Studying Archaeology at Undergraduate Level: Qualifications Needed

What qualifications will I need to get onto an archaeology degree?

As a general rule, the minimum entry requirements to get onto any university degree is the equivalent of at least two A level passes. However, most university courses will set much higher entry requirements for entry onto their courses and the exact requirements will vary from one university to the next and will usually be listed in the universities prospectus.

As there are many different qualifications that university applicants have, UCAS (who run a centralised application system for universities) provide a guide to how other qualifications are equated to A levels by universities in the form of a ‘points tariff’ system. More information on this is available from the UCAS Points Tariff page of the UCAS website.

Some universities offer an alternative entry method in the form of a foundation year. A foundation year is equivalent to the second year of A levels / Scottish Advanced Highers but is often specific to the broad subject area of the course you want to progress onto – eg science foundation year for BSc Archaeological Sciences. Passing the foundation year at university will usually allow you to progress onto the degree scheme as normal.

But what about specific qualifications?

There is no definitive answer to this – it depends on each course, and each candidate, but in general most archaeology admissions tutors are looking for candidates with an enthusiasm for the subject and some proof of academic ability. Beyond this an AS or A level (or equivalent) in the humanities is preferable, particularly history, geography, geology, classical civilisations or archaeology.

As archaeology can be both a science and an arts based subject (and many universities offer both types of degree) to do a science based archaeology degree you will normally need to have a science A level (or equivalent).

For degrees where archaeology is combined with a language you will probably be expected to have an A level equivalent (or be fluent) in that language, although courses which combine archaeology and ancient Greek or Latin may teach these from scratch in the first year – but another language would be useful.

Getting a place on a course is more than just your qualifications through! The next page of this section looks at what other areas admissions tutors are looking for.