At a glance

  • Study all aspects of the past, from prehistoric cultures, to ancient Greece and Rome, and the medieval and modern worlds, whether you have studied Archaeology and Classics before or are new to the subject
  • Join a vibrant academic community with innovative student-focused teaching and learning, led by academic staff who are internationally recognized experts. 96% of our research was judged as 'internationally excellent' in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework
  • Gain valuable work experience in our on-campus museum, state-of-the-art archaeological laboratories, schools outreach programme or the Digital Humanities Centre 

What are classics and archaeology?

Classics is the study of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds and their influence on later ages. The fascination of the classical world lies in its cultural richness and in the fact that we have direct access to it through surviving works of Greek and Roman writers, and through artistic and archaeological evidence. Studying the history, literature, society, art and thought of classical antiquity offers an opportunity to explore two cultures that have exercised a crucial formative influence on modern civilisation, and provided foundations for western society.

Through Archaeology we learn about our past by studying material evidence – from entire landscapes, to buildings and settlements, objects, burials and organic remains. It covers the whole span of the human story – from the earliest period of human origins to later prehistoric cultures, from the rise of ancient empires to the development of medieval society and the making of the modern world. Fresh discoveries and new theories make it an exciting and stimulating discipline which can make a vital contribution to understanding the challenges facing us today.

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology can be studied as stand-alone subjects, or together in a joint honours degree, as well as in combination with a number of other related subjects in the humanities and social sciences. Our degrees are well suited to any student who is curious about human society and past cultures, with the option to combine academic study with hands-on experience and work-based learning opportunities.

We are a vibrant academic community who are passionate about delivering excellent and innovative teaching for our students. In the 2016 National Student Survey, overall satisfaction rates were 94% for our Archaeology programmes and 95% for our Classics programmes. Our academic staff are internationally recognised experts at the cutting edge of their fields. 96% of our research was judged ‘internationally excellent’ in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. 


How will I study?

Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Many Archaeology modules include hands-on learning including practicals, laboratory work and object handling sessions. In Classics you also have the option of studying ancient languages, as we teach Latin and ancient Greek from beginners to advanced levels, taught through small group language seminars.

In the first year you take a series of core modules in classics or archaeology, as not all students have studied these subjects before they come to University. This gives you an essential grounding in your chosen discipline(s). In your second and third years you choose from a wide range of modules, studying specific topics and themes in more depth, allowing you to shape your degree to suit your own interests.

In the second year, you can study an Independent Second Year Project in Classics or a module on Heritage and Professional Skills in Archaeology. These modules are focused on real-world experience enabling you to design a project, research a topic of your choice and find innovative ways of communicating with a non-academic audience. 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, with supervision by an expert member of staff.

If you are a single honours student, you will take a combination of compulsory and optional modules during your three years at Nottingham, mainly from those offered by the Department of Classics and Archaeology, but also from a choice of subsidiary modules from outside the Department. A joint honours degree is normally split evenly between your two subjects, but some joint honours courses allow you to take more credits in one or other subject in certain years to accommodate your interests.

Outside the classroom

Fieldtrips are a fun, hands-on learning experience. The department organises regular study visits to local and national museums such as the British Museum, and trips to archaeological sites - from prehistoric monuments in the Peak District, to Roman and Medieval remains in nearby Lincoln, and to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.

Our students can gain work experience in the University’s on-campus museum, which has a well-established student volunteer programme, as well as many other regional heritage and cultural organisations. You can also gain teaching experience through our NoCOut outreach programme, which takes Classics and Archaeology into schools and the local community. In the Second Year you have the opportunity to take the Humanities Work Placement module.

Fieldwork is an important aspect of our Archaeology degrees, and usually involves participation in an approved excavation during the summer vacation. Single Honours Archaeology students complete a minimum of 20 days of archaeological fieldwork (10 days minimum for Joint Honours students). Our fieldwork officer will help you to find a suitable project, and recently students have participated in excavations in Britain, Crete and Italy.

Our fantastic student-led societies – ClassSoc and ArchSoc - organise a regular programme of social events as well as lectures and study visits, including an annual international trip to places like Rome, Pompeii, Malta and Athens. 


Assessment is by a mixture of written coursework, seminar presentations and reports, projects, dissertations and exams. Practical and lab-based modules may be assessed by a lab test or portfolio of practical work such as surveys and drawings. As you progress through the degree, you will also give oral presentations on your work and design posters and other forms of visual communication.

Successful completion of the first year allows progression to the second, and the final degree classification is determined by work in the second and final years, with more weight given to the final year.

School of Humanities work placement module

This optional second-year module gives you direct experience of a workplace, through a part-time professional placement. 

In the first semester you will attend ten 2-hour weekly seminars, and three individual tutorials.

In the second semester you will spend one day a week for 6-8 weeks working at a local business, heritage or cultural organisation, as well as attending three individual tutorials/seminars.

Assessment includes a portfolio assembled over the year - including CV, cover letters, reflective blog posts and presentation, and a written research report that examines the function of the placement organisation in the context of the wider sector.



Classics and Archaeology are broad interdisciplinary subjects that allow you to develop a wide range of transferable skills and qualities that will be of value to you, whether you continue on to further study or enter employment - ranging from academic study and research, critical analysis and argument, to written, oral and visual communication, practical and hands-on learning and working independently and as part of a team.

Our graduates find careers in many walks of life, including the heritage, museums and archaeology sectors, teaching, media, commerce and industry, central and local government, publishing and journalism, law and finance. Others stay with us or move to another University to undertake postgraduate studies, or begin a career in academic research.

Recent graduates: Joseph Critchley – Historic building consultant; Edward Clark – classics teacher, Cranleigh School; Andrew Meek – Materials Scientist, The British Museum; Nick Caplan – asset finance software consultant; Sophie Pye – Parliamentary Researcher, the House of Commons; Matthew Symonds, Current Archaeology magazine editor.

In 2016, 93.2% of undergraduates in the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,205 with the highest being £38,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers. 
(The Graduate Market in 2013-2016, High Fliers Research).


Study abroad

We offer opportunities to study in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States. Further information can be found on our study abroad web pages. 


Application and interview

Offers are usually made without interview. Students with non-standard entry requirements, including students who have been out of education for a significant period, may be invited to an interview.


Open days

For dates of our open days visit the open day pages. UCAS visit days for students who have been offered a place are held in February and March. You are welcome to visit us at other times: please contact the Admissions Officer.

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