Study BSc Archaeological Science at Reading, one of the top scientific archaeology courses in the UK.
Join a university that's ranked in the top 10 UK universities for Archaeology (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2020), and gain an impressive range of subject-specific and transferable skills spanning the sciences and the humanities.
Explore our outstanding teaching collections and laboratory facilities, with dedicated spaces for the analysis of human remains, artefacts, plant pollen, and archaeological soils and sediments.
The Department of Archaeology is a research-intensive department at the cutting-edge of social and scientific archaeology. 97% of our research was judged to be of international standing in the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014. We also have an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90-100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2010-2020.
BSc Archaeological Science differs from our BA Archaeology course as it concentrates much more on the scientific and forensic aspects of archaeology. On this course, you will gain a wide range of skills to assist you in the study of human bones (including osteology and palaeopathology), enabling you to learn more about past societies, diets and diseases.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a dedicated Field School during your course, gaining direct hands-on experience in all aspects of an archaeological excavation. Put your skills into practice, including excavation, surveying, GIS (geographical information systems) mapping, planning, and finds processing, and contribute to archaeological knowledge through our discoveries.
The course also has a strong focus on environmental archaeology and geoarchaeology, through which you will make fascinating discoveries about ancient human societies, as well as the evolution of landscapes and climate change.
This diverse approach presents you with many areas to explore and specialise in, providing you with plenty of options for your final-year dissertation.
If you are interested in studying abroad, you have the opportunity to spend a term at Aarhus University in Denmark or the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland in your second year, getting to know a new academic and cultural environment.
Placement year or year abroad
All archaeology degree programmes (single and joint honours) are also available as four-year courses, which give you the option of spending your third year on a placement or studying for one year at a University abroad, gaining valuable professional and international experience. You can also combine the two options by spending one semester studying abroad and then undertaking a half-year professional placement abroad or back in the UK.
We provide opportunities for you to undertake placements in a variety of contexts. Placements are an excellent way to enhance your work-related skills and develop a network of contacts, as well as strengthen your employability prospects.
Opportunities are available working across the Archaeological, Heritage, Planning and Museum sectors including: research institutions, government organisations, local planning authorities, archaeological consultancies, field units, specialists and archivists. Alternatively you can choose a placement in a non-related business or industry, exploring different career options and enhancing your employability by drawing on the many non-vocational, transferable skills you obtain from an Archaeology degree.
Recent examples include:
Traineeship with Oxford Archaeology
Traineeship at the Field School
Archaeological science placement at QUEST, the University of Reading’s scientific consultancy company
Volunteering at the Ure Museum, Cole Museum of Zoology and the Museum of English Rural Life
Human remains placement
Mediterranean Palaeoclimate Project placement
Hominin Skeletal Morphology placement
Archaeological Graphics placement
Lithics Reference Collection placement
“Developing Experimental Archaeology for Research and Training” placement
“The Ecology of Crusading: Isotope Analysis and Faunal Remains” placement
Summer Enterprise Experience and Discovery internship scheme
Our department has a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.
Students opting to undertake a standard three-year degree course will also have the opportunity to take a fully-credited placement or to spend a single term at one of our partner Universities abroad. Current options include the Universities of Malta, Aarhus (Denmark), Torún (Poland) and the University of Florida in Gainesville (U.S.A).
Our BA Archaeology and BSc Archaeological Science courses are accredited by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and are among the first recognised for providing key skills relevant to careers in the historic environment. Student membership of CIfA is offered to all students enrolled on these courses, who then have access to CIfA's e-learning modules and specialist professional networks, which also provides details of available jobs in the profession. CIfA membership is a desirable asset for many jobs in the heritage sector.
Typical offerA Level BBB | IB 30 points overall
Select Reading as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place if you achieve one grade lower than the published offer.
Extended Project Qualification
In recognition of the excellent preparation that the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) provides to students for University study, we can now include achievement in the EPQ as part of a formal offer.
If you are an international or EU student and do not meet the requirements for direct entry to your chosen degree you can join the University of Reading’s International Foundation Programme. Successful completion of this 1 year programme guarantees you a place on your chosen undergraduate degree. English language requirements start as low as IELTS 4.5 depending on progression degree and start date.
UK undergraduate fees are regulated by the government. These fees are subject to parliamentary approval and any decision on raising the tuition fees cap for new UK and EU** students would require the formal approval of both Houses of Parliament before it becomes law.
From 2020, the UK government may link tuition fees to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
These course fees cover the cost of your tuition. Some courses will require additional payments for field trips and extra resources. You will also need to budget for your accommodation and living costs. See our information on living costs for more details.
Financial support for your studies
You may be eligible for a scholarship or bursary to help pay for your study. Students from the UK and other EU countries may also be eligible for a student loan to help cover these costs. See our fees and funding information for more information on what's available.
What career can you have?
Our curriculum is designed to help you develop the attitudes and aptitudes that are valued by employers.
There has been a growing demand for archaeologists due to a recent surge in UK infrastructure projects, such as High Speed Two (HS2). As a result, it is estimated that England's commercial archaeology workforce of 3,000 workers will need to grow by 25% by 2022 (Historic England 2016 report: National Infrastructure Development and Capacity 2015-33).
You will gain a broad range of subject-specific and transferable skills spanning the humanities and sciences. The majority of employers consider your attitude and abilities to be even more important than the subject you choose to study (CBI Skills Survey 2014). Our curriculum is designed with this in mind, giving you not just knowledge in subjects you are passionate about, but also the qualities that employers really care about – qualities that are transferable to a diverse range of careers.
As a world-class department with internationally renowned teaching staff, a degree in archaeology at the University of Reading is the best possible foundation to begin your career in commercial archaeology, planning, heritage management and archaeological research, as well as disciplines such as teaching, business and marketing.
Our recent graduates are represented among the staff of major employers such as Oxford Archaeology, Wessex Archaeology, the Museum of London Archaeology and the Natural History Museum. Some of our graduates have progressed into roles in the police force and in teaching at both primary and secondary levels. Each year a number of graduates pursue further, higher study following graduation.