Our BA Archaeology and History degree offers insights into the richness and variety of past human experience, covering a wide range of subjects and approaches.
You will gain knowledge of a range of chronological periods, as well as develop your ability to analyse change over time and to compare cross-cultural and abstract concepts. This flexible course enables you to tailor your degree to your interests and apply what you learn in the real world.
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. You will learn about Burial Archaeology, Material Culture, Bioarchaeology (including human remains), Forensics, Past Environments (including Geoarchaeology), Museums and Gender Archaeology. Benefit from our dedicated Archaeology Building and specialist equipment, and learn in purpose-built laboratories.
Our expertise in history covers a wide range of world regions – Europe and Africa to America, South Asia and the Middle East. Module choices cover several historical periods: these include the Crusades, the 1960s, slavery in America, the Tudor monarchy, Cold War Berlin and medieval magic. In your first year, core modules will explore people, politics, and revolution. You will find out how people struggled for power in past societies, and learn about the culture and concepts those societies developed.
In the Department of History, our academics are experts at the forefront of their disciplines. Their research feeds into your studies, exposing you to the latest developments in the field. In 2020, we achieved a 91% satisfaction score for the teaching on our BA History course in the National Student Survey.
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 Research Excellence Framework 2014. We also have an outstanding record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90-100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, 2010-2021.
If you are interested in studying abroad, you have the opportunity to spend a term at one of our partner universities in your second year, getting to know a new academic and cultural environment.
Placement year or year abroad
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. Staff in the Department of History also have links to specific areas of interest such as Cliveden, Historic England, Reading Museum, Reading Borough Libraries and the Museum of Rural English Life (MERL). Alternatively you can apply for 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.
Previous 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
Both the Archaeology and History departments 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).
For more information, please visit the Department of Archaeology website.