You will learn through study, field work and independent research. Most modules are taught by lecture and seminar, but many include practicals, laboratory or computing sessions.
In year one, you will take survey modules in different aspects of archaeology to give you an essential introduction to the discipline, as many students have not studied archaeology in depth before. You will be taught the basic principles and methods for discovering, recording and analysing archaeological finds, including hands-on sessions in the field.
In year two and year three, you can choose from a wide range of modules which cover specific periods and themes in more depth, allowing you to shape your degree to suit your own interests. You will also study heritage and the professional aspects of archaeology, and archaeological theory. In the third year you will develop your own independent research skills by producing a Dissertation or research project on a topic of your own choosing.
Lectures offer a clear and accessible overview of what you are studying. Taught in larger groups they introduce you to the debates about key issues and are an effective way of conveying information, ideas, and approaches about different aspects of archaeology. They also provide a foundation for seminar discussion and for further reading.
Lecture slides are posted online in advance in case you missed anything during the lecture or want to prepare yourself beforehand.
Seminars and workshops
These smaller groups offer a supportive environment to:
- discuss and share your ideas
- consider and debate the opinions of others
- think through issues raised by the material you’re studying.
Practicals and laboratory sessions
Archaeology is a hands-on subject and it combines perspectives from the arts and the sciences. During your degree you will have training in archaeological methods and techniques such as surveying and recording, which are taught in the field. You will also have the opportunity to handle artefacts and study different aspects of archaeological science including archaeological materials, and the study of animal bones, plant remains and human skeletons. This teaching takes place in our newly refurbished suite of specialised archaeology laboratories, as well as in our on-campus University Archaeology museum.
Tutorials and supervisions
Both individual and in small groups these offer you the chance to discuss plans for an essay or presentation, or follow up on an area of a module which has interested you.
In your final year, individual dissertation supervisions are an opportunity to develop your research plans and have focused personal discussions on how most effectively to interpret, structure, and present your research findings.
Outside the classroom
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, and recently students have participated in excavations in Britain, Crete and Italy. Our students can also gain work experience in the University’s on-campus Archaeology museum or with other regional heritage organisations.
Fieldtrips are a fun, hands-on learning experience. The department organises regular day trips to local and national museums and local archaeological sites - from prehistoric monuments in the Peak District, to medieval castles and churches, and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, birthplace of the industrial revolution. Our fantastic student-led Archaeology Society organises study visits to important venues such as the British Museum in London and runs an annual international archaeological trip to places like Pompeii, Malta and Athens.
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 posters and verbal presentations play a part.
Your progress will be assessed each semester. In the first year, you need to pass your assessments in order to progress to the second year, but the marks obtained do not count towards the final degree classification. The marks you achieve in second year are given a 33 per cent weighting in the final degree assessment, with final-year examinations and assessments providing the remaining 67 per cent.