Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology

Key facts

Level: Undergraduate

Mode: Part-time

Duration: Two years (two one-year modules) which may be taken in any order (see Description). The third of the three modules may be done subsequently as part of the Advanced Diploma in British Archaeology.

Application deadlines: By 7.00pm GMT/BST on Thursday 8 March 2018 and Thursday 10 May 2018.

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

There will be an Open Evening for prospective applicants on Thursday 22 February 2018 from 6-7pm at Rewley House.

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.

Open evening Thursday 22 February 2018

There will be an Open Evening on Thursday 22 February 2018 at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA from 6.00 - 7.00 pm. You are invited to visit the Department, meet the Course Director and discuss the course. If you would like to attend, please email ppaward@conted.ox.ac.uk.


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

The modules are:
• Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain, starting October 2018
• Early Prehistoric Britain, starting October 2019
• Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain, starting October 2020

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 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.

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: Michaelmas Term 2018: Chronology and Society

4 Oct, Medieval archaeology and history
11 Oct, Chronological framework, AD 400-1500
18 Oct, The archaeology of Post-Roman Britain

25 Oct, Germanic homelands and earliest settlement in England
17-18 Nov, Practical Weekend I
1 Nov, Ritual and burial practice before the conversion
8 Nov, Middle Saxon settlement and landscape
15 Nov, Age and gender in Anglo-Saxon England
22 Nov, Warfare, civil defence and the Burghal Hidage
29 Nov, Landscapes of governance
6 Dec, Church and society in early medieval Britain


TERM 2: Hilary Term 2019: Towns, Trade and Technology

17 Jan, Wics and the Middle Saxon economy

24 Jan, Ships, ports and maritime structures
31 Jan, The Viking Age in England
7 Feb, Pictish and Norse Scotland
14 Feb, State development and trade in Viking Age Scandinavia
21 Feb, Early Medieval metalwork
28 Feb, The Norman Conquest
23-24 Feb, Practical Weekend II
March/April, Saturday Session: Ashmolean Museum
7 March, Urban architecture
14 March, Group project presentations


TERM 3: Trinity Term 2019: Landscape

April/May, Saturday visit: Museum of London and the city
25 April, Agricultural landscapes: regional and environmental variations
May/June, Saturday field trip: Wallingford
2 May, Pottery: diet and lifestyle
9 May, Church and parish
16 May, Dwelling and farming
23 May, Sickness and society
30 May, Abbeys and monasteries
6 June, Castles
13 June, Manors and vernacular architecture
20 June, General overview


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 British 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.

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 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 five out of six assignments and a practical logbook (or in the second year, an extended project).

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 specific 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 studyskills@conted.ox.ac.uk 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 registry@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Course requirements

Students are required to complete:

• 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 four tasks. The tasks usually involve a practical element, for example a field trip, museum visit and/or archaeological fieldwork. In the second year either a practical logbook or an extended project.

Apply for this course

Please use the apply button on this page to download the application form which includes a reference form (Appendix A). 

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

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

Other applicants should complete the reference form and send it to their referee, asking him/her to provide a reference by direct email to us. Please note that the reference is compulsory and we cannot consider your application without it.

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.

Please complete the rest of the application form and send it to the address below with the following additional materials:

  • a statement (preferably typewritten) of 200-300 words explaining why you wish to enrol on this course, including details of any previous experience in the subject and membership of relevant societies or groups.
  • Proof of your English Language Ability if you are a non-native English-speaking applicant.

Please send your application with the additional materials to the:

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

Application Deadlines

Thursday 8 March 2018 and Thursday 10 May 2018.

Applicants who submit a complete application by the 8 March 2018 will be guaranteed an interview. 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.

Use the apply button on this page to download the application form.


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 www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration.

English language requirements

English is the language of instruction for all courses offered at Oxford. You must submit evidence that you meet the University’s English language requirements for your course if your first language is not English, or if your first language is English but you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). List: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America.

You do not need to submit test results, or request a waiver, if your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of the UK, Ireland or any other majority English-speaking country (see list above).

Score Requirements (Standard Level)

The University only accepts certain standardised tests with results at or above the following scores. Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. The score requirements in each test are as follows:

  • IELTS Academic (Institution Code: 0713): overall score of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of the four components).

  • TOEFL iBT (Institution code: 0490): overall score of 100 with component scores of at least: Listening 22, Reading 24, Speaking 25, and Writing 24.

  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Overall score of at least 185, with a minimum of 176 per component.

  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Overall score of at least 185 with a minimum of 176 per component.

Asking for a waiver of the requirement

Exemptions from this requirement may be waived if you have completed, or are currently completing, a degree-level course that is full-time, at least 9 months and undertaken at a recognised institution where teaching and assessment throughout the course is entirely in English.

Please click here for further information.


Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course

Sources of funding

Information on financial support