BA Archaeology and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

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.

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

Experience digs in the UK and abroad

Fieldwork training is an integral part of Archaeology, and you'll be introduced to excavation techniques by experienced archaeologists, with the opportunity to join fieldwork or museum placements during your degree.

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 could support research on such as Inuit material culture, Australian rock art, or Scandinavian hoards, enriching your final year dissertation.

Meet like-minded students

Both History and Archaeology benefit from well-established student societies.

The CAHAE 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;
  • group exercises;
  • presentations;
  • reports;
  • one to one academic support sessions;
  • original research guided by academic tutors.

Subsidised fieldwork includes one-day site visits as well as extensive periods of excavation in a wide range of locations such as Herefordshire, Yorkshire and Scotland.

You'll also be trained in our archaeological labs and museum archives, to use a wide range of equipment to analyse and record objects or engage with texts.

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.

In addition, archaeology field training involves a variety of assessment over a range of skills and techniques.

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 CAHE10282 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 CAHE10141 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 HIST10151 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST10172 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST10182 20 Optional
Imperial Nation: The Making of Modern Britain, 1783-1902 HIST10192 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 HIST10311 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 CAHE20112 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 2 CAHE20501 20 Mandatory
Work and Play in the USA, 1880-2020 AMER20112 20 Optional
From Jamestown to James Brown: African-American History and Culture AMER20141 20 Optional
The American Civil War AMER21001 20 Optional
Neolithic Britain CAHE20131 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Dealing with the Dead: The Archaeology of Death and Burial CAHE20722 20 Optional
The First Cities: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE20911 20 Optional
The Archaeology of Ritual CAHE20992 20 Optional
From Sites to Statues: Understanding Heritage in a time of Culture Wars CAHE24602 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 HIST20251 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 HIST21121 20 Optional
The Stuff of History: Objects Across Borders, 1500-1800 HIST21151 20 Optional
Back to the Future: The Uses and Abuses of History HIST21182 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST21192 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST21202 20 Optional
A Transnational History of Europe in the Short Twentieth Century, c.1917-1991 HIST21212 20 Optional
Silk Roads: Eurasian Connections from the Mongols to Manilla, 1200-1800 HIST21242 20 Optional
Revolutionary Cities: The Urban World of the Middle Ages HIST21251 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
In Frankenstein's Footsteps: Science Fiction in Literature and Film. HSTM20301 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20592 20 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20782 20 Optional
In Frankenstein's Footsteps: Science Fiction in Literature and Film. HSTM20801 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20502 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21011 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 1989 Revolutions and their Aftermaths RUSS20472 20 Optional
Data Literacy in a Digital World SALC20081 20 Optional
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today SALC21131 20 Optional
History of Latin America SPLA20361 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 42 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 AMER30521 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30812 20 Optional
Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology Dissertation CAHE30000 40 Optional
Through Cicero's Eyes CAHE30031 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 1 CAHE30110 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 1 CAHE30120 20 Optional
Neolithic Britain CAHE30131 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 2 CAHE30210 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 2 CAHE30220 20 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 3 CAHE30310 20 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 3 CAHE30320 20 Optional
Ancient Medicine CAHE30381 20 Optional
Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds (6th c. BCE - 3 c. CE) CAHE30442 20 Optional
Dealing with the Dead: The Archaeology of Death and Burial CAHE30722 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30881 20 Optional
The First Cities: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE30911 20 Optional
The Archaeology of Ritual CAHE30992 20 Optional
Greek Epic Poetry CAHE31042 20 Optional
Finding Happiness in the Ancient World CAHE34402 20 Optional
Slavery in the Ancient Greek World CAHE34502 20 Optional
From Sites to Statues: Understanding Heritage in a time of Culture Wars CAHE34602 20 Optional
Aetiology and Euhemerism: Analysing Greek Mythology and Mythography CAHE34701 20 Optional
Exile CAHE39252 20 Optional
Greece in Britain CAHE39352 20 Optional
Culture and Society in Germany 1871-1918 GERM30722 20 Optional
London and Modernity 1880-1960 HIST30101 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
Heroes and Holy Men: The Irish Sea World in the Viking Age, c. 780-1100 HIST31362 20 Optional
The Holocaust: History, Historiography, Memory HIST31492 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 HIST31551 20 Optional
Defining the Deviant: Crime and British Society, 1888-2000 HIST31591 20 Optional
The Aftermath of War in France, Britain and Germany: Violence and Reconstruction after WW1 and WW2 HIST31672 20 Optional
The Black Freedom Movement, 1955-1975 HIST31751 20 Optional
War, Memory and Politics of Commemoration in Eastern Europe HIST31842 20 Optional
Seaborne State? Venice and the East 1150-1550 HIST31861 20 Optional
Culture in Ottoman Society, ca. 1300-1800 HIST31872 20 Optional
The Normans in the Mediterranean World (1000-1200) HIST31992 20 Optional
Curating War and Human Rights: methods in cultural and public history HIST32011 20 Optional
Responses to Globalisation, 1500-1700 HIST32022 20 Optional
From Greed to Grandezza: A History of Capitalism from the Renaissance to Modernity (1250s-1900s) HIST32121 20 Optional
From New Left to New Times: Socialist Ideas in Post-War Britain HIST32152 20 Optional
Black Britain: Power, Neighbourhoods and the Everyday, 1948-1990 HIST32172 20 Optional
British Catholics and the Post-Reformation World HIST32192 20 Optional
Disease and Ecology in Global History HIST32201 20 Optional
Collecting and Exhibiting the Empire in Britain, c.1750-1939 HIST32211 20 Optional
Africa and Development: A Political History of the Social Sciences HIST32222 20 Optional
Reshaping the World: Thinking About Global Politics in the Twentieth Century HIST32232 20 Optional
Cultural Entanglements: Life and Death in Seventeenth-Century North America HIST32242 20 Optional
Roots of the Special Relationship: The Anglo-American Connection & National Identity in the long C19 HIST32252 20 Optional
Health is a Human Right: The Global Quest for Universal healthcare HSTM30732 20 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31712 20 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32511 20 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33501 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM40332 20 Optional
Tools and Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30001 10 Optional
Tools & Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30002 10 Optional
Enterprise Feasibility MCEL30052 10 Optional
Historical Controversies in the Study of Israel/Palestine MEST30721 20 Optional
Culture, Media and Politics in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia RUSS30601 20 Optional
History of the Spanish Atlantic World: Empire, Trade, War SPLA31152 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 64 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: