Course Overview

Archaeology is the study of past peoples and societies. By understanding how they adapted and changed over time, you as an archaeologist will gain insights into the development of the contemporary world. This programme gives a grounding in a variety of aspects of Irish and European archaeology, stretching from the first arrivals of ancient peoples to the continent to today’s society.

The Higher Diploma in Archaeology is a Level 8 programme, which is a gateway to postgraduate research (MA, MLitt) in Archaeology and to becoming an advocate for heritage in your community. The programme can be taken full time over one year (60 ECTS) or part-time over two years (30 ECTS per year). To be eligible to apply for the Higher Diploma in Archaeology you need a primary degree or equivalent qualification in any area of the arts, sciences, engineering, etc.

This Higher Diploma equips the student with core knowledge in aspects of prehistoric, medieval and modern Irish and European archaeology. It also develops first-stage archaeological research skills
in order to position the student to conduct independent research and provides a basis for entry to higher-level postgraduate degree programmes. The structure and content of the programme may suit
those interested in changing career direction and especially mature students who wish to enter the postgraduate sector and require a flexible schedule.

To view the Discipline of Archaeology website please click HERE.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr Stefan Bergh 
  • Dr Michelle Comber 
  • Prof Elizabeth Fitzpatrick 
  • Dr Carleton Jones  
  • Mr Conor Newman 
  • Dr Kieran O'Conor 
  • Ms Maggie Ronayne

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment is by continuous assessments, essays and exams.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

The HDip is open to students with a NQAI Level 7 or Level 8 primary degree in any discipline (other than Archaeology), who wish to acquire an academic qualification in Archaeology. A basic knowledge of and interest in archaeology is desirable. Applicants who do not have the required academic qualifications may also be entitled to apply under the university’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time | 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

1HDA1 (full-time) | 1HDA2 (part-time)

Course Outline

Students will take an approved selection of six modules within the Second and Final Year BA undergraduate programme to the equivalent of 30 ECTS, along with a 10 ECTS module Reading the Past in Practice, and a 20 ECTS dissertation module, Archaeology and Place.  Reading the Past in Practice, and Archaeology and Place, both have fieldwork components. Part-time students will take courses to the equivalent of 30 ECTS in Year 1 and courses to the equivalent of 30 ECTS in Year 2.

The modules on offer include:

  • Hunters and Farmers in Early Europe
  • Interpretation in Archaeology
  • Gaelic Peoples: Identity and Cultural Practice
  • Castles, Colonists and Crannogs 1100–1350
  • Europe in the Bronze Age
  • Public Archaeology

Module details for the full time course

Module details for the part time course

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates have found employment in various areas in the state sector and in the heritage and tourism sectors. Others have taken the course to continue their studies to Master’s level or through doctoral research.


Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,246 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€6,106 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€13,816 p.a. 2021/22

*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Levy

Student Levy: €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here

Find out More

Maggie Ronayne
T: +353 91 492 670

Quick Links



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  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)