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Structure of BA in Archaeology and Anthropology degree for students who first enrolled in or before September 2012

On arrival at UCL you will participate in our long-established Experimental Archaeology course, spending four days away from London to do things like pottery making, copper smelting, flint-knapping, wood working, and collecting and processing wild foods. This is both an opportunity to learn about life in the past first-hand and to get to know each other and our staff in an informal setting. As part of your degree you are required to complete 70 days of archaeological and/or anthropological fieldwork, which you can spread across the three years of study. This might involve travelling to join one of our many foreign expeditions, working closer to home in a museum placement, acquiring technical skills in a laboratory setting, or spending time within an unfamiliar community in the UK or abroad to conduct ethnographic research. Whatever you choose you will receive individual supervision on this aspect of your course as well as financial support, and we will ensure that you are placed with a high quality project. In your third year you will produce a portfolio describing your fieldwork experiences.

Your classes at UCL will take the form of lectures and small-group seminars, as well as laboratory sessions and individual supervision for your dissertation and fieldwork portfolio. The course is structured around a combination of core courses, which are fixed by us, and optional courses chosen by you from a wide range of possibilities. The core courses ensure that you will maintain a balanced training in archaeology and anthropology throughout the 3 years, while the options allow you to develop specialist skills in a particular region or area of analysis.

Year 1

In your first year as an Arch & Anth student you will receive a solid grounding in the methods and theories of social and biological anthropology, material culture studies, and archaeology. Your classes will also include an introduction to major developments and issues in world prehistory such as human evolution, the origins of farming, and the development of early states and civilizations. Throughout your degree your lecturers and course coordinators will be on hand to explain how the various aspects of archaeology and anthropology interrelate in theory and practice. Over the summer you will also join our training excavation to get first-hand experience of archaeological fieldwork.

Course units:

  • Past Societies (ARCL1003) (1 course unit)
  • Introductory Social Anthropology (ANTH1005A) (0.5 course unit)
  • Introduction to Material and Visual Culture (ANTH1001) (1 course unit)
  • Introduction to Biological Anthropology (ANTH1014B) (0.5 course unit)
  • Introduction to Field Methods and Techniques (ARCL1006) (1 course unit)

Year 2

In the second year, you will progress to a more advanced understanding of archaeology and anthropology, and also begin to form your own perspective on these subjects by choosing options. You can choose from literally dozens of options covering all parts of the world and an enormous variety of topics. These might include the study of living primates, learning in depth about a particular ancient civilization, or about the cultures of a part of the world you are especially interested in. A full range of the options available in Years 2 and 3 can be found on our departmental websites.

Course units:

  • Current Issues in Archaeological Theory (ARCL2028) (0.5 course unit)
  • Introduction to Theoretical Perspectives in Social Anthropology and Material Culture (ANTH2006) (0.5 course unit)
  • Research and Presentation Skills (ARCL2038) (0.5 course unit)
  • Option(s) in Archaeology (amounting to 1 course unit)
  • Option in any area of Anthropology (1 course unit)
  • Free option in Archaeology or Anthropology (0.5 course unit)

Year 3

In the third year, you will take further optional courses, and apply the skills you have learned to an independent piece of investigative research: the 10,000 word dissertation. This may relate to any area of archaeology or anthropology, or combine aspects of both. You choose the topic with guidance from a supervisor who will also help you see it through to completion. The dissertation offers a chance to explore those aspects of the human past or present that fascinate you most, with expert guidance. It is also excellent grounding for graduate research, should you choose to continue your studies beyond the BA. In your final year you will receive general training in research and presentation skills, which will be of use in any walk of life.

Course units:

  • a Fieldwork Portfolio (ARCL3056; 0.5 course unit)
  • a Dissertation (ARCL3024; 1 course unit) (ideally combining archaeology and anthropology around a selected topic)
  • Free options in Archaeology or Anthropology (2.5 course units)


Options may be chosen from the full range of archaeology and anthropology course available in a given year.


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