Course Overview

This 1-year certificate course is open to anyone with an interest in the past. You will explore the whole story of Ireland’s archaeological past, enhancing skills essential in teaching about the Irish past or providing narratives in the heritage industry. The course is delivered by leading experts in Irish archaeology and you will experience both academic and field-based learning.

Archaeology is the study of the material remains of past human societies. The discipline covers a remarkable span of time and investigates some of the most profoundly important developments of the past. The wide scope of archaeology, in time, space and methodology, is one of the features that makes the subject so attractive to professional and amateur alike. There is something to interest everyone – whether your interests lie in exploring ancient monuments, the study of artefacts, the history of technology, or simply in the rich heritage of Ireland’s past.

Mode of Study: Classroom-based

Applications and Selections

Applications are now closed for 2021. Applications for part-time courses will reopen in April 2022.

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Applications System. This course is listed under Adult Learning & CPD Courses Application.

Please visit our How to Apply page for Application tips and Supporting Documents information.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

All modules in the Certificate are individually assessed. The assessment for each module takes the form of essays during the semester or a written examination at the end of the year. Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings, with three Saturday field trips over the course of the year.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for part-time students can be found in our FAQs section (i.e. age, english language requirements etc.). There are no specific entry requirements for this course and no previous knowledge of archaeology is required.

Additional Requirements


1 year, part-time

Next start date


A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date


NFQ level


Mode of study

Classroom Based Learning

ECTS weighting





Course code

Course Outline

This course commences with a general introduction to some of the tools at the archaeologist’s disposal, to aid the student’s understanding of the evidence explored in the other two modules. The remainder of the year is dedicated to uncovering the story of human activity on the island of Ireland, spanning over nine thousand years.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. The Archaeology of Historic Ireland: This module introduces Irish archaeology from the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century AD to the end of the medieval period. The weeks of Early Medieval and Viking Ireland looks at the period between AD 400 and AD 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.

Three Saturday field classes are scheduled during the year, designed to complement each module.

Further Education

Students who complete the Certficate can transfer into Year 2 of the Diploma in Archaeology.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities exist in heritage and tourism and in the museum and education sectors. The one-year timescale is particularly suited to professional enhancement.

Who’s Suited to This Course

It may be of particular interest to first and second level teachers and others interested in the contribution of archaeology to education, local studies, heritage studies and tourism.

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU


Fees: Tuition


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
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Signing for social insurance contribution credits

Please download the 2021_22 Fees Scholarship Form for more information.

Find out More

Dr. Michelle Comber
School of Geography and Archaeology
Tel: 091 492887


  • Adult Learning Prospectus

    Adult Learning Prospectus PDF (3.4 MB)

  • Short Courses Series 2021

    Short Courses Series 2021 PDF (4.9 MB)

  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2022

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2022 PDF (14.3MB)