Degrees in Archaeology 2018 entry

St Andrews offers three MA (Honours) degrees with an integrated archaeological component, as well as a BA International Honours pathway. Archaeology at St Andrews is predominantly concerned with the culture and society of historical periods, especially the Classical world and mediaeval Europe, rather than with archaeological science, and its Archaeology degrees are hosted by the Schools of Classics and History. It is also possible to take a degree that incorporates joint Honours with Social Anthropology.

What can I study with Archaeology?

You can take Archaeology as part of the following single and joint Honours degrees:

Applications for 2018 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Course type

Master of Arts

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 June 2022

If you started this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Archaeology degrees page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive

Entry requirements

Ancient History & Archaeology (single Honours) has the following entry requirements. 

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAA
IB points 36, including three at HL6

Ancient History & Archaeology and Social Anthropology (joint Honours) has the following entry requirements. 

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAA
IB points 36, including three at HL6

Mediaeval History & Archaeology (single Honours) has the following entry requirements. Preference may be given to candidates offering strong History qualifications over and above the stated minimum requirements.

SQA Highers AAAB, including History
GCE A-Levels AAA, inlcuding History
IB points 36, including HL6 in History


For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

You do not need previous knowledge of Archaeology to apply, but competitive applications will have previous experience of studying a modern or ancient foreign language at National 5, GCSE level, or equivalent.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.


St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The degrees that incorporate Archaeology are run by several Schools and Departments in the University, though training in archaeological principles and analysis is primarily given by archaeologists working in the School of Classics. The courses focus on the broad applications of archaeology to history and culture, and the physical remains of past societies, rather than formal or professional training in archaeological science.

During your first two years of study, archaeology is integrated into modules on Ancient History and Mediaeval History. The emphasis during this time is in learning to use archaeological and historical sources together. Some modules include specific archaeological segments and topics and offer the choice to conduct assessed work on archaeological themes.

In the first year of your studies, you will be required to study three subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised.

At Honours level, you undertake advanced training in archaeological principles and analysis and choose from a wide range of modules that are largely or entirely archaeological in content.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.


Staff within the University occasionally conduct active fieldwork programmes. When these programmes are running, students are encouraged to apply for placement. If they are not running, every effort is made to help students find a place on an archaeological project.

Find out more about fieldwork experience.

Find out more about studying Archaeology at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), the modules you take depend on which degree programme you have chosen. There are no separate modules in Archaeology at this level, and Archaeology is taught as an integral part of approaches to understanding ancient and mediaeval societies. Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students taking Ancient History & Archaeology take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • Greek History to Alexander the Great: provides a broad survey of ancient Greek History from the Archaic period (c. 800 BC) to the reign of Alexander the Great, including the archaeology of Athens and Sparta.
  • Roman History from Foundation to Empire: focuses on the rise of Rome to world power from humble beginnings, examining the political, cultural and economic consequences of imperialism, including its impact on the archaeology of the city of Rome.

Students taking Ancient History & Archaeology and Social Anthropology will also take the first-year modules in Social Anthropology.

Students taking Mediaeval History & Archaeology take:

  • The Fall of Rome and the Origins of Europe (400-1000): examines how political, cultural and social life changed in the Byzantine, British and ‘barbarian’ worlds in response to major upheavals.
  • Scotland and the English Empire 1070-1500: compares and relates the societies of the English crown and the kingdom of Scotland in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of England.

Students taking Ancient History & Archaeology typically take the following second-year Ancient History modules, but may take second year Classical Studies modules instead:

  • The Roman Empire: explores the Roman empire with particular reference both to social, religious and economic changes as well as to political and military history.
  • Mediterranean Communities: examines the human settlement and material culture of the entire Mediterranean world throughout classical antiquity.

Students taking Ancient History & Archaeology and Social Anthropology will also take the second-year modules in Social Anthropology.

Students taking Mediaeval History & Archaeology take the following compulsory second-year module:

  • Mediaeval Europe (1000 – 1400): examines key themes that helped to shape Western Europe from the 11th to 14th centuries, a period known as the ‘High Middle Ages’.

and choose at least one from the following:

  • Mediterranean Communities: deals with the human settlement and material culture of the entire Mediterranean World throughout classical antiquity.
  • History as a Discipline: Development and Key Concepts: provides an introduction to key theoretical and methodological approaches which have characterised the emergence of History as a discipline since mediaeval times.
  • Introduction to Middle Eastern History: provides an introduction to Middle Eastern history from the dramatic reconfiguration of the Middle East in late Antiquity to its contested and contentious recent past.
  • Scotland, Britain and Empire (c. 1500-2000): provides an introduction to how and why the British nation state evolved from the separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and how and why it has survived over the last three centuries.

If you take any of these degrees in your third and fourth years, you will take the following compulsory third-year module:

  • Principles and Techniques in Archaeology: provides an induction to the practical conduct of archaeology and how it affects the results of excavations and surveys, and an in-depth introduction to key archaeological topics and theories.

You will then choose from a variety of advanced options which incorporate archaeology into the study of ancient and mediaeval civilisations and cultures, focusing on topics such as castles, cities and urbanisation, networks, ancient art and sculpture, and the Bronze Age civilisations of the Aegean.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • From Pompeii to Aquileia: the Archaeology of Roman Italy (50 BCE – 300 CE)
  • The Archaeology of Minoan Crete
  • In the Footsteps of the Ancients: Exploring the Archaeology and Topography of Greece
  • The City of Rome
  • Art of the Roman Empire
  • Living with Material Culture
  • The Roman Army.

In fourth year, students have the option of undertaking a dissertation of about 10,000 words on an approved topic in Archaeology. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The sub-honours modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

The teaching format of your sub-honours courses will vary depending on your chosen degree programme. Both Ancient History and Mediaeval History modules are typically taught through lectures (maximum 200 students) supplemented by small group tutorials.

At Honours level, class sizes reduce from large lectures down to seminars of 10 to 20 students, with a strong emphasis on students’ own contributions in informal class discussion and in group or individual presentations.  

When not attending lectures, tutorials and other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • reading journal articles and books
  • reading ancient source materials
  • working on individual projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team across departments with expertise and knowledge of Archaeology. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of classes and seminars under the supervision of the module coordinator.

You can find contact information for all Classics staff on the School of Classics website and for History staff on the School of History website.

In addition to your studies, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University. 

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage. 


Modules at sub-honours level in both Ancient History and Mediaeval History are assessed by a combination of coursework and end-of-semester examinations. In Honours years, assessment methods vary and some modules are assessed solely or mainly through coursework. 

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The Schools of Classics and History provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future, and aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.


Tuition fees for 2018 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £21,290

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2018.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Classics bursaries

The School of Classics offers bursaries for travel (including internships) to archaeological sites, summer schools, museums, and other institutions such as the British Schools in Athens and Rome, or to attend approved Latin or Greek summer schools.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Degree options

You can take Archaeology alongside one of the following subjects:

  • Ancient History & Archaeology

  • Ancient History & Archaeology and Social Anthropology
  • Mediaeval History & Archaeology

Your future


Archaeology graduates wishing to pursue a career in archaeology have typically moved on to postgraduate study.

Many students choose to take a professional qualification in Museum and Gallery Studies, while others have done further postgraduate study in History or Archaeology.

Popular career areas for students who have taken Archaeology alongside Ancient or Mediaeval History include:

  • academia
  • libraries and information
  • publishing
  • museums and galleries
  • journalism.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Archaeology may be interested in joining the following societies:

The School of Classics is housed in Swallowgate, an attractive building which overlooks the sea and is close to the University Library and main quadrangle. Students will typically attend tutorials, seminars and meetings with tutors in this building, while larger lectures are held nearby in St Salvator’s.

The Swallowgate building also houses the School of Classics’ Class Library. The Class Library contains books that supplement the extensive holdings in the main Library and closely support the School’s undergraduate programmes.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


School of Classics

University of St Andrews
Butts Wynd
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2600

Classics website