BA Ancient History and Archaeology
Discover the ancient Greco-Roman world, and take the opportunity to join an archaeological dig and study abroad, with our BA Ancient History and Archaeology degree.
At the University of Reading, our BA Ancient History and Archaeology joint degree combines the study of ancient history – and its political, military, social and cultural contexts – with invaluable archaeological training.
Through your study of ancient history, you’ll immerse yourself in the rich culture of Greece and Rome from around 2000BC to 600AD and discover how these ancient civilisations have influenced the modern world. Your archaeological studies will take you further back in time, broaden the geographical focus, and enable you to experience the excitement of genuine discovery.
Your learning environment
In the Department of Classics, our academics are at the forefront of their disciplines. Their research feeds directly into your studies, exposing you to the latest developments in the field. We achieved a 91% satisfaction score for the teaching on our courses (National Student Survey, 2022). In the same survey we achieved a 92% satisfaction score for BA Ancient History.
The 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. Core modules will provide you with a solid historical and archaeological grounding, and optional modules will allow you to explore the different periods, cultures and countries that interest you. Popular modules taken by students on this degree include History and Culture of New Kingdom Egypt and Rome's Mediterranean Empire.
- Read about our Head of Department of Archaeology Professor Hella Eckardt’s research.
Enhance your knowledge through varied learning opportunities
Through your studies, you will address important questions relevant to our global future – human diets and health, environmental change, and inequality, migration and identity – and trace them back to their roots, exploring different periods of ancient history through both literary and material sources.
You can also enhance your knowledge and understanding of the ancient world through varied learning opportunities, such as:
- optional Latin and Greek language modules
- hands-on experience with artefacts from the University’s Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, which features one of the largest collections of Greek and Egyptian antiquities in Britain
- archaeological excavations in the UK and Europe, including prehistoric monuments, Roman cities and medieval castles.
Read about Marcie Weeks’s experience as an alumnus of our BA Archaeology and History degree.
Archaeology field school
During your studies, you will have the opportunity to participate in our Archaeology field school. The field school enables you to gain direct, hands-on experience in all aspects of an archaeological excavation, including:
- GIS (Geographical Information Systems) mapping
- finds processing.
You will be able to put your skills into practice and contribute to new archaeological knowledge through our discoveries. Many recent students have opted to conduct their field school placement at the Roman town of Silchester, helping to uncover the details of this unusually well-preserved site.
Explore a new location with Study Abroad
If you’re interested in studying abroad – and getting to experience a new academic and cultural environment – you can apply to spend a term at one of our partner universities in your second year. The Department enjoys active links with approved partner universities in Europe, Canada and the US, including:
- Aarhus University, Denmark
- University of Florida
- University of Malta
- University of Sydney.
All classes are conducted in English and bursaries are available to help with travel and accommodation costs. BA Ancient History and Archaeology students sometimes choose to apply to visit Malta and study Phoenician and Punic archaeology.
The Department of Classics also has strong links to the British School in Athens and the British School in Rome.
You will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience and insight into the professional workplace, both through specialist modules and placements. These include:
- our five-day Work Placement for Classicists and Ancient Historians module
- our Academic Work Placement module offers insight into the world of professional academia, while working with an academic on their research
- work experience opportunities at the Ure Museum, for students aspiring to careers in the museum or heritage sector
- paid summer placement in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP), working with an academic on their research.
Previous placement students have:
- conducted collections-based research
- drawn archaeological finds
- helped to design experimental archaeology
- supported marketing and public engagement activities within our museums.
Opportunities to gain field work experience are also encouraged, through external organisations and placement providers such as Grampus Heritage and Training Ltd, and Thames Valley Archaeological Services. Prospective teachers can gain experience through volunteering in a local school via the University’s Students in Schools scheme, or work with the Ure Museum to host workshops for local primary schools.
You can also choose to transfer to a four-year programme which features an integrated professional placement year, allowing you to gain valuable experience and put your skills and knowledge into practice.