Distance Learning

Distance Learning in Archaeology and Ancient History

Why study archaeology and ancient history by distance learning at Leicester?

We are the world leaders in archaeology and ancient history programmes by distance learning.  This is not just a marketing boast – we have been teaching students by distance learning for nearly 20 years, and now offer undergraduate degrees, MAs, and PhDs.  This means that you don’t need to leave your job to study, or give up your life to relocate to a university.  You can study anywhere in the world (as long as you have access to a computer and the internet) at a pace that will fit in with all your other commitments.  All of our courses are of exactly the same academic quality and standard as our campus programmes, and you will graduate with a University of Leicester qualification.  Our distance programmes are written and taught by academic staff with specialisms in the subject area, and of course all our teaching is informed by our own original research.

Reseapit recording in Trench 5 week 2rch-led courses
Dr Richard Thomas instruction on faunal analysis during DL residentialExcellent teaching
Ara PacisPioneering approach to distance learning Round HouseYour learning experience
giulia at stonehenge.JPGUndergraduate study MA Historical Archaeology students enjoying the sights of Gas Street Basin in Birmingham on their Midlands fieldschoolPostgraduate study


Structured and supportive framework
DL graduation team in 2008Career progression

- Fees and fee payment
- Enquiry and application
- Financing your studies
- Entry requirements

Research-led courses

Burrough fieldschoolAll of our courses are based on our extensive experience in developing and teaching both archaeology and ancient history and our world-leading research. The outcome of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed our place as one of the leading Archaeology and Ancient History departments in the UK. No less than 65% of our research was rated in the top two brackets of international excellence (4*, 3*) - putting us second equal among UK Archaeology departments, and first equal among departments teaching both disciplines. Our research strategy exploits the disciplinary mix within the School. Staff work all over the world on research projects in Britain, France, Italy, Greece, central Europe, Libya, North America, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, Venezuela and elsewhere. We cover all periods from the earliest humans to the recent past. This means you will be taught by staff at the leading edge of developments in your specific research area, allowing you to benefit from these developments as they occur.

All distance learning students are invited take part in the Burrough Hill Iron Age Fort project, pictured here, whether working there as part of the undergraduate Fieldschool module, or to gain extra field experience.

Excellent distance-learning teaching

Dr Richard Thomas instruction on faunal analysis during DL residentialWe received a maximum 24 in the most recent QAA teaching assessment, so you can be confident that we can translate our leading research into effective and relevant teaching, allowing you to gain maximum benefit. We have some of the most satisfied students in the country, with consistently high student ratings in the National Student Survey. The University has been a winner in the Times Higher Education Awards for five years running, including the title of Times Higher Education University of the Year 2008/9, and we also won their award for Outstanding Support for Students 2009/10.


Our brilliant dissertations

Were late period Neanderthals behaviourally innovative?

Peter Heyes’ dissertation, questioning whether the image of Neanderthals as rather unintelligent people, was awarded the Prehistoric Society’ 2012 prize for the undergraduate dissertation that made the greatest contribution to the study of prehistory, an award open to students from any University in Britain and Ireland. It was also winner of the annual Garner prize for scientific work associated with the arts, open to all postgraduate and undergraduate students of the University of Leicester.

From Prehistoric Past to Saxon Christian Present: the reuse of prehistoric sites in Wessex

Alistair Thompson's dissertation (2012) was awarded the annual Medieval Research Centre's prize for the best undergraduate dissertation on a medieval topic.  His dissertation discussed the appropriation of prehistoric monuments for early medieval church and monastic enclosures, focusing on the heartlands of Wessex (Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset).

Pioneering approach to distance learning

Ara PacisThe University of Leicester has more than 20 years experience of offering high quality distance learning courses and we fully understand the specific needs of distance learning students, wherever they are based. The School of Archaeology and Ancient History pioneered archaeology distance learning with the introduction of our MA Archaeology and Heritage in 1997 and we have been going from strength to strength ever since.

Your Learning Experience

Course Structure

Round HouseEach undergraduate and postgraduate course is made up of a series of modules, lasting 12 weeks (BA courses) or 15 weeks (MA courses) with short breaks in between. Part-time students study one module at a time; full-time (postgraduate only) students study two modules at a time. There are three start dates per year, in February, June and October.

Undergraduate courses

6 years part-time; 3 years full time
BA Ancient History and Classical Archaeology
BA Archaeology

Postgraduate Courses

2 years part-time; 1 year full-time
MA Archaeology and Heritage
MA Historical Archaeology
MA The Classical Mediterranean

Doctoral research

5 years part-time; 3 years full-time
PhD in Archaeology
Phd in Ancient History

Study Materials

Each module consists of specially prepared self-study materials, which are delivered by post to your door and include:

  • a workbook written specifically for the course by experts within the School of Archaeology and Ancient History’s academic staff
  • a selection of published textbooks
  • extracts from books and journals.

The workbooks consist of one section for each week of the module. These sections introduce topics and direct you towards relevant chapters in the textbooks supplied with the module as well as useful websites.

These printed materials are also supplemented with additional material made available electronically through Blackboard, our virtual learning environment, and the library, to which you will have access for the duration of your course.

Study Support

You will be allocated an academic tutor for each module. Your tutors are available by email or phone to provide advice on academic and study matters.

Wherever you are in the world, you will have access to University services, including the University’s David Wilson Library and its extensive range of electronic journals and e-books. The Library supports distance learning students in a variety of ways, including:

  • a distance learning enquiry and support service;
  • access to the online catalogue;
  • internet and database services;
  • postal book loans;
  • free photocopies of journal articles if they are not available electronically;
  • access to other libraries;

More information on library support for distance learning students

Study Time

If you are studying on one of our BA programmes you should plan to set aside 150 hours per 12-week module (about 12 hours per week). The dissertation is a double module.

If you are studying on one of our MA programmes you should plan to set aside 300 hours per 15-week module (about 20 hours per week). The dissertation is a double or triple module depending on which course structure you are following.

In practice, however, most students find that the amount of time spent studying can vary slightly from module to module, and of course also depends on your own academic background and personal study habits.


Modules are assessed by written coursework, usually in the form of essays or reports. There are no examinations. You will be provided with detailed written feedback on each piece of work that you submit for assessment. This allows you to see your progress, understand your strengths and identify areas for improvement. Throughout your studies academics will be on hand to provide tutorial support via email or telephone and to give help and support when required. We also provide written study skills guidance on how to produce assignments.

The final piece of assessment for BA and MA students is the dissertation. This is an original piece of research on a topic of your choosing relating to some aspect of one or more of the modules which has particularly caught your interest. You will be assigned a supervisor who will help you to identify the title and content of your dissertation and you will receive direct, one-to-one supervision throughout the period of your research.

Visiting Leicester

As a University of Leicester student you are entitled to visit the campus at any time and to make use of the facilities, although if you wish to see particular members of staff you would be encouraged to make arrangements for this in advance. In addition, we run various field schools and laboratory weeks which take place on campus and in the surrounding Leicestershire area. Visiting Leicester in this way is optional for some courses and compulsory for others.

Finally, students who successfully complete their BAs or MAs will be invited to attend a formal graduation ceremony in Leicester – many of our students take this opportunity and bring their families along too so that they can see at first-hand the University that they belong to.

Computer Access
In order to get the most from your learning experience, you will need easy and regular access to a computer and the internet, so that you can access Blackboard and library facilities, view the websites referred to in your study materials, and write and submit your coursework.

Structured, supportive framework for study


Our courses are designed to give you the flexibility to study from any location within a structured and supportive framework. Each module is written with the specific needs of distance learning students in mind and students from more than 25 countries have chosen to study archaeology by distance learning with us. We provide excellent learning support, delivered by the same expert archaeology academics and professionals as our on-campus courses. Because we understand that many of our students are combining study with demanding careers and family lives, we provide a range of entry and exit points onto our courses, along with the opportunity to move between full-time and part-time study if circumstances change.

Career Progression

DL graduation team in 2008Our courses are designed to enable you to develop your skills and knowledge, whether to enhance your career prospects, proceed to further study, or for general interest. Our modules cross the traditional academic boundaries of archaeology and ancient history, enabling you to gain a wider knowledge in your chosen area. There are opportunities to develop your practical skills, and employability skills are embedded throughout our curriculum. Consequently, our courses are highly valued by employers who will recognise the key transferable and subject-specific skills gained.

Fees and Fee Payments

Distance Learning Course Fees

For undergraduate Introductory Certificate (Level 1), Diploma (Level 2) and BA (Level 3) modules the fees were previously fixed, but from 2012 are likely to follow the practice for postgraduate courses in which the fees rise by a small amount (approximately the rate of inflation) each year. Different fees apply for students from the European Union, including the United Kingdom ('UK/EU') and those from elsewhere ('Overseas'), as the former currently attract a national subsidy.

Please note that for taught courses your fee is all inclusive: it includes all workbooks, textbooks or digital materials, other teaching materials such as offprints or maps, library access, tutoring, supervision and marking (including any resubmissions). Some field classes may involve extra accommodation costs and travel to Leicester or elsewhere: please check for individual modules.

Further information and applying

For application details, including how to apply online, please go to the Enquiry and Application page. 

Course Fees

**NEW** University of Leicester Graduate Scholarship

**50% Discount on Postgraduate Courses**

The University of Leicester Graduate Scholarship offers new graduates from the University of Leicester a 50% discount on tuition fees for certain postgraduate courses at the University - including Masters Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDip) and Postgraduate Certificates (PGCert).

To be eligible for the University of Leicester Graduate Scholarship you should:

  1. Graduate from the University of Leicester in 2015 with a 2:1 or better (i.e.graduate in January or July 2015 with a 2.1).
  2. Be classified as a 'Home/EU' student.
  3. Apply to study on an eligible postgraduate course starting in 2015. The courses eligible include Distance Learning courses in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, although you must start the course in October 2015, February 2016 or June 2016.


Undergraduate Fees Discount

**20% Discount on Undergraduate Courses**

All self-funded students who register for an undergraduate programme are now eligible for a 20% early payment discount.

Provided each fee instalment is paid by a set deadline (details will be sent to you on registration) you will receive a 20% reduction on the course fees set out in the table below.  Note that if you fail to make the early payment deadline your fees revert to the higher amount for the remainder of your course.

This represents a considerable saving on your course fees.


Start dates

Fee Status

BA fees

UG Diploma

UG certificate

UG Associate Module


October 2014

February 2015

June 2015

Home/EU and 


£16770 (£932 per instalment)

£11180 (£932 per instalment)

£5590 (£932 per instalment)






October 2014

February 2015

June 2015

Home/EU and 


£13416  (£746 per instalment)

£8944 (£746 per instalment)

£4472 (£746 per instalment)



Start dates

Fee status

MA fees

PG Diploma

PG certificate


October 2014

February 2015

June 2015





















Start dates

Fee status

PhD fees




January 2015

July 2015


£2535 per annum





£5960 per annum




When and how to pay your fees

Payment can be made in full at the start of the programme or in a series of instalments throughout your studies. Our preferred means of accepting payment is through our secure online payments systems, but alternative methods of payment are available if you would prefer.


PhD students pay full fees until they move to writing-up status.


Financing Your Studies


Distance learning courses are increasingly being recognised as offering advantages to both students and employers, but funding opportunities do not always keep up with developments in distance learning, and many of our students are self-funded. Apart from the sources mentioned below, you could speak to your employer, explaining how your qualification will be a sound investment for your organisation's future. A number of our current students are wholly or partly employer-sponsored, and many organisations are also willing to offer study time, if not to subsidise courses directly. Some professional associations can be a good source of loans at preferential rates, or even grants.

We are always keen to receive information or amendments about possible sources of funding for our students to put on these pages: please email artshumsdl@le.ac.uk

Do note, however, that from 2012, Alumni (graduates of Leicester) are entitled to a 10% reduction of the cost of fees on any Campus Based MA, or on a PhD (whether by Distance Learning or Campus Based) .

Further information:

Ask here for more information

Apply directly online for postgraduate study

Enquiry and how to apply

How much will it cost?

Students in England

If you are apply for an undergraduate course via distance learning you may be eligible for a student loan. Information and guidance is available online from the UK Government's Student Finance webpages.

The University of Leicester's Student Welfare Service may also be able to advise you on other ways of getting financial help with your studies, including student loans, depending on your circumstances. Please contact the Student Welfare Service by telephone on 0116 223 1185 or email welfare@le.ac.uk

For those in the armed services, all our courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels are registered for Enhanced Learning Credits, a scheme which pays up to 80 per cent of course fees. We are a registered provider which makes application to us very easy.

Despite the above, many students may need a Professional and Career Development Loan available from various UK banks. These loans enable you to borrow up to 80 per cent of your course fees, and repayments do not begin until one month after you graduate. You pay interest on the loan at a preferential rate after you complete your studies, and repayments are tax deductible. Special terms are available for the unemployed. For further information contact any of the participating banks, or call free on 0800 100 900 Monday to Friday.

Assistance may also be available from trusts, charities and foundations. Both The Grants Register (Macmillan, ISBN 0312215894) and The Charities Digest (Waterflow Information Services, ISBN 185783033) provide information on these sources of funding. They are both obtainable from any university or good public library.

Students in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or elsewhere in the EU

Different rules about grants and allowances apply in different parts of the United Kingdom, and also to those who normally live elsewhere in the European Union. The best place to start for those living in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the EU seeking information about student grants is to go online at the UK Government's Student Finance webpages. You can also get advice from our Student Welfare Service which has an international section.

International (non-EU) students including those from the USA

If you live outside the EU, try contacting your government's Ministry of Education for details of scholarships. The British Council, the UK's international organisation for educational and cultural matters, has offices in 110 countries and can advise on sources of funding. Copies of the guide Sources of Funding for International Students, produced by the British Council, the Council for International Education and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, can be obtained from the British Council.

Although we have students from Hong Kong, Australia, South America and elsewhere, the majority of our non-UK and EU students are based in North America. Many of our students work for, are members of, or have been members of the US military, and have successfully obtained loans and/or grants through various programs to take our courses.

Unfortunately, overseas distance learning courses are no longer eligible for Federal loans or VA (Veterans Association) funding. Although you will quite correctly find the University of Leicester on the VA website as an approved institution, VA grants and loans do not cover distance learning programs. Those of you who require loans to pay for program fees will therefore have to go through a private provider. One of the largest is SallieMae, and several of our former and existing students have used this route. There are of course many other providers of private loans for the purposes of education. Private loan companies usually require the education provider to have a 'Federal School Code': ours is G22291. If you require any further assistance concerning loans in the US please contact usloans@le.ac.uk or contact the distance learning team directly on artshumsdl@le.ac.uk.

The University of Leicester has an International Office, though their services are primarily geared towards campus-based students. Nevertheless, you can also contact them for advice on funding possibilities.

International Student Advisers: telephone + 44 (0)116 223 1185 or Email welfare@le.ac.uk

Enquiry and Application


Thank you for your interest in our courses. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the courses or the application procedure, we will be happy to talk to you about them. You can always contact us directly by email, phone, fax or letter if you have any queries at all - see 'DL Contacts' in the left-hand menu. We can also call you directly over the telephone if you would prefer, please contact us using the details on the left and we can make arrangements.

You can download an electronic version of our course brochure.                                                                Please note that the information in this brochure is replicated here on our web pages.

