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BA Archaeology and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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

Gain core skills for dealing with the analysis of written evidence, as well as archaeological fieldwork methods. Units will train you in conceptual and methodological issues in History, while you'll study the history of Archaeology, undertaking hands-on practicals in the lab, museum and field to prepare you for two weeks of excavation in the summer.

Complement these with a wide range of ancient historical, historical and archaeological options.

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 CAHE10281 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 1 CAHE10501 20 Mandatory
History in Practice HIST10101 20 Mandatory
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional
The Story of Britain CAHE10142 20 Optional
Tomb and Temple: Religion and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt CAHE10702 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
An Introduction to the Medieval World HIST10262 20 Optional
The Manchester History Workshop HIST10272 20 Optional
Forging a New World: Europe c.1450-1750 HIST10301 20 Optional
States, Nations and Empires. Europe, c.1750-1914 HIST10312 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

You have much greater choice from a rich range of history optional modules and can also undertake your own guided but independent research project through the History Long Essay.

In archaeology, core courses on theories and methods deepen your understanding of the ways we use and interpret evidence, and your excavation skills and opportunity to travel are enriched by a further two weeks of subsidised fieldwork.

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
Doing Archaeology 2 CAHE20502 20 Mandatory
Work and Play in the USA, 1880-2010 AMER20112 20 Optional
From Jamestown to James Brown: African-American History and Culture AMER20141 20 Optional
American Civil War AMER21001 20 Optional
The Emergence of Civilisation: Palaces, Peak Sanctuaries, and Politics in Minoan Crete CAHE20222 20 Optional
Artefacts and Interpretation CAHE20361 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Chariots, Cauldrons and Celts: The Archaeology of the Iron Age in Britain and Ireland CAHE25461 20 Optional
Weimar Culture? Art, Film and Politics in Germany, 1918-33 GERM20261 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
Independent Research Project HIST20390 20 Optional
The Cultural History of Modern War HIST20482 20 Optional
Colonial Encounters: Race, Violence, and the Making of the Modern World HIST21122 20 Optional
Europe from the Vikings to the Crusades: Violence, Acculturation and Group Formation HIST21141 20 Optional
The Stuff of History: Objects Across Borders, 1500-1800 HIST21152 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST21191 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST21201 20 Optional
A Transnational History of Europe in the Short Twentieth Century, c.1917-1991 HIST21212 20 Optional
Natures Past. Reading Environmental Change HIST21221 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
Frankenstein to the Matrix HSTM20301 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20592 20 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20782 20 Optional
Frankenstein to the Matrix HSTM20801 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20501 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21012 20 Optional
Science and Civilisation in East Asia JAPA23002 20 Optional
Themes in the Histories of Arab and Jewish Nationalisms MEST20271 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
Religion, Culture and Gender RELT20121 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 RUSS20471 20 Optional
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today SALC21132 20 Optional
History of Latin America SPLA20362 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 40 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Develop your chosen specialism in either Archaeology or History, or bridge the two disciplines through your dissertation; an extended independent research project. Continue to select from a breadth of optional course units in both disciplines.

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
Advanced Latin Language 1 CAHE30110 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 1 CAHE30120 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 2 CAHE30210 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 2 CAHE30220 20 Optional
The Emergence of Civilisation: Palaces, Peak Sanctuaries, and Politics in Minoan Crete CAHE30222 20 Optional
Roman Love Elegy CAHE30271 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 3 CAHE30310 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 3 CAHE30320 20 Optional
Artefacts and Interpretation CAHE30361 20 Optional
Living Latin CAHE30390 20 Optional
Plato's Dialogues CAHE30551 20 Optional
Athens and Attica CAHE30631 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30882 20 Optional
Greek Tragedy CAHE31011 20 Optional
Egypt in the Graeco-Roman World CAHE31401 20 Optional
The Artistic Mind: Graeco-Roman Art and its Reception CAHE33012 20 Optional
Gods, Kings, and Heroes: The Poetry of Archaic Greece CAHE34102 20 Optional
Seneca: Philosopher, Politician, and Playwright CAHE35012 20 Optional
Chariots, Cauldrons and Celts: The Archaeology of the Iron Age in Britain and Ireland CAHE35461 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30482 20 Optional
Culture and Society in Germany 1871-1918 GERM30722 20 Optional
London and Modernity 1880-1960 HIST30102 20 Optional
Empire, Gender and British Heroes, c.1885 - 1985 HIST30621 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 HIST31202 20 Optional
From National Crisis to National Government: British Politics, Economy and Society, 1914 - 1939 HIST31281 20 Optional
The Holocaust: History, Historiography, Memory HIST31491 20 Optional
The Comparative and Transnational History of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany HIST31522 20 Optional
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1960s HIST31551 20 Optional
Defining the Deviant: Crime and British Society, 1888-2000 HIST31592 20 Optional
Christ's Knights: Hospitallers and Templars in the Latin East and Beyond HIST31621 20 Optional
The Aftermath of War in France, Britain and Germany: Violence and Reconstruction after WW1 and WW2 HIST31671 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 HIST31871 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
Becoming Christian in The Early Middle Ages HIST31952 20 Optional
The Normans between Islam and Byzantium: multicultural encounters in the Mediterranean World HIST31991 20 Optional
Curating War and Human Rights: methods in cultural and public history HIST32012 20 Optional
Responses to Globalisation, 1500-1700 HIST32021 20 Optional
The Cultural Politics of Dissent: visual culture in China since 1970 HIST32042 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) HIST32121 20 Optional
The Habsburg Empire: Politics, Society, and Culture in Central Europe, 1867-1914 HIST32141 20 Optional
From New Left to New Times: Socialist Ideas in Post-War Britain HIST32151 20 Optional
Black Britain: Power, Neighbourhoods and the Everyday, 1948-1990 HIST32171 20 Optional
Health is a Human Right: The Global Quest for Universal healthcare HSTM30232 10 Optional
Health is a Human Right: The Global Quest for Universal healthcare HSTM30732 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
Political and Cultural History of Italy ITAL30342 20 Optional
Renaissance Florence: Culture, History and Art ITAL30621 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
Remaking Russia: Constructing and Contesting Identity in Post-Soviet Film and Visual Culture RUSS30812 20 Optional
Modern Spanish Music: A Cultural History SPLA31082 20 Optional
History of the Spanish Atlantic World: Empire, Trade, War SPLA31151 20 Optional
Language, Art and Empire in the Early Modern Hispanic World SPLA31162 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 74 course units for year 3


Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum is home to important prehistoric, classical and ethnographic collections.

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 Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology

The Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology is home to a film library with some 1,500 titles, from classic ethnographic film to contemporary documentary and world cinema.

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.

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: