If you’re fascinated by the mysteries of ancient civilisations, and have a passion for preserving humanity's cultural heritage, archaeology might be the subject for you.

Studying archaeology is about exploring the past and uncovering the stories of ancient civilisations through the study of artefacts, structures, and cultural landscapes. It not only builds an understanding of human history but develops skills in research, critical analysis, and cultural interpretation.

Studying archaeology gives you the opportunity for hands-on excavation and preservation work, meaning you gain practical experience in the field. It can lead to exciting careers including roles in cultural resource management, museum curation, heritage preservation, and even forensic archaeology.

You could also contribute to urban planning, environmental impact assessments, or community engagement projects using your archaeological skills and experience.

The impact you could make
  • Be part of the preservation of cultural heritage
  • Share insights into human history, shedding light on how societies evolved, interacted, and adapted over time
  • Assess the impact of development projects on archaeological sites
What you could study
  • Archaeological skills: tools for research and analysis
  • Assyriology
  • Biological anthropology
  • Debates in world archaeology
  • Egyptology
  • Mesopotamian archaeology
  • Social anthropology
  • The archaeology of the British Isles

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

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Example module
“I've loved studying the ancient near east, as well as archaeology across Africa. The course has clearly taken care to offer a diverse range of subjects to students.”
Second year archaeology student at University of York
Example project
“The field work, out with university I get a fair bit of excavation experience through volunteering.”
Second year student at the University of the Highlands and Islands

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some archaeology courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects.
Hard skills you'll develop
  • Conservation techniques
  • Fieldwork and excavation techniques
  • Artifact analysis
  • Environmental analysis
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Patience and perseverance
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Writing and presentation skills

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying archaeology. The following information is based on a typical archivist, conservator, and curator role.
Available jobs
14,085 vacancies in the past year
4.23% growth over the next eight years
Average salary
Up to £54,140

What is an... archaeological drone pilot?

Archaeological drone pilots navigate the skies to uncover hidden stories beneath the Earth's surface. Using cutting-edge technology, they use drones to conduct aerial surveys, map archaeological sites, and capture high-resolution images. From towering structures to intricate landscapes, the drones provide a unique perspective, revealing details and patterns that may be missed with traditional ground surveys. With a passion for exploring and a keen eye for detail, these professionals solve mysteries of our past from the sky.

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study archaeology at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from archaeology applicants.

A Levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around archaeology with the following:
  1. Documentary Heaven

    Watch documentaries on great topics all around archaeology. 
  2. TED Talks: Reclaim the past, save the future

    How do we look forward without knowing where we come from? These talks emphasise the importance of historical truths, nuanced observations, and preserving cultural heritage.

  3. Museums and cultural visits

    Visit museums across the UK to keep your archaeological curiosity and passion alive. You can find a list here.
82% of students
would recommend the subject to others
(UCAS subject guide survey 2023)

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your archaeology journey.
Skills, experiences and interests to mention
  • Do you enjoy practical work and being outdoors? Archaeology courses will often involve field trips and work.
  • Emphasise your academic achievements, particularly in relevant subjects like history, anthropology, geography, or archaeology-related subjects.
  • Talk about your written and verbal communication skills, essential for presenting research findings, writing reports, and collaborating with colleagues.
  • Mention any languages achievements relevant to your archaeological interests, especially if you’re interested in working on projects in specific regions or with particular cultural contexts.

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