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At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
The course aims to equip participants with a sound knowledge of Ireland’s archaeological heritage from the earliest settlers to the medieval period. It consists of lectures, fieldwork and project work. The course offers a general introduction to the field monuments and material culture of some nine millennia of the Irish past.
You will be introduced to the discipline of archaeology, its historical development worldwide, theoretical perspectives and methodologies. You will also examine the archaeology of Ireland in general, and explore the prehistoric and historic archaeology of human settlement in their region.
Applications and Selections
Applications will open in April 2018
Who Teaches this Course
Requirements and Assessment
All modules in the Diploma are individually assessed. The assessment for each module takes the form of essays or projects during the semester or a written examination at the end of the semester. Classes are held one evening per week with occasional weekend field trips.
Basic computer skills will be an advantage. E-mail, internet and NUI Galway's online learning environment are in use throughout the course.
All applicants, whose first language is not English, or who have not been educated through the medium of the English language during their two most recent years of study, must present one of the following qualifications in the English language: IELTS: 6.5 or TOEFL (IBT): 92. Please see this webpage for further information: https://www.nuigalway.ie/international-students/english.html
2 years, part-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
Next start date
Mode of study
There are six modules on offer within the diploma structure. Students are required to complete 3 modules each year.
Introduction to Archaeology: This module will introduce students to the discipline of archaeology and provide the theoretical and methodological foundations for later courses. The first weeks will be devoted to Exploring the Past, a series of lectures designed to introduce students to modern archaeology, its historical development, aims and practices. This is followed in the latter weeks by lectures devoted to Fundamentals of Archaeological Explanation where students are introduced to the techniques involved in archaeological analyses.
The Archaeology of Prehistoric Ireland: This module provides an introduction to the prehistory of Ireland. The first lectures deal with the first settlers in Ireland, the arrival of farming and megalithic tombs. This is followed by lectures considering the many developments that marked the transition to the Bronze Age, from the introduction of metallurgy to changes in the structure of society and ritual practices. The arrival of Celtic influences to Ireland and the process of Celticisation in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age are explored. The course ends by considering Ireland during the Roman era.
The Archaeology of Historic Ireland : This module introduces Irish archaeology from the arrival of Christianity in the 5 th century AD to the end of the medieval period. The weeks of Early Medieval and Viking Ireland looks at the period between AD 400-1000, covering topics such as settlement, economy and craft, the early Christian Church, and Ireland and the Viking world. This is followed by lectures on Anglo-Norman and Gaelic Ireland that deal with the medieval period in Ireland, covering such areas as the archaeology of medieval castles, churches and towns.
Approaching the Past: This module deals with the different ways that archaeologists use archaeological evidence to explain past societies and social change as well as a field project where students learn the fundamentals of recording archaeological monuments.
Prehistoric Landscapes: This module focuses on the prehistoric landscapes of western Ireland and includes topics such as the megalithic tombs of the Burren and the Late Bronze Age chiefdom of Dún Aonghasa.
Historic Landscapes: This module focuses on the historic-period landscapes of western Ireland and includes topics such as Christianity in the west, secular settlement, and the towns, castles and other remnants of the Anglo-Norman and medieval Gaelic period.
A number of field trips are scheduled throughout both years, designed to complement each module.
Why Choose This Course?
Past students of the Diploma in Archaeology have taken a number of routes after graduation. Some have entered straight into related employment - joining commercial archaeological companies as excavators, or working in the heritage industry (as guides, in museums, in visitor centres etc.). Others have continued their academic studies, some returning to complete a BA degree, followed by an MA degree, and even PhDs in several instances! For those who had already completed a degree in any area, they completed a Higher Diploma in Archaeology (1 year full-time, or 2 years part-time), before proceeding to postgraduate studies.
Archaeology graduates work in a variety of roles - as excavators, surveyors, researchers, in local and national government, as guides, in museums, in visitor centres, and in third-level institutions. Of course, archaeology now forms part of the history curriculum at secondary-school level, so the diploma also provides useful training for teachers.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
A fees scholarship of up to 30% may be available for students who wish to upskill for the purposes of re-employment. Students must be registered as unemployed and in receipt of one of the following: Job-seekers Benefit, Job-seekers Allowance, One-parent family allowance, Disability allowance, Community Employment Scheme or signing for social insurance contribution credits. Please download the 2017_18 Fees Scholarship Form CALPD for more information.
What Our Students Say
John Burke |
Having completed the Diploma in Arts (Archaeology) at NUIG in 2011, landscapes have now taken on a whole new meaning for me. The teaching was excellent and the field surveys I undertook as part of the course embedded in my mind a much deeper understanding of the lifestyles, culture and heritage ofIrelandand its global connection. Connecting with the past has become much more meaningful for me now and seeds of curiosity have taken root especially as I picture in my mind the numerous routes by land and water where our forefathers travelled, feuded and toiled for survival.
Liam Byrne |
The NUI Galway Diploma in Archaeology course which I undertook on an outreach basis in Roscommon was excellent. The lecturers are all very highly qualified and genuinely interested in passing on their knowledge to the students. It is quite amazing how a visit to a ring fort, an old castle or a church site can take on a whole new meaning when you actually know what you are looking at. The two years just flew by. The course was a fantastic experience and the friendships made will last a lifetime! Very highly recommended.