Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology

Key facts

Level: Undergraduate

Mode: Part-time

Duration: 2 years

Application Deadline: 9 March 2017


Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology

The Diploma in British Archaeology is an undergraduate part-time course specially 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 aim of this two-year modular course is to provide you with a grounding in British Archaeology within the context of different chronological periods. By taking this course you will increase your understanding of the skills and techniques needed to recover, process and evaluate archaeological evidence for the particular periods under investigation.

Who is it for?

The course offers a progression for those who have successfully completed a first-year undergraduate certificate in archaeology or other similar assessed courses. In addition, if you have some practical archaeological experience such as taking part in supervised fieldwork, or you are an active member of a local society but would like to learn more, then this course will give you a thorough academic grounding.

How much work is involved?

In each year 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. In the first year assessment is based on two assignments each term and a practical logbook. In the second year assessment is based on two assignments each term and either a practical logbook or an extended project.


The course aims to provide an understanding of current theory and practice in British Archaeology, and to demonstrate a range of themes within the context of different chronological periods from Palaeolithic to Medieval. 

There are three modules, with one module offered each year. Students obtain the Diploma by successfully completing two of the modules within five years. The modules can be taken in any order.

The modules are

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

In October 2017 the following module is offered at Rewley House in Oxford on Thursdays 7.00-9.00pm:

  • Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain

Programme details 2017-2018


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 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 differeing 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.

Teaching programme

Thursdays 7-9pm at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA

TERM 1 (2017)

Term dates to be determined shortly

TERM 2 (2018)

Term dates to be determined shortly

TERM 3 (2018)

Term dates to be determined shortly

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module on Later Prehistoric Britain you should have achieved the following:

  • Knowledge of the nature, extent and limitations of the archaeological evidence for Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain.
  • An understanding of the chronological and social developments which are recognisable in Early Prehistoric archaeology;
  • An understand of, and ability to evaluate, the range of current archaeological methods and techniques used for recovering and analysing evidence for the Early Prehistory period
  • An appreciation of the complementary relationship of archaeology to other disciplines and their importance in increasing our understanding of Early Prehistoric archaeology.


The syllabus and teaching of the course are aimed at second-year undergraduate level and students are eligible for the award of 60 transferable credit (CATS) points at FHEQ Level 5 on successful completion of a one-year module

Award and credit transfer

An Undergraduate Diploma will be awarded to each student on completion of two modules of the course within a five-year period. 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 registry@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Successful students will be awarded an Oxford University Undergraduate Diploma in Archaeology. Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction. 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.

The Diploma carries a Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) rating of 120 points at FHEQ Level 5.

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.

Teaching method

Much of the academic support will come from the Course Director, who may be contacted at any time during office hours by students wishing to discuss matters relating to the course. 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. These workshops are free to students enrolled on the course. For full details of the programme please contact 01865 280892.

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 alison.macdonald@conted.ox.ac.uk

Award Programme Office 01865 280154 / 270369
For queries on applications and admissions ppaward@conted.ox.ac.uk

Student Advice 01865 280355
For general guidance and advice, credit transfer, special needs provision, residential category and sources of funding: registry@conted.ox.ac.uk

Study Skills 01865 280892
For information about Study Skills courses: studyskills@conted.ox.ac.uk

Day & Weekend School Office 01865 270368 / 270380
For information on day schools and weekend courses: dayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk

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

Teaching staff

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

Course requirements

Study commitment

In each year there are evening teaching sessions during term time, plus tutorials, weekend field visits and the choice of either two practical weekends or a training excavation week. You will be given reading lists for the teaching sessions and coursework. In the first year assessment is based on two assignments each term and a practical logbook. In the second year assessment is based on two assignments each term and either a practical logbook or an extended project.

You are expected to undertake the necessary background reading and research for the course work using the facilities of Rewley House Library 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.


Each one-year module requires attendance at:

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


Students are required to complete for each module:

  • 5 out of 6 assignments of up to 2,500 words.
  • In the first year a practical logbook of up to 8,000 words, to include a range of learning tasks based on the practical training, visits to archaeological sites and/or museums and comparative site/artefact accounts. In the second year either a practical logbook or an extended project.

Progress review

A review of each candidate’s performance will be carried out at the end of the first year; candidates may not be permitted to continue if their performance is not deemed satisfactory.

Time limit for course completion

An Undergraduate Diploma will be awarded to students who successfully complete two modules of the course within five years.

Full regulations and conventions will be included in the Student Handbook which is given to students at the beginning of the academic year and are also available from the Registry on request (email: registry@conted.ox.ac.uk).

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching sessions include the use of visual material and handouts both for information for individual and group assignments, and as the basis for group discussion and directed interactive student learning.

Apply for this course

Together with the application form, you should submit a reference and additional materials: (i) a statement (preferably typewritten) of 200-300 words explaining why you wish to enrol on this course, and (ii) details of any previous experience in the subject and membership of relevant societies or groups.

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

When you have received your reference, return the sealed envelope with your application form and your statement to:

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

Successful applicants should normally provide evidence of the following:

  • Motivation and an awareness of the time commitment
  • Previous interest or experience in archaeology or related subjects
  • Potential academic ability
  • Appropriate previous study

There are two application deadlines for this course: 9 March and 11 May. Applicants who submit a complete application by 9 March 2017 will be guaranteed an invitation to an interview. Later applications will be considered if places remain. This is a popular course so we recommend you apply by the earlier deadline. Please check our website for details of availability.

Please do not leave it too late to contact us. 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.

Continuing students

OUDCE Diploma students who have completed, or expect to complete, one module of the Diploma, should return a completed application form, but there is no need to provide a statement or a reference.

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


The fee for 2017-2018 is £2,305 (EU students) or £4,335 (non-EU students). A non-refundable deposit of £200 EU 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 www.ukvisas.gov.uk.

Funding and financial assistance

For information on student funding, please fees and funding page

For more detailed information on all of the above, contact the Registry on 01865 280355 or registry@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course

Sources of funding

Information on financial support