Exploring how humans have evolved, analysing transformative developments across human history, and learning why societies past and present structure their social, economic and political systems in the ways that they do – all of these issues are grappled with by ‘Arch and Anth’ students at Hertford.
At Hertford you’ll be studying in a small, academically-strong community with a proud record of success. We will give you a broad understanding of global societies and the opportunity to explore connections between the different approaches used by Archaeologists and Anthropologists – two distinct subject areas which combine at undergraduate level to offer you a rewarding and highly relevant programme of study in today’s society.
You’ll be expected to work hard but we believe the social side of life is important too – we arrange a number of social events across the year with other subjects like Human Sciences, helping you to feel at home in the vibrant and supportive college community at Hertford.
The resources available in Oxford are outstanding, and studying at Hertford will mean that you’re right in the centre of this vibrant city. Nearby college are the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, and the Pitt Rivers Museum, with an internationally-important collection of ethnographic and archaeological objects. We offer a limited number of internships in the University’s museums, and if you undertake one you’ll be working alongside professional curators with some of our globally-significant collections.
At Hertford, the Foster Bursary of £1,000 is awarded to a first-year student in Archaeology and Anthropology. If you’re eligible you will automatically be considered for this award, but it cannot be held in conjunction with a Hertford Bursary.
Teaching and learning
The quality of teaching, outstanding resources and supportive atmosphere all help to make ‘Arch and Anth’ at Hertford a highly rewarding degree subject. We organise about 12 tutorials a term for you – high-quality contact time with a tutor and one or two other students. You’ll prepare essays in advance of these so that during the tutorial we’ll be able to help you develop incisive, organised and original thinking (many of the qualities that will help to make you a highly-employable graduate).
You will be trained to think and write like a scientist and to understand the importance of arguments supported by evidence. Our college tutors are highly-experienced subject specialists and whatever topics you choose to study we will support you, either within college or by arranging teaching for you with specialists from across the University.
We don’t expect you to have studied Archaeology or Anthropology before starting your degree, so in your first year you’ll be tutored in a wide range of subjects. Regardless of which college you belong to, you will attend the same core lectures and practical courses and sit the same exams. Many of these will be organised by and held at the University’s Institute of Archaeology on Beaumont Street, just a ten minute walk from Hertford.
This teaching is supported by small-group sessions in college. Your self-driven independent study – in the areas you are most interested in – will be crucial to success and we will support you in developing these skills, especially when you are completing your second-year dissertation based on original and independent research.
You will work closely alongside subject specialists in the field and gain practical and laboratory experience too. We really value practical experience at Hertford and will organise fieldwork and excavations which you will participate in alongside our tutors. In the past, we have run excavations of Roman ruins in Pompeii and Stone Age sites in Morocco.
Our ‘Arch and Anth’ graduates go on to pursue a very wide variety of careers across the globe. Throughout your degree you will have immersed yourself in methodologies and approaches used in both science and the humanities, meaning that ‘Arch and Anth’ is an excellent springboard to future careers in both the public and private sectors.
Several former students have become successful lawyers or joined the Civil Service Fast Stream, for example in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Others work in overseas development for NGOs, in museums, journalism, teaching, research and the arts.
Dr Mark McGranaghan (2004 – 2007) says:
“For me, the Archaeology and Anthropology degree initially seemed something of a risky choice: coming from a state school background, I was moving into an unfamiliar Oxbridge environment and joining a course that introduced two subjects completely new to me (indeed, before coming to Oxford, I had little idea what exactly anthropology was!). I am happy to say that on both counts there was no need for trepidation – the college system and small class sizes for this degree created a welcoming social and academic environment.”
Dr Lisa Lodwick (2006 – 2009), Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford says:
“‘Arch and Anth’ provided me with both the inspiration, knowledge and skills to continue my academic career into a DPhil in Archaeobotany. Tutorials with world class researchers heightened my interest in my chosen field of study, whilst fieldwork opportunities provided by college tutors allowed me to join fieldwork projects in the Roman town of Herculaneum and at an Aurignacian rock shelter in southern France. The high standards of teaching and expertise strongly influenced my decision to stay in Oxford for my MSt and Doctorate, whilst the supportive ‘Arch and Anth’ student community at Hertford, combined with the dedication of the tutors, make this college a great location to undertake the course.”
Making an application
There is no admission test for Archaeology and Anthropology so we use the information in your UCAS form and submitted written work to shortlist for interviews. In your personal statement we’d like to know why you want to study the course and want to see your passion for the subject. Draw upon personal experiences if you can – whether book you have read, taking part in field surveys and excavations, or visiting archaeological sites and museums. You will be asked to submit three pieces of written work: two essays that have been marked by a teacher and a brief statement, the details of which can be found here.
If you are invited to interview, we’ll guarantee that you’re interviewed both at Hertford and at a second college. Occasionally, you may have a third interview coordinated by the department and conducted by tutors from multiple colleges to maintain parity across the University.
Your interview at Hertford will be with a pair of tutors and will last around half an hour. We’ll normally begin with some questions about a short passage of text that you will receive half an hour beforehand. There’s no need to specially prepare for this, other than reading and observing things that spark your interest. We’re looking to see that you can think on your feet and to see how you might approach tutorial-based learning. We’re not trying to test your in-depth knowledge of Archaeology and Anthropology – we’re more interested in your passion, enthusiasm and reasoning skills.