Introduction

Archaeology is the only discipline that studies the human past in its entirety; from the origins of our species to the events of yesterday. Archaeology at Aberdeen has a special northern focus that is unique in the UK. Through lectures, field and laboratory work you will engage with the archaeology of Scotland, Scandinavia, northern Europe, the North Atlantic and northern latitudes of Asia and North America. You will be taught by internationally acclaimed researchers.

This programme is studied fully online.

The Certificate in Archaeology combines elements of the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Courses will cover subjects such as the origins of modern humans, the prehistory of Britain, lifeways and culture changes in the northern world as well as Scottish archaeology. What is more, through the university’s online platform, the Certificate offers flexibility for students who have other day-time commitments or who live away from Aberdeen.

In seeking to understand how ancient people lived their lives, structured their world, and engaged with their environment, archaeologists ask the big questions that can provide us with the tools to tackle modern day issues such the effects of climate change, designing the ‘perfect’ diet, or investigating the spread of epidemics.

You will enjoy a special, warm welcome at the University of Aberdeen and benefit from excellent teaching, the international impact of our research, and a global experience as part of our friendly and vibrant international community. More information about archaeology at Aberdeen can be found through the Department of Archaeology website.

Part Time Study

Part time study options are available for this programme.

Degree marketing image

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
Online Learning
Degree Qualification
Certificate
Duration
24 months
Study Mode
Part Time
Start Month
September

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Archaeology in Action: an Introduction (Distance) (AY1004) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to how archaeological discoveries are made, the types of questions we can ask about past human societies using the evidence of their material remains, and the range of methods that archaeologists can draw on to try to answer the questions that excite them. By visiting archaeological sites, focussing on some of the world's most spectacular archaeological discoveries, and discussing some of the department's own original research projects, we will explore what the discipline of archaeology adds to our understanding of the human past and present, and what tools and techniques archaeologists employ in different environments.

View detailed information about this course

Caves to Kingdoms: an Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology (Distance) (AY1504) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides a romping introduction to the deep human past, from our earliest hominin origins in Africa to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms in Northern Europe. Along the way we will discover the key stages in the evolution of our species and what it means to be 'human', from our use of symbols to express thoughts, ritualstic behaviours to our domestication of plants and animals and militarized empires. The archaeological evidence for these fundamental transitions in human societies provides us with powerful insights into some of the world's most fascinating civilizations.

View detailed information about this course

Prehistoric Britain: from Boxgrove to Bede (AY2010) - 15 Credit Points

Britain has been inhabited by humans for more than half a million years. This course provides an introduction to the peoples and societies that have occupied this Island from the first pioneer populations to the dawn of history.

View detailed information about this course

Past Lives (AY2509) - 15 Credit Points

Archaeology is ultimately the study of human social lives. This course provides students with a detailed introduction to archaeological approaches to the study of human society. Through case studies and key texts we will investigate how archaeology can generate detailed insights into the richness and diversity of the diverse human communities and individuals of the past.

View detailed information about this course

Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Test Tubes and Trowels: an Introduction to Archaeological Science (Distance) (AY2008) - 15 Credit Points

Ever wondered how Archaeologists know what Neandertals ate, or what killed Ötzi the Iceman? Test Tubes & Trowels provides an accessible overview of the key scientific approaches used in modern archaeology to better understand archaeological sites and materials and to reconstruct past lives. Using a combination of pre-recorded podcast-style lectures and practical exercises, the course will cover scientific methods of dating, artefact provenancing and ancient technologies, methods used for the study of diet, health, and movements of humans and animals in the past, and the identification of the environmental impacts of past human activities.

View detailed information about this course

The Archaeology of The North: Lifeways & Cultural Change (Distance) (AY2507) - 15 Credit Points

This course is a detailed introduction to the ecological, economic and spiritual dimensions to the archaeology of the northern world. Lectures will draw on a series of case-studies to examine the human adaptations to northern landscapes, ritual and spirituality, and finally the impact of colonisation and contact upon northern cultures. Practicals in the course will include hands-on introduction to traditional skills such as flint knapping, tool manufacture and use of an atlatl.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select EITHER AY3517: Archaeologies of Landscape (Distance) OR AY3522: Historical Archaeology
  • Select EITHER AY3018: Geoarchaeology: Approaches to Past Human-Environmental Interactions (Distance) OR AY3020: Scottish Archaeology (Distance)
Archaeologies of Landscape (Distance) (AY3517) - 15 Credit Points

DISTANCE LEARNING VERSION: Landscapes may be quantitative or qualitative; they can be explored with scientific instruments, using our bodies or in our imagination. This course investigates the key concept of landscape and its relationship to archaeological research across a broad range of cultural and historical contexts. The course is organized around thematic lectures and culminates in an interactive 3-day study trip to the Orkney Isles.

