This course offers a Joint Honours degree programme examining the human past from a broad humanities-based perspective, drawing on both physical and textual evidence, and including the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in working with archaeological material and undertaking fieldwork.
Archaeology explores a wide range of evidence that documents the human past – from artefacts, monuments and settlements to entire landscapes – and from these interprets how societies have adapted and developed. Modules focus on different periods of World, European and Irish/British archaeology, from human origins to modern times and heritage. Queen's University Belfast is one of the best places to study Archaeology in the UK, scoring scoring third place for student experience in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 and, once again, first place for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide 2022.
History at Queen's offers students a wide choice of modules. Courses span a long chronological period from Ancient History through to the Contemporary History of the late twentieth century. The modules on offer also cover a wide geographical area that includes Ireland, England, Scotland, Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Students can choose modules that focus on gender, social and cultural history, colonial history, politics, religious and economic change.
The combined disciplines progressively develop general and specific knowledge and skills, through excavation, fieldwork, overseas fieldtrips, laboratory and practical work. A wide range of career options are available to our graduates including careers in commercial archaeology, survey, heritage management and many more, both within and beyond the heritage sector.
As well as the Joint Honours BA in Archaeology and History, Queen's offers Single Honours degrees in Archaeology (BA) and Archaeology-Palaeoecology (BSc) along with other degree programmes which combine Archaeology (the study of past human activities) with other subjects (Languages and Geography). All of those Single Honours and Joint Honours degrees offer a module pathway that is fully accredited by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and University Archaeology UK (UAUK).
Archaeology and History Degree highlights
- Students on this programme benefit from a broad range of study-abroad and international placement opportunities, e.g. in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.
- Students are also eligible to apply to the University’s Study USA and Study China programmes.
World Class Facilities
- The School boasts the internationally renowned 14CHRONO Centre for Radiocarbon Dating, the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork, departmental collections and laboratories for study of artefacts, human, animal and plant remains and other scientific materials and instruments, access to GIS, laser scanning and specialist teaching laboratories.
- The University’s McClay Library holds one of the most comprehensive collections of resources on Irish, British, European and World Archaeology in Ireland and the UK, and provides state-of-the-art study facilities. The McClay Library also holds a wide collection of resources for the study of Ancient, Medieval and Modern History.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- On this programme you will be taught by academics who are internationally renowned experts at the top of their respective fields.
- Archaeology at Queen’s stands out for its sustained excellent teaching record, having scored 95% overall student satisfaction in the UK National Student Surveys 2019 and 2021, and 100% overall student satisfaction in the UK National Student Surveys 2017, 2018 and 2020.
- 3rd place for Student Experience (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022)
- 1st place for Student Satisfaction (Complete University Guide 2022)
Introduction All students normally take six courses per stage (a stage equals one academic year of full-time study), each covering a distinct theme. Single Honours students normally take at least five Archaeology/Palaeoecology courses. Students on Joint Honours degree programmes normally take three Archaeology/Palaeoecology courses, in addition to three courses from their second subject.
Students enrolled on this programme have the opportunity to undertake an optional additional year of study, either between Stages 2 and 3 or after completing Stage 3, spent studying abroad or on a workplace placement.
At the end of Stage 3, students with very good performance also have the opportunity to switch to our undergraduate Masters programme (MSci). In the MSci, Stage 4 courses enable students to deepen their theoretical knowledge, to gain additional practical experience and further to broaden their skills base.
Note: some modules may be subject to change
Stage 1 Themes covered in Stage 1 include an introduction to world archaeology and to exploring history. Stage 1 Optional Courses Optional courses at Stage 1 explore, amongst other themes, the relationship between history and historians, European prehistory, archaeological fieldwork techniques and the historic archaeology of Europe. Stage 2 At Stage 2, students explore in more detail the themes introduced at Stage 1 and develop both their theoretical background knowledge and their practical skills, with some scope for specialisation. In particular, Stage 2 courses provide competencies and concepts necessary for the dissertation that is normally taken at Stage 3, and for future employment in Archaeology, History and a wide range of other fields. Stage 2 Optional Courses Optional courses at Stage 2 are generally survey modules seeking to convey a sense of the principal events, trends and developments in a particular region over a fairly long time span, including Ireland from prehistory to the 20th century, the Ancient World, Europe during the Middle Ages, and the Americas. Other optional modules at Stage 2 focus on archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and geospatial techniques. Stage 3 At Stage 3, students dedicate a substantial part of their time to their chosen dissertation project, building on the knowledge and skills they have acquired through Stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 Optional Courses Students at Stage 3 have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of optional courses focusing on specialist themes, ranging in time from the evolution of early humans to the Middle Ages, and covering fields as diverse as population studies, ritual and religion, prehistoric monuments, ancient cities, the rise of Christianity, the American Civil War, working-class communities in the United Kingdom and Thatcher's Britain. Supplement – Optional Additional Year Students enrolled on this programme have the opportunity to undertake an optional additional year of study, either between Stages 2 and 3 or after completing Stage 3. The additional year can be spent studying abroad at one of our international partner universities or on a UK or international workplace placement. Depending on the chosen option, the degree title awarded will then be ‘BA Archaeology and History with International Study’, ‘BA Archaeology and History with Placement’, or ‘BA Archaeology and History with International Placement’.
