Degree Structure

International opportunities and practical work placements

A major feature of this degree is the opportunity to obtain first-hand experience of practical work in the fields of archaeology and anthropology, which typically involves travel and learning to work effectively in unfamiliar and challenging environments. A total of 70 days, spread across the three years of your degree, is devoted to activities of this kind, which may include joining 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 a community in the UK or abroad to conduct ethnographic research. The choice is yours to make, with guidance from your course coordinators, personal tutor, and individual lecturers. Whatever you choose, and wherever in the world you decide to locate your project, you will receive financial support and individual supervision on this aspect of your course.

In your third year you will produce a portfolio describing your fieldwork experiences. Field experience and teamwork are integral to the philosophy of the degree, as reflected in our long-established Experimental Archaeology course which you will participate in on arrival at UCL, spending four days away from London with your teachers and peers to engage in activities such as pottery making, copper smelting, flint-knapping, wood working, and collecting and processing wild foods. 


Your classes at UCL will take the form of tutorials, lectures and 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. Additionally, a special course of small-group tutorials will run throughout your three years, focusing on the relationships between Archaeology and Anthropology, and ensuring close and regular contact between students and staff throughout the duration of your degree. The following charts are examples of the degree structure; World Archaeology, Science and free options may be taken in either the first or second terms.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

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
  • Introduction to Archaeology (ARCL1014) (0.5 course unit)
  • Field Methods (ARCL1015) (0.5 course unit)
  • Sites and Artefacts (ARCL1016) (0.5 course unit)
  • World Archaeology: an outline of the deep past of human societies (ARCL1018) (0.5 course unit)
  • Introduction to Material and Visual Culture (ANTH1001) (1 course unit)
  • Introductory Social Anthropology (ANTH1005A) (0.5 course unit)
  • Introduction to Biological Anthropology (ANTH1014B) (0.5 course unit)

Students will also participate in fortnightly small-group tutorials to promote a more in-depth discussion of issues pertinent to the degree and to build a stronger identity within degree cohorts.

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. You will also receive general training in research and presentation skills, which will be of use in any walk of life.

Course units

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.

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)
  • Archaeology in the World (ARCL3097, 0.5 course unit, 11 weeks) *New course currently being developed*
  • Free options in Archaeology or Anthropology (1.5 course units)
  • Free option in Archaeology or Anthropology (0.5 course unit)

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

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