View detailed information about this course

Historical Archaeology (AY3522) - 15 Credit Points

What can archaeology tell us about the lives of people who lived in times and places dominated by written records? Contrary to popular perception 'history' is not all in the books! Historical Archaeology provides us with an alternative means of studying historical people, periods and places through the things that people left behind. If historians study historic documents to shed light on the past, historical archaeologists use artefacts and information from the natural environment to do this. Students who take this course will not only learn the methods of historical archaeology but how they can be applied to some of the most significant issues to have shaped the medieval and modern periods; from diet and disease to social status and gender; and from the rise of nations and nationalism to capitalism and globalisation.

View detailed information about this course

Geoarchaeology: Approaches to Past Human - Environmental Interactions (Distance) (AY3018)
Scottish Archaeology (Distance) (AY3020) - 15 Credit Points

Here in Scotland we have a world-class record of past human society. From the spectacularly preserved Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae to 19th century clearance villages, this course explores the broad sweep of Scottish prehistoric and historic archaeology. In lectures and a day long study trip students will get an in-depth insight into the archaeology of Scotland and will explore some of the major issues in human history: the origins of agriculture and monumentality, worldview and belief in the north, settlement and social structure, urbanism and the emergence of the modern world.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to change. Further information about potential changes can be viewed here.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • E-learning
  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Please note: Final examinations must be taken either on-campus or at an approved location off-campus at the same time,

Why Study Certificate in Archaeology?

    • This Certificate programme provides an excellent introduction to the field of Archaeology, for those wishing to gain a critical understanding of the foundations of the discipline or those who want to explore a general interest.
    • The possibility of online learning offers flexibility for students who have other day-time commitments or who live away from Aberdeen.  You also have the choice to take you classes and labs on campus alongside other students.
    • Archaeology at Aberdeen has a northern focus unique in the UK, covering the heritage of Scotland, Scandinavia, northern Europe, the North Atlantic and the northern latitudes of Asia and North America.
    • Aberdeen is at the heart of a region that is among the richest in the UK in terms of sites of outstanding archaeological interest and is in close proximity to the World Heritage sites in Orkney.
    • Opportunities to participate in outstanding national and international department-led field research projects, from Aberdeenshire to Alaska, and receive practical training in survey, excavation and documentation methods.
    • Field-based teaching and study visits to local archaeological sites, monuments and museums.
    • Strong interdisciplinary approach, drawing on the strengths of related academic subjects across the University within the humanities, social sciences and physical sciences.
    • Excellent laboratory facilities, outstanding museum collections and exhibitions, and the award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with its atmospheric study environment, state-of-the-art technology and extensive collection of Archaeology books and journals.
    • Research-active staff among the world-leaders in their fields.
    • Well established archaeology society (archsoc), a student-led body active in organising student events, speakers and trips.
    • A packed campus programme of public events, exhibitions, seminars, café debates, including the annual May Festival, British Science Week and the Being Human Festival – all welcoming internationally acclaimed experts, authors, and broadcasters, and showcasing Aberdeen research and discoveries in archaeology.  

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Applicants applying within 5 years of leaving school will normally be expected to produce evidence of at least four Higher passes at grade B or better, BBB at A Level, an HNC with at least a B in the graded unit, or equivalent qualifications. For entrance to the Sciences these would include a good performance in at least two Mathematics/Science subjects.

For candidates who left school more than 5 years ago a minimum of four qualifications with evidence of high achievement should still be presented, but professional, work based qualifications, Open University or Access courses may be offered in lieu of Highers/A-Levels. Students applying for counselling skills should be aware that relevant work experience in the caring professions will also be taken into consideration - as a partial requirement alongside qualifications.

Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the University Admissions team

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants

Should your programme necessitate a visit to the University you may find the following information helpful.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Students Domiciled in Scotland £180
Modular fee programmes - Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year Fees are charged on a modular basis. The fee quoted is per 15 credits.
Students Domiciled Outside Scotland £675
Modular fee programmes - Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year Fees are charged on a modular basis. The fee quoted is per 15 credits.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Head of Department
Dr Gordon Noble
Programme Coordinator
Dr Jeff Oliver
Programme Leader
Dr Kate Britton

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time.

Archaeology - Top in Scotland

The University was ranked top in Scotland for Archaeology in the most recent Research Exercise Framework (REF) results, published in 2014.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX