Study BSc Archaeological Science at Reading, one of the top scientific archaeology courses in the UK.
Join a university that's ranked in the top 10 UK universities for Archaeology (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021), and gain an impressive range of subject-specific and transferable skills spanning the sciences and the humanities.
Explore our outstanding teaching collections and laboratory facilities, with dedicated spaces for the analysis of human remains, artefacts, plant pollen, and archaeological soils and sediments.
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 latest Research Excellence Framework 2014. We also have an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90-100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2010-2020.
BSc Archaeological Science differs from our BA Archaeology course as it concentrates much more on the scientific and forensic aspects of archaeology. On this course, you will gain a wide range of skills to assist you in the study of human bones (including osteology and palaeopathology), enabling you to learn more about past societies, diets and diseases.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a dedicated Field School during your course, gaining direct hands-on experience in all aspects of an archaeological excavation. Put your skills into practice, including excavation, surveying, GIS (geographical information systems) mapping, planning, and finds processing, and contribute to archaeological knowledge through our discoveries.
The course also has a strong focus on environmental archaeology and geoarchaeology, through which you will make fascinating discoveries about ancient human societies, as well as the evolution of landscapes and climate change.
This diverse approach presents you with many areas to explore and specialise in, providing you with plenty of options for your final-year dissertation.
If you are interested in studying abroad, you have the opportunity to spend a term at Aarhus University in Denmark or the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland in your second year, getting to know a new academic and cultural environment.
Placement year or year abroad
All archaeology degree programmes (single and joint honours) are also available as four-year courses, which give 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. 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 you obtain from an Archaeology degree.
Recent 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
Our department has 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. Current options include the Universities of Malta, Aarhus (Denmark), Torún (Poland) and the University of Florida in Gainesville (U.S.A).