Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology

What is archaeology?

An archaeologist studies the human past through material remains with the aim to reconstruct ancient cultures in all their aspects. On the basis of these remains, it is possible to study the behaviour and living conditions of ancient people, therefore getting a good understanding of the evolution of cultures and the mutual influence of different groups. The archaeological remains are usually below the surface, hence the romantic image of the archaeologist-excavator. Yet an essential part of the research begins after fieldwork: analysis, comparison, formulating hypotheses, testing, etc. Archaeologists work together with colleagues from a wide range of other sciences such as history, anthropology, numismatics... The natural sciences also play an important role, especially geology and geography. The implementation of modern technologies such as archaeometry and remote sensing are crucial.

Why study archaelogy?

If you are interested in studying the human past in an analytical and scientific way and learning more than laundry lists of dates, facts and names of cultures, then archaeology is the subject for you! You will not only learn where and through what means you can detect and investigate archaeological remains and data, but also how to appraise research sources critically.

If you expect that as an archaeologist you will be able to lead the life of Indiana Jones, you're mistaken. Archaeology is exciting, but it is also a serious scientific discipline. In addition, archaeologists also have an important social role to play, not least because of their concern for the cultural heritage and their commitment to a better knowledge of the past -not only in their own country, but also internationally, as there are also plenty of opportunities to build a career abroad or around foreign research themes.

You need to have a broad scientific interest in ancient cultures, accuracy and attention to detail is essential, and spending many hours outdoors does not deter you. An analytical attitude, inquisitive mind and commitment are essential. In addition, the ability to memorize data etc. is important because this study requires quite a lot of memory work.

You have at least a passive knowledge of English, French and German for processing sources and literature. Language skills can be improved during your studies; all sorts of courses are provided by the university.

Bachelor programme Archaeology at UGent

In the Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology study programme the student is confronted with all aspects of archaeological research and with several other scientific disciplines. The programme is a combination of lectures and seminars, fieldwork and self-guided study. As the programme progresses, the lectures decrease and seminars, development of practical skills, fieldwork, self-guided study and independent research increase.

The department of Archaeology undertook a review of its bachelor programme a few years ago and introduced a new programme in 2014-2015.

In the first year, undergraduate students follow, in addition to programme-specific courses, five general courses from the general course package of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.

In addition, the Bachelor programme is made up of three types of courses:

  • Domain-specific knowledge courses: chronological overviews of specific archaeological regions
  • Methodology courses: (Ba1) General Introduction to Archaeology, Introduction to World Archaeology, Introduction to the natural sciences in Archaeology and Introduction to Archaeological Surveying and Excavation techniques; (Ba2) Ecological Archaeology, Introduction to Pedology and Introduction to Geology; (Ba3) Analysis and Imaging in Archaeology, Non-invasive survey techniques in Archaeology, and Introduction to Geomatics in Archaeology.
  • Practical skills courses: guided exercises and seminars to help develop academic skills and the ability to execute independent research, fieldwork, artefact and material courses, field trips to museums and archaeological sites

In the second and third year, the student will be able to broaden his or her intellectual horizons through a minor in another subject of 30 credits (Assyriology, Geography, Art Studies, History or Classical Civilization and the Classical Tradition).

Full programme