BA Archaeology and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course description

Study past cultures, not just through the texts that framed their lives, but the landscapes, architecture and objects they made or inhabited. Your studies will allow you to combine the best of both worlds, with training in critical historical source analysis and practical archaeological methods.

You'll select course units in Ancient, Medieval or Modern History as well as Economic and Social History, or even specialise in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Other course units offer insights into gender history or the history of warfare and violence.

Dedicated course units in historical archaeology bring these two subjects into close focus, with further archaeological options in prehistory to the industrial revolution, and historical course units in British, European, African or Asian history.

By drawing from the widest range of sources and methods, History and Archaeology embraces a rich tapestry of perspectives on the human past. You'll receive expert training in analysis and critical reasoning while developing important transferable skills in communication and presentation, argument and debate, teamwork, research, and time management, all of which will help prepare you for life after university.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Study abroad

You can apply to spend one semester studying abroad during Year 2. Exchange partners are offered through the Erasmus Exchange scheme (in Sweden) and the Worldwide Exchange scheme (eg USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore). Destination specific specialisms such as Inuit material culture, Australian rock art, or Scandinavian hoards, could shape the content of your final year dissertation.

As part of your studies you'll have the opportunity to join research teams at sites across the globe. Whether you choose to join a dig on Bronze Age settlements in Cyprus, ancient art and artefacts in Jersey or colonial sites in Australia, this life-changing experience will see you work with practiced archaeologists to make discoveries that help to shape our knowledge of the world.

Meet like-minded students

Both History and Archaeology benefit from well-established student societies. The Archaeology Society offers trips to museums, monuments, conferences and places of archaeological interest, as well as research seminars and artefact handling sessions. As part of the History Society you'll have the opportunity to take part in activities including Manchester Histories Festival and student-led publication The Manchester Historian .

Teaching and learning

You'll benefit from a breadth of teaching methods designed to develop your transferable skills, including:

  • tutorials;
  • seminars;
  • laboratory sessions;
  • lectures;
  • fieldwork;
  • one-to-one tutorials;
  • group exercises;
  • presentations;
  • reports;
  • original research guided by academic tutors.

Each course unit has a designated weekly tutorial hour. In addition, lecturers offer a minimum of two specified office hours per week outside normal teaching hours, when you can get advice and feedback on your work.

You'll undertake a four-week work placement as part of your degree: two weeks at the end of the first year, and a further two at the end of the second year. Most of these placements will take the form of fieldwork, but for those ambitious about careers in the cultural sector, we have a small number of exciting curatorial or lab placements which can be carried out in place of excavation.

Our peer support scheme is one of the largest in Europe. Peer mentors are higher-year students on the same degree programme as you, who will help you find your feet when you arrive here and adjust to student life. As they'll have already been a student at Manchester for at least a year, they should be able to help you with anything you might be worried or unsure about.

Study with us and you'll also be assigned an academic adviser who is there to give advice about any academic issues throughout the duration of your course. Your adviser will be able to help you with the transition from school/college to university - and can help you get to grips with studying and learning more independently. They'll also be able to help you develop your skills in academic writing or research, or any other skills that are specific to your degree programme.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment methods include:

  • written examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • fieldwork workbooks;
  • individual projects;
  • oral presentations;
  • third-year dissertation.

You will get written feedback on all assessments. This will come in the form of online mark-up and essay reports from the lecturer, allowing you to easily map your progress with your course lecturers and academic advisor.

Final degree grades are calculated on the basis of two-thirds third-year work and one-third second-year work.

Course content for year 1

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Discoveries and Discoverers: Sights and Sites CAHE10282 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 1 CAHE10501 20 Mandatory
Constructing Archaic Greek History CAHE10011 20 Optional
From Republic to Empire: Introduction to Roman History, Society & Culture 218-31BC CAHE10022 20 Optional
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional
The Story of Britain CAHE10141 20 Optional
The Odyssey CLAH10101 20 Optional
Modern China: from the Opium Wars to the Olympic Games HIST10152 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST10171 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST10181 20 Optional
Imperial Nation: The Making of Modern Britain, 1783-1902 HIST10191 20 Optional
Forging a New World: Europe c.1450-1750 HIST10301 20 Optional
States, Nations and Empires. Europe, c.1750-1914 HIST10312 20 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Living and Dying in the Ancient World SALC10602 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Thinking Archaeology CAHE20111 20 Mandatory
From Jamestown to James Brown: African-American History and Culture AMER20141 20 Optional
The Conquering Hero: The Life, Times and Legacy of Alexander The Great CAHE20041 20 Optional
The Roman Empire 31BC - AD235: Rome's Golden Age CAHE20051 20 Optional
Politics and Society in Classical Greece CAHE20062 20 Optional
People Behind the Patterns CAHE20082 20 Optional
The Emergence of Civilisation: Palaces, Peak Sanctuaries and Politics in Minoan Crete CAHE20221 20 Optional
CAHAE Long Essay CAHE20391 20 Optional
Doing Archaeology 2 CAHE20502 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Origins and Transformations: Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Europe CAHE20561 20 Optional
Origins of States: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE20911 20 Optional
The Archaeology of Ritual CAHE20992 20 Optional
Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt CAHE21441 20 Optional
Weimar Culture? Art, Film and Politics in Germany, 1918-33 GERM20262 20 Optional
Making of the Modern Mind: European Intellectual History in a Global Context HIST20181 20 Optional
Winds of Change: Politics, Society and Culture in Britain, 1899 -1990 HIST20252 20 Optional
Late Imperial China: From the Jesuits to the East India Company HIST20422 20 Optional
The Cultural History of Modern War HIST20482 20 Optional
Crisis and Prosperity in Twentieth-Century Europe HIST21112 20 Optional
Colonial Encounters: Race, Violence, and the Making of the Modern World HIST21122 20 Optional
From Catastrophe to Crusade: Europe in the Aftermath of the Vikings HIST21141 20 Optional
The Stuff of History: Objects Across Borders, 1500-1800 HIST21152 20 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20031 10 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20081 20 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20092 10 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20282 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20592 20 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20782 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20501 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
Religion, Culture and Gender RELT20121 20 Optional
Goddesses, Demons and Stories in South Asian History: From Early Epics to the Present Day RELT21222 20 Optional
100 Years of Revolution: Russia from Lenin to Putin RUSS20242 20 Optional
The Making of Modern Russia RUSS20251 20 Optional
The 1989 Revolutions and their Aftermaths RUSS20472 20 Optional
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today SALC21132 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 37 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
The Visual Culture of US Empire AMER30522 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional
Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology Dissertation CAHE30000 40 Optional
Athens and Attica CAHE30052 20 Optional
Neolithic Britain CAHE30131 20 Optional
Artefacts and Interpretation CAHE30362 20 Optional
Dealing with the Dead: The Archaeology of Death and Burial CAHE30722 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30882 20 Optional
Origins of States: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE30911 20 Optional
Egypt in the Graeco-Roman Worl CAHE31401 20 Optional
Heritage and Reception CAHE34601 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30481 20 Optional
Culture and Society in Germany 1871-1918 GERM30722 20 Optional
London and Modernity 1880-1960 HIST30102 20 Optional
'A Nation In The Making': India, 1800-1947 HIST30291 20 Optional
Empire, Gender and British Heroes, c.1885 - 2000 HIST30621 20 Optional
Refugees in Modern World History, 1914 to the Present HIST30941 20 Optional
Thesis (40 credits) HIST30970 40 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in Modern Africa HIST31001 20 Optional
China & the West: From the Opium War to the Olympic Games HIST31201 20 Optional
Contesting the Supernatural in the Early Modern British Isles, c. 1600-1800 HIST31292 20 Optional
Sex, Drugs and Shopping: Readdressing Inter-war Britain HIST31342 20 Optional
The Great Irish Famine and Its Impact, 1845-1900 HIST31451 20 Optional
The Holocaust: History, Historiography, Memory HIST31491 20 Optional
The Comparative and Transnational History of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany HIST31521 20 Optional
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1960s HIST31552 20 Optional
Defining the Deviant: Crime and British Society, 1888-2000 HIST31592 20 Optional
The Black Freedom Movement, 1955-1975 HIST31752 20 Optional
War, Memory and Politics of Commemoration in Eastern Europe HIST31841 20 Optional
Seaborne State? Venice and the East 1150-1550 HIST31861 20 Optional
Culture in Ottoman Society, ca. 1300-1800 HIST31872 20 Optional
Material Encounters in the Early Modern World, 1400-1800 HIST31881 20 Optional
'Brains and Numbers': Intellectual Life in Victorian Britain HIST31892 20 Optional
Caste Politics in Twentieth Century India HIST31912 20 Optional
Imperial Encounters, Soviet Frontiers: Nations, Borders, Migration in the Caucasus HIST31922 20 Optional
Curating War and Human Rights: methods in cultural and public history HIST32012 20 Optional
The Practice of the Past: Public History, Heritage and Museums HIST32032 20 Optional
Love and Power: Family Relationships in the British Isles, c. 1660-1837 HIST32052 20 Optional
Islam in China HIST32062 20 Optional
Spatial History: Mapping the Past HIST32112 20 Optional
From Greed to Grandezza: A History of Capitalism from the Renaissance to Modernity (1250s-1900s) HIST32122 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM30832 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31212 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31712 20 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32011 10 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32511 20 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33201 10 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33501 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM40332 20 Optional
Introduction to the History of the Book ITAL30431 20 Optional
Bodies, Sex and Gender in Japan JAPA33071 20 Optional
Tools and Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30001 10 Optional
Tools & Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30002 10 Optional
Enterprise Feasibility MCEL30052 10 Optional
Culture, Media and Politics in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia RUSS30601 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 55 course units for year 3


Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum is the University's own award-winning facility, home to important prehistoric, classical and ethnographic collections, which you'll draw from in your learning.

You'll go behind-the-scenes to handle, analyse and interpret rare artefacts, including one of the finest Egyptology collections in Britain.

Our ongoing collaboration between the museum and the global work of archaeology staff offers unique opportunities for students to get involved in the design of major exhibitions.

Whitworth Art Gallery

The Whitworth Art Gallery holds important archaeological textile collections, and art and sculpture on themes such as landscape as part of its broader internationally significant collections.

The John Rylands Library

Access to the library's internationally significant Special Collections, including:

  • printed primary mediaeval sources;
  • extensive holdings for early-modernists, including approximately 12,500 books printed between 1475 and 1640 (e.g. books by Caxton);
  • special collections including Methodist Archives and Collection; French Revolution Collection; Women's Suffrage Movement Archive; Labour Party Library Collections; other papers of prominent scientists and academics, as well as collections in diplomatic and colonial history.

Archaeological laboratories

You'll learn within our archaeological labs, where you'll use microscopes, digital cameras, delicate measuring equipment and portable XRF to analyse and record objects. You can also access training in digital illustration and GIS packages to support this activity and loan landscape survey and geophysics equipment for fieldwork. Our labs are supported by a dedicated technician who can offer training and assistance.

Field survey equipment

Equipment to support your studies includes three total stations and a traverse kit, a sub metre GPS survey system, a drone and professional photography equipment. Several of our lab-based resources can also be used in the field, including our PXRF instrument, ProScope and 3D scanner.

As a student in this historically rich city, you'll also have the opportunity to draw on the abundant library, archive and museum holdings of the local area, including Chetham's Library, The Museum of Science and Industry, The People's History Museum and the Working Class Movement Library.

Find out more on the facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: