BSc Archaeology with Forensic Science
|Typical offer||AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM|
Archaeology and Forensic Science is a truly complimentary combination, offering both theoretical and practical learning that enables you to discover the truth about past events. You will learn the skills, techniques and practices needed to piece together the history of landscapes, prehistoric villages and historic buildings, whilst also discovering the significance of an archaeologist’s role in assisting law enforcement agencies to find and recover buried human remains.
Archaeology at Exeter ranked top 10 in The Complete University Guide 2020 and is renowned for its research driven approach. Guided by expert faculty staff you join a friendly, enthusiastic and relaxed community where you will be taught how to consider and assess evidence, draw robust conclusions and communicate them with confidence. 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 collaborate with other departments such as ancient history, anthropology, biosciences and geography to gain a holistic view of this diverse area of study. All our degree programmes include applied experience and fieldwork in the UK or abroad, meaning you will also get the opportunity to join live excavations. From an Iron Age settlement in Devon, to prehistoric sites in Kazakhstan and exploring the environmental archaeology of the Amazon basin, this course will ignite a passion in the subject that will last a lifetime.
In Forensics, you will be introduced to foundation level anthropology and learn about key anatomical assessments used to assist in a range of criminal investigations. Experts from the criminal justice system such as police officers, lawyers and ballistics experts contextualise your studies and bring the subject to life. From learning how to identify human skeletal remains, to drawing conclusions from ballistics reports, DNA fingerprinting and drugs analysis, this exciting and varied course allows you to pursue areas that interest you most. Pick up specialist modules in criminology or law and explore the complexity and variability of funerary treatments and rituals from the Middle Palaeolithic and post-medieval periods.
When you begin your studies, you will be issued with an Archaeology Skills Passport to log your experience. This is something recognised by professionals in the industry and will help open doors to specific archaeological job opportunities. You will also graduate with a solid foundation of transferable skills and a range of scientific expertise from your practical lab-based work in forensics. Recent graduates are now working in roles such as Field Archaeologist, Digital Archive Assistant, Head of Marketing and Trainee Gallery Curator.
- BSc Archaeology with Forensic Science with Study Abroad
- BSc Archaeology with Forensic Science with Employment Experience / Employment Experience Abroad
The course has been really interesting and varied in content, learning style and opportunities. I’ve learnt about cultures from different countries and time periods, have taken part in a simulated forensic excavation and have been on a field trip to South Dakota - all exceeding any expectations I had.
Becky, BSc Archaeology and Forensic Science.
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 with 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.
In your first year you will develop a foundational knowledge of archaeological theory and concepts, including key scientific skills that are useful to both archaeological and forensic sciences. You will also learn important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks. In addition to modules in your specialism, you will be able to choose options 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 advance your grasp of archaeological and forensic science knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules, including fieldwork and forensic anthropology. 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 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. In addition you will study the complexity and variability of funerary treatment and rituals from the Middle Palaeolithic to post-medieval periods.
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
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:
At the University of Exeter we are committed to the idea that all students who have the potential to benefit from higher education have the opportunity to do so. We believe that fair access to higher education is a fundamental enabler for social mobility, improving life opportunities and outcomes for individual students, while benefiting the economy and society as a whole.
Educational context can affect your grades, and we take this into account in order to recognise your potential. If you meet certain criteria, we may make you a lower offer than our typical entry requirements. Find out more about contextual offers.
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.
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.
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