Thinking about a degree in archaeology?

How can I find out more about studying archaeology?

Attend University Archaeology Day. This event will showcase departments offering archaeology degrees from across the UK with stalls, talks and opportunities to meet with university staff and students to discuss the wide range of courses on offer. There will also be representatives form a wide variety of other archaeology organisations and commercial units who will be able to provide advice on volunteering and career opportunities.

You may also like to attend some archaeology department open days or contact them to find out about the courses they offer, entry requirements, facilities and teaching styles, fieldwork opportunities and other aspects of the department. There is also a lot of helpful information on the universities websites and you can find links to all UAUK member departments here.

Unistats is another useful resource to help you decide where to study. This website will enable you to look at the courses on offer at different universities, student satisfaction scores from the National Student Survey as well as information on the jobs and salaries after study. 

Do you need to study sciences or history at A-level?

Each university will set their own entry requirements, and although there will be requirements relating to grades, most archaeology departments do not require prospective students to have studied sciences, history or any other specific subject before embarking on their degree.

Details of entry requirements will be available via the university prospectus and departmental websites. 

Is it possible to get a job in archaeology following a degree?

Absolutely. Archaeology covers a huge range of employment opportunities a variety of areas including:

  • Fieldwork such as geophysics, buildings recording, surveying, excavation.

  • Conservation work in museums and with commercial archaeology units.

  • Digital archaeology using techniques likes laser scanning, 3D printing and augmented reality.

  • Lab work studying human and animal remains, botanical samples, soils, pottery residues or even DNA.

  • Maritime and foreshore archaeology.

  • Working with local authorities to manage the Historic Environment Record or the planning department on building and infrastructure developments.

  • Curating exhibitions and displays in museums and heritage sites.

  • Teaching in a university.

  • Helping others get involved in archaeology through community engagement projects or as a museum education officer.

  • Working with a national organisation such as Historic England, English Heritage, Cadw, Historic Environment Scotland and the Historic Environment Division in Northern Ireland.

 

To find out about jobs currently available in archaeology visit the British Archaeological Jobs Resource (BAJR) website.

To find out more about the day-to-day experiences of archaeologists working around the world visit the Day of Archaeology website. The blog is designed to show the variety of archaeology jobs available and what it’s really like to work in the profession.

What type of careers do former archaeology students have?

Archaeology students are in a great position to choose from a wide variety of career paths. Many will choose to become professional archaeologists or continue with their studies, but the broad range of skills covered within an archaeology degree offer strong foundation for a range of jobs.

The combination of practical and theoretical skills that form part of an archaeology degree provide a student with a strong foundation in critical thinking, research skills and data analysis. Students will also gain experience with presentation skills, report writing, team work and problem solving.  

Possible career paths:

  • Journalism

  • Media

  • Advertising and marketing

  • IT

  • Law and the police force

  • Forensics

  • Environment and conservation

  • Education

  • Tourism

 

Are there opportunities for students to find out more about archaeology before applying for a degree?

Yes, there are lots of ways young people can get involved in archaeology. The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) has information on volunteering and how to take part in an excavation. The Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) has branches across the UK offering activities for young people aged 8-16 and from 16-18 there are opportunities to volunteer as a YAC Assistant.    

Museums and heritage sites often have events programmes aimed at young people and may offer volunteering opportunities.

Contact a local society and see what they do. They tend to offer a wide range of activities such as lecture programmes and site visits. Many undertake research such as field walking, excavation and buildings recording and often offer training. The CBA has a network of active regional groups.   

Where can I get more information?

For more information you can contact university departments. You can find links to all UAUK member departments here.

 

The following organisations will also be able to provide advice:

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA)

Council for British Archaeology (CBA)