What makes the Cambridge course in Archaeology so special?

With the Division of Archaeology and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge is one of the largest centres of archaeological research in Britain, and we have recently been awarded top place in the Good University Guide for Archaeology in the UK. Archaeology students at Cambridge benefit from direct hands-on access to world-class collections in Cambridge’s many museums, libraries and research centres. From 2017 onwards, Cambridge is launching an exciting new undergraduate degree programme in single honours archaeology.

Why choose Newnham for Archaeology?

Newnham has a strong tradition of supporting female archaeologists in Cambridge. Dorothy Garrod of Newnham was the first female professor of Archaeology in the UK (even before Cambridge awarded women degrees), and a series of high-profile archaeologists are current or former members of the college.

How many students take Archaeology at Newnham and what options do they choose?

We expect to admit four students per year to read this subject but there is no official limit.
Archaeology covers a huge range of topics, spanning the evolution of humans through the development of farming, ancient civilisations and world empires, as well as the role of material culture in human life and of heritage in modern societies. Students can follow several streams – Archaeology (covering all world cultures), Biological Anthropology, Egyptology and Assyriology.

How will I be taught at Newnham?

Teaching is provided through a combination of lectures, classes and individual supervisions.

Can you tell me more about the Archaeology Fellows?

Information about the Archaeology Fellows can be found on the teaching list..

Are there any A level subjects that are particularly useful?

Archaeology spans a very broad subject area, and the course allows study of topics ranging across the humanities, the social sciences and the sciences. Students with almost any combination of subjects can apply; there are no specific required or recommended courses. We welcome applications from students studying humanistic fields such as History, English, Classics, and ancient languages, social sciences such as Geography, Sociology, Psychology, or Anthropology, and sciences such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. Applicants for Egyptology and Assyriology are strongly encouraged to study an ancient or modern language.

Can I take a gap year?

Of course. We neither encourage nor discourage students from doing this – everyone’s circumstances are different. If you are planning to take a gap year, please give some thought to how you will maintain your academic interests.

How should I prepare for interview at Newnham?

If you apply to Newnham we will ask you to send us two pieces of written work, and you will have two interviews. You are not expected to have any standard background in archaeology, as the field is highly varied, there are many relevant backgrounds and the subject is often not taught in schools; however, you should be prepared to discuss your relevant interests and potential directions you may wish to follow. All applicants will take a written assessment in College, based on the reading of material that we will supply. This hour-long assessment is designed to assess the ability to interpret texts and to write. Again, no special preparation or prior knowledge is required.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on the course, see
For more information about Newnham, why not apply to come on one of our Open Days or a Subject Taster event?