What is archaeology?
Through archaeology we learn about our past by studying material remains. It covers the earliest period of human development to later prehistoric and historically documented societies — providing information for the latter on aspects about which documentary records are sparse or silent. Fresh discoveries and new theories make it a challenging and stimulating discipline. Archaeology is well suited to those of you who are curious about human society and its past and who want to combine practical, hands-on work with traditional academic study.
Questions that are addressed during your archaeology degree include:
can archaeology help us explain the past?
do we find archaeological sites?
do objects end up in the ground?
are sites excavated and recorded?
did civilisations arise?
can we define past identities?
How will I study?
You will learn through study, field work and research. Most modules are taught by lecture and seminar, but some include practicals, laboratory or computing sessions. Field work is an important aspect of the course and usually involves participation in an approved excavation during the summer vacation. You can choose the project, although many students prefer to work on an excavation organised by a member of staff. Currently, staff are committed to important field projects in Britain, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Iran, Iraq and Syria. You may also apply for volunteer taster sessions prior to the start of your course.
Field trips, as distinct from field work, can vary in length between one day and a week. Day trips may involve visits to local and national museums or local archaeological sites; the longer trips include visits to Hadrian's Wall and to Early Christian sites in Ireland.
Assessment methods include coursework, written exams and practical assessment. More practical skills, such as drawing, surveying and photography are appraised through portfolios, and in some modules, computer exercises and verbal presentations play a part.
We offer opportunities to study in Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden. Further information can be found on our study abroad web pages.
Career prospects and employability
Archaeology's combination of academic study, self-discipline and practical training, often undertaken as part of a team, make it a very attractive degree to a range of employers. Our graduates enter a wide variety of careers in professional archaeology, in excavation units or in governmental or amenity organisations. Other sectors of employment include education, media, financial services and the armed forces.
In 2012, 77.1% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Archaeology who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £24,575 with the highest being £70,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home and EU graduates, 2011/12.
Application and interview
Offers are normally made without interview. Students with non-standard entry qualifications, including mature students, may be invited for an interview.
Visit days for students offered a place are normally held in January and March. You are welcome to visit at other times – please contact us or for dates of our open days visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/opendays