BA Museum Studies and Archaeology
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Learn to think and research like a museum professional with BA Museum Studies and Archaeology, while gaining hands-on experience at our three on-site museums and on archaeological digs.
This course combines the contemporary theory and practice of museum studies with the academic and practical study of archaeology. At the University of Reading, our expertise in Archaeology starts with the earliest humans and spans up until the medieval period. We focus mainly on British, European and Near Eastern Archaeology, but also explore other regions across the world.
The Department of Archaeology also has an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with satisfaction scores of 90-100% for the quality of our courses in every National Student Survey between 2010 and 2021.
The Department of Classics is ranked 6th in the UK for research overall and 3rd in the UK for research output (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, 2014, based on its analysis of Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014). 100% of the Department's research impact has been recognised as world leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014 - Classics).
Central to the course is the hands-on experience you will gain at our on-site museums. The University has three museums – including the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology – in which you can gain experience as a volunteer while you learn. As well as museums we also have a number of special collections, including art and rare books.
You will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be a museum professional by considering the environment that artefacts are displayed in, how they are catalogued and the meanings they hold for different audiences.
Our museum teaching staff are all practising professionals, including curators, conservators and archivists, and use a combination of problem-solving and enquiry based learning techniques in their teaching. You will be given the opportunity to conduct your own research throughout the course, and in your final year, you will design, create and evaluate your own exhibition.
This degree programme is also available as a four-year course, giving 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. Our teaching staff have great connections with conservators, learning specialists and funding and policy specialists, as well as with a large number of museums, including local institutions such as the Reading Museum, the River and Rowing Museum, and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers' Museum of Technology.
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 a Museum Studies and Archaeology degree.
Past placement 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
We have 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. Recent options include the Universities of Malta, Aarhus (Denmark), Torún (Poland) and the University of Florida in Gainesville (U.S.A).