Undergraduate Diploma in British Archaeology
Gain a grounding in British archaeology with this part-time course, designed to suit adult students with busy lives.
This two-year course provides a comprehensive introduction to British archaeology within the context of different chronological periods. 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 this course for?
Equivalent to the second year of undergraduate study (FHEQ Level 5), this Diploma course is the next step if you have either completed, or are due to complete, our Undergraduate Certificate in Archaeology or other similar courses at first-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 4).
How you will study
This is a two-year course. Each year has three terms, and in each of these you will attend weekly classes, which are usually on Thursday evenings 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 five out of six assignments and a practical logbook (or in the second year, an extended project).
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.
The course in detail
There are three modules, with one module offered each year. You obtain the Diploma by successfully completing two of the modules, which can be taken in any order. The modules are:
- Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Medieval Britain, starting October 2021
- Early Prehistoric Britain, starting October 2022
- Later Prehistoric and Roman Britain, starting October 2023
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 for 2021-22
Thursday evenings, 7.00-9.00 pm
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 the conversion
- Middle Saxon settlement and landscape
- Age and gender in early Anglo-Saxon England
- Practical Weekend I, Analysing human remains
- Warfare, civil defence and the Burghal Hidage
- Landscapes of governance
- Church and society in early medieval Britain
Hilary term (January - March)
- Wics and the Middle Saxon economy
- Ships, ports and maritime structures
- The Viking Age in England
- Pictish and Norse Scotland
- State development and trade in Viking Age Scandinavia
- Early Medieval metalwork
- The Norman Conquest
- Practical Weekend II, Analysing human remains
- Medieval towns
- Saturday session: Ashmolean Museum
- Urban architecture
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
- Dwelling and farming
- Abbeys and monasteries
- Manors and vernacular architecture
- The late Medieval period, c. 1350-1500
You will need to complete:
- Five out of six 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.
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.
The Course Director is Dr Alison MacDonald. 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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Course Administrator on +44 (0)1865 270369.
If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before making your application you may contact Dr Alison MacDonald: +44 (0)1865 270370 email@example.com
For queries on applications and admissions: +44 (0)1865 270312 firstname.lastname@example.org
For general guidance and advice, credit transfer, special needs provision and sources of funding: +44 (0)1865 280355 email@example.com
For information about Study Skills courses: +44 (0)1865 280892 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click on the ‘Apply’ button which 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 statement 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-speaker (see here for more information).
Continuing Education Certificate students who wish to progress to the 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.
Your application will be treated in accordance with the University's Equality Policy. We fully endorse the Equality Policy and our admissions procedures are kept under regular review to ensure compliance with this policy.
The final decision on admission to the course rests with the Department.
Award and credit transfer
An Undergraduate Diploma will be awarded on completion of two modules of the course. 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. 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 email@example.com.
Fees and expenses
The fee for 2021-22 is £2,678 (Home, Islands, and Republic of Ireland students) or £5,031 (Overseas students). An option to pay the fee in instalments may be available. Please be aware that fees will usually increase annually.
Following an announcement by the Universities Minister on 23 June 2020, EU fee status students starting a course in 2021/22 will no longer be eligible to pay fees at the ‘Home’ rate and will instead be charged the higher ‘Overseas’ rate. This change will not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK or Ireland, who will continue to be charged fees at the ‘Home’ rate for the duration of their course.
Information on financial support can be found on our website here.
The Department for Continuing Education offers archaeology day and weekend courses, weekly classes, online short courses 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.
This course is not suitable for overseas 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
Check information on the specific English language requirements for this course.
Applicants are required to have the Higher level scores.