Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology

Key facts

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

Mode: Part-time

Duration: One year


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 7 February 2017

There will be an Open Evening on Tuesday 7 February 2017 at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA from 6:30pm-8:30pm. 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:

  • Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain October 2017
  • Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain October 2018
  • Early Prehistoric Britain October 2019

Programme details


Module 2: Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain

This course explores the late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman period in Britain - covering the first millenium BC through to the early fifth century AD. This was a time of great technological, economic and social change, which we will study through landscape, settlement and material culture evidence. What were the differing social implications of living in hillforts and roundhouses, and towns and villas? How can we trace the impact of the continent on Britain's cultural and political relationships? This course will explore these and other questions.

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

Term 1 (2017)

5 Oct Introduction: an overview of chronology and the nature of evidence
12 Oct The environment, climatic and human intervention
19 Oct Hillforts
26 Oct Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland
29 Oct Visit: Sunday Field Trip: Ridgeway Hillforts
2 Nov Lowland settlement and farming
9 Nov The Atlantic coastal zone
16 Nov Northern Britain
23 Nov Cross Channel connections and oppida
25-26 Nov Practical Weekend I
30 Nov Social re-ordering in the late Iron Age

Term 2 (2018)

18 Jan The conquest
25 Jan The role of the army: forts, frontiers and communications
1 Feb Establishing Roman rule: administration and the Roman system
8 Feb Towns of Roman Britain: the built environment
15 Feb Economic systems
22 Feb The Roman town of Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum)
24 Feb Saturday Field Trip: Silchester and Reading Museum
1 Mar Rural settlement patterns: farms, villas and villages
3-4 Mar Practical Weekend II
8 Mar Religion and ritual
15 Mar Religious sites
22 Mar The living and the afterlife

Term 3 (2018)

19 Apr Roman industry, engineering and technology
26 Apr Roman art and material culture
28 Apr Saturday Visit: British Museum
3 May Celtic art: craftsmanship and patronage
10 May Later Prehistoric and Roman metalworking
17 May Later prehistoric pottery
24 May Roman ceramics: the industries and their economic impact
31 May Practical seminar: working with Roman ceramics
7 Jun Group Project presentations
14 Jun The end of Roman rule


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:

Day & Weekend School Office 01865 270368 / 270380
For information on day schools and weekend courses:

OUDCE Reception 01865 270360
For general enquiries about OUDCE or to leave messages if other staff are not available.

Teaching outcomes

It is anticipated that by the end of the module on Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain you will have achieved the following:

  • knowledge of the nature, extent and limitations of the archaeological evidence for the Early Prehistoric period in Britain;
  • recognition and understanding of the various approaches used to reconstruct Iron Age and Romano-British society, and the problems of interpreting the evidence;
  • an appreciation of the relationship of other disciplines to the period and their importance in assessing and interpreting the evidence;
  • an understanding of, and ability to evaluate, the range of current archaeological methods and techniques used for recovering and analysing evidence for later Prehistoric and Roman Britain;
  • an appreciation of the impact of Rome on Britain and the ability to contribute to current debates on cultural continuity and change;
  • an awareness of Britain's place within Iron Age Europe and role within the Roman Empire.

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 Student Adviser 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 2016-2017 is £2,305 (EU students) or £4,335 (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

Funding and financial assistance

For information on student funding, please visit our fees and funding pages
For more detailed information on all of the above, contact the Registry on 01865 280355 or

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course

Sources of funding

Information on financial support