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Start Dates
Degree type

BA

Course length

3 years full-time

Location

Durham City

UCAS code

VF14

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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAB
BTEC DDD
International Baccalaureate 36

Course details

This Joint Honours degree enables you to combine Ancient History modules from the Department of Classics and Ancient History with those offered by the Department of Archaeology. The balance is broadly equal, but as you progress through your course you will have several opportunities to follow your particular interests in one or both areas. Your dissertation provides a further opportunity to concentrate your studies in an area that captures your imagination.

In Year 1 you will be introduced to the world of the ancient Greeks and early Imperial Rome, seen from a variety of perspectives (not just historical) and through different forms of evidence. This will prepare you for a wide range of more specifically historical modules about politics and society in the ancient world.

Studying on this course will give you a wider perspective on these related subject areas, allowing you to fully explore the connections between archaeological discovery and historical context.

The course offers an optional study abroad element, where you may spend the third year of a four-year course studying at a European university. You can also put your learning into practice by applying to add a placement year to your degree.

Course Structure

Year 1

Core modules:

Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus provides an introduction to, and a basis for further study of, Roman history and culture and Latin literature. It investigates a central, transitional epoch in the history of ancient Rome from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Introduction to the Greek World introduces ancient Greek history, society, and thought, by focusing on how classical Athenians engaged with their past. It explores the central themes, topics and terminology in the study of Archaic and Classical Greece.

Archaeology in Britain gives you a wide-ranging introduction to how archaeologists work, how sites are found and excavated, how archaeological information is generated, theorised and interpreted, and the issues facing archaeology today. It will give you the study skills needed for library work, essays, tutorials and computing. The module also gives a brief overview of British archaeology by period, from the Neolithic to the present day.

Cities in Antiquity gives you a broad overview of the archaeology of the Greco-Roman world from 800 BC to AD 400. It also gives you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and to practice your evaluative skills through essay writing and a written examination.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Intermediate Latin/Greek
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • Language, Translation, Interpretation
  • The Craft of the Ancient Historian
  • Lives of Objects – Greek and Roman Antiquity
  • Ancient Civilisations: Sources, Approaches and Methods
  • Discovering World Prehistory
  • Ancient Civilisations of the East
  • Medieval to Modern: An Introduction to the Archaeology of the Medieval to Post Medieval World

Year 2

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Ancient Political Thought and Action
  • Emperors and Dynasties
  • Living in the Classical World
  • The City of Athens
  • Beginners’, Intermediate or Advanced Latin/Greek
  • Interpreting Greek Tragedy Today
  • Classical Receptions and Contemporary Cultures
  • Dialogues with Antiquity
  • Prehistoric Europe: From Foragers to State Formation
  • Becoming Roman: From Iron Age to Empire in Italy and the West.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement or year abroad)

In your final year, you will design and carry out your own Dissertation which will develop your skills of independent research and project management by pursuing a substantial research project in a topic of your choice.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Greeks and Persians (c. 560-336 BC)
  • The Later Roman Empire
  • The History of Writing in the Ancient Mediterranean
  • Intermediate, Advanced or Higher Latin/Greek
  • The Origins of Civilisation
  • Comedy and Tragedy, Laughter and Sorrow
  • Lives and Afterlives of The Greek and Roman Poets
  • Specialised Aspects of Archaeology
  • Museum Representation
  • Current Archaeology
  • Interpreting Heritage
  • Archaeology and Global Sustainable Development.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork is not compulsory for Joint Honours, but you are encouraged to attend three weeks at our field school in Year 1, and three weeks at an excavation of your choice in Year 2.

Additional pathways

Students on the BA in Ancient History and Archaeology can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement' pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.

Placement

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Learning

You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes, fieldwork and excavation, with informal one-on-one support alongside self-directed research and reading.

We also offer an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research.

Fieldwork at Durham allows you to get stuck into real archaeological work, supported by academic staff. Along with the practical classes this gives you hands-on experience of professional archaeology. The small-group and practical work prioritises your learning experience over the number of formal sessions, with increasing focus on independent research as you move from your first to your final year. As such, the course transforms you from a consumer of knowledge in a classroom to a generator of knowledge in the field, ready for professional or postgraduate life.

Assessment

On this course you will be assessed through your coursework, traditional skills and presentations, as well as through hands-on practical exercises, including archaeological fieldwork.

In the final year you will write a dissertation, led by independent research and supported by one-on-one supervision, and this makes up one-third of your final-year marks.

Entry requirements

A level - AAB.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.

International Baccalaureate score - 36 to include 665 in higher level subjects.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £25,750 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £25,750 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Archaeology

Our close links with industry specialists coupled with in-house archaeological facilities give you a taste of the industry from the beginning of the course. This experience helps develop a broad range of subject-specific skills from osteology, geochemistry and the conservation of archaeological objects, to survey and remote sensing techniques and applications for Geographic Information Systems.

Transferable skills include problem-solving, metadata analysis and information technology, as well as teamwork, presentation, project planning and management. These skills are valued across many industries.

Our graduates work for organisations all over the world, from national and international heritage organisations, museums, environmental agencies, and commercial archaeological services to law and publishing, forensic science, teaching, tourism, and local and national government.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 75% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 75% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £22,000

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Classics and Ancient History

Our students acquire many skills which are readily transferable to a whole range of professions. You will have learned to think logically, to compile and evaluate evidence and to express yourself clearly and succinctly, both verbally and in writing.

Classics graduates have progressed to careers as diverse as computing, the Civil Service, gold dealing, teaching, journalism, law, accountancy, public relations and the theatre. A significant number of our students progress onto higher level study following their degree. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a Master’s degree, either at Durham elsewhere. Others choose professional postgraduate programmes in subjects such as law, finance and teaching.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 87% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 79% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £23,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Department information

Archaeology

Archaeology at Durham is an exciting and diverse discipline that delves into the past to inform our understanding of the modern world. Covering a wide range of topics from early human development and ancient civilisations to colonialism and slavery in the early modern world, this broad-based discipline can take you into many different careers.

We are an inclusive and vibrant international teaching and research community that offers plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, from research seminars and reading groups to field-based projects. Our research-led approach to learning means you will be taught by subject specialists whose wide-ranging interests span World, European and British archaeology from the last ice age to the post-medieval period.

Combining practical work with traditional academic study, you will explore archaeological sites and historic buildings, study scientific methods, archaeological theories and computer techniques. Fieldwork takes you around the world, with previous projects ranging from Africa to the Lebanon. Closer to home you will learn about the rich and varied heritage of the UK. Our location in Durham is ideal for the study of archaeology with examples of medieval architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and important historic sites, such as Hadrian’s Wall and a Saxon monastery within easy reach.

We offer a range of single and joint honours BA and BSc degrees with flexible pathways to suit your interests and career goals, and most courses include the possibility of a work placement or year abroad.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • 10th in the QS World University Subject Rankings for Archaeology 2023
  • 2nd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2023

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see our Archaeology pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 97% of our research outputs graded world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)

Facilities

We are based in the Dawson Building at the heart of the Durham city campus. We are one of the most comprehensively equipped archaeology departments in the UK with research laboratories in DNA, conservation, isotope analysis, environmental archaeology, luminescence dating, paleopathology and bone chemistry.

The Department is also home to a leading commercial archaeological fieldwork unit. This enables us to provide expert training in excavation and fieldwork techniques from working archaeologists. In addition, we have a number of dedicated library collections and a gallery which hosts our extensive collection of archaeological artefacts.

Fieldtrips are an important part of the student experience at Durham. First year students undertake a two-week placement, with most working on our internationally significant excavations at Auckland Castle. Second- and third-year undergraduates join us on digs around the world to gain international experience, with recent projects in France, Spain, Kuwait, Nepal and Egypt.

More information on our facilities and equipment.

Classics and Ancient History

When you study at the Department of Classics and Ancient History you will join a large, forward-looking department that is genuinely diverse in both make up and outlook. We offer an intellectually stimulating learning environment in a welcoming community, and consistently rank highly for teaching, graduate employability and research.

We offer a range of flexible and challenging degree courses designed with the twenty-first-century student in mind. Each with a different emphasis, depending on which area you prefer to put at the centre of your studies: ancient languages, ancient history or ancient culture. We also offer joint honours courses with the departments of Archaeology and History.

Our degrees offer both academic rigour and an outstanding student experience, taught by a team of academic staff who between them specialise in the languages, literature, history, culture and philosophy of the Greco-Roman world, as well as its impact on later centuries up to the present day. The breadth of knowledge in the Department allows us to offer a wide range of study areas including ancient Greek and Latin languages from beginner to advanced level, surveys of the main periods and themes of Greek and Roman history, and teaching in all aspects of classical culture, such as philosophy, art and literature in translation.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • 2nd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • 4th in The Guardian University Gude 2023
  • 8th in the QS World University Rankings 2023

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Classics and Ancient History Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 4th in the UK for overall research quality (REF 2021).

Facilities

We are situated in the beautiful and historic centre of Durham next to the Cathedral and Castle and just two minutes’ walk from the city centre. The friendly and welcoming Department is housed in eighteenth-century buildings which includes dedicated study space and a library with an extensive collection of ancient texts and reference works. Our location, at the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is highly conducive to study of the subject.

The student body is a large, close-knit and highly engaged community. Our student-led Classics Society organises regular social and academic events, often in conjunction with staff from the Department.

More information about our facilities.

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