Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology (from 2025)

Course details

Extend your knowledge of British archaeology with this one-year, part-time course.

This Advanced Diploma aims to give you a grounding in British archaeology within the context of the particular period under investigation. You will further your understanding of the skills and techniques needed to recover, process and evaluate archaeological evidence. You will also research and write a dissertation in a topic of your choice in British archaeology.

Please note:

This page is intended as an overview of the course, and some information listed may be subject to change before applications open in September 2024.

Who is this course for?

This course is taught at third-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 6). It is the next step if you have completed, or are due to complete, our Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology or other similar courses at second-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 5).

Quick links

How you will study

You will attend weekly classes, which are usually on Thursday evening and two hours long. You will also have tutorials, weekend field visits and either a practical course held over two weekends or approximately one week of 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 dissertation.

As well as the time spent in teaching sessions, you will need to spend around 12 hours a week studying in term-time. This might include reading, preparing course work, and visiting museums, libraries and sites. You will be able to use the facilities of the Continuing Education Library for your background reading and research.

Teaching delivery

This course is expected to be taught in person at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA. Should circumstances dictate, the teaching can be moved online (either fully or partly).

The course in detail

Course content

There are three modules, with one module offered each year. You obtain the Advanced Diploma by successfully completing one of the modules. The modules are:

  • Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain
  • Early Prehistoric Britain
  • Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain

Students may not follow a module which they have previously undertaken as part of the Diploma in British Archaeology.

Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain

This module explores the period from roughly AD 400 to 1500 – an important time that set 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.

Course structure

Provisional teaching programme

Thursday evenings, 7-9pm

Michaelmas term (October - December)

  • Archaeology, history and the chronological framework, AD 400-1500
  • The archaeology of Post-Roman Britain
  • Germanic homelands and earliest settlement in England
  • Ritual and burial practice before and during the Conversion
  • Age and gender in early Anglo-Saxon England
  • Early Saxon settlements and estate centres
  • Wics and the Middle Saxon economy
  • Practical weekend I: Analysing human remains
  • Church and society in early medieval Britain
  • The Viking Age in England
  • Warfare, civil defence and the Burghal Hidage

Hilary term (January - March)

  • Landscapes and governance
  • Pictish and Norse Scotland
  • State development and trade in Viking Age Scandinavia
  • Early medieval metalwork
  • The Norman Conquest
  • Ships, ports and maritime structures
  • Practical weekend II: Analysing human remains
  • Medieval towns
  • Urban architecture
  • Saturday session: Ashmolean Museum
  • Group project presentations

Trinity term (April - June)

  • Agricultural landscapes: regional and environmental variations
  • Saturday visit: Museum of London and the city
  • Pottery: diet and lifestyle
  • Church and parish
  • Saturday field trip: Wallingford
  • Abbeys and monasteries
  • Dwelling and farming
  • Manors and vernacular architecture
  • The late Medieval period


You will need to complete:

  • Three assignments of up to 2,500 words.
  • A practical logbook of up to 4,000 words, to include two tasks. The tasks usually involve a practical element, for example a field trip and/or museum visit and/or archaeological fieldwork.
  • A 10,000-word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Course Director.

IT requirements

To study at this level you are expected to have some IT skills, access to a computer and the internet. Your course requires you to engage with the Virtual Learning Environment for course materials and uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. Students need to have regular access to a computer and the internet and some level of experience and skill including the use of Microsoft Word or similar word-processing package, email and internet browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

The computer you use should meet our recommended minimum computer specification.

Teaching staff

The Course Director is Dr Jade Whitlam. A range of tutors will teach specific topics.

The Course Director and tutors will be able to help you with academic advice and support. In addition, the Department runs a programme of Study Skills workshops designed to help you develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. For further information and to book a place, please email or contact +44 (0)1865 280892.

For advice on educational opportunities, credit transfer, disability and/or special needs provision and sources of funding, please email: or contact the Course Administrator: +44 (0)1865 280882

Contact information

If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before making your application you may contact Dr Jade Whitlam:

For general guidance, application and admissions advice, course specific information, or credit transfer:, +44 (0)1865 270312.

For information about disability support or sources of funding:, +44 (0)1865 280355.

For information about Study Skills courses:, +44 (0)1865 280892.


How to apply

Applications will open in September 2024.

Once open, clicking the 'Apply' button will automatically notify us that you want a link to the online application form. We will email you that link together with a code to waive the application fee, and guidance on completing and submitting your application.

You will need to upload the following documents as part of your application:

  • a written statement stating why you wish to undertake the course, and including (if relevant) an outline of previous experience of the subject;
  • contact details for one referee
  • proof of English language ability if a non-native English speaker. Further information on English language requirements can be found here.

Continuing Education Diploma students who wish to progress to the Advanced Diploma should submit their completed application with a statement of reasons for wanting to apply to the course. No reference is necessary.

Other applicants need to provide contact details for one referee. If possible, your referee should be someone who can comment on your academic ability and background, but where this is not appropriate, please choose a referee who can vouch for your motivation, commitment and potential. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.

If you are a Continuing Education Diploma student, a place on the Advanced Diploma will be reserved for you if your application form is received by the first deadline and if there are enough places available. If there are more Continuing Education Diploma students than places available, a selective system will operate.

Admissions decisions will be based on an assessment of knowledge, relevant experience, academic ability, potential and suitability for a course of study. We welcome applicants without traditional qualifications, including those with relevant career or life skills.

Selection criteria

Even if a course has no specific academic entry requirements then: (a) assessment of an applicant’s academic ability and suitability for the course of study will still take place and (b) since applications for many courses often significantly exceed places available, each application will be judged against the gathered field of applicants for each course each year.

The University is committed to promoting diversity, equality, inclusion, and widening access, including during the admissions process. We fully endorse the Equality Policy and our admissions procedures are kept under regular review to ensure compliance with this policy.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview.

The final decision on admission to the course rests with the Department.

Award and credit transfer

An Undergraduate Advanced Diploma will be awarded on completion of the course. You will be invited to receive your Diploma at the annual Awards Ceremony of the Department for Continuing Education, held at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.

Students who successfully complete this course will be awarded an Oxford University Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology. The Diploma carries a Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) rating of 60 points at FHEQ Level 6. Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction. These credit points are widely recognised in terms of credit for transfer to other higher education institutions, including the Open University and modular universities such as Oxford Brookes University. 

Opportunities vary for the transfer of credit, so students who are considering taking this course in order to transfer credit are advised to discuss the possibilities with the Course Administrator on or

Learn more about the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS points).


The course fees will be published once applications open.

Please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For a price guide, see last year's fees here: £3,295 (Home, Islands, and Republic of Ireland students) or £6,210 (Overseas students).

Information for applicants from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

On 11 May 2021 the UK Council for International Student Affairs published new regulations and guidance to be used in assessing the fee status of students commencing courses in August 2021 and later. We will be using this guidance to carry out fee status assessments for students commencing courses in 2021/22 and later, including students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland. 

If you are an EU national and do not live in the UK then you are likely to be charged Overseas fees. Students with settled and pre-settled status in the UK and some other categories of students who work in the UK can qualify for Home fee status as long as they meet the residence criteria.

Students from outside the UK/Republic of Ireland

If you are from outside the UK/Republic of Ireland, you will be classed either as an ‘Overseas’ or 'Islands' student.

Information on financial support can be found on our website here.

Overseas students

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

English language requirements

Please check the information on the specific English language requirements for this course. Applicants are required to have the higher level scores.


The Department for Continuing Education offers archaeology day and weekend courses, weekly learning programmes and summer schools.

In the undergraduate programme we offer the Certificate in Archaeology, the Certificate of Higher Education, the Diploma in British Archaeology and the Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology. At postgraduate level we offer an MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology and the DPhil in Archaeology.

If you are planning on embarking on a new career as a result of your studies, or hope to progress in your current field, you can access help and advice through the University Careers Service.


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