Subject Guide

Archaeology Degree

Daniella Driscoll  · Nov 7th 2022

Archaeology isn’t just about digging up old bones; it is the study of human activity and lifestyle through the recovery of material data.


Studying anthropology at university is an exciting and rewarding prospect. The subject involves the study of the similarities and the differences between cultures and societies worldwide. Through studying, you will be able to understand societal issues including human rights, multiculturalism and religion.

As a theoretical and practical subject, it combines the theory elements of the subject and the opportunity to travel abroad for field trips. Studying anthropology opens you up to a broad range of careers, including anthropology, education and community work, either in the UK or overseas.

Archaeology Degree

What is anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humanity. This subject covers a range of topics including human behaviour and biology, as well as the different societies, and linguistics around the world.

Typically, there are two types of anthropology taught across the UK:

  • Social anthropology
  • Biological anthropology

Social anthropology focuses on how people live in the world. This includes societal relationships, cultural and biological backgrounds and careers. Also, how they think and find meaning in the world, based on their principles, and values and what influenced them. As a social anthropologist, you will learn about different societies, religions and cultures.

Biological anthropology is about how humans have evolved to become what they are today. It looks at human social behaviour and compares it to other primates and historical records. The study can involve excavating cave sites or analysing DNA in laboratories to learn more about biological and cultural diversity in the human race. Investigations can also include data from fossils, human genetics and archaeology.

For your anthropology personal statement, it’s crucial to share your passion and dedication for the subject, your career goals and how the degree will suit you.

Both types involve how human biology impacts cultural and social behaviour. These aren’t the only two branches of anthropology, there are also cognitive anthropology and forensic anthropology. Forensic anthropology, for example, combines forensic science and anthropology, with a focus on investigating human remains. While cognitive anthropology looks at the way people think about events and objects in the world.

What are the modules for this course?

The modules you take can depend on the type of anthropology degree you choose. Whether it’s a border anthropology course, or a more specific course, such as social anthropology. Generally, these are the modules covered in an anthropology degree:

  • Anthropological methods
  • Anthropology theory
  • Anthropology of ethics
  • Business anthropology
  • Evolutionary biology and geography
  • Ethnographic reading and methods
  • Gender and society
  • Human ecology
  • Human evolution
  • Human osteology
  • Inequality in everyday life
  • Methods and analysis in biological anthropology
  • Material cultures
  • Prehistoric archaeology
  • Political and economic anthropology
  • Primate biology and behaviour
  • Regional studies of culture
  • Research methods in social anthropology

What are the entry requirements?

Entry requirements can vary depending on your university and course. Generally, the UCAS points expectations can range from 104-165. Qualifications can include:

  • A-levels: Requirements can differ from AAA-BBC. No specific subjects are essential, however, biology and sociology are the most beneficial to your degree.
  • BTECs: Some universities may accept BTEC qualifications as entry into your course. Expected grades can range from D*D*D*-DDM.
  • Scottish Highers: Entry requirements for Highers can range from AAAA-BBBB. Sometimes, Advanced Highers is required as well, at the grades AAB-AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): For those studying the international baccalaureate, the expected overall score ranges from 38-30.

Additionally, work experience, further reading and extracurricular activities can benefit your application. Further reading is useful to develop your knowledge and understanding. Websites such as the Discover Anthropology or any resources your university recommends can put you at an advantage.

Archaeology Degree

How do I write my personal statement for this subject?

For your anthropology personal statement, it’s crucial to share your passion and dedication for the subject, your career goals and how the degree will suit you.

Universities want to understand why anthropology is your chosen degree. This is why it’s important to review the course you’re applying for and talk about the topics which interest you and the reasons behind them. Think about where your interest has stemmed from as an example. Discuss how it links to your current studies and future career goals. With your goals, make sure to talk about how this degree will help you fulfil those ambitions.

Work experience and specific achievements are valuable. Discuss experiences such as volunteering and how you can use those skills in your degree. Working with others is useful for this degree because it can help develop your communication skills, observational skills and people management skills. Any experience is helpful as long as you can explain how the skills or knowledge you have gained applies to the degree.

An anthropology degree teaches you transferable skills which you can use across many industries including anthropology, education, recruitment, community work or in public health.

Talking about your interests and passions is useful to help universities gain a full scope of who you are. You should talk about relevant and non-relevant interests such as travelling, for example, and how they link to the degree. Your hobbies are also a great indicator of the person you are and to tell what kind of student you will be.

What books or equipment do I need?

Further reading is always encouraged for an anthropology degree. Your university will provide you with a suggested reading list to help further your knowledge and understanding of the subject. However, there are many books and free resources on offer.

For example:

  • Exotic No More: Anthropology for the Contemporary World edited by Jeremy MacClancy
  • Think Like an Anthropologist by Matthew Engelke
  • Debt, the First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
  • It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd

Alternatively, free resources including the online magazine Sapiens and Anthropology News are ideal to develop your insight and keep your knowledge up to date.

Similar to books, your university will provide you with suggestions on appropriate equipment, whether it’s software or tools. A quality laptop helps with your assignments and taking notes in lectures.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment can vary based on your chosen degree and will change by module. These are the most common forms of assessment in an anthropology degree:

  • Dissertation or final year project
  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Fieldwork diaries or project
  • Lab assessments
  • Presentations
  • Research projects

Archaeology Degree

What are the career prospects?

An anthropology degree teaches you transferable skills which you can use across many industries including anthropology, education, recruitment, community work or in public health.

The graduate anthropology salary can vary depending on experience, skills, location and type of job.

You will gain a deep understanding of human behaviour and the factors which influence it. As well as research skills, you will learn intercultural awareness and partake in fieldwork. These skills are invaluable and can set you up to start your chosen career.

What jobs can I get with this degree?

With the valuable skills you will gain during an anthropology degree, various jobs can suit you after graduation. Some of these jobs, such as journalist or solicitor may require further studies or training.

Jobs can include:

How does anthropology change at a postgraduate level?

Undergraduate degrees can take three to four years, depending on your course. Whilst postgraduate degrees take one to two years.

Your undergraduate degree will determine.will determine your choice of what to specialise in at the postgraduate level. For example, if you take a course on social anthropology, it’s easy to directly move into a postgraduate course. Alternatively, if you choose a generic anthropology degree, you can specialise in any linked degree such as biological anthropology or a master's in public health studies for example.

Postgraduate qualifications vary, you will study for a master’s degree either called a master's or a research degree. Some examples include Biological Anthropology PhD, Medical Anthropology MSc and Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology MSc.

Archaeology Degree

What is the average grad salary in this area?

The graduate anthropology salary can vary depending on experience, skills, location and type of job. On average, the starting salary as a graduate anthropologist can be around the £20,000 mark[1].

With experience, you could earn on average from £36,000-£64,000. This depends on the number of years in the industry and your employer. In London, the average salary for an anthropologist is £52,000[2].


  • [1]UK Anthropology Courses — Retrieved 7 November 2022.
  • [2]Anthropologist Salary in London, United Kingdom — Retrieved 7 November 2022.

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