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UCC Undergraduate courses

Arts - Archaeology

Course Fact File
CodeSubject available through multiple programmes
Subject TitleArchaeology
Duration3 or 4 years
QualificationsBA (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesSee Fees and Costs 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 subject investigates many important developments in the human story, such as the evolution of Homo Sapiens, the adoption of farming, early urbanism, and the origins of social complexity. 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 collaborate with scientists in other disciplines to discover, record and date ancient objects, sites, and landscapes, and to analyse human and environmental remains. That record is part of our cultural heritage, and archaeologists play an important role protecting this resource for future generations.

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 modules with those dealing with fieldwork and scientific approaches in the past.

Year 1 Modules

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

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

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

Dr Bara O'Donnabhain, PhD Archaeology

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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

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UCC has been a centre for the study of Archaeology since the first professor, Sir Bertram Windle, was appointed in 1909. The Department of Archaeology has a reputation for excellence in teaching and research, and offers one of the most diverse range of undergraduate courses on offer in the Irish University system. Our research strengths include physical anthropology and bioarchaeology, architectural heritage, prehistory, and early medieval studies.

The Department is known for its innovative fieldwork, going back to the Lough Gur excavations by Professor Sean P. Ó Riordáin, and the excavation and restoration of Newgrange with Professor Michael O’Kelly. Our teaching continues to be delivered by expert researchers who are leading knowledge creators in their different fields of interest. The Department has excellent teaching and research facilities, including dedicated project rooms for research groups, as well as laboratory facilities, computer/GIS rooms, and fieldwork equipment.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

There may be opportunities to work on archaeological excavations during the summer with department staff, commercial companies, and other bodies.

The College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, where our Department is located, will support you in developing your career interests through a workplace engagement. Our Professional Work Experience Module (PX3001) may be taken in any year of your undergraduate studies. This is designed to prepare students for transition to the workplace on graduation.

Study Abroad

If you study Archaeology through CK108 Arts International you will spend your third year abroad, studying in an approved university of the major language or subject. After your year abroad you will return to UCC to complete the final year of your study. The programme currently has links with universities in Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, and the USA among others.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options

Further study options for students who graduate with Archaeology as part of their degree include:

Career Opportunities

Archaeology is a professional career qualification, with employment opportunities in Ireland and abroad.

If you study Archaeology you will 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 skills in fieldwork and computer applications.

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


You can take this subject through a number of undergraduate programmes. You must meet the requirements for the programme that you apply for.

This subject has no requirements additional to the overall programme requirements.

Fees and Costs

See the Fees and Costs information for the programme that you are applying for.

How To Apply

To study this subject, you must apply to an undergraduate programme that offers this subject. You will then select it as one of your subject options in First Year.

This subject is offered through the following programmes: 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact