Archaeological Science BSc (Hons)

UCAS code F420
Information line 01463 279190

What is special about this course?

Are you interested in archaeology but wish to focus on the scientific elements of this field of study? If so, the BSc (Hons) Archaeological Science could be perfect for you.

This exciting new degree complements our existing archaeology programmes by exploring the range of science-based methods that form an integral part of archaeological research, from archaeobotany to zooarchaeology.

On this course, you will receive high-quality, research-led teaching from staff engaged in world-class research on projects from various locations. Through this, you will develop scientific skills and knowledge through a range of science-orientate modules. You will participate in a range of activities during your degree studies including: taking part in world-ronowened archaeological excavations, laboratory-based study, fieldschools, and actively engaging in research. There are also options ot study abroad in your third year of study at one of our academic partner in Canada or the USA.

You will have the opportunity to gain invaluable workplace experience through participation in our archaeological placement module, which will aid you in developing key real-world skills for life after your degree, whether in postgraduate research, archaeology or another chosen profession.

In choosing to study at the University of the Highland and Islands, you will experience a vibrant and active learning environment and have the flexibility to study at one or more campuses throughout the region as you progress through your degree.

Special features

  • Develop practical environmental archaeology skills
  • Take part in a work placement to gain real-world experience of archaeological sciences
  • Take part and gain skills in excavation at one of our research excavations
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal circumstances
  • Study abroad in your third year in Canada or America
  • Flexible study through learning at one or more of our campuses
  • You can study individual modules for personal or professional development


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade BBC or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade BC or above
  • These must include a science subject at grade C or above
  • Applicants with other qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules are:

  • Archaeology theory and method
  • Science and archaeology

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • World archaeology
  • Historic landscapes
  • European pre-histories

You will also choose a further two option modules from other humanities or social science degrees.

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Excavation skills (should be taken in the summer between the first and second year)
  • Digital heritage
  • Wetland archaeology

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Managing archaeology for contemporary society
  • Scottish archaeology

You will also choose a further two option modules from other humanities or social science degrees.

Year 3 - BSc

Core modules are:

  • Archaeological science
  • Archaeology project
  • Archaeology and interpretation
  • Practical environmental archaeology (should be taken in the summer between years two and three)

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Pre-history of the Highlands and Islands
  • Historical archaeology of the Highlands and Islands
  • Archaeology placements

Year 4 - BSc (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Archaeological science dissertation (double-credit)
  • Sustainability, past and present
  • Biomolecular archaeology
  • People, plants and animals.

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Funerary and burial archaeology
  • Neolithic Scotland
  • Landscape archaeology

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

As your course was designed using our blended learning approach and has run successfully for many years in this way, we can confirm that there will be limited change to how the course will be delivered next year. From September 2020, you will study mainly online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have an online induction at the start of the course. On-campus activities, lab-based practical sessions and placements will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing, most likely in semester two (from January 2021), where this is not possible alternative options will be available. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all staff and students.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part -time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face and/or video conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors
  • You will be required to attend 2 x two-week summer residential modules as part of this course. For the excavation skills module you will be expected to join a summer field-school in Orkney between the first and second year of your studies. For the practical environmental archaeology module you will also be expected to travel to Orkney between your second and third year to undertake practical laboratory based work in our labs at Orkney College UHI. Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs will be self-funded.

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time: 8 years @ 20 hours per week

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll College UHI
  • Highland Theological College UHI
  • Inverness College UHI
  • Lews Castle College UHI
  • Moray College UHI
  • North Highland College UHI
  • Orkney College UHI
  • Perth College UHI
  • Shetland College UHI
  • West Highland College UHI

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Study Mode2019-202020-21
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term-time address in Scotland the following fees apply:

YearLevel2019-20 Full-time2020-21 Full-time
Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free free

4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Study Mode2019-202020-21
Full-time per year (120 credit modules) per year £12,800 £13,200
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £6,420 £6,600
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £2,140 £2,200

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

Additional Costs

  • There are two 2-week residentials in Orkney for the excavation skills module and practical environmental archaeology module where you will take part in a summer field school and laboratory-based work. Students are required to self-fund their travel to Orkney and cover accommodation and subsistence costs.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your degree, you may consider careers in:

  • Archaeological contract units
  • Consultancy
  • Archives and museums
  • Government agencies and local authorities
  • Media and politics
  • Teaching
  • Research

Can I progress into further study?

You may progress from the BSc (Hons) Archaeological Science to a range of postgraduate courses offered by the university or to postgraduate research:

MSc Archaeological Practice
MLitt Archaeological Studies
MLitt History of the Highlands and Islands
MLitt History and Archaeology of the Highlands and Islands
MLitt Orkney and Shetland Studies
MLitt Viking Studies

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Archaeological Science BSc (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2021

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.