BA in Archaeology and Anthropology


Co-ordinators: David Wengrow and Haidy Geismar

UCL has the largest and most diverse archaeology department and the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK. They are located next to each other in the heart of London, within walking distance of the city’s major cultural attractions. At UCL, we pursue the big questions of the human past—how did our species evolve? what does it mean to be human?—and we relate those questions to the everyday problems and decisions that shape people’s lives. You can expect training in the full range of methods, theories and techniques from leading researchers in archaeology and anthropology, whose work spans the globe. Like other ‘Arch & Anth’ degrees, ours is built around a combination of archaeology, social anthropology, and biological anthropology. But unlike other universities we also incorporate a department of material culture studies, which takes seriously how new fashions and technologies—from mobile phones to denim jeans—are transforming societies throughout the world. We are also committed to understanding how the past is used in the present through a critical approach to the ever-increasing role of museums, tourism and cultural heritage in the global economy.

UCL Institute of Archaeology

Our teaching is structured around a combination of lectures and seminars, in addition to which you will follow a specially designed programme of small-group tutorials that are tailored to your degree. These tutorials continue throughout the duration of your studies at UCL, and ensure close and regular contact between students and staff as you progress to more advanced levels of understanding. We have no particular expectations about your GCE A level choices. Both sciences and humanities are essential to an understanding of human diversity, and here you will learn how they relate to one another, regardless of your educational background so far. You will become directly familiar with prehistoric and ancient societies by using our superb university collections, including the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. You will also have access to laboratory facilities to develop analytical skills such as photography or computational analysis. And you will undertake practical fieldwork, so as to understand how archaeologists and anthropologists obtain information about human societies in the past and present. The skills that we offer are in wide public demand and have prepared former graduates for an extraordinary range of careers, both academic and non-academic.

Degree benefits

  • This programme presents ample opportunities to develop in-depth knowledge and specialised skills in particular aspects of international archaeological and anthropological research.
  • Our unique emphasis on modern material culture exposes unsuspected links between archaeology and anthropology, the deep past and the everyday present.
  • UCL has the largest and most diverse archaeology department and the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK, located next to each other in the heart of London.
  • The opportunity to participate in staff-led research projects in many parts of the world, together with other field projects, thanks to UCL's fieldwork grants.

The degree is structured around a combination of core and optional courses. The core courses ensure that you will maintain a balanced training in archaeology and anthropology throughout the programme, while the options allow you to develop specialist skills in a particular region or area of analysis.

In the first year you will receive a solid grounding in the methods and theories of social and biological anthropology, material culture studies, and archaeology.

The second and third years provide a more advanced understanding of archaeology and anthropology and allow you to develop your own specialised interests through your optional course choices.

In the third year you are given the chance to reflect critically on your fieldwork experience during the degree through a fieldwork portfolio, and write a 10,000-word dissertation on a detailed subject that you will choose with the help of a supervisor.

Your learning

You will be taught using a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, either field or laboratory-based. Full use is made of our extensive teaching and reference collections and close connections to the national museums and collections of London.


Coursework, typically 1,500-2,500-word essays, is used to assess most courses. Most compulsory courses and some optional courses involve an examination element too. The completion of 70 days' fieldwork is a requirement for all students in archaeology.

  • 'Most interesting three years of my life--so far!'. Ella Reiczyk, BA Archaeology & Anthropology
  • 'An amazing place. Friendly, warm and full of information'. Lewis Glover, BA Archaeology & Anthropology

Bookmark and Share