The University of Southampton

F400 BSc Archaeology (3 years)

A degree in archaeology will open up new worlds! Whether in the laboratory or in the library, you will develop a wide variety of transferrable skills whilst exploring questions about people in the past and in the present.

Introducing your degree

Take a journey into the past using scientific methods and discover one of the most exciting subjects available! Archaeology at Southampton takes you on a scientific journey from the earliest human ancestors to the reception of the past in the modern world using state of the art scientific techniques. Southampton is home to world-leading scholars in Archaeological Science, and we have special interests in maritime and underwater archaeology, human origins and human evolution, bioarchaeology, radiometric dating and isotopic analyses. We are passionate about sharing our enthusiasm in our teaching, and our Faculty provides a stimulating and engaging environment in which you will thrive and develop skills in debate, critical thought and analysis.


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The BSc in Archaeology allows you to apply cutting-edge scientific methods to answer questions about the lives of people in the past. What did climate change mean to people living at the end of the last ice age? What can the chemical composition of human bones tell us about changes in diet during the medieval period? Studying for a BSc in Archaeology will allow you to gain valuable understanding of the defining events of the past, recognise their impact upon the present, and develop an insight into the future – using scientific methods and approaches.

The BSc will provide you with a grounding in the basics of scientific analyses in archaeology & anthropology, while allowing you to develop your own interests in specialist fields. This degree programme enables you to target the career path you wish to follow after graduation, such as by developing forensic or bioarchaeological studies, geophysical survey or underwater archaeology. As a student you will have access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and the option to take complementary units in geography, geophysics, bioengineering, oceanography, geology and life sciences. The BSc Archaeology also provides you with opportunities to take practical placements both in the UK or abroad, such as in Hungary, Sweden, Crete and the Caribbean.

View the programme specification document for this course

Programme Structure

This programme covers a wide range of world archaeology, from the first appearance of humans two million years ago. Focussing on scientific approaches, you will learn more about the methods used to find out about the past. The programme normally is studied over three years full-time, but may also be taken on a part-time basis. The programme is divided into modules.

In your first year, you will take core modules on the development of archaeological & anthropological thought, analysis of archaeological artefacts & materials, and archaeological methods for fieldwork & analysis. You will also select modules from options ranging from human origins to the foundations of the modern world. Period-based and practical modules introduce the breadth of the subject in year one, with more specialised modules and research being developed in the second and final years.

You will also attend a weeklong field school at the end of your first year, and then participate in a minimum of three weeks of scientific fieldwork as part of an active research project. This is undertaken usually during the summer vacation of your first or second year of study, and may be in the UK or overseas. Throughout your degree there are further opportunities to undertaking more fieldwork, including in overseas research projects.

In your second year, you will develop your knowledge of quantitative and analytical methods, and increase your understanding of the relevance of archaeology to the modern world and choose modules from a wide range of approaches and periods (including Maritime archaeology & seafaring; Bones, bodies & burials; Critical chronologies and archaeological dating).

In your final year, you will develop your own specialist interest with a dissertation on a research topic of your choice, and will take a further 6 modules from a wide range of options.

At all stages in your degree, you can add breadth to your studies and pursue other varied interests by taking the option to complete 25 per cent of your programme in another subject (such as in modern languages). You can also choose modules that build together to form a minor pathway, the title of which will be mentioned in your degree transcript (such as the Ancient World or Philosophy). Details of the minors available and the modules that are included can be found at and

Key Facts

Archaeology at Southampton was rated third in the UK for the impact of its archaeology research (2014 Research Excellence Framework), with its focus on theoretically informed archaeological science being particularly praised.

We benefit from being located in a £3m purpose-built archaeology building, with excellent laboratory facilities and a large dedicated undergraduate teaching lab. We also have access to very high-end equipment across the university, such as to enable isotope geochemistry, and CT-scanning.

Work placements

Wessex Archaeology is one of the largest archaeological units in the UK. Through their Student Bursary scheme, which they operate exclusively with the University of Southampton, they offer a six-month contract as a Project Assistant to one of our third year students. The post is a means of providing an important first step for recent graduates interested in a field-based career by giving an opportunity to gain skills and experience and to advance their careers by working in a professional environment.

Travel Abroad

Archaeology students can choose to go abroad for part or all of their second year. Students can choose to study in Europe or beyond. In Europe, our Erasmus partners include Prague (Czech Republic); Crete and Thessaly (Greece); Cyprus; Malta; Wroclaw (Poland); Barcelona (Spain). Our non-European partners for Study Abroad are based in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. More details on these destinations can be found on You can also study the programme with a year abroad. The interdisciplinary and varied nature of Archaeology means that a range of further special modules and features are available to you. Depending on the optional modules you choose, you can gain experience of laboratory work, additional archaeological fieldwork, fieldtrips and/or take part in study tours.

Fieldwork opportunities

The course includes three weeks' fieldwork in the UK or abroad and there are opportunities for more fieldwork or placements. Many of the fieldwork projects, which are a required element of the degree course, are overseas. Current research-based field projects include Szazhalombatta (Hungary), Portus (Italy), Andalucia (Spain) and Cruz de Cepos (Portugal).


Archaeology graduates have a wide range of skills that are valuable to employers, with confident computing, numeracy and data analysis skills, associated with a humanities grounding in the development and construction of arguments. Archaeology graduates are respected for their presentation and group working skills, as exemplified by fieldwork and laboratory work. Examples of well-known people with archaeology degrees include Sandi Toksvig (writer & broadcaster) Lord Mark Price (formerly Managing Director of Waitrose, appointed Minister of State for Trade & Investment in April 2016), Sir Tim Smit (responsible for the Lost Gardens of Heligan and creator of the Eden Project), Hugh Laurie (writer & actor), Iestyn Davies (singer), Paul Crake (Executive Director of the International Psychoanalytical Association, formerly British Film Institute), and Stephanie Swainston (author). Recent Southampton Archaeology graduates include Stephanie Porter (forensics, Thames Valley Police) and Jasmine Brighouse (video editor, Sky TV).

Did you know?

You can take this programme with a year abroad at one of our 173 partner institutions in over 24 countries – use code F401 when you apply through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-levelAAB to ABB from three A levels including a Grade B in a science based subject. Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will also be made an alternative offer one grade below the standard offer, conditional on an A grade in the EPQ. We accept all A levels except General Studies.
International Baccalaureate34 to 32 points, 17 to 16 at higher level; and 6 in a higher level science based subject.
International applications

We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country, or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in Writing and Reading and 6.0 in Listening and Speaking.

Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University to an A level applicant. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here.

Contextual Offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who flagged in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is ABB from three A levels including a Grade B in a science based subject.

Please see our contextual admission pages for more information.


Selection process:

Selection is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Applicants will be interviewed before an offer is made.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Excavation, field survey and geophysics
Underwater archaeology
Comparative osteology
Artefacts analysis
Human origins
Medieval archaeology
Archaeology of the Roman Empire
Prehistoric archaeology
Anthropology and ethno-archaeology
Heritage and public archaeology

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Learn a language

Year 1

The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

You will also be registered for a module to represent your fieldwork project (ARCH2037 Archaeological Method) – but this module is not credit bearing. This fieldwork is normally taken at the end of your first year.

Year 2

The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

For year two, students must take at least two science based Archaeology modules from the list below or may choose to take a free elective from one of the Science disciplines but should do so in consultation with the Director of Programmes.

