Deepen your understanding of the relationship between human societies and the natural world with our BSc Geography and Archaeology with Professional Placement degree.
This four-year, joint honours 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.
A key component of this course is a fourth year so that you can complete a placement during your third year of study.
A professional placement allows you to apply – and increase – your academic knowledge while enhancing your employability.
Previous placement students have worked in labs and analysed samples, processed remains, conducted collections-based research, drawn archaeological finds, and investigated paleoclimate records.
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 geographical and archaeological sectors, including:
- research institutions
- government organisations
- environmental agencies
- local planning authorities
- archaeological consultancies
- field units
Alternatively, you may choose to complete a placement in a non-related business or industry to explore different career options.
Recent placement employers have included:
- Oxford Archaeology
- Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
- Department of Energy and Climate Change
- Thames Water
- Mediterranean Paleoclimate Project
- QUEST, the University of Reading’s scientific consultancy company.
In addition to your formal professional placement, you will also be encouraged to undertake short placements with local and regional employers during your studies.
For more information about securing and completing a placement for your placement year, please visit our Important Information page.
Studying at Reading
Over the course of your four years with us, 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 Hannah Cloke is forecasting floods for a better future
- Professor Hilary Geoghegan is inspiring individual action
- 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, 2019). We have an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90%–100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2010-2020.
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 three years with our BSc Geography and Archaeology. Other four year options include: