Course Overview

The 1-year certificate course is open to anyone with an interest in the past. You will explore the physical remains of Ireland’s past from along the western seaboard of Ireland, enhancing skills essential in teaching about Ireland’s 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 their 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

The next intake for this course will be in September 2023.

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 (6:30-9:30pm), 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

September 2023

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, and gives students a taste of what it is like to visit and record monuments in the field. The remainder of the year is spent exploring specific landscapes, sites, and the material culture found along the western seaboard of Ireland, a place that has attracted settlers for millennia.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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

Further Education

Students who complete the Certificate can transfer into Year 1 of the Diploma in Archaeology, to complete the Diploma course.

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, however, to those involved in heritage studies and tourism, and also first and second level teachers and others interested in the contribution of archaeology to education and local studies.

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)