University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus 2015 entry

Archaeology and Anthropology

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Archaeology and Anthropology

A BA in 3 years

UCAS code: LV64

Course statistics for 2013 entry

Interviewed: 62%

Successful: 27%

Intake: 20

Entrance requirements

A-levels: AAA

Advanced Highers: AA/AAB

IB: 38 (including core points)

Or any other equivalent

A background of studying both arts and science subjects can be helpful to students in completing the course, although there are no specific subject requirements for admission.

How to apply (see page 118) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

Tests: None required

Written Work: Two pieces, plus statement

Tuition Fees for 2014

Home/EU: £9,000/year

No upfront costs: you can get a loan for the full amount

Grants, bursaries and scholarships available

More on student finance: p 120 [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

More information

+44 (0)1865 278246

Oxford Open Days

2 and 3 July, and 19 September 2014

What is Archaeology and Anthropology?

Archaeology and anthropology together encompass the study of humankind from the distant origins of the human species to the present day. Both disciplines have a long history. Archaeology grew from 18th-century antiquarianism while anthropology began even earlier in the first days of colonial encounter. Today both subjects involve a range of sophisticated approaches shared with the arts, social sciences and physical sciences. There is also lively interaction. Thus, for example, the anthropological study of primates and early humans helps archaeologists, using the physical remains recovered, to reconstruct the ways in which our earliest ancestors lived. Scientific dating techniques produce the time-frame and the latest genetic analyses define their relationships to modern human populations.

Archaeology and Anthropology at Oxford

Oxford is a leading centre for research and teaching in archaeology and anthropology. Six institutions specialise in these subjects: the Institutes of Archaeology and Social and Cultural Anthropology, the Ashmolean Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art. All are supported by world-class libraries and are well equipped with laboratories and computing resources. The Oxford degree is unique in the way it combines archaeology and anthropology throughout the course, offering an unusually broad perspective on human societies from earliest prehistory to the present.

Work placements/international opportunities

As part of your course you are required to undertake at least three weeks of fieldwork on a project that you will select for yourself. Advice is available from your college tutor and from members of the Schools of Archaeology and Anthropology. Your fieldwork, which must be approved by the Standing Committee that runs the degree, may be anywhere in the world – South Africa, the Andes and Georgia are recent destinations. For most people it is likely to take an archaeological form either on an excavation or as part of a field-survey team, but museum-based work and participation in primatological or social anthropological fieldwork are also possible. Further archaeological fieldwork may be provided by the School of Archaeology in the form of a compulsory training excavation. Financial support for this fieldwork is available from the University and may also be available from your college. In the first term of your second year you will write a report on the fieldwork that you have undertaken. You may also engage in fieldwork as part of your final year dissertation, while other opportunities may exist for work-based learning in the University’s museums.

A typical weekly timetable

Your work is divided among lectures, tutorials and practical classes. In the first year, you will spend about six hours a week in lectures, closely tied to the course’s core papers. Lectures for core and option papers take up about ten hours a week in years 2 and 3. Throughout the course, there are one or two tutorials a week (normally a total of 12 in each term).

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors will primarily be looking for an interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of humans and their material culture, ideally from both arts and science viewpoints, combined with an ability to digest and assimilate significant quantities of data and argue from evidence. No prior experience of archaeology or anthropology is required, but any fieldwork experience and general reading in the subject further demonstrates your interest and commitment. If you are shortlisted for interview you will normally be asked to talk about the relationship between the sub-disciplines and to consider problems from archaeological and anthropological points of view.


You may also be given artefacts, maps or other material to interpret.

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, History courses, History of Art, Human Sciences or Earth Sciences (Geology).


While some Archaeology and Anthropology graduates go on to further study and research to become professional anthropologists and archaeologists, others will move into different areas. Graduates of this course have found opportunities in heritage management, museum curation and education, regional archaeological services, international development, the Civil Service, advertising, marketing, computing, energy supply, and community relations. Recent Archaeology and Anthropology graduates include a management consultant, a financial analyst, a trainee solicitor and a medical student.

Oliver, who graduated in 2005 and currently works as Head of Physics in a north London says: “ The skills acquired during my study in Oxford (time management, discussion with peers and superiors, information synthesis and independent study, thought and organisation) are useful to me in both my day-to-day duties and my longer-term career aspirations.”

For more information about careers after Oxford, please see p 122 [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

OXFORD Podcasts on iTunes

Audio and video podcasts are now available from the School of Archaeology. Interviews with Professor Barry Cunliffe, Professor Mark Pollard, Professor Chris Gosden and DPhil student Wendy Morrison are available from the University of Oxford podcasts page or directly from iTunes, see:

1st year


Four core courses are taken:

  • Introduction to world archaeology

  • Introduction to anthropological theory

  • Perspectives on human evolution

Practical classes



First University examinations: Four written papers

2nd and 3rd years


Four core courses are taken:

  • Social analysis and interpretation

  • Cultural representations, beliefs and practices

  • Landscape and ecology

  • Urbanisation and change in complex societies

Options (three from a broad range of anthropological and archaeological courses)



Final University examinations: Seven written papers; thesis

Student statement

There are amazing facilities: you’ve got the Ashmolean, you’ve got the Pitt Rivers, right on your doorstep. Cherry

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