Brochure Cover

Undergraduate Courses

 start date

Early payment apply deadlineEarly payment fee deadlineStandard apply deadlineStandard fee deadline
1st June 2015 10th April 2015 17th April 2015 4th May 2015 18th May 2015
5th October 2015 14th August 2015

21st August 2015

7th September 2015 21st September 2015
1st February 2016 11th December 2015 18th December 2015

4th January 2016

18th January 2016
6th June 2016 15th April 2016 22nd April 2016 9th May 2016 23rd May 2016

Postgraduate courses

start date

application deadline

payment deadline


8th June 2015

11th May 2015

25th May 2015

12th October 2015

14th September 2015

28th September 2015

8th February 2016 11th January 2016 25th January 2016
13th June 2016 16th May 2016 30th May 2016

Please apply directly online for courses. The following link takes you to a page which confirms all courses and fees, simply click on your chosen course to reach the link to apply.

Click here to select your course and begin your application.

If you are unable to apply online, use the forms below to apply for your distance learning courses by post or scanned and submit via e-mail.

All forms are PDFs unless stated otherwise.

Application Forms

A hard copy of the application form for all undergraduate courses is here. You can also apply directly online (see above). Courses start in February, June and October.

Hard copies of application forms for the MA in Archaeology and Heritage, MA in Historical Archaeology, MA in The Classical Mediterranean and all associated Postgraduate Certificates. You can also apply directly online (see above). Courses start in February, June and October.

  • Reference request form
    We may request referees to support your application. If asked to supply them, a hard copy version for forwarding to your referees is above.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for undergraduate courses

Our BA courses do not have formal entry requirements you just need to demonstrate an active interest in archaeology and ancient history and a genuine commitment to putting the time in to study. However, if you have studied archaeology at undergraduate level before, it may be possible for you to transfer in the credits from your previous study in place of some or all of the modules relating to that particular level. For example, if you already hold a Certificate in Archaeology, you may be able to enter the courses at the Level 2/diploma stage, and so on. In order for us to assess your eligibility to transfer credits, we will need to see a transcript of any credits you have achieved to date, showing the title of all modules and the marks/grades awarded.

Entry requirements for postgraduate courses

  • Applicants will normally have a 2.1 honours degree (or the equivalent overall grade) in archaeology (or anthropology in North America)
  • If you have a 2.1 honours degree or equivalent academic or professional qualifications, but in a different subject area, we may make you a conditional offer on the basis of you first taking some of our undergraduate modules as ‘bridging’ courses to postgraduate study of archaeology. Typically bridging modules are ‘Aims and Methods’ and one other, and these modules must be passed with a mark of 60% or above.
  • We will also consider applications from people who do not possess a degree, but who have extensive professional archaeological experience, typically 5 years or more. In such cases we will ask for evidence of this experience, usually in the form of employer references.
  • If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate evidence that you meet the University’s formal English language requirements

Entry requirements for the PhD

Typically, as a distance learning doctoral student you will have considerable professional experience in archaeology or a related field, with access to any necessary specialist facilities, and will already possess the methodological skills needed. You will usually also have substantial knowledge of the material which is to form the basis of your research, and will be looking for a way to formalise and extend this within the framework of a research degree. We thus expect prospective candidates to have a good honours degree or its equivalent in archaeology, anthropology, classics/ancient history or a related discipline. You may also have an appropriate Masters degree, or other demonstrable research experience and writing skills, and you will almost always have extensive professional experience in your proposed field of study.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, evidence of a minimum standard of English is required. The usual requirement is a score of 6.5 on the British Council IELTS test, or its equivalent, taken within the last 3 years. We can arrange for you to take a test through the University’s English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) at a very reasonable cost, should you need to do so. This information will be provided to you at the point of offer if you have you do not hold an English Language certificate as listed here.

Distance Learning Module Evaluation Questionnaire (UG)

This module evaluation questionnaire will be used by the School to improve the module in future years. Please answer all the questions and use the free text box at the end to add any further comments. All questionnaires are confidential and your feedback is very much appreciated.

Distance Learning Module Evaluation Questionnaire (UG) - Read More…

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