Archaeology and History BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:VV14
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Archaeology and History
UCAS code
UCAS code
Archaeology and History | BA Jt Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
usually including an A in history at A level 
IB score
32 (usually including 6 in history at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


From the first hunter-gatherers to the complex societies of the medieval and modern periods, this course allows you to study the past not just through texts and images but through material remains.
Read full overview

Aimed at those with a particular interest in the full range of human history, from the first hunter-gatherers to the complex societies of the medieval and modern periods, this course allows students to study the past not just through texts and images but through material remains. In archaeology, you will take introductory modules before studying more scientific approaches. You will also have the opportunity to participate actively in field work. In history, you will begin with a general outline of European and world history. The rest of your history course will be made up of modules that cover 500 CE to the present.

Year one 

Year one will lay the foundation for your study of archaeology with core modules in archaeological method and the prehistoric and historic archaeology of Britain up to the industrial revolution. In history, you will study the core module, Learning History, as well as two modules chosen from a menu of medieval, early modern, and post-1789 survey courses.

Year two 

In year two you will study more advanced core themes in archaeological research and choose from a wide range of optional modules covering topics from the Roman Empire to underwater archaeology. The core element in history is provided by the compulsory module, the Contemporary World since 1945. The focus of this course is not just on global developments (political and economic, social and cultural, environmental and demographic), but also on exploring key historical debates concerning the immediate origins of the world in which we now live.

Alongside this module, you will be able to select from an extremely wide range of options covering topics from the Anglo-Saxons through to the late 20th century. 

Year three

In year three you will have the option of writing a dissertation in either history or archaeology. In history, your dissertation would normally be linked to your Special Subject, a year-long, in-depth research-based module that all students must pick from a wide menu. You will also have the option of studying a selection of advanced optional modules in history or archaeology.

More information

Please visit the Department of History and Department of Archaeology websites.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, usually including an A in history at A level (general studies and critical thinking are not accepted for A level)

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications

We recognise that applicants have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education.

Consequently we treat all applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) on an individual basis, and we gladly accept students with a whole range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

Please see the alternative qualifications page for more information.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


Typical Year One Modules


Learning History

This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of the functions served by engagement with the past. The module aims to encourage more effective learning, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline, and enhance various skills. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Understanding the Past – Introduction to Archaeology

This module will provide you with an introduction to Archaeology as a discipline. It covers the development of the subject and examines methods for discovering, recovering and analysing archaeological remains. Archaeological prospection/survey, excavation, post-survey/excavation analysis, approaches to dating, materials analysis and an introduction to frameworks of social interpretation are all themes addressed within the module, which also introduces some of the key practical skills for archaeology. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars, practical classes, and computer workshops on average taking up about two hours per week across a full year.

From Forests to Farmers: Prehistoric Archaeology of Britain

This module provides an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the earliest traces of human activity until the Roman invasion of Britain. It will introduce students to key concepts in prehistoric archaeology through study of the major archaeological finds and sites of the period from henges to the hillforts of Wessex. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about four hours per week across the autumn semester.

Rome to Revolution: Historical Archaeology of Britain

This module provides students with an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the Roman invasion until the industrial revolution. Using key sites and discoveries, students will be introduced to the challenges of understanding the archaeology of periods partially documented in textual sources. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about four hours per week across the spring semester.



Introduction to the Medieval World, 500–1500

This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organisation, social and economic life and cultural developments. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.

From Reformation to Revolution: an introduction to early modern history: 1500–1789

This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Roads to Modernity: an introduction to modern history, 1789–1945

In the first semester, the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789–1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.


Typical Year Two Modules


The Contemporary World since 1945

This module surveys and analyses some of the main developments in world affairs since the end of the Second World War. This includes major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War, as well as national and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East. The module also looks at key political and social movements. Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Archaeological Research: theory and practice

This module is aimed at helping students to develop more advanced research skills and to discover the methods that are used in major archaeological research projects. In particular students will be introduced to the research methods that they will put into practice in their third year dissertation or independent project. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures and seminars, on average taking up about 2 hours per week across the year.



Introduction to the Archaeology of the Roman Empire

This module provides an overview of the archaeology of the Roman Empire, developing themes encountered in the first year Rome to Revolution module. It traces the development of the Roman world and examines the archaeology of the Empire’s provinces. Specific themes in this course include town, villas and the countryside, housing the army among other related topics. For this module you will have a combination of lecture and seminars, on average taking up about two hours per week across the year.

Introduction to Medieval Archaeology, AD 400–1400

This module considers the archaeology of Britain in its European Context from the end of the Roman Empire to the high Middle Ages (from c. AD 400–1400). Key topics include: the formation of post-Roman societies; rural settlement; the emergence of central places and the development of towns; trade and exchange; and the introduction of Christianity and the role of the Church. The lectures and seminars, totalling around two hours per week, will explore integrated approaches to archaeological evidence incorporating landscapes, standing buildings, excavated sites and material culture.

Underwater Archaeology

This module provides you with a broad introduction to the current methods and practice of underwater Archaeology. The module focuses on themes such as lake dwellings, shipwrecks, submerged cities and sunken harbours. Case studies are used ranging in space from Scandinavia to Australia and in time from BC 1500 to the last century. Some of the issues tackled in this module include: Methods and techniques of underwater excavation, Problems of conservation and underwater material, Sunken harbours, cities and processes of submergences, and Lake dwelling and freshwater archaeology among others. For this module you will have three hours of lectures and seminars each week.

Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages

The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship. It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. The binary oppositions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are explored through study of the ‘bad king’, and the creation of stereotypical villains such as ‘the Jew’. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

The Crusaders

This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late eleventh century to the mid-13th century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

The Venetian Republic, 1450–1575

This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later 15th and 16th centuries. It examines the constitution, its administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself. The module will discuss the enormous cultural dynamism of the city (especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese), changing urban fabric, the role of ritual and ceremony, the position of the Church, and class and gender. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, 1970–1990

This module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including: overlaps and differences between Contemporary History and the Social Sciences; change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding; political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures, among others. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Soviet State and Society

This module examines political, social and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to Gorbachev’s attempted reforms and the collapse of the state in 1991. You will look at Russia both from the top down (state-building strategies; leadership and regime change; economic and social policy formulation and implementation) and from the bottom up (societal developments and the changing structures and practices of everyday life). You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Race, Rights and Propaganda: the superpowers, the Cold War, and the politics of racial identity, 1945–89

The Cold War was a conflict defined as much by intellectual and cultural struggle as by conventional military means, diplomacy, or realpolitik. Conceptions of race and identity were by no means immune from this, but heavily disputed and contested in the political environment of the Cold War. This module examines how the two superpowers dealt with issues of race and identity during the Cold War years, confronting questions and challenges from both within their own borders (and each other’s) and in several theatres of superpower conflict – including the Middle East, East Asia and post-colonial Africa. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Doing History

You will also attend a non-assessed weekly lecture module throughout the year called ‘Doing History’. This builds on the first-year core module Learning History and aims to develop your awareness of the craft of the historian, developing essential skills to get the most out of your second-year options and enabling you to determine what sort of historian you are. It also operates as a bridge to your third and final year, permitting you to make informed decisions about your choice of Special Subject, third-year options, and dissertation.


Typical Year Three Modules




This module involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task. Students who do not undertake a dissertation in archaeology will undertake a 5-6,000 word independent project.




Dark Age Masculinities

This module re-evaluates the history of masculinity in medieval Western culture. Most existing analysis of masculinity in Western culture deals with modern cultures. Yet, many of the key characteristics of this masculinity can plausibly be traced back to the Dark Ages. Students will study such issues as: how to use gender as an analytical tool with which to investigate early medieval evidence; gender ideology; codes of male honour; men's life cycles and fatherhood; relations between the sexes; rituals of violence; military and clerical ideals of masculinity. You will have three hours of seminars and lectures each week for this module.

Italy at War, 1935–45

Spending four hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences. As source material you will have the chance to explore diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers and magazines, newsreels, as well as examining the representation of the war in literature and cinema.

Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–78

This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have four hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.

From Racial State to Reconstruction: women and gender relations in Germany, 1939–45 

This module adopts a perspective of women's and gender history to explore the history of Germany in the period from the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship up to the division of Germany into two post-war states in 1949. It will examine National Socialist discourses, policies and practices in relation to women and gender relations by drawing on records of public authorities and institutions concerned with educating and training the female population in line with Nazi precepts, mobilizing labour for the Nazi war economy, sustaining home front morale, and combating ‘threats to the race’. You will have four hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.

The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England

This module considers the archaeology of England from the end of the Roman occupation until the Norman conquest. You will focus on the question of the Romano-British survival and the impact of Romano-British culture on the Anglo-Saxon incomers, on the archaeology of the early state in England, on the development of town and rural settlement patterns, on the role of the church in society and on the Danish impact on England. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and field trips over the course of 11 weeks.

The Archaeology of the Medieval City

The aim of this module is to provide you with a broad knowledge of the archaeological evidence for the development of cities and urban life in the later medieval period 1000–1500, with a focus on English towns and cities in their wider Europe context. The module will explore the integration of varied sources of archaeological evidence including urban landscapes, buildings and material culture, and particular emphasis placed on interdisciplinary approaches to urban economic and social life. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and a fieldtrip over the period of 11 weeks.

Rome and the Mediterranean

In this module you will examine the archaeological evidence for the Roman period in Italy and the Mediterranean from c. 300 BC to c. AD 550. The major social, cultural and economic changes of the region in this period will be discussed as well as in the context of wider historical and archaeological approaches to the Mediterranean. You will have an hour of lectures and an hour-long seminar for this module.



The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



With an excellent track record of graduate employment, a Nottingham Archaeology and History degree will prepare you for a wide range of professions. Some of the most popular of these are conservation, heritage and environmental protection, journalism, publishing, law, business and finance, national and local government, non-governmental organisations (both national and international), administration, teaching, library and museum work and research-based careers.

A Nottingham Archaeology and History degree can cater for such a diverse field of employment because the skills that you will acquire are versatile, wide-ranging and transferable. We aim to equip our graduates with a broad knowledge of archaeological theories and techniques, an understanding of a range of historical periods, and specialist knowledge of areas in which you have a personal interest. You will learn to think critically, to analyse large amounts and different types of data, to construct logical arguments, to communicate knowledge intelligibly, to work effectively in teams, to manage time and workloads, and to lead discussions and presentations. These skills will develop your capacity to learn and adapt and will therefore equip you with the tools you need to develop your future career.

For more information on the career prospects of Nottingham history graduates, please visit our Careers page.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 95% of first-degree graduates in the Department of History who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,221 with the highest being £40,000.*

In 2014, 75% 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 £19,500 with the highest being £25,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further, assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students. 


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

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This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Sarah Smith  
Taught Courses Administrator

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