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BA (Hons) Archaeology & Anthropology

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This popular BA gives you a solid foundation in the study of human societies, past and present; inspired by a diverse and compelling interdisciplinary curriculum.

Backed by high student satisfaction rates and drawing from our established and well-respected archaeological, anthropological and sociological programmes, this degree provides a broad-based education with an in-depth understanding of the diversity and richness of contemporary and past human societies, across the globe; ultimately bringing together our expertise and enthusiasm for all of these subjects in one place.

Alongside specialist theory, you’ll get a comprehensive grounding in the practical elements of archaeology and anthropology through working in our cutting-edge labs and out in the field. In your second year you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in social or biological, anthropology or archaeology, or if you’d like to take a broader focus, you can continue to study elements of all these disciplines.

The course also includes five or 30 weeks in the world of work (depending on the length of degree you choose), which you can complete at home or abroad. It’s a great way to cultivate the experience and contacts you’ll need to secure work after you graduate.

98% of our final year archaeology and anthropology students said staff are good at explaining things, join us on live chat now to find out more, or register to meet us at an open day.

We have three different anthropology programmes at BU, which offer a balanced foundation in the discipline at large. The three anthropology programmes differ only in the weighing of the archaeological, biological, or social and cultural perspectives on studying human life and human experience in past and present. When making your choice, we suggest that you consider the following programme specialisation:

Interested in studying this course part-time? Enquire now.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, September 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


3 years full-time with an optional short placement, or 4 years with a 30-week placement

Entry requirements:

For 2018 entry: 104-120 tariff points including 2 A-levels or equivalent. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM. For more information check out our 2018 entry requirements page

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each of the 4 components or equivalent.

For more information check out our international entry requirements page.

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Year 1

Core units

  • AAFS Study Skills: Fundamental skills for any scientist are the ability to work with a range of field and lab data. This unit will provide you with the knowledge to perform statistical analysis, create charts, graphs & maps, and write clear and concise reports using appropriate software packages.

  • Ancient Peoples & Places: You will be introduced to the key thematic studies in archaeology concerning the evolution and development of ancient humans, changing technologies and material culture, and the organisation and development of past societies. You will be introduced to a range of archaeological, fossil, genetic and ethnographic evidence and develop core skills of analysis, interpretation, and reasoning using archaeological data.

  • Approaches to Archaeology: This unit aims to introduce students to key aspects of studying the past through the discipline of archaeology. Attention is focused on the history and development of the discipline from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries; the principal current epistemologies and theoretical traditions; formation processes and methods of discovering archaeological sites and features; the main classes of evidence represented by artefacts and ecofacts, their characteristics, how they are studied by archaeologists, and the information they may provide; current traditions of archaeological endeavour; and the nature of key dimensions of the past including time, space, place, and society.

  • Archaeological Practice: The knowledge and skills essential to the aspiring archaeologist practicing within the modern professional discipline of archaeology will be covered in this unit. It will also provide you with an understanding of the interconnectedness of data derived from field situations and that recovered from archived sources in an on-going analytical process of refinement and reinvestigation. Successful completion of the unit will enable you to understand the context of archaeological data, which will support and enhance aspects of structural, artefactual and palaeo-environmental analysis delivered at all levels in the courses in which it lies.

  • Gathering Time: This is about the chronological framework that supports archaeological understanding and interpretation. You will be introduced to the concept of time, how it is measured and reckoned in current societies and how it has been understood by societies in the past. You will gain an understanding of current techniques in dating and what methods are appropriate for use with different archaeological materials.

  • Introduction to Social Anthropology: During this unit student centred activities such as discussions and short presentations will enable you to demonstrate your growing knowledge of the historical emergence and development of anthropology and some of the key theoretical and empirical debates within social anthropology. You will also be able to gain insights into social anthropological perspectives and have the knowledge and confidence to debate contemporary world problems and issues.

Year 2

Core units

  • Becoming Human: What makes us (as humans) unique? Where did our species come from? Starting from the divergence of the human lineage from that of other apes, this unit will demonstrate how a wide variety of different lines of evidence can inform the way in which we became human. You will learn how archaeologists and anthropologists interpret the fossil and archaeological evidence to understand the ways in which our ancestors and related species lived and how this changed over time. A key focus throughout will be on the relationship between the biological and social environments for evolution, and how the interaction between them influenced the evolution not only of our distinctive biological life histories, subsistence and foraging patterns but also our social life and culture, in the form of technology, material culture, language and symbolism.

  • Field & Research Skills: To ensure you gain a practical understanding of the aims, strategies and methods of fieldwork, you will participate in a fieldwork training project. During this, you will carry out practical tasks such as excavating, processing finds and samples. You will work in groups to solve problems, developing team skills and professional competencies.

  • Themes in Archaeology & Anthropology: If there is such a thing as ‘human nature’, then why are cultures across the world so different? Many things and practices that we think of as ‘natural’ or biologically given – for example, bodies, eating, shelter and the environment – are in fact thought about or performed in very different ways in different cultures across the globe today and in the past. How and why have cultural differences come about, and why might they change? This unit will introduce you to the diversity of contemporary and past human cultures around the world, and to some of the methods anthropologists and archaeologists use to study these differences.

Option units

Semester 1 (choose one):

  • Archaeological Science: This unit will develop your understanding of how thematic archaeological research questions may be addressed through the use of archaeological scientific techniques and approaches. Knowledge of case studies will be developed to promote understanding of the potential applications of archaeological science to investigate the behaviour of past human societies.

  • Post-excavation Skills: Providing you with practical hands-on post-excavation skills, you will gain an understanding of the planning, management and documentation of post-excavation studies. Practical experience will also be obtained in one of a range of post-excavation specialist skills, focusing on the formulation of a post-excavation research archive, retrieval and analysis of data derived from excavation and field survey, and the preparation of specialist reports. You will also acquire an appreciation of key concepts and methodological approaches including: post-excavation recording and use of archaeological assemblages to address archaeological research questions; analytical approaches; classification systems and typologies; depositional and taphonomic processes; relevant technical skills.

Semester 2 (choose two):

  • Bonobos, Bones & Bottlenecks: Lectures and lab work will introduce you to the basic principles of modern human variation, adaptation and the evolutionary forces that have influenced them. You will study the core concepts of heredity, adaptation and variation applied to humans and other primates. Attention is also given to all living primates and to the primate fossil record.

  • Controversial Culture: You will explore how concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘society’ are theorized within sociology, anthropology and related disciplines. Drawing on selected key texts from these academic areas, the unit will examine the historical development and critique of the concepts of culture and society. In particular, you will explore how these ideas were developed by some of the classic theorists of social science disciplines. Following this, we will explore the continuing significance of classic thinkers to contemporary debates on issues such as class, poverty, gender, race and nation, as well as the nature of modernity. How are notions of culture and society used in current sociological and anthropological research, and what is their relevance to social relationships in the contemporary world?

  • Growing Up & Growing Old: This unit explores sociological and anthropological perspectives and theories of childhood, youth and aging. It examines the variety and change in which the different categories of the life course, as well as how the transition from one stage to the next have been imagined, marked and constructed in different cultures and throughout history. It explores what impact such constructions have on people’s experiences of growing up and growing old. Drawing particularly on ethnographic studies from different parts of the world, the unit will explore the diverse experiences of children, young and old people in relation to, for example, economic or social circumstances including class, education, employment, and many others. It asks what impact specific contexts and structures as well as dominant representations, such as in the media, government policies or law, have on human lives; for example, how these affect the social status; or a sense of security and protection from violence and abuse; or the scope for agency and choice at different age stages across different cultures and society.

  • Maritime Archaeology: This unit is focused on the development of maritime archaeological traditions and management regimes in the UK. You will be introduced to the archaeology of boats and ships from the past enabling you to understand the broad chronology of their development. The unit will be delivered through a combination of keynote lectures and seminars supported by a field-trip to a site relevant to the key elements (e.g. the Mary Rose, Chatham Historic Dockyard or the Cutty Sark).

  • Rome & Barbarian Europe: In this unit you will be taught primarily by illustrated lectures. The lecture programme will be delivered in two consecutive strands comprising the ‘Golden Age’ of the Roman Empire (1st – 3rd Centuries AD) and the Later Empire with its changing cultural reference points. Field visits will be made to British sites of significance to the periods under study, laying stress upon their importance to the historic environment. The unit provides a chronological and topographical framework within which you will develop an understanding of the history, archaeological impact, key sites, monuments, belief-systems, artistic expression, political complexity, fashions and environment of the Roman Empire from the 1st Century to the 7th Century AD in its wider European, African and Asian context. The complex interrelationship between the classical world and that of, so-called ‘barbarian’ (Celtic/Germanic/Scandinavian/Slavic) people of north and eastern Europe will, in particular, be studied from the standpoint of history, archaeology and geography. Key to the unit will be the analysis and understanding of and cultural diversification and change.

  • Societies of Prehistoric Europe: Keynote lectures are supported by discussion sessions to provide you with an introduction to the study of early farming societies in Temperate Europe and the northern Mediterranean (c.6000-800 BC). They will bring together evidence of settlement patterns; subsistence economies; the production, use and trade of artefacts; ritual and burial practices; and landscape change, to provide a sound understanding of how these societies inhabited and manipulated their environment. You will be required to undertake a considerable amount of supportive research.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Year 3

You may choose to complete an optional 30-week minimum work placement which can be carried out anywhere in the world. The placement year offers a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future. Alternatively you can complete a short 5 week placement and complete your course in three years.

Year 3/4 (Final year)

Core units

  • Cultural Ecology: Humans share their habitats with a multitude of other organisms and have to adapt to a variety of existing or changing circumstances of the natural environment. However, humans themselves change these basic conditions by using techniques, agreements, rules and modes of organisation in order to facilitate long-term settlement their habitat; they form and manipulate their environment as part of adaptation strategies within the framework of their personal interests and collective goals. Adaptations of human populations to their respective habitats thus always embrace cultural strategies and their biological conditions and consequences. By considering an ecosystems approach, this unit will give an overview and discuss of the diversity and correspondence of biocultural solutions, which human populations have developed to co-ordinate these two sides of their life support system.

  • Independent Research Project: The Independent Research Project provides you with an opportunity to gain experience of research in a topic of your choice relevant to your degree and to demonstrate your ability to report that research. Such experience is considered essential for those students interested in pursuing academic and/or professional research at a higher level of responsibility and achievement.

Option units

Semester 1 (choose one):

  • Anthropology of International Policy & Intervention: Following conflict, war or regime change, many populations and states have become subject to large-scale military or humanitarian intervention, policy and knowledge transfer and translation projects, globally, from West to East or North to South. The interventions in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Kosovo (to name a few) have led to a recognition of the importance of understanding local knowledge and involving local stakeholders in order to ensure the success of projects intending securitisation and democratisation, peace- and state-building. This unit aims to familiarise you with critical anthropological debates on international intervention policies and practices. By introducing you to existing, multi-sited ethnographic research into international and local organisations and actors, their experiences, practices, norms and perceptions as well as into the transformations of ‘Western’ intervention paradigms on the ground, the unit will provide the basis for scholarly criticism of real-life international policy transfer in global asymmetric relations of power. It will foster critical and creative thinking for improving professional, ethically-aware future practices in the applications of anthropological, sociological and policy expertise This unit aims to familiarise you with critical anthropological debates on international intervention policies and practices. By introducing you to existing, multi-sited ethnographic research into international and local organisations and actors, their experiences, practices, norms and perceptions as well as into the transformations of ‘Western’ intervention paradigms on the ground, the unit will provide the basis for scholarly criticism of real-life international policy transfer in global asymmetric relations of power. It will foster critical and creative thinking for improving professional, ethically-aware future practices in the applications of anthropological, sociological and policy expertise.

  • Archaeological Management: This unit will cover the principles and practice of conservation and management of the historic environment in the UK, examining the professional environment, legislative background, and organisational context. You will also cover the principles of business planning and project developments, including the costing and tendering procedures associated with the professional delivery of contracting and consultancy work; and consider ethical, professional, and health and safety issues. Working in groups, you will perform an assessment of the archaeological or historical potential of a given site, monument, building, or area, the threats posed to it, and options available to mitigate those threats, preparing you for professional employment in archaeological and conservation organisations.

  • Later Prehistoric Britain: By the end of this unit you will have a detailed critical understanding of the archaeology of the later Bronze Age and Iron Age Britain, broadly 1500BC-AD50, in Britain in its Continental context. The unit will provide a broad knowledge of chronological and regional variations within later prehistoric Britain and also contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the development of archaeological theory.

  • Seekers, Believers & Iconoclasts - Sociology of Thought: This unit explores the concept of science as a sociological phenomenon contextualised within a cultural and social analysis, as well as a philosophical and historical one. Science is considered as a social organisation dedicated to the production of knowledge that is accepted within a corpus of knowledge as conforming to that governing scientific epistemology. This position is contrasted with bodies of knowledge that lie beyond these rules and governance.

Semester 2 (choose two):

  • Animals & Society: This unit aims to provide you with a detailed critical understanding of humans’ interactions with animals in Britain from the Palaeolithic through to the early Post-medieval period. These interactions include the exploitation of animals for meat and other products and how animals were incorporated into burial practices and other rituals.

  • Primate Behavioural Ecology: Providing an understanding of how primate behaviour can be interpreted from an evolutionary viewpoint, and how human and non-human primates’ behavioural strategies are adapted to the environment (social and ecological) in which they live, the unit will stimulate discussion and the critical analysis of theories by a combination of lectures, directed reading, and discussion sessions, which will involve the analysis of scientific articles.

  • Roman Britain: You will be provided with the opportunity to explore in detail the practical and theoretical problems associated with the study of the material culture and archaeology of a distinct geographical area. The unit seeks to provide you with a solid understanding of the importance of archaeological data in the understanding and interpretation of historical chronologies.

  • Sarup to Stonehenge - Neolithic & Chalcolithic of Northwest Europe: The archaeology of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods, broadly 4000-2000 BC, in the British Isles and the adjacent Continental coastlands from western France to southern Scandinavia is one of the most formative periods in the social and economic development of communities occupying northwest Europe, and includes both the transition from hunter-gatherer to farming cultures and the introduction of metallurgy. The unit will provide a broad and comparative knowledge of a selected chronological period for a selected geographical region and contribute to your knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of archaeology as a discipline. A field-visit will normally be made to allow the direct observation of a selection of field monuments we discuss. We expect you to visit a number of sites and museums during the course of the year, in order to broaden your overall experience of the Neolithic Period.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during each year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

Learning and teaching activities includes demonstrations both indoor and outdoor in excavation and survey technology, artefact handling and investigation. In your second year you get the chance to conduct fieldwork on a 4 week archaeological dig (the Durotriges Project, or Big Dig). Contact time across the different years varies, ensuring an academic basis for learning prior to practice, and a reflective understanding of the task.

Year 1 – 25% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 193 hours
  • Independent learning: 1007 hours
  • Non-assessed learning and teaching: 20 hours

Year 2 – 32% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 370 hours
  • Independent learning: 830 hours
  • Non-assessed learning and teaching: 6 hours

Year 3 - 14% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 192 hours
  • Independent learning: 1008 hours

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed by coursework culminating in your final year research project, and you will also undertake group work and written exams. The assessment methods for each unit can be found on the programme profile in the programme specification for your course. As an indication, 75% of the most popular units on this course in 2016/17 were assessed by coursework.

Programme Specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

View the programme specification for BA (Hons) Archaeology & Anthropology.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Placement opportunities

At BU, we recognise that placements are extremely valuable and can give you a head start when it comes to your future career, so we offer every student the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their course. Why not read about some of our students’ experiences?

Work placements are a great way to improve your employability. It is an opportunity for you to experience the life of an archaeologist or anthropologist in the UK or abroad.

We will provide a great deal of help and support to ensure you achieve a rewarding and satisfying placement. We have strong links to outside agencies and organisations to best support your professional development, and dedicated Placement Officers.

How long is my placement?

You can opt for a short placement or a full one year of work experience (minimum 30 weeks).

Your application

Background and experience

For this course we are looking for students with:

  • An understanding of what archaeology and anthropology are
  • Enthusiasm for applying science to solve problems both in the study of the past and the present
  • An interest in both laboratory and field sciences
  • Good written and oral communication skills, and to be able to think analytically
  • An interest in archaeology, physical anthropology and forensic science (e.g. by attending an excavation, visiting museums, entering science competitions, school project work, or relevant volunteer work).

Students on this course will have a lively interest in the application of science in archaeological and anthropological contexts. The study and practice of archaeological and anthropological sciences involves a variety of skills, including those used in the field, in the laboratory, and based on wide reading so applicants should be happy learning to work in all these areas. We look for innovative thinkers who are interested in understanding the past and present through practical and scientific investigation.

Applicants will have strong analytical problem-solving and communication skills, both written and oral, as archaeological and forensic sciences involves working well as an individual and also as part of a multidisciplinary team. We seek students with enquiring minds who are comfortable using science, technology and creative thought to apply in their studies and would encourage applicants who are interested in exploring new ideas and concepts and applying knowledge across disciplines.

Selection methods

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their UCAS applications – you may also be invited to attend an interview. For that reason, make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages.

Our offer making process

Our offer making will typically be based on your main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.

If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.

How we'll assess your application

We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.

If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 6-20 points below the published tariff.

Unconditional offer scheme

Applicants who are predicted to achieve strong academic results will be eligible for BU’s Unconditional Offer Scheme in recognition of their academic performance and potential to succeed at university. If you are selected for the scheme and commit to us as your firm choice of university, then we will match this commitment by making your offer unconditional, which will guarantee your place at BU.

You will receive a standard conditional offer based on the entry requirements for your course via UCAS Track and your offer letter – it will advise that you are eligible for the unconditional offer scheme. We will then update your offer to unconditional should you choose BU as your firm choice on UCAS Track. We believe that unconditional offers reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible, and we will reward you with an Academic Excellence scholarship of £1,000 in your first year if you achieve AAA or above at A-level or equivalent.

2018 entry requirements

We use the UCAS Tariff to show our entry requirements and will accept a combination of grades from your qualifications. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to tariff points.

The entry requirements for this course are 104-120 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM

Excluded subjects: General Studies

GCSEs: GCSE English, Mathematics and Science grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications.

Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes, but is not limited to, GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills Level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application – please contact the Future Students Enquiry Service to find out more.

Other qualifications

We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact our Future Students Enquiry Service – it may be that we can still consider it.

Access courses: 102 - 112 tariff points with any combination of Distinction, Merit, Pass grades.

BTEC qualifications:

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit (112 tariff points)
  • Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent.
  • BTEC National Foundation Diploma/90-credit Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
  • BTEC National Extended Certificate/Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: 104-120 tariff points from a minimum of 2 principal subjects

Cambridge Technical qualifications:

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit (112 tariff points)
  • Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent.
  • Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
  • Introductory Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 28-31 points overall including grade H5 from 2 Higher Level subjects.

Scottish Advanced Highers: 104 - 112 tariff points including a minimum of 2 Advanced Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.

Extended Project Qualification: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by 2 A-levels or equivalent qualifications.

Deferred entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.

International entry requirements

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.

Academic entry requirements

You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.


Throughout your degree, you will learn skills to enable you to work in professional practice and you will be in a position to join fieldwork and other projects all over the world. Because of the practical experience they gain, our archaeology students are successful at finding work once they graduate - 80% of our archaeology students and 90% of our anthropology students are in work or further study within six months of finishing their degree.

Our graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • Archaeologist
  • Operations team leader
  • Quality co-ordinator.

They are now working for a diverse range of organisations, including English Heritage, Border Archaeology, Hertfordshire County Council, National Trust, Historic Scotland, Museum of London Archaeology Services, Oxford Archaeology and Wessex Archaeology.

Further study

Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Meet our staff

Martin Smith is a Biological Anthropologist with a particular interest in prehistoric populations and areas of taphonomy and trauma with relevance to both forensic and archaeological remains. Some of Martin’s most enjoyable work has involved experimentation, such as feeding meat on the bone to various carnivorous animals; he most memorably came within inches of a very irritable lynx as well as a rather inquisitive tiger! 

Nivien Speith is the curator of the human remains held in BU's skeletal collections. She supports students in their lab work and teaches modules in Human Osteology and Skeletal Analysis, Forensic Anthropology, Biological and Applied Anthropology, and Forensic Archaeology. She is also one of our specialist consultants and is often called upon to analyse remains from archaeological excavations or unusual finds by the public.

Read more about the specialist interests of our Archaeology & Anthropology staff online, or register now to meet us!

No hidden extras

Course specific material(s) included in your tuition fee:

  • Lab coats, safety glasses
  • Compulsory/assessed fieldwork

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees including lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services. You will find out more about these if you are offered a place on the course.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsided travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Student section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance) you may be required to pay an additional fee of £1,500 per 20 credit unit.  

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Course changes

The table below indicates any changes to the course content.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text
19/2/2018 Removal of Level 5 option unit Community Histories Course details content

Community Histories: You will be put in touch with local history and community groups, and use portable recording equipment to carry out your own oral history interviews. The oral history component introduces the broader questions of memory and memento such as purpose, subjectivity and rigour - how and why has material been gathered? How is it contextualised? How is it interpreted and evidenced? You will need to understand local history and ‘people’s history’, focussing on the ways in which individuals have uncovered and recorded the history of the locality or community in which they have lived and worked.


After an annual review of the placement year tuition fee,  a price increase in line with current inflation, equating to 3% has been introduced.

Fees £790
14/6/2016 Change of title to first year unit:  Introduction to Social Anthropology Course details content

Introduction to Anthropology

06/09/2017 Changed to: Entry requirements changed to 104 - 120 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A- levels or equivalent Key information and 2018 entry requirements

104 - 120 tariff points including a minimum of 3 A-levels or equivalent


Changed to: 2018 GCSE entry requirements have changed to This course requires GCSE English and Mathematics grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications.

2018 entry requirements

This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A* - C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading) including Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.

What our students say

Amber Williams

The facilities are amazing – the bone labs and anthropology labs are really good, they’ve got so many casts and specimens.
Read more of Amber's story

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The Big Dig

Each year our international team of academics, students, volunteers and support staff combine to discover incredible archaeological finds that help to reveal the history of Southern Britain.
anthropology archaeology students

Anthropology lab

We hold one of the largest human remains collections among UK universities - find out more about how it’s used during our courses.

Additional information

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Fees and funding

Find out about fees and funding, including scholarships and bursaries.

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Open Days and tours

Discover what makes our Open Days and tours so enjoyable and useful – and register to attend one of our events.

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International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.