Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology

Key facts

Level: Third-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 6) 

Mode: Part-time

Duration: One year.

Applications for 2018 entry will reopen from October 2017

The module in 2018-19 will be Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain.


Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology

The Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology is an undergraduate part-time course especially designed to suit adult students with busy lives and other commitments, but who would like to further their interest in archaeology through an academic course.

The one-year part-time modular course aims to provide you with an academic grounding in British Archaeology, and to increase your understanding of the skills and techniques needed to recover, process and evaluate archaeological evidence, together with research and writing a 10,000 word dissertation in a subject of your choice in British Archaeology.

Open evening Tuesday 22 February 2018

There will be an Open Evening on Tuesday 22 February 2018 at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA from 6-7pm. You are invited to visit the Department, meet the Course Director and tutors, and discuss the course. If you would like to attend, please email


There are three possible modules, with one module offered each year.

The modules are:

  • Early Prehistoric Britain, October 2019
  • Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain, October 2020
  • Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain, October 2018

Programme details


Module 3: Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain

This module explores the period from roughly AD 400 to 1500 – an important time that sets the scene for the development of Britain as we know it today. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire and leading up to the Reformation, this period witnessed social collapse, migration, and successive waves of influence from Scandinavia and Europe. The story of Britain during this time can be traced in the archaeology of settlements, buildings, landscape, trade and material culture, and we will use a range of evidence to examine the spread of new states, religions, beliefs and identities, towns, industries and patterns of consumption. In addition, dramatic crises such as the Viking attacks, the Norman Conquest and the Black Death will be investigated alongside long-term incremental changes. 

Provisional Teaching Programme
Classes will be held on Thursday evenings 7.00 - 9.00pm at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA

The detailed teaching programme will be available later in the year.


The syllabus and teaching of the course are aimed at third-year undergraduate level and students are eligible for the award of 60 transferable credit (CATS) points at FHEQ Level 6 on successful completion of the one-year module.

Award and credit transfer

An Undergraduate Advanced Diploma will be awarded to each student on completion of the course. Credit points may be transferred to the Open University, modular universities such as Oxford Brookes University, and other institutions of Higher Education. For further information about transfer of credit, contact the Student Adviser on 01865 280355 or

Successful students will be awarded an Oxford University Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Archaeology. Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction. You will be invited to receive your Advanced Diploma at the annual Awards Ceremony of the Department for Continuing Education, held at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. In order to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.

Contact information

If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before making your application you may contact the following:

Dr Alison MacDonald 01865 270370

Award Programme Office 01865 280154 / 270369
For queries on applications and admissions

Student Advice 01865 280355
For general guidance and advice, credit transfer, special needs provision, residential category and sources of funding:

Study Skills 01865 280892
For information about Study Skills courses:


Teaching outcomes

It is anticipated that by the end of the module covering Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain (Module 3) you will have achieved the following:

i) knowledge of the nature, extent and limitations of the archaeological evidence for the Anglo-Saxon, Viking and medieval period in Britain;

ii) recognition and understanding of the various approaches used to reconstruct Anglo-Saxon, Viking and medieval society, and the problems of interpreting the evidence;

iii) an appreciation of the relationship of other disciplines to the period and their importance in assessing and interpreting the evidence;

iv) an understanding of, and ability to evaluate, the range of current archaeological methods and techniques used for recovering and analysing evidence for Anglo-Saxon, Viking and medieval Britain.


Study commitment

There are evening teaching sessions during term time, plus tutorials, weekend field visits and either a practical course held over two weekends or one week (or equivalent) practical fieldwork. You are given a programme of reading for the teaching sessions and the written work. Assessment is based on three assignments, a practical logbook and a 10,000 word dissertation.

You are expected to undertake the necessary background reading and research for the course work using the facilities of the Continuing Education Library at Rewley House and other libraries. It is estimated that time spent in reading, preparing course work, visiting museums, libraries and sites will average 12 hours per week in term-time in addition to the teaching sessions.

Teaching staff

Course Director: Dr Alison MacDonald, OUDCE
A range of tutors will teach specifc topics.

Student support

Academic advice and support will be provided by the Course Director, Dr Alison MacDonald, and by the course tutors. In addition, the Department runs a programme of Study Skills workshops designed to enable you to develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. You can view full details of this programme, or contact the Study Skills office at or 01865 280892. For advice and information on educational opportunities, credit transfer, special needs provision and sources of funding please contact the OUDCE Widening Access Officer on 01865 280355 or

Course requirements


The course requires attendance at:

  • A minimum of 80% of the teaching sessions;
  • Four tutorials;
  • Either two practical weekends or one week (or equivalent) practical fieldwork.


Students are required to complete:

  • 3 assignments of up to 2,500 words;
  • A practical logbook of up to 4,000 words, to include a choice of learning tasks based on the practical training, visits to archaeological sites and/or museums and comparative site/artefact accounts, and a reflective discussion.
  • A 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Course Director.

Apply for this course

Continuing students

OUDCE Diploma students who wish to progress to the Advanced Diploma should return a completed application form with a statement of reasons for wanting to apply to the course. No reference is necessary.

Together with the application form, others should submit a reference and additional materials: (i) a statement (preferably typewritten) of approx. 300 words outlining your previous experience of the subject (if any) and your reasons for wishing to enrol on the course.

If possible, your referee should be a person who can comment on your academic ability and background, but where this is not appropriate, you should name a referee who can vouch for your motivation, commitment and potential. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.

Please read carefully the instructions on the reference form. When you have received your reference, return the unopened envelope with your application form and your statement to:

Award Programme Administrator
Rewley House
1 Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JA

Late applications will be considered if there are still places on the course, but applications cannot be considered after the course has begun. Please contact the Award Programme Administrator on 01865 270369 to check availability. The final decision on course entry rests with OUDCE.


The fee for 2018-2019 is £2,380 (EU students) or £4,470 (non-EU students). A non-refundable deposit of £200 is required on acceptance of a place and the balance of the fee is payable in instalments. The fee includes tuition for the practical fieldwork or the two practical weekends. Accommodation during these periods may be available at Rewley House at an additional charge.

Additional expenses

Students are not required to buy books, but there may be a few recommended key texts which you may like to buy. Transport for field trips and the practical field work is normally arranged on a car sharing basis by the students themselves. Costs of any additional hire of transport would be paid for by the students. Entry fees to museums or sites are paid individually by the students.

Non-EU students

This course is not suitable for non-EU students who do not already live in the UK before the course begins. For information, refer to


English language requirements

All teaching at Oxford University is carried out in English (with the exception of some language-specific teaching) and tutors must be convinced that you have sufficient fluency in written and spoken English to cope with your course from the start. Therefore, all non-native English-speaking applicants must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • IELTS: overall score of 7.0 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components) or
  • TOEFL (paper based): overall score of 600, with a Test of Written English score of 5.5 or
  • TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 110 with component scores of at least: Listening 22, Reading 24, Speaking 25, and Writing 24, or
  • Cambridge English: Advanced, also known as the Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185, or
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185, oror
  • English Language GCSE, grade B or grade 6 (for IGCSE, please see * below), or
  • English Language O-level: grade B, or
  • International Baccalaureate Standard level (SL): score of 5 in English (as Language A or B) or
  • European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English.
    * (We do not accept IGCSE in either First Language English or English as a Second Language as proof of English proficiency.)

Exemptions from this requirement will be considered for applicants who have

  • studied the International Baccalaureate programme, if it is taught in English
  • studied the Singapore Integrated Programme (SIPCAL)
  • been educated full-time in the medium of the English language throughout the two most recent years before the application deadline, and who remain in full-time education conducted in the English language until the end of the school year in their home country.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course

Sources of funding

Information on financial support