tutorial system concentrates on study methods and core skills. You’ll have 1-3 teaching hours 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.
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). Everyone completes 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’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.
Research-led teaching ensures lectures are up-to-date and relevant 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 interests which include the study of topics as diverse as maritime archaeology and Egyptology. You’ll also be encouraged to participate in research projects and be able to choose dissertation topics that contribute 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.
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, animal bones and plant remains.
You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. For three-year programmes, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. For four-year programmes the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.
Assessment includes formal exams and assessed coursework, including essays and projects as well as practical assignments and field work notebooks. Formal exams contribute about 40 per cent of your overall assessment.
A degree in Classics and Ancient History will provide you with skills which are highly valuable to employers across many sectors. You will develop an advanced knowledge of other cultures, learning how to think logically and independently, to interpret and critique sources, to assess evaluate information and to communicate in a sophisticated way.
As a Classics and Ancient History graduate, you will have an array of different industries open to you, such as museum and heritage work, education, journalism, business, and law. Our recent graduates have since secured a variety of positions, such as:
- Editorial Assistant (Publishing)
- Marketing Executive
- PR Assistant
- Trainee Chartered Accountant
- Officer Cadet
A degree in Classics and Ancient History will put you in an excellent position to pursue postgraduate study after you have graduated. Our recent graduates have since enrolled on courses such as:
- MA History
- MA International Relations
- MSc Bioarchaeology
- MSc International Management
- Graduate Diploma in Law
- Msc Library and Information Studies
The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary to the services offered by our central Career Zone, where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you.