Deepen your understanding of the relationship between human societies and the natural world with our BSc Geography and Archaeology joint honours degree.
This course draws from two complementary disciplines to offer a uniquely comprehensive perspective on the world around us – and our place in it.
The relationship between humans and our environments is the most important global challenge of the twenty-first century. With a joint focus in geography and archaeology, you will explore this relationship through the study of societies in both the past and present, and the physical processes that have formed – and continue to modify – the world around us.
Gain practical knowledge and skills as well as a theoretical understanding of how the challenges we face have been tackled through time. You will be encouraged to apply the lessons from our past and present to address the global challenges of our future, including:
- climate change
- social inequality
- cultural identity and heritage.
You will look as far back as the earliest hominins millions of years ago and carry on up to the present day. Combining long-term and contemporary perspectives, you will gain deep insight into the impact of human behaviour on environmental change. Your highly-integrated studies in geography and archaeology will be well balanced, mixing humanities, culture, and social and natural sciences.
Over the course of your studies, you’ll work with experts from across our School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science. Our academics draw on their ongoing research to influence your studies, and you may even have opportunities to participate in research projects. We provide a welcoming, friendly community, and our approachable staff aim to create a supportive learning environment. Lively student-led societies like GeogSoc (Reading University Geography Society) and RUined (Reading University Archaeology Society) offer a variety of social events.
Our Department of Geography and Environmental Science is 4th in the UK for research power in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences (Research Fortnight's Analysis Power Rankings, 2014, based on its analysis of REF 2014).
Our teaching is highly rated, with 85% overall satisfaction in the teaching provided on the course recognised in the National Student Survey 2021. Our academics are helping to combat some of the greatest challenges facing our world today. For example:
- Professor Hilary Geoghegan is connecting individual passion and action
- Professor Hannah Cloke is forecasting floods for a better future
- Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans is empowering small communities.
Our Department of Archaeology is ranked in the top 10 UK universities for Archaeology (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021). We have an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90%–100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2010-2021.
97% of our research overall was judged to be world leading, internationally excellent, or internationally recognised, according the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014 – Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology: A – Archaeology.
Our academics are passionate about reconstructing our past to influence our future. For example,
- Dr Hella Eckardt is proving Britain’s long history of diversity
- Dr Gabor Thomas is shedding light on the Dark Ages
- Dr Gundula Muldner is using modern science to discover the past.
Your learning environment
On this course you will learn through a combination of:
- laboratory and other practical work
- field classes
Depending on your module choices, methods of assessment can range from fieldwork diaries and research projects to article critiques and laboratory reports.
You will gain a thorough grounding in scientific geographical and archaeological techniques as you develop your analytical, surveying, planning, and excavation skills.
You will also build your practical fieldwork skills through core field classes (currently based in the Somerset Levels), archaeological projects including the Archaeology Field School (currently run at Silchester Roman Town and Dunyvaig Castle on Islay), and national and international geography field classes (current venues include Spain, Berlin, Crete, Naples and Iceland).
Specialist fieldwork equipment will enrich and support your learning, as will access to our extensive collections of artefacts, biological and geological specimens, analytical IT software facilities, and diverse suite of laboratories. You will also have access to our three on-site museums and the University’s special collections.
Flexible study options
Tailor your degree to your interests with our range of optional modules and flexible pathway structure. For example, you can pursue pathways in:
- Identity and heritage
- Climate change
- Development and sustainability.
You can also choose to study this course over four years to include a study year abroad, a professional placement, or a combination of both:
- BSc Geography and Archaeology with Study Year Abroad
- BSc Geography and Archaeology with Professional Placement
- BSc Geography and Archaeology with Placement and Study Abroad
Placements and studying abroad
As part of the three-year BSc Geography and Archaeology degree, you will be encouraged to undertake short placements with local and regional employers to help develop your professional skills and boost your employability.
You can also study abroad for a semester at one of our partner universities. Our partners currently include universities in Europe (for example, the University of Malta, and Uppsala in Sweden) and as far afield as Australia and the USA.