Year 3

The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

For year three, students must take at least three science based Archaeology modules from the list below or may choose to take a free elective from one of the Science disciplines but should do so in consultation with the Director of Programmes.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
BSc Archaeology2018Part-time£4,625£8,268
BSc Archaeology2018Full-time£9,250£16,536
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentLaboratory Equipment and Materials: All laboratory equipment and materials are provided. IT Computer Discs or USB drives: Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device. Software Licenses: All software is provided. Hardware: It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.
FieldworkDuring your degree you are likely to go on a number of fieldtrips, and to take part in fieldwork. The exact number and nature of these trips will depend on your module and fieldwork choices. However, wherever and whatever you do you are likely to need access to; waterproofs, sturdy shoes or boots, sun hat and a small rucksack. For some sites you may be asked to have steel toed boots. For those qualified to do so, you may become involved in diving projects. In these circumstances you would normally be required to bring/hire your own mask, fins, snorkel, knife, exposure suit and dive watch (and if possible, dive computer).
ClothingLab Coats and Safety Spectacles: One laboratory coat and a pair of safety spectacles are provided at the start of the programme to each student.
Printing and copyingWhere possible, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour) Please Note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to The University Print Centre also offer a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service.
PlacementsStudents on placement programmes can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses; travel costs; visa costs. This will vary depending on which country you are travelling to. Specific details on what additional costs there will be are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programmes details of your programme.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Archaeology is not just a vocational subject. Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers and find that their knowledge can be applied to work in local government planning, National Trust bodies or museums.

By studying archaeology you will acquire the key skills employers seek, such as time management, problem solving, teamwork, project management and cultural awareness. Above all, you will learn to communicate ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences in a way that is relevant and understandable.

Work placements and fieldwork opportunities reflect our dedication to embedding employability in our students. A balanced mix of practical and theoretical learning means our graduates are equipped with a comprehensive, transferable skillset upon completing the degree.

Learning & Assessment

A humanities degree at Southampton offers you the wide and varied learning experience you should expect from a leading research university. We are committed to providing a relevant, modern and above all enjoyable experience which will ensure you graduate with the skills and understanding you need to start a career in any number of industries.

Led by academic staff, your teaching will allow you to engage with and contribute to the world-leading research carried out at Southampton as it happens. Our staff value your opinion and views: lectures are typically followed by a small group seminar which gives you the opportunity to explore ideas and themes that you feel are particularly relevant. You will find yourself challenged intellectually and exposed to new ideas, approaches and perspectives. Visiting speakers from international universities and successful professionals are a frequent part of our lecture series.

Your course will be incredibly flexible to suit your personal aims and objectives. Within your degree there will be a wide and fascinating range of modules related to our specialisms led by academics passionate about their research who want to engage you in their experience. You can choose subjects from beyond your degree to fashion the knowledge and experiences that you think will best help you in the career in front of you. Each module has a home on our virtual learning environment which serves as a starting point to find out more about each subject and undertake independent research to develop your understanding to a greater depth.

You will be assessed by more than simply essays and exams. Depending on the modules you choose, you will work in groups and teams; make presentations; submit group projects; undertake fieldwork; create portfolios and manage larger research projects such as dissertations. Your academic advisor will be available to provide regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.

You will find the key skills employers seek - such as time management, problem solving, team work, deadline and project management, cultural awareness, working on initiative and independently, relationship building and analysis - embedded in your learning. Above all, you will learn to communicate ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences in a way that is relevant and that they can understand.

Our courses have many unique and exciting opportunities such as visiting Chawton House Library – the former home of Jane Austen, the Broadlands Archive containing the papers of Palmerston and Mountbatten, research active fieldwork placements, placements in schools and colleges as part of your degree such as international writing in schools, the student associates scheme and our extended project mentoring module. All our students have the opportunity to spend a semester, a year or a summer at one of our international partner universities to experience a new culture.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Scheduled learning & teaching study22%21%17%
Independent study78%79%83%
Placement study0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Written exam assessment13%31%13%
Practical exam assessment11%0%10%
Coursework assessment76%69%77%

Study Locations

Avenue campus

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

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