BA Museum Studies and Archaeology with Professional Placement
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Combine the study of museology with the excitement of archaeological discovery – and put skills into practice with an integrated placement year – with our BA Museum Studies and Archaeology with Professional Placement degree.
Take your first steps towards a rewarding career in heritage – learning the core skills of curatorship, such as researching, analysing, cataloguing, interpreting and displaying museum objects, historic buildings and landscapes – at the University of Reading. This four-year course includes an integrated placement year between your second and final years of study.
Your studies will provide you with opportunities to gain practical, hands-on experience at our three on-site museums – including the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology – and special collections. Alongside this, you'll explore our human past through material remains, spanning as far back as the first hominins millions of years ago.
Additionally, you will benefit from the hands-on expertise of our Museum Studies’ staff. Our lecturers 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.
You’ll join a friendly, inclusive community, where staff are passionate about supporting you to succeed. Our Department of Archaeology has an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90-100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2010-2022, with Archaeology achieving the highest score for overall student satisfaction in the UK in 2022.
This four-year course features a year-long professional placement between your second and final years of study. It’s an opportunity to enhance your work-related skills, develop a network of contacts, and 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
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.
We have a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.
What you will study
Your studies will span a variety of topics and modules, including:
- investigating artefacts recovered both through excavation and standing monuments
- handling human remains to learn about burial archaeology
- examining how ideas of gender are reflected and imposed through the material world
- discovering how environmental change has impacted on lives past and present
- critically evaluating the role of museums as a place of learning and engagement
- communicating to an audience through the use of artefacts
- examining the theories behind museums and their role in society.
Additionally, you'll be encouraged to research the environment that artefacts are displayed in, how they are catalogued, and the meanings that they hold for different audiences. You will learn how to design, create and evaluate your own exhibitions, and gain practical experience in activities such as digitising collections, cataloguing and archiving.
During your studies, you will have the opportunity to participate in our Archaeology Field School.
This is an opportunity to gain direct, hands-on experience in all aspects of an archaeological excavation, contribute to new archaeological knowledge through discovery, and put a variety of skills into practice, such as:
- GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping
- finds processing.
You will also be encouraged you to get involved with archaeological excavations in the UK and Europe, such as prehistoric monuments, Roman cities and medieval castles.
Broaden your horizons and experience study and life in a different country by spending one term abroad at one of our partner universities in Europe and the US. These may include:
- Aarhus University in Denmark
- the University of Florida
- the University of Malta
- the University of Torun in Poland.
Alternatively, you could choose the four-year version of this degree featuring a full year of study abroad during your third year.