Do you love looking at artefacts, museums and world heritage sites, or your local folk museum? Are you intrigued by how we lived and designed homes, and the decorative and functional items in them, throughout ages, countries and cultures to survive and flourish? Combine the study of Archaeology with History of Art to understand in detail artefacts and art history throughout major ages.
This programme is studied on campus.
The MA Archaeology route focuses on the humanities and social science side of archaeology. Courses in Archaeology will cover subjects such as the origins of modern humans, colonisation of the north, history and theory of archaeology, Scottish archaeology and excavation and research skills.
The History of Art programme at the University of Aberdeen provides students with an extensive specialised knowledge of the history of painting, sculpture, architecture and the decorative arts in Europe and North America from the Middle Ages to the present day.
You could work around the world in galleries, archaeology sites, teaching and communicating knowledge globally.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 48 months
- Study Mode
- Full Time
- Start Month
- UCAS Code
What You'll Study
- Year 1
- Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)
This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.
- Archaeology in Action: an Introduction (AY1003) - 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.
- Introduction to Art History (HA1004) - 15 Credit Points
This introductory course will trace major developments in the history of art in the western world from Classical art and architecture in ancient Greece to the beginnings of photography in the nineteenth century. Aspects of European art to be explored, through painting, prints, sculpture and architecture, will begin with Stone-Age cave painting and then range from Greek Classicism to Medieval Gothic cathedrals, the rebirth of Classicism in the Renaissance to the grandeur of the Baroque, the ornament of the Rococo, and the revolutionary order of Neo-Classicism. Download Course Guide
View our course video: (Video) HA1004 - Introduction to Art History
- Caves to Kingdoms: an Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology (AY1503) - 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, ritualistic 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,
- Modern Art (HA1508) - 30 Credit Points
Beginning with the Romantic period, and the art of Victorian Britain, this course will trace major developments in Western art through to the late twentieth century. Nineteenth-century modernism and modernity in France will be explored through Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the art of fin-de-siècle Paris. Twentieth-century movements will include German Expressionism, the wildness of Fauvism, the analytical eye of Cubism, the anarchy and dreams of Dada and Surrealism, and the rise of American painting with Abstract Expressionism. The move to postmodernism will be traced through Pop Art and beyond.
Video: (Video) HA1508 - Modern Art
- Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice.
- Year 2
- Prehistoric Britain: from Boxgrove to Bede (AY2009) - 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.
- Test Tubes and Trowels: an Introduction to Archaeological Science (AY2006) - 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 lectures and practical workshops, 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.
- Cathedrals to Caravaggio (HA2009) - 30 Credit Points
This course will survey western European art from circa 1100 to 1600. It will cover the styles known as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque. It will examine media including architecture, sculpture, metalwork and painting. The iconography of the Christian church forms the basis much of this art, but classical mythology and vernacular themes are also significant. Major themes include those of pilgrimage and church reform, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It provides a fundamental understanding of the cultural world in which Aberdeen University began. Download Course Guide
- Past Lives (AY2508) - 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.
- The Archaeology of The North: Lifeways & Cultural Change (AY2505) - 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.
- Making Masterpieces: Six Works in Context (HA2509) - 15 Credit Points
This course focuses on six major artistic masterpieces considered in their original and critical contexts. All the works considered have achieved fame or notoriety and have had a major impact on the history of art and culture. Works discussed may include the Bayeux Tapestry, Leonardo's Mona Lisa, Caravaggio's Calling of St Matthew, Courbet's Stonebreakers and Duchamp's Fountain.
- In the Flesh: Art on Location (HA2806) - 15 Credit Points
This course is organised around a series of tutor-led class visits to sites of special art historical significance. The class will visit key locations in and around Aberdeen, and there is also a trip to Edinburgh. A range of important works of art and architecture will be studied in situ, and this study will be supported by staff lectures on related topics. The material on the course will be organised in relation to broad themes that will introduce students to major issues in the discipline of art history.
- Year 3
- Professional Archaeology i: Field Methods (AY3010) - 15 Credit Points
We only have three days to find out! Excavation and field survey in modern archaeology can lead to spectacular discoveries regarding our past. This course, built around a short fieldschool and follow-up practicals and classes, will introduce and develop key skills in field archaeology, including excavation, field survey and sampling. Students will go through the whole process of designing, carrying out and reporting on a site and landscape in a course that will provide invaluable professional development.
- Fieldwork 1 (HA3088)
Throughout the honours programme, you will be encouraged to reflect on your developing skills and knowledge as an art historian. Through tutor-led and self-directed visits to various locations, the Fieldwork course will foster a wide appreciation of past and current issues in the art world, beyond the classroom. The course will include not only a study of art and architecture but also a consideration of their context, display, function and interpretation.
- Professional Archaeology II: Post - Excavation Analysis and Employment (AY3514) - 15 Credit Points
Lectures and laboratory practicals will provide experience in the techniques used to process and analyse archaeological artefacts and samples. We will introduce analytical basics for lithic, ceramic, faunal and historic artefact analysis as well as techniques for conserving, cataloguing and curating archaeological collections. This course also introduces practical skills required to obtain employment and placement in an archaeological workplace through practical exercises in writing CVs, job cover letters and job interview skills.
- Critical Perspectives in the History of Art (HA3079) - 30 Credit Points
Unlike most other art history courses, this is a text‐based course, which will focus on a number of selected ‘key texts’ by a range of authors from the history of art. In most classes, the chosen texts, which you will read in advance, will be examined in relation to a small number of pre‐chosen images. Discussion will focus on the way in which the issues raised in a prescribed text can usefully illuminate (or otherwise!) the given images. Download Course Guide
NOTE: If you intend to take your dissertation in Archaeology you must take AY 3512 Archaeological Research Project Part I in level 3.
Select further credit points from level 3 course(s) in Archaeology to gain a total of 60 credits in the discipline, plus 30 credit points from level 3 courses in History of Art.
- Archaeological Research Project Part i (AY3512) - 15 Credit Points
This course is the first stage in producing an archaeological dissertation, which is completed in Level 4. Lectures and practical training sessions introduce the theory and practice of archaeological research design. As the course progresses the student puts this into practice through the development of their own original research project, its presentation at a research seminar, and the submission of a full research proposal, which they subsequently take forward as their dissertation. A personal supervisor is identified and provides support, in addition to the other lecturers involved in delivering the lectures and skills training.
- Year 4
- Fieldwork 2 (HA408A) - 30 Credit Points
In Fieldwork 2, you will continue your study of works of art and architecture in situ by undertaking a final fieldtrip. This can be as part of a tutor-led group visit, to Paris for example, or as a planned and agreed independent trip. You will complete your Flog with reflections on summer activities and then begin selecting the material for your Fieldwork ePortfolio. Unlike the Flog, this must be written in an academic style and will give you the opportunity to show how your thoughts and ideas as an art historian have been developing throughout the course. Download Course Guide
Select one of the following options:
- Current Issues in Archaeology (AY4510) AND History of Art Dissertation (HA4588)
- Archaeological Research Project Part II (AY4002) (with AY3512 as pre-requisite)
Plus select further credit points from Level 4 Archaeology and History of Art courses to gain 60 credits in each discipline.
- Archaeological Research Project Part II (AY4002) - 30 Credit Points
Building directly on the skills learnt in AY3512, the student undertakes an original research project, under the guidance of their personal supervisor and course co-ordinator, and at the end of the course submits an archaeological dissertation. The session begins with a research seminar when students present how their research has progressed over the summer and what they will now be doing to complete it.
- Current Issues in Archaeology (AY4510) - 30 Credit Points
Archaeology is a contemporary discipline and the focus in archaeological questions, subject areas and theoretical debates constantly change with time. In this course we focus on some of the topics that are important for the ongoing research within our department, from domestication and climate change to community archaeology and relating to death. The different issues are discussed in text-based seminars, where the students themselves are responsible for presenting the topic and leading the seminars. The course aims to explore and challenge current trends in the archaeological discourse.
- History of Art Dissertation (HA4588) - 30 Credit Points
Your dissertation is intended to give you the opportunity to carry out a piece of sustained research on a topic of your own choice and to demonstrate to the examiners your ability to present the results of such research in a proper, scholarly manner. Your research may be of various kinds. It may address works of art (or a single work of art) directly, through first-hand study in galleries, museums, or private collections, or it may be of a more literary kind, addressing critical or theoretical problems. Or it might involve both. Download Course Guide
We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
How You'll Study
- Individual Projects
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 learnt on the course; and
- written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
- View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme
How the programme is taught
The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
How the programme is assessed
The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
Learning Methodscheduled: 20%
Learning Methodscheduled: 15%
Learning Methodscheduled: 15%
Learning Methodscheduled: 10%
Why Study Archaeology and History of Art?
- 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.
- Research active staff among the world leaders in their fields.
- Aberdeen is an excellent location in which to study History of Art, with the city possessing a wide range of galleries and museums.
- The Department believes in first-hand experience, so field trips take place at each level to visit major galleries and architecture. Destinations include Edinburgh, London and Paris. Third year students attend a Reading Party at a country house in Kincardineshire where they are coached in visual and presentation skills.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
General Entry Requirements
- 2020 Entry
Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.
Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.
Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.
32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.
Irish Leaving Certificate
5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above).
Entry from College
Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.
The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.
English Language Requirements
To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:
OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0
OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21
OVERALL - 54 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54
Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:
OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.
|Home / EU||£1,820|
|Students Admitted in 2020/21|
|Students Admitted in 2020/21|
International non-EU Applicants
- In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
- For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
There are many career options open to you within Archaeology and History of Art. An archaeology degree could lead you to work for the civil service globally, specific heritage attractions or to teach and provide research. By studying History of Art you have a rich knowledge base to inform and advise about specific artefacts and their historical relevance, working in heritage and museum sectors and education. You could choose to utilise your art history knowledge to specialise in conservation and provenance. Apart from specialist careers there are a rich and varied amount of professions you can choose from.
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; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
Get in Touch
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen