BA Ancient History and Archaeology with Professional Placement
Immerse yourself in the ancient Greco-Roman world, and discover how their cultures continue to influence the world today, with our BA Ancient History and Archaeology with Professional Placement degree.
Choose the University of Reading
- Top 100 in the world for Archaeology (QS World Rankings by Subject 2023)
- Ranked 1st in the UK for research quality and research outputs in Archaeology (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of REF 2021)
- 95% of our research in Classics is of international standing (Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Classics)
- The University of Reading scored 2nd best for teaching quality in Archaeology (The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024)
- 100% of students in the Department of Archaeology and 100% of students studying BA Ancient History said our teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (National Student Survey, 2023)
- Overall, 97% of graduates from Archaeology are in work or further study within 15 months of graduation (based on our analysis of HESA data © HESA 2023, Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020/21; includes all Archaeology responders)
As a Joint Honours student, your programme is shared with the Department of Classics, where instructors are at the forefront of their disciplines. Their research feeds directly into your studies, exposing you to the latest developments in the field.
Explore the past through archaeological and historical techniques
At Reading, our BA Ancient History and Archaeology with Professional Placement combines the study of ancient history – and its political, military, social and cultural contexts – with invaluable archaeological training.
You'll immerse yourself in the rich cultures of Greece and Rome from around 2000BC to 600AD, and discover how these ancient civilisations have influenced later periods and the world we know today. Your archaeological studies will take you even further back in time, broadening your geographical focus and enabling you to experience the excitement of genuine discovery.
We'll support you to develop skills that span the humanities and sciences. Your learning can include:
- the investigation of artefacts, monuments and museum collections
- the development of empires in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Rome
- ancient Greek and Roman history, culture and society
- the role of religion in social change through different time periods
- examining how ideas of gender are reflected and imposed through the historical and material world.
A professional placement allows you to apply – and increase – your academic knowledge while enhancing your employability. We encourage all our students to consider any placements that can equip them with skills to support them in their future careers.
Previous placement students have analysed samples in labs, processed human remains, worked on hominin skeletal morphology, drawn archaeological finds, conducted collections-based research, studied the ecology of the Crusades through isotope analysis and faunal remains, investigated paleoclimate records, and participated in castle excavations in Spain.
You'll undertake your placement during the third year of your degree, returning to complete your final year of study in your fourth year.
You can complete your placement with an employer in the UK or abroad, and take advantage of our connections with a range of organisations in the archaeological, heritage, planning and museum sectors, including:
- research institutions
- government organisations
- local planning authorities
- archaeological consultancies
- field units
- museums and archives.
Alternatively, you may choose to complete a placement in a non-related industry to explore different career options and develop your skills.
Recent placement employers have included:
- Oxford Archaeology
- Thames Valley Archaeological Services
- Archaeological Research Services
- Ure Museum
- Cole Museum of Zoology
- The Museum of English Rural Life
- QUEST, the University of Reading's scientific consultancy company
- Durham Blue Coat C.E. aided Junior School
- Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization
- Signals (art and education charity).
In addition to your formal professional placement, you will also be encouraged to undertake short placements with local and regional employers during your studies.
As a placement student, you are responsible for finding your own placement. We have a dedicated placements team and member of staff in Archaeology who will provide you with advice and support throughout the process.
For more information about securing and completing a placement during your placement year, please visit our Important Information page.
A supportive, collaborative learning environment
- Read about Marcie Weeks’s experience as a joint honours student in Archaeology.
We are international, research-intensive departments with expertise that spans the sciences, humanities and social sciences. You’ll learn about global issues, enhanced by the latest developments and thinking within archaeology and ancient history.
- Professor Hella Eckardt is demonstrating Britain’s long history of diversity
- Professor Aleks Pluskowski is using environmental archaeology to provide a different perspective on the impact of religious change
- Dr Emma Aston brings her love for ancient Greece to the classroom, making her teaching exciting and accessible
- Professor Barbara Goff turns to the classical world to address today’s pressing issues.
You'll also have the chance to join RUined, a student-run society for those with a passion for archaeology. RUined is a great way to meet people across Reading, build your network, and participate in events like club nights, quizzes, alcohol-free socials, and the annual summer and winter formals.
Field School and field trips
Put your learning into practice through our Archaeology Field School, which is optional on this degree. You’ll gain hands-on experience in all aspects of an archaeological excavation, including:
- finds processing
- studying ancient plant and animal remains.
Beyond the Field School, many of our modules include field trips to sites and museums around England. You will be encouraged to get involved with research excavations in the UK and Europe, spanning prehistoric monuments, Roman cities, and medieval castles.
Archaeology is not just about digging – it's an academic subject that will teach you valuable theoretical and practical skills. You’ll also have opportunities to use specialist equipment and GIS (geographical information systems), work in laboratories, and access the University's three on-campus museums.
Flexible study options
At Reading, you can explore different periods of ancient history through both literary and material sources.
Your studies will address important questions relevant to our global future, including human diets and health, environmental change, politics and power, inequality, migration and identity.
By studying human societies through time, you’ll understand how the critical issues of today have roots in the past, and you’ll gain insights from how previous cultures tackled comparable problems.
You can 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.
Skills for life
Throughout your degree, you’ll gain a broad range of skills and experiences that are highly regarded by employers, including:
- the ability to analyse and understand complex information
- the ability to research and present findings in a coherent manner
- empathy with others from diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.
All our degree programmes include professional development training and further opportunities, supported by the University’s dedicated Careers Service.
Combine your studies with opportunities to study abroad, or take a year abroad with our four-year BA Ancient History and Archaeology with Study Year Abroad course.
Alternatively, you can study this course over three years by choosing our BA Ancient History and Archaeology degree.