BA Archaeology and History
Explore the richness and variety of past human experience, and discover its influence on our present and future, with our BA Archaeology and History degree.
At the University of Reading, you will join a community of passionate and curious staff and students from both the Department of History and the Department of Archaeology which 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 the latest Research Excellence Framework 2021).
You’ll gain an awareness of the development of differing values, systems and societies, working to address issues critical to our shared global future – including human diets and health, environmental change, inequality, migration and identity.
In your archaeological studies, you’ll study material remains to uncover our human past, from as early as the first hominins millions of years ago. Your historical studies will then take you on a journey through Britain, Europe, Africa, America, the Middle East and South Asia, spanning the past thousand years. You’ll interrogate historical records and explore visual and material culture through texts, paintings, photographs, films and oral sources.
Through the lens of these two complementary subjects, you’ll gain a richer, more holistic understanding of our shared human past, balancing your critical evaluation of historical sources against the physical evidence of lived experience provided by archaeological finds.
What you will study
You'll explore a broad range of subjects and approaches, getting insights into the richness and variety of past human experience. Your studies will span through a variety of topics and modules, including:
- the investigation of both artefacts recovered through excavation and standing monuments
- the rise of organised religion through to the Crusades
- handling remains to learn about burial archaeology
- examining how ideas of gender are reflected and imposed through the material world.
You’ll be presented with new and exciting fields of history you may not have considered before, including people, power and revolution, and culture, art and ideas.
- Read about Dr Jacqui Turner’s research into the history of female pioneers in British politics.
- Discover Dr Richard Blakemore’s module on piracy during the rise of British Empire.
- Read about Professor Hella Eckardt and her research on migration and cultural integration in Britain.
Your studies will enable you to develop critical and analytical skills, honing your ability to objectively evaluate situations within their wider context and reach judgements based on the facts. You will be able to build, reason and evidence compelling arguments and apply your skills at comprehending and distilling your research to communicate effectively. These broad, transferable skills will stand you in good stead both during your studies, and after graduation, when you enter the working world.
You also have the option to further enhance your skills and broaden your experience with an integrated year abroad at one of our partner universities overseas, by opting for our BA Archaeology and History with Study Year Abroad degree.
Fieldwork and study trips
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.
Additionally, the Department of History offers a week-long European Study Trip Abroad module, taking an in-depth look at one of our academics’ research projects. Past locations have included Berlin, Rome and Paris.
- Read about alumna Marcie Week’s experience in the programme and her participation in the Field School.
Enhance your employability through placements
You will have the opportunity to enhance your employability by applying for placements. There are several opportunities for you to choose from, such as: working directly on a current project within the Department or one of our three on-site museums; undertaking a summer placement; or even taking a full year of professional experience between your second and final years of study.
Additionally, you could choose one of the optional modules offering placement experiences. These are:
- Going Public, which will enable you to work on a project with an external body, such as a museum or heritage organisation, presenting history to the wider public.
- Discovering Archives and Collections, which offers a ten-day placement, allowing you to explore a career in historical research, or in the archive and heritage sectors.