Anthropology and Archaeology

Learn about the multiple possibilities and conditions of human life across the world, conduct fieldwork and develop an in-depth understanding about cultural diversity and human evolution.

Subject specialists

Learn from experts in a broad range of research interests, currently including material culture, human demography and health, and the anthropology of childhood and education.

Unique subject breadth

The only department in the UK to offer the four fields of social anthropology, evolutionary anthropology, linguistic anthropology and archaeology.

World-class facilties

Access our cutting-edge radiocarbon accelerator, one of only five in the UK, as well as computer rooms and chemistry laboratories.

Anthropology and Archaeology at Bristol

At Bristol, we will introduce you to the history, theories and practice of anthropology and archaeology, delivered by a friendly academic community at the forefront of their fields of research.

You'll learn first-hand from the knowledge and experience of our expert staff, and get the chance to participate in their research projects around the world. You'll also have exciting opportunities for excavation and anthropological fieldwork as part of your course.

Our courses will equip you with the ability to handle ethnographic data and theoretical concepts, and to develop an in-depth understanding of cultural diversity and human evolution.

I like the stunning architecture of the University. Bristol is a nurturing and exciting environment, keen to help students.

Roshney, BA Anthropology

Career prospects

Students working on an archaeological dig site.

Our students gain a wide range of transferable skills, including understanding cultural diversity, intellectual versatility, excellent written and oral communication skills, critical analysis, and independent thought.

Many graduates undertake further research in anthropology, archaeology or related disciplines; others pursue careers in museums, heritage, policy, development, health and business. Our graduates also find work in non-governmental agencies, the arts sector, broadcasting, editing, finance, and many other fields.

Our staff hold long-standing links with the thriving creative and media-tech industry in Bristol, which can lead to internship and work opportunities for our students – such as the Bristol Zoo, museums, film and animation, and both local and national charities and organisations.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

The hands of a student cleaning an artefact with a brush

Teaching is delivered through lectures, discussion groups and tutorial sessions, but also creative techniques such as art-based interactive workshops, image-making, and more.

Core units each year cover essential elements of theory and practice. These are combined with optional units in more specialised periods, themes or regions, and there is the opportunity to study abroad for one teaching block during the second year. For more information visit Global Opportunities.

Your dissertation project in your final year provides the opportunity to conduct original research in an area of particular interest to you, supervised by a specialist in the field.

Sample units may include:

  • Anthropology of Contemporary Capitalism
  • Lives on the Move: Migration and Mobility from a Global Perspective
  • Museums and Heritage: Critical Perspectives
  • Visions: Experiments in Creative Anthropology

Unique surroundings

A close up showing the skull of a model skeleton in a classroom.

The department is currently home to the bones of over 600 skeletons, excavated in the South West, which will be examined before being reburied.

The city boasts an extraordinary range of archaeological sites nearby, including Roman sites, prehistoric landscapes and castles.

Anthropology and Archaeology

Bristol is the only department in Britain teaching the four fields of anthropology under one roof. Our staff are specialists in topical issues such as migration, conflict and gender, working in a variety of field sites from the Amazon rainforest to Bristol suburbs.

Why study Anthropology and Archaeology at Bristol?

At Bristol, we will introduce you to the history, theories and practice of anthropology and archaeology, delivered by a friendly academic community at the forefront of their fields of research.

Our courses will equip you with the ability to handle ethnographic data and theoretical concepts, and to develop an in-depth understanding of cultural diversity and human evolution. There is plenty of opportunity to put theoretical knowledge and skills into practice via fieldwork and practical projects, with each degree providing a different focus on our discipline. The skills you will develop – a wide range of analytical, practical and social skills – are easily applied to the workplace and will open up a spectrum of career paths to you.

Our department is at the heart of the campus and we have our own lecture theatres, seminar rooms and laboratories. All of our students are encouraged to conduct independent research and undertake fieldwork.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Are you fascinated by humanity and cultural diversity? Are you intrigued by how cultures and languages vary across time and space? Are you captivated by new technologies and ways of living? Are you concerned about global challenges posed by environmental, social and political change?

These courses are an excellent choice if you wish to learn about the multiple possibilities and conditions of human life across the world and seek the opportunity to conduct fieldwork and develop an in-depth understanding about cultural diversity. Your dissertation project in your final year provides the opportunity to conduct original anthropological or archaeological research in an area of particular interest to you, supervised by a specialist in the field. 

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our teaching and assessment methods are varied to maximise learning and skills-transfer. Teaching is delivered through lectures, discussion groups and tutorial sessions, but also creative techniques such as art-based interactive workshops, image-making, and more. Assessment methods include essays, exams and presentations, as well as visual notebooks, auto-ethnographic research projects, and field-based reports.

The programme structures are modular, with mandatory units each year on theory and practice. Optional units include more specialised themes, regions or periods. Field trips and outings are a regular component of the curriculum, and there is the opportunity to study abroad for one semester in the second year.

What are my career prospects?

Our students gain a wide range of transferable skills, including understanding, cultural diversity, intellectual versatility, excellent written and oral communication skills, critical analysis, and independent thought. Our graduates find work in non-governmental agencies, the arts sector, broadcasting, editing, finance, policymaking and many other fields.

Our staff hold long-standing links with the thriving creative and media-tech industry in Bristol, which can lead to internship and work opportunities for our students – such as the Bristol Zoo, museums, film and animation, and both local and national charities and organisations.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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