First Court

Director of Studies: Dr Kate Spence

Course length: 3 years



Archaeology at Cambridge

Archaeology covers a broad range of topics, from the evolution of humans through the development of farming, ancient societies and world empires to heritage in modern societies. Students can follow a designated stream – Archaeology (covering all world cultures), Biological Anthropology, Egyptology and Assyriology. Do explore the course details on the Archaeology Department website

Cambridge is one of the largest centres of archaeological research in Britain with the combined resources of the Division of Archaeology and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. We have recently been awarded top place in the Good University Guide for Archaeology in the UK. Archaeology students at Cambridge benefit from direct hands-on access to world-class collections in Cambridge’s many museums, libraries and research centres. 

Archaeology at Christ’s College

Christ’s College has been admitting undergraduate students to study Archaeology for many years. Previously archaeology students were streamed through broader courses: initially Archaeology and Anthropology and over the past decade via the Human, Social and Political Sciences route. The current single-subject course started in 2017.

Christ's is very convenient for Archaeology students, as we're one of the closest Colleges to the Archaeology department and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on the Downing Site. 

The application process

Details of the application process including the dates and deadlines are given on our how to apply page. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, all over the world, and if you will be applying from outside the UK, we recommend that you also read our dedicated section for international students. The following details are specifically for Archaeology applications.

Subject requirements

Archaeology is a very broad topic allowing specialism in many subject areas: the course encourages study of topics ranging across the humanities, the social sciences and the sciences. Students with almost any combination of subjects can apply; there are no required or recommended courses. We welcome applications from students studying humanistic fields such as History, English, Classics, and ancient languages, social sciences such as Geography, Sociology, Psychology, or Anthropology, and sciences such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. Applicants for Egyptology and Assyriology should be enthusiastic about studying languages.

Written work

After we have received your application, applicants for Archaeology will be asked to submit two examples of recent marked work that you feel accurately reflect your abilities and interests. Further information including details of how to send this work will be available in the current applicants section after you have applied. 


Archaeology candidates invited for interview in Cambridge normally have two interviews in early December. You are not expected to have any background in archaeology as the field is highly varied and the subject is not usually taught in schools; however, you should be prepared to discuss relevant interests and potential directions you may wish to follow. For more information about Cambridge interviews, we recommend that you watch the two films on the Cambridge admissions interviews page

We also hold interviews in a number of locations overseas. If this may be relevant for you, please see the international students section.

Admissions Assessment 

All applicants invited to interview will take a written Admissions Assessment, normally on the same day as their interviews. We organise the Admissions Assessment for you automatically if you are invited for interview - there is nothing that you need to do to register. The same assessment is used no matter which College you apply to. 

The Archaeology Admissions Assessment lasts one hour and is based on the reading of material that we will supply and designed to assess your ability to interpret texts and to write. No special preparation or prior knowledge is required. Further information including the format and sample questions is available on the University course information for Archaeology.


Our typical conditional offer for Archaeology is A*AA at A level, 42 points overall in the IB with 7,7,6 in Higher Level subjects, or the equivalent in other qualifications. If you are an international applicant taking another qualification, do look at the international students section for further information. 

If you will have already finished school when you apply, please see the page for post-qualification applications


Link Information
Reading list There are lots of suggestions here so that you can pick and choose according to your interests. There is no requirement that you will have read any of these books when you come for interview, however. 
Archaeological Review A bi-annual journal of archaeology. It is run on a non-profit, voluntary basis by researchers at the University of Cambridge.
Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology This is where many of the archaeology practicals take place, as it has a large teaching collection of objects. The museum is also open to members of the public free of charge for parts of the week (check the opening times online). 
Gresham College Lectures (Use the search function to find the Archeology lectures)

Events for prospective Archaeology students Do feel free to book a place on an archaeology event, and why not come to visit Christ's on the same day? 


Further information

If you are able to come to a College Open Day, we will be glad to tell you more about the College and the Archaeology course in person. If you are not able to come to an Open Day, please feel free to email us with any queries you may have. Our email address is

Undergraduate Admissions main page / Back to the subject list / How to apply / Why choose Christ's?