People teaching youDr Dirk Brandherm
Programme Director for Archaeology and Archaeology-Palaeoecology
Natural and Built Environment
Dirk is a Reader in Archaeology. He specializes in the Bronze Age and Iron Age Archaeology of western Europe, and his teaching is focused on both practical skills and the theoretical backdrop to archaeological practice.
Contact Teaching Times
Large Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of lectures
Medium Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week, some weeks will have additional field classes
Personal Study 24 (hours maximum)
22-24 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities etc
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial 2 (hours maximum)
2 hours of tutorials (or individual project supervision) each week
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable each student to achieve their full academic potential.
Within Archaeology and History we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Canvas. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops in a flexible learning space; IT and statistics modules; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with web design in practicals and project-based work.
Introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- Personal Tutor
Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.
Where students will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts. Many Archaeology and Palaeoecology modules have associated practical classes, ranging from 3 to 9 hours study per week, depending on the module content.
- Self-directed study
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
- Supervised projects
In final year, students will be expected to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic or practical methodology that they have chosen. They will receive support from a supervisor who will guide them in terms of how to carry out research and who will provide feedback on a number of occasions during the write up stage.
- Work placements and Field Classes
Students gain practical fieldwork experience through the teaching excavation at Stage 1 and will normally have the opportunity to build further experience though volunteering on staff-led field projects throughout Stages 2 and 3. Students enrolled on the MSci are offered the opportunity of gaining fieldwork experience at an advanced level at Stage 4.
Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
- The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each course. Some courses are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and exams. Details of how each course is assessed are explained in the general course catalogue and in the handbook for each individual course available to students.
As students progress through their degree course at Queen's they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and their peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face-to-face comment. This may include occasions when students make use of the lecturers' advertised office hours to help address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
- Once students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their work.
- E-Learning technologies
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Natural and Built Environment. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
For entry last year, applicants for this degree must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C/4 or better (to include English Language), though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
For applicants offering Irish Leaving Certificate, please note that performance at Irish Junior Certificate (IJC) is taken into account. For last year’s entry applicants for this degree must have had, a minimum of 5 IJC grades C/Merit. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of Leaving Certificate subjects can be satisfied.
Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The minimum acceptable is two subjects at A-level plus one at AS though candidates offering this combination will be considered on an individual basis depending on the degree for which they have applied. The offer for repeat candidates may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications will also be considered. The same GCSE (or equivalent) profile is usually expected of those applicants offering other qualifications.
Those offering a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND) are considered individually on their own merits for entry to Stage 1. For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 1 Distinction and remainder Merits. For those offering a HND, at least one first year unit must be at Merit grade. Where offers are made students would be expected to achieve Merits in all units assessed in final year. For those offering a HNC or HND, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of degree courses in the School of Natural and Built Environment, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (email@example.com), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
The INTO progression course suited to this programme is
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Studying for an Archaeology and History degree at Queen’s will assist students in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline, including Archaeology and History.
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers including, for example, the Historic Environment Division at the Department for Communities, National Trust, Ulster Wildlife Trust, who provide both snapshot advice on their work, as well as run more in-depth advice sessions, the latter often at taught Masters level. We also run a careers seminar programme with guest speaker employers and further-study coordinators (teacher training, Masters and PhD degrees).
We benefit greatly from housing the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork in the School. This self-funded private unit obtains commercial work from the Department for Communities, the police and civil engineering companies, thus exposing students to employers, but also providing the teaching with information on what the current employment market requires from Archaeology and History graduates.
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards
In addition to the prizes and awards available to all QUB students, a number of prizes and scholarships are available specifically to undergraduate students in Archaeology and Palaeoecology; normally these are awarded on an annual basis:
The Basil Wilson Prizes
The Kerr Fieldwork/Visit Award
The Kerr Final Year Dissertation Prize
The Kerr MSci Prize
The Kerr Meritorious Performance Prize
The Kerr Prize (one each at Stages 1, 2, and 3)
The Kerr Undergraduate Scholarship
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
Fees and Funding
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,630 Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,630 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250 EU Other 3 £18,600 International £18,600
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.
2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. The NI and ROI fees relate to academic year 2022-23 and will be updated to 2023-24 rates once they have been confirmed. All fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
NI, GB and ROI fees for 2022 entry will be published soon. International fees for 2022 entry can be viewed here: www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-tuition-fees
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Archaeology and History costs
The cost of travel and entrance fees for one-day or half-day field trips across all academic years is included in the course fee, but students are expected to pay for subsistence costs.
Students participating in the four-week field excavation module at Stage 1 are expected to supply their own waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear.
At Stage 2 students may choose optional modules that have associated field trips costs ranging from £50 to £500. Alternative non-field based options are available at no cost.
If students choose to take a supplementary Additional Year that incurs travel costs (either locally or abroad), they will be required to fund these.
A limited amount of funding may be available to contribute towards these additional costs, if the placement takes place through a government student mobility scheme.
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How and when to Apply
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2023 from 1 September 2022.
Advisory closing date: 25 January 2023 (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.
Applications from UK and EU (Republic of Ireland) students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2023) subject to the availability of places.
Applications from International and EU (Other) students are normally considered by Queen’s for entry to this course until 30 June 2023. If you apply for 2023 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2023.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
Fees and Funding
- Applying through UCAS