Studying at the IoA


In your First Term as an undergraduate

  • The Experimental Archaeology course. This runs in the first week of the first term and all new undergraduates attend. This is a good opportunity to get to know fellow students and staff.
  • Induction: This includes talks about the structure and administration of the degree, assessment, coursework, plagiarism, computing, fieldwork, support available to those with dyslexia or in need of advice on writing academic English, careers, counselling, as well as tours of library, building, UCL, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and the archaeological collections.
  • All first year students receive a comprehensive Handbook, and receive an additional handbook which covers what they need to know in the first two weeks of term.
  • All new overseas undergraduates are also invited to the Institute in the week before the start of term (as part of the UCL Overseas Students’ Orientation Programme).
  • The Society of Archaeology Students (SAS) - our very active student society regards support of new students as part of its role. It actively involves all undergraduates in organised activities (e.g. the Experimental Archaeology course), departmental committees, student representation and feedback, and social activities. The officers of the society include reps with responsibility for Mature Students, Overseas Students, and Students with Disabilities. The student society also produces an Alternative Prospectus, which is sent to new students in August.

In your First Year as an undergraduate we have a variety of support systems to help you

  • Dedicated First-year Tutor meets all students first both in groups, and individually – all students are encouraged to raise concerns (e.g. health issues, accommodation, finance, etc) throughout the year.
  • Weekly Review – 1 hour per week throughout the year, run by the First year Tutor, to cover specific topics such as talks on essay writing, referencing, strategies for note taking, library services, computing provision, careers, counselling, fieldwork, presentation skills, next year’s courses, exam and revision strategy.
  • Student mentor discussion groups - We have a system of mentoring of first years by second and third years. Students are divided into small groups and meet with 2 student mentors each week for open-ended discussions. In Term 2 students give individual presentations on topics of their own choice
  • Practice essays - All new undergraduates are required to write a 1500-word practice essay within 3 weeks of the start of term. This is marked by the Personal Tutor and returned within one week. This enables us to identify those who need to be tested for dyslexia, or seek advice from our Teaching and Learning Mentor.
  • Advice on writing academic English on a one-to-one basis.
  • Dyslexia - Each year one of our second-years volunteers to act as a Disability Coordinator, and writes to all new students in August to stress the excellent support that it available at UCL for those with disabilities. In the first week of term, we encourage anyone who wishes to do so to come forward for dyslexia testing and make special arrangements as appropriate.
  • Administrative back-up - our Academic Administrator and Assistant provide back-up and are available to provide advice and pastoral care to students.

Throughout your time as an undergraduate

  • All students receive a comprehensive Handbook each year
  • Personal Tutor system - Each student meets with their Personal Tutor individually and has the opportunity to raise any concerns about accommodation, finances, etc. Twice a year students meet their Personal Tutor to discuss progress. Students are asked to reflect on their progress and complete a progress form. Students are also encouraged to see their Personal Tutors at any time during the year about problems, etc.
  • UCL support services. UCL provides a wide range of services and links to other organisations to help with many aspects of your life as a student. These include the UCL Online Student Support Website and the Counselling Service, as well as the Careers Service, "Workstation" and help with accommodation.
  • Facilities. You will become increasingly familiar with many of the facilities for learning and research that we have. This includes the library, the archaeological collections of UCL as well as our laboratories.
  • Fieldwork;

    • The training excavation that you will do in the summer of your first year
    • Introductory information on the central UCL website about fieldwork.
    • Fieldwork opportunities for current Institute of Archaeology students are circulated each year in the Fieldwork Bulletin

 See also the student administration pages and the (unofficial) website of the Society of Archaeological Students.

Fieldwork is a core element of all of the undergraduate degrees at the Institute of Archaeology.  You are required to undertake a minimum of 70 days on field projects.  Fieldwork grants are available for the full 70 days.  The first year begins with four days spent on an Experimental Archaeology course currently based at West Dean in Sussex.  ‘Prim Tech’, as it is fondly known, provides a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn about pre-industrial technologies and to socialise with fellow students.  The first year ends with a formal 12-day field training course, also based at West Dean.  In recent years these course have been based on the excavation of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, a Downland landscape, a Medieval castle and several Roman villas in various locations.

Following on from the field training course, BA/BSc Archaeology and Egyptian Archaeology students are required to undertake the additional days on a variety of field and post-excavation projects and to document this experience in a portfolio which is assessed at the start of the third year.  For your first project after the training course, you are expected to join an approved excavation in Britain.  There are also opportunities to work with a member of the Institute’s staff elsewhere in the world.  Currently, staff are working on projects in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa as well as the Near and Far East.  Classical Archaeology students spend this time undertaking a study tour of the Mediterranean, while Archaeology and Anthropology students can combine fieldwork projects from both disciplines.  The remaining days of the 70 days requirement may be spend learning additional field or field-related skills or undertaking fieldwork for the third year dissertation.  Alternative arrangements can be made for any students with disabilities for whom a full fieldwork programme may present particular difficulties.

Students are able to claim a grant towards the cost of travel and subsistence.  Fieldwork costs vary with location of the projects; this grant may not cover all your expenses if you choose to work abroad.  A booklet, The Survival Guide for Archaeological Fieldwork, detailing the type of clothing and other equipment needed is available from Charlotte Frearson (Undergraduate Programme Administrator). At 2014 prices, £250 would cover basic costs for a trowel, boots, waterproof clothing, a sleeping bag, a tent and other essentials.

We are delighted that our students come from a very wide variety of countries. The latest available figures (for January 2009) show that our students come from around 50 different countries, with our undergraduates coming from 20. In total about 42% of our students come from outside the UK.

Bermuda, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Finland, France, Germany, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Turkey, UK, USA

There are possibilities for an extended period of study abroad during our three-year BA and BSc Archaeology degrees under the Erasmus-Socrates scheme. The Socrates exchange agreements are bilateral agreements between EU universities designed to encourage mobility of students and staff across the EU and beyond. The Institute of Archaeology UCL has exchange agreements with universities in Denmark, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Austria, and Holland. More agreements are being established.

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