History and Archaeology (BA): 4-year, part-time

Our BA History and Archaeology will equip you to study the past through both texts and objects. This course teaches you how to use a range of evidence - from prehistoric pottery to Greek sculpture, and Roman coins to medieval manuscripts - to explore the past. Gain practical archaeological experience by participating in a fieldschool, and acquire critical and analytical skills by studying and comparing data and methods from the two disciplines of history and archaeology.

This course tackles big historical questions, exploring people’s lives in different times and places and the ways in which the past continues to shape our future. You will learn to combine written sources and archaeological data to gain insight into periods of your choice, ranging from the ancient Mediterranean to early modern Europe. In addition to lectures and seminars, you will receive practical training in archaeological fieldwork and artefact handling sessions.

This course is ideal if you have a keen interest in understanding human experiences and thoughts in the changing historical contexts of society and culture. We encourage you to draw on texts, images and material sources to question accepted interpretations, engage in fruitful debate, and present your own explanations.

This course is also available for full-time evening study over three years.


  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 World University Subject Rankings.
  • Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked sixth in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. 94% of our eligible staff submitted research and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.
  • Our wide-ranging programmes encompass fascinating periods and areas of study, from human prehistory through to classical civilisation, the medieval and early modern periods, and on to twenty-first-century history, politics and international relations.
  • The Department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. 

Course structure

This structured course of taught modules is designed to develop historical and archaeological understanding and critical skills.

Our new survey course options range from the ancient to the contemporary world and will introduce you to the key themes you need to know about when studying the past. In keeping with our tradition of teaching an impressive chronological breadth within one department, these modules cover the time from prehistory to the present, moving across continents and cultures.

In parallel with these cutting-edge surveys, we offer a range of compulsory 'How to' modules which bring you together with academic staff to explore the study of the past and develop the skills needed to research and write history. Every year, as you build your studies and progress towards your degree, you will take one of these courses, helping you to develop your own unique perspective on the past.

Both the survey courses and our ‘How To’ courses run annually so that it doesn't matter whether you study part-time or full-time with us - you will be able to make the most of them.

The course consists of 11 modules, making a total of 360 credits.

In Year 1, you take three compulsory modules, including a fieldschool module.

In Year 2, you take three Level 5 option modules, one of which may be a fieldschool module.

In Year 3, you take one compulsory module, one Level 5 option module and one Level 6 option module.

In Year 4, you take one Level 6 option module, and you write a dissertation.

Module groups

Year 1 compulsory modules

Year 3 compulsory module

Year 4 compulsory module

Indicative Level 4 option modules

Indicative Level 5 option modules

Indicative Level 6 option modules

Please note: not all modules are available every year.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    UCAS tariff points


    The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence.

    Alternative entry routes

    Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in humanities or social science units.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don’t meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about ourEnglish language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees


    Part-time home/EU students: £ 6935 pa
    Part-time international students: £10025 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Additional costs

    As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

    On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

    The one-week field trip to Peterborough is a compulsory element of this programme. You will have to pay for your own transport to and from Peterborough and for any accommodation costs, should you choose to stay in Peterborough. You will be transported to the site from Peterborough station daily, at no additional cost, for the duration of the field trip.

  • Teaching and assessment


    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures, classes and tutorials. You are required to complete a total of 20 days of practical archaeological work during the degree in addition to scheduled teaching hours.

    All formal teaching takes place between 6pm and 9pm, Monday to Friday. Staff are available to provide tutorial and general help at other times.

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    The following information gives an indication of how many contact hours you can expect for each year of this course:

    Year Contact hours
    1 72
    2 117
    3 90
    4 90


    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.


    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Examinations at the end of each academic year, coursework and a dissertation written in the final year.

    Every module you take includes some form of assessment and, in addition, an attendance requirement, so you will need to attend at least 60% of classes in order to pass.

    Breakdown of assessment on this course

    The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework will often depend on the option modules you choose. The approximate percentages for this course are as follows:

    Year % Exams % Practical % Coursework
    1 67 0 33
    2 100 0 0
    3 47 0 53
    4 52 0 48
  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in research, education or archaeology. This degree may also be useful in becoming a journalist, archivist, museum/gallery curator or higher education lecturer.

    Graduates from this degree have gone on to work with Historic England, the National Trust, British Museum, Museum of London, Cambridge Archaeological Unit and a host of schools and universities. Other careers include work in UK Government Offices, publishing and journalism.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

    Graduate Destinations

    Average salary six months after the course: £26000

    Go on to work and/or study:

    Go on to work and/or study
    Now working: 55%
    Doing further study: 35%
    Studying and working: 0%
    Unemployed: 0%
    Other: 15%

    Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

    Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    Applications from January. Admission based on interviews.