UCC Undergraduate courses

Arts - Archaeology

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title


  • Code

    Subject available through multiple programmes

  • Subject Title


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    3 or 4 years

  • Qualifications

    BA (Hons)

  • Fees

    Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,130 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Refer to CK101 and CK108 See Requirements for full details.

Course Outline

Archaeology is an exciting subject that studies past human societies through the material remains they left behind, investigating important developments in the human story over a long period of time.

The greater part of the human story is beyond the range of traditional historical methods and can only be studied using archaeological approaches to the ancient past.

Archaeologists regularly collaborate with scientists working in such disciplines as botany and physics, analysing environmental remains and dating ancient objects.

Archaeology is a professional discipline, with numerous employment opportunities in Ireland and abroad.


You can take Archaeology as one of four subjects in the First Arts course. You will be provided with a general introduction to the discipline of Archaeology in Year 1 so you will not need to have any particular background in this subject. You will also be introduced to the Archaeology of Ireland, spanning 10 millennia from the earliest human settlement of the island to the early modern era.

Years 3 and 4 provide foundation and advanced training in Irish and European Archaeology, as well as a range of skills-orientated courses that are necessary for career development.

Overall, the BA degree in Archaeology seeks to balance archaeological theory and culture history courses with those dealing with fieldwork and scientific approaches in the past.

Year 1 Modules:

  • AR1001 The Archaeology of Ireland in Context (15 credits)

Year 2 Modules:


The Development of Archaeological Thought;  Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork


Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe;  The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland;  The Development of Archaeological Thought;  The Archaeology of Later Medieval Ireland;  The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe;  Artefact Studies;  Introduction to Environmental Archaeology;  Human Remains for Archaeologists;  Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork;  Heritage Management and Archaeology;  Forensic Archaeology 

Year 3*/4 Modules:


Research Dissertation;  Professional Practice in Archaeology


Landscape Archaeology;  Ireland in the Third Millenium BC;  Beyond the Celtic Iron Age:  Ireland in the First Millenium BC;  Viking Age Archaeology in Ireland and Britain;  The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church;  Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World;  Archaeological Ceramics;  The Industrial Archaeology of Ireland;  Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments;  Health, Diet and Disease in Early Societies; Professional Practice in Archaeology;  Archaeo-palynology.

*BA International students spend third year studying in an approved foreign university in a country of the student's major language or subject.  They will return to complete their final year in UCC in Year 4.

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of Programme Modules.

Course Practicalities

Field trips: As well as lectures and seminars, there is a strong fieldwork element in the Archaeology course. Many of the course modules have field excursions where students will be introduced to the rich archaeological heritage of Ireland. Students will be encouraged to participate on excavations and will receive field survey training.

There are also opportunities to work on archaeological projects during the summer with commercial companies and other bodies.

Why Choose This Course

...my database for my research is ordinary archaeological material traditional archaeological material as well as human skeletal remains.

Dr Bara O'Donnabhain

PHD, Archaeology

Watch Video
We spend a week out in east and west Cork looking at various sites ... putting into the practice the skills and methods that we've discussed in the classroom.

Dr Ben Geary

PHD, Archaeology

Watch Video

A degree in Archaeology is flexible in regard to employment, whether in the archaeological profession or some applied heritage area.

Our students also acquire important skills that are transferable to other areas of employment, including the ability to think critically, to problem solve and to carry out research, as well as practical ability in fieldwork and computer applications.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Study abroad: If you are studying through the BA International, you will spend Year 3 studying at one of our partner universities abroad. We currently have links with universities in: Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden Mexico, and the USA.

Work placement: If you study through the BA or the BA International, you will have the opportunity to avail of a work placement in Year 2. You can find out more here.

Skills and Careers Information

As well as being an exciting and interesting subject, Archaeology is a professional career qualification, with employment opportunities in Ireland and abroad. Archaeologists work in a wide range of areas and specialisms, including:

  • The State heritage sector
  • Government bodies such as the National Monuments Service and the National Museum of Ireland
  • Local authorities to work in county museums and in county and city heritage offices
  • Commercial archaeology sector in Ireland, servicing the requirements of State agencies such as the National Roads Authority
  • Developers in the private sector.
  • Survey and excavation
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Heritage conservation projects
  • Media and tourism initiatives

Our students acquire important skills that are transferable to other areas of employment, including the ability to think critically, to problem solve and to carry out research, as well as practical ability in fieldwork and computer applications.


Refer to CK101 and CK108.

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such appicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. A separate mandatory annual charge called the ‘Student contribution fee' is payable for the costs of student services and examinations. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK101 and CK108. Students choose subjects when registering for first year.

EU Applicants

The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over)

All interested mature applicants must make an application through the Central Applications Office (CAO). See the CAO Mature Applicants and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) pages. Visit our Mature Student Entry page for more information.


See our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)/Further Education and Training (FET) application process.

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information.

All Applicants

Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

  • In UCC, we use the terms programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact