BA Archaeology Part-Time

If you're interested in getting a degree in archaeology but don’t want to study full-time, this degree option is for you.

An archaeology student in the Peak District.

Our BA Archaeology, part-time, is an honours degree programme taught in the Department of Archaeology. You'll study alongside our full-time students and have the opportunity to participate in the field, lab and placement opportunities offered by the department.

Course details

Entry requirements: ABB at A Level, or equivalent

Duration: 6 years

Programme code: AAPU06


How to apply

To study this course part-time, you will need to apply through our online application form.

Apply now

Course description

This course gives you an excellent foundation in all aspects of world archaeology. Choose from a range of specialist modules to suit your interests. Modules cover a variety of time periods, geographic locations and methodological approaches. Topics range from human evolution to experimental archaeology.

Your degree combines hands-on learning with small-group teaching and lectures. You'll work in both the field and the laboratory, developing critical skills in diverse archaeological methods. You'll also have the chance to work alongside world-class researchers on a range of archaeological materials.

Right from the start, you'll get in-depth archaeological experience. You'll do a minimum of six weeks either in the field, the laboratory or the workplace. We have a dedicated field school for excavation training and you'll have the chance to get involved in staff research projects, lab work and excavations. These experiences, combined with your key archaeological skills, will prepare you for a professional career in archaeology or the heritage sector.

We have cutting-edge laboratory facilities and extensive archaeological research collections, including human, animal and plant remains. We also have modern experimental equipment, including a 3D portable structured light scanner. Optional science-based modules give you the chance to work with organic and inorganic materials and develop your laboratory skills.

Modules

Level 1 (years one and two) will give you a global perspective on human origins and world civilisations. You'll be introduced to archaeological research processes, whilst our field school will give you a solid foundation in the methods of archaeological excavation.

As well as being able to choose from the optional modules below, at Level 1 you will have the opportunity to use your remaining credits to study modules from across the university. 

Core modules

The Archaeology of Britain: from Prehistory to the Industrial Revolution

The Archaeology of Britain: from Prehistory to the Industrial Revolution provides an introduction to the archaeology of the British Isles from the Palaeolithic, through to the Roman occupation and beyond the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution. Through a combination of lectures and fieldtrips, you will discover the wealth of archaeological evidence found beneath our feet; from significant excavations and sites to artefacts and the material record. You will explore how this evidence reveals changes that took place over time which helped shaped the people, cultures and landscapes of the Britain Isles.

Human origins, migrations and identities

This module uses the theme of migration as a framework to evaluate the responses of ancestral human populations to environmental and other challenges to society. You will complete a survey of the archaeological record from 3 million years before present to the first millennium AD, and through lectures and practical sessions gain an understanding of the archaeological use of human and animal remains and material culture to reconstruct the mobility of people, animals and objects. In addition, you will consider different perspectives about the current relevance of archaeological approaches to population dispersal in understanding past, present and future societal challenges.

Revealing the Past

'Revealing the Past' introduces the archaeological research process and the environment within which British archaeology functions. This module enables students to develop fundamental field skills. Students will gain an understanding of the research process throughout the module; both by recovering evidence in the field using basic survey and excavation methods and by being introduced to the process of dealing with material and data recovered during fieldwork. The course will build towards a two-week field course which will take place at the end of the teaching period. The majority of the contact hours are practical sessions in the field and laboratory, where students will work collaboratively on an original programme of archaeological research. Lectures provide additional guidance on the methods employed and the historical context for the research. The development of transferable skills will be enhanced by collaboration with University of Sheffield Enterprise.

Towards modernity: anthropology, archaeology and colonialism

This module explores how anthropology and archaeology developed in early modern Europe, and how this development was shaped by, and mirrored, the cultural and political history of Europe, through the Renaissance, Reformation and especially European colonial expansion into other continents. Anthropology and archaeology developed to explore European encounters with the 'other' cultures of distant places and times. These disciplines have widely served to legitimise European exploitation of other continents and to promote particular groups and causes within Europe, but latterly have also critiqued such trends.

Professional Experience and Development

During the Professional Experience and Development module, students will complete 20 days¿ work experience (spread across Levels 1-3), which they will organise independently, supported by the departmental fieldwork officer and their personal tutors. The work experience will take place with organisations and projects in the archaeological, heritage or related sectors. Students will attend week-long Careers and Professional Development (CPD) courses during Levels 1-3. The CPD course will provide workshops and networking events designed to support students¿ professional development. The module will be assessed as pass/fail based on satisfactory attendance and professional conduct during the work placement, and demonstrating progress in basic competencies in their Skills Passport.

Optional modules 

Classical World and its Legacy

Greco-Roman classical civilisation (particularly the 'high culture' of art, architecture, literature and political institutions) has long been seen as the inspiration for, and yardstick against which to judge, modern European culture. The rich and varied evidence of modern archaeology is used to explore how this high culture was supported and experienced by ordinary people. The module will consider the nature of Early Iron Age Greece and its Bronze Age background, the nature of its colonies in the Mediterranean, and the development of the Athenian Empire. The exploration of Italy will begin with the Iron Age peoples of the Italian peninsula, following on to trace the rise of Rome and her empire in the East and the West. The late Roman Empire will be examined with reference to the rise of Christianity and other eastern religions, and this will be traced through to the Early Medieval Period in Europe. The role of Islam in the formation of Europe, and the dissemination of Islamic culture, will be considered. The module will conclude by exploring the place of the Classical world in both modern Europe and the New World.

World Civilisations

The popular image of archaeology is captured by the fictional Indiana Jones in his search for the lost secrets of ancient civilisations. This module explores some of the most famous early civilisations, including Mesopotamia, China, and Egypt in the Old World, and the Inca in the New World. Similarities and differences in the development of these civilisations are evaluated, as are the contentious roles of colonisation, diffusion, trade and world systems. The classic civilisations are placed in a wider context by looking at human cultures as diverse as the Vikings, Zimbabwe, and the Plains Indians. In conclusion, the module discusses changing understandings of what it may have meant to be 'civilised'. Since the emergence of anatomically modern man and the inception of farming and sedentism, human societies have undergone radical changes, including the development of urbanism, advanced craft specialisation and long-distance trade, writing and bureaucracy social stratification and warfare, statehood and empire, colonialism and globalisation. This module explores the nature, causes and consequences of these changes.

In Level 2 (years three and four), you'll explore your subject in more depth, developing your research skills and archaeological practice. You'll have the opportunity to specialise in period-based modules such as Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England, and the Celtic West.

Core modules

Archaeology Matters

'Archaeology Matters' enables students to develop their research skills and their understanding of the cultural and professional context of archaeology. Students will work on a research project studying the historic environment of a given area of Sheffield. They will work collaboratively with peers, academic staff, professional archaeologists and members of the community. The students will build on their understanding of the research process and further develop their skills in observation and interpretation of archaeological evidence. They will gain new skills in planning a research project, the application of advanced techniques in organising and analysing data, and the presentation of results in a public setting.

Thinking through Archaeology

This module provides you with a basic intellectual route-map through the complex literature that addresses the definition of human society, the nature of scientific reasoning, the nature of historical analysis, and the place of archaeology in contemporary society. All these issues have had a major impact upon the history of archaeology over the last 40 years, and all these issues are fundamentally important in developing the skills in detailed empirical analysis that are required by archaeology.

Professional Experience and Development module

During the Professional Experience and Development module, students will complete 20 days' work experience (spread across Levels 1-3), which they will organise independently, supported by the departmental fieldwork officer and their personal tutors. The work experience will take place with organisations and projects in the archaeological, heritage or related sectors. Students will attend week-long Careers and Professional Development (CPD) courses during Levels 1-3. The CPD course will provide workshops and networking events designed to support students¿ professional development. The module will be assessed as pass/fail based on satisfactory attendance and professional conduct during the work placement, and demonstrating progress in basic competencies in their Skills Passport.

Optional modules

Archaeology and text

This module will critically examine the relationship between History and Archaeology by re-evaluating the role of artefacts and documents in the investigation of the historical past. By moving beyond the tendency to treat artefacts and documents simply as sources of information about the past, the course will examine the ways both may have operated as technologies, that by their application, defined the possibilities of different forms of human life. Central to this study would be the concern wi

Europe's First Farmers

This module explores the social, cultural and economic worlds of Europe's first farmers, during the first 500-1000 years from the beginnings of the Neolithic, ranging from the 7th millennium BC in the southeast to the 4th millennium BC in the northwest of the continent. A series of paired lectures and seminars examines topics including settlement, land use, subsistence, craft production and exchange, material culture and identity, and warfare, and the long-standing debate between colonisation and acculturation as mechanisms of Neolithisation. Geographically, the module ranges widely across Mediterranean and temperate Europe, focussing on case studies selected for their richness of data or their potential to illustrate regional contrasts. Throughout emphasis is placed on integration of 'conventional' and 'scientific' archaeological data, interpreted in the light of analogy with recent small-scale farming societies.

Minoans: Crete in the Bronze Age

This module explores the social, cultural and economic transformations that occurred over the course of the Bronze Age on Crete, usually referred to as the Minoan civilisation (from late 4th to late 2nd millennium BC). A series of paired lectures and seminars examines topics including topography, environment, material culture and identity, the rise of state organisation, funerary practice, religion and performance, urbanisation, the Linear scripts and power and the collapse of complex systems. This contemplation of Minoan Crete addresses issues of iconography, architecture, material culture studies and landscape archaeology. It also takes advantage of a variety of evidence from`scientific' approaches, including human osteology, archaeozoology, metallurgy, ceramic analysis, GIS, and organic residue analysis.

Science in Archaeology

This module explores the role of science in archaeological research, ranging from prospection on both landscape and intra-site scales, through the development of dating frameworks, to the study of environmental change, biological evolution, demography, technology, diet, and the movement of people, other animals, plants and materials. `Scientific archaeology' is taken to embrace both (1) the application in the field and laboratory of analytical techniques adapted from the natural sciences and (2) the use of rigorous, explicit and quantitative methods of data sampling, analysis and interpretation. The module comprises a series of lectures paired with practical classes.

The Ancient Greek Economy 

This module explores the economic foundations of the ancient Greek world from the 8th to 2nd centuries BC, with particular emphasis on the Classical period (5th-4th centuries BC) and the polis societies of Athens and its neighbours. This task involves critical engagement with different forms of textual, iconographic and archaeological evidence and throughout emphasis is placed on the challenges and rewards of combining diverse sources of evidence. Students are first introduced to key debates about the nature of the ancient Greek economy and the strengths and weaknesses of the sources available for reconstructing it. Thereafter, a series of paired lectures and seminars, organised chronologically and thematically, examines topics including settlement, land ownership and land use, slavery, craft production, trade, material culture and identity, and sacred economies in social contexts ranging from the early polis and Greek colonisation, through empire to the emergence of Hellenistic kingdoms.

The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England

This interdisciplinary module seeks to reconstruct an understanding of Anglo-Saxon England from the end of the Roman Empire in the early fifth century to advent of the Viking Age. There exists a modern-day notion that the `Anglo-Saxons' were the first people identifiable as `English', developing in isolation from Continental Europe. This module will break down the misconceptions of Britain's `Anglo-Saxon' past through the analysis and interpretation of written sources and archaeological evidence, including material culture and scientific data. It will explore the people and their beliefs, and will demonstrate that Anglo-Saxon England was intricately connected to the wider European and Mediterranean world.

The Celtic West: from the fall of Rome to the Viking Age

This interdisciplinary module seeks to reconstruct an understanding of early medieval western Britain and Ireland from the end of the Roman Empire in the early fifth century to advent of the Viking Age. In contrast to the Anglo-Saxon regions of eastern Britain, there exists the notion that the Celtic West was at the `edge of the earth', and consequently was a land of tyrants and barbarians, who, in their isolation, were removed from the cultural and political developments of this time. This module will break down the misconceptions of Britain's `Dark Age' past through the analysis and interpretation of written sources and archaeological evidence, including material culture and scientific data. It will explore the people and their beliefs, and will demonstrate that, as the realm of Saints, scholars, traders and artisans, early medieval western Britain and Ireland were intricately connected to the wider European and Mediterranean world.


 

At Level 3 (years five and six) you'll choose from a wide range of optional modules. Topics could include Later Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain & Ireland, Egypt in the Age of Empire, and Athens and the Black Sea. An optional workplace learning module gives you the chance to gain valuable practical experience in a professional working environment. Your placement will be in the archaeology or heritage sector. For example, you might work for a commercial unit, in a laboratory or for a museum.

To complete your degree, you'll carry out a piece of original research in the form of a dissertation. Your academic supervisor will work closely with you from the Level 2 to develop your project. Your research will contribute to our understanding of the past and you'll share your findings in our student research conference.

Core modules

Dissertation in Archaeology

The dissertation is the most substantial piece of assessed work you will produce in the course of your degree programme. It is an opportunity for you actively to pursue a particular topic in which you have developed an interest and is usually an extension of themes emerging from other modules you have taken. The dissertation may be based on the collection of original data, on the re-elaboration of secondary sources, or both. Whatever is the case, a well-executed dissertation will show elements of original thinking and critical analysis. The dissertation will enable you to develop your research skills and learn to work independently. In the course of your dissertation preparation you will not, however, work in isolation but you will be supported by your dissertation supervisor and, whenever needed, by your personal tutor and the undergraduate dissertation coordinator.

Professional Experience and Development

During the Professional Experience and Development module, students will complete 20 days' work experience (spread across Levels 1-3), which they will organise independently, supported by the departmental fieldwork officer and their personal tutors. The work experience will take place with organisations and projects in the archaeological, heritage or related sectors. Students will attend week-long Careers and Professional Development (CPD) courses during Levels 1-3. The CPD course will provide workshops and networking events designed to support students¿ professional development. The module will be assessed as pass/fail based on satisfactory attendance and professional conduct during the work placement, and demonstrating progress in basic competencies in their Skills Passport.

Optional modules

Archaeozoology

Archaeozoology (or Zooarchaeology) is the study of past human interaction with animals through the analysis of their material remains. This module provides a practical introduction to the identification, analysis and interpretation of animal bones from archaeological sites. Practical skills are developed through group laboratory work, concentrating on mammals but also touching on other classes of vertebrates. Methodological and theoretical issues in archaeological interpretation are discussed in the classes in combination with the hands-on work. The course culminates in a project report, which reconstructs animal exploitation through the analysis of ageing and biometrical data.

Athens and the Black Sea

This module explores written and archaeological sources for ancient Greek settlement in the Black Sea and their interaction with indigenous inhabitants, as well as the political, economic and cultural relationships Athens developed with the region. This module considers the evidence for early Greek contact with the Black Sea region, the nature of early Greek settlements and the dynamic interactions these settlements had with each other and with Athens during the peak of its political power in the Classical period. The themes of trade and exchange, competition and diplomacy and death and commemoration are considered.

Catastrophes and Climate Change: prehistory to Modernity

A series of lectures and seminars examines the responses of past cultures to natural catastrophes and periods of dramatic climate change which took place from earlier prehistoric times to the post medieval period across the globe. The module draws on the archaeological and historical evidence but also includes a review of the physical landscape record. It will explore the development of the landscape change brought about by these natural hazards and its contribution to changes in human society and nature of the archaeological record. Student led as well as staff led seminars will feature to ensure that examples drawn from all time periods of interest to the student body are addressed.

Decoding the Landscape: integrated methods in landscape archaeology

The module will build on the skills the student has developed through the fieldwork they have undertaken earlier in their degree course and on Level 2 modules. This module will introduce the student to advanced levels of processing, interpreting and integrating data sets produced from aerial photographs, topographic and geophysical surveying using methods and software typical of standard professional practice within the UK. While this module will be based primarily on data derived from and methods used within the UK, throughout the module the relevance of these approaches and potential for their use in other geographical areas is considered. The integration of these data sets within Geographical Information Systems will form a unifying core to this module and this will result in the student developing a basic level of skill in the use of GIS software. Opportunities will occur throughout the module for the development of individual and team problem solving skills through the exercises in the collection, processing, interpretation and presentation of data. Project planning and management is introduced through the student's responsibility to organise and complete a substantial practical project report. The close association between the skills developed in this module and current professional practice will enhance the employability of students who may be seeking careers within field archaeology.

Egypt in the age of empire

This module provides the student with a detailed knowledge of the archaeology of Dynastic Egypt during the New Kingdom, between 16th and 11th centuries BC (18th - 20th Dynasties). The module embeds Egypt in its late prehistoric Mediterranean and Near Eastern context and traces the deveopment of Eyptian society. Dynastic rule and its relationship with neighbours. The module will use archaeological, textual and scientific evidence to explore how ideology, belief, genetic lineages and conflict shape society.

Experimental Archaeology 

This module provides students with a theoretical and practical knowledge of experimental reconstruction and the diverse role it fulfils within wider archaeological practice. Major trends and developments in the study of craft, architecture and site formation are discussed with a focus on the historical role of experimental reconstruction. The module critically reviews current practice and explores possibilities for future practice. The module has a high practical content and students can be expected to engage in team projects. 

Later Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain and Ireland 

The module introduces the Later Neolithic and Bronze Age of Britain and Ireland (2800-750 BC). This period witnessed dramatic and lasting changes in the constitution of society, the formation of the landscape, and the meanings off material culture. These changes included the full adoption of agriculture, the construction of major ceremonial monuments such as Stonehenge, the flourishing and decline of novel burial rites, the development of metallurgy, and the widespread enclosure of the countryside into field systems. Through lectures and small-group discussion, and fieldtrips, we will review and debate the major themes that have dominated archaeological narratives of the period.

Rome: Capital, Hinterland and Periphery

This unit provides the student with a detailed knowledge of the archaeology of the Roman Empire, from the city of Rome to settlements in Italy and other regions of Europe. The module embeds Rome in its later prehistoric Italian and Mediterranean context and traces the creation and development of Rome as a cosmopolis. It also explores the transformation of towns in Italy, the Mediterranean and Europe in emulation of Rome. The module invesitgates and discusses the profound changes in society from Republic to Empire, the political and economic culture of Empire and the visual and material expression of imperial ideology. The dialogue between the living and the dead and its cultural and social implications for Roman Europe will also be examined.

Work Place Learning

The module will provide `hands-on' experience in a professional working environment. The placement(s) (of c.15 days) can be in the archaeological sector, such as a research excavation, laboratory, museum, or commercial unit. They can also be with non-archaeological organisations which engage with archaeology, apply archaeological knowledge, or have working practices that resemble or inform an archaeological approach e.g. scientific labs, schools, environmental agencies and consultancies etc. The assessment will involve an occupational study and a placement report summarising the work undertaken together with a reflection on the learning experience.


Through my studies I have been able to access a wide variety of volunteer and paid work experiences, ranging from volunteering for Museums Sheffield in the archaeology store to working in the University's Western Bank Library.” , BA Archaeology Part-Time

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BA Archaeology, part-time


Entry requirements

ABB at A Level, or equivalent. For a full list of qualifications we accept, please see our online prospectus page for BA Archaeology.

If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade C/4; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification.

Alternative English language qualifications


Fees and funding

For information about tuition fees and other financial information, visit our undergraduate fees and funding webpages.


Contact us

If you would like to discuss studying archaeology part-time, have questions about your qualifications or would like more information about the programme please contact us:

Contact us

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 22 January 2020


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