Why study this course

Gain a MA qualification in advanced practical skills on a variety of different archaeological sites.

Devised to meet the demand of the archaeological sector for professional training.

Learn about the entire lifecycle of an archaeological project from planning to archiving.

An Apprenticeship is fully funded through the apprenticeship levy or 95% funded for small businesses.

Course summary

Over the course of this programme, you will be trained in the techniques of modern archaeological fieldwork, analysis and dissemination. You will gain a MA qualification which is fully funded through the apprenticeship levy, or 95% funded for small businesses.

Please note, this course is currently going through validation.

Key facts




2 years

Mode of study

Part-time blended

Start date

May and September

Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code


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About this course

The Archaeological Specialist Apprenticeship has been devised to provide apprentices with wide-ranging, advanced archaeological skills, whilst they earn and gain real work experience. Over the course of the programme, Archaeological Specialist Apprentices will be taught key methods that are employed in modern archaeological fieldwork. Apprentices will be involved in the whole archaeological process from planning projects, surveying, preliminary investigation, excavation, post-excavation, analysis, report writing, and archiving. Under the supervision of our expert staff, apprentices will develop their knowledge and skills so that they are able to lead and undertake wide ranging archaeological research, with a high level of responsibility for the delivery and quality of their own work and that of others.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this apprenticeship although an initial assessment will take place to ensure the apprenticeship is the most appropriate training programme for the individual and employer. Candidates will need to be resident in the UK and in employment (with at least 50% of the working hours in England). Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their Apprenticeship and employment role.

As a guide, candidates might have A Levels (or equivalent) or existing relevant level 3 qualifications. It is also expected that candidates will have achieved an undergraduate degree in a related subject. Other relevant qualifications or prior experience may also be considered as an alternative alongside consideration of the suitability of the role being undertaken and the opportunities to develop and apply the required knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Typically, candidates will also have achieved qualifications in English and mathematics at a minimum of level 2 or equivalent (GCSE grade A*/9- C/4), and also demonstrate Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills at this level. Where approved English and Maths qualifications are not held, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funds apprentices to achieve qualifications in English and/or Maths to level 2 if they do not already meet the minimum requirements. These can be delivered through our designated Apprenticeship Support Officers alongside the apprenticeship and will need to be achieved prior to entering Gateway.

There are no upper age restrictions, although all apprentices must be aged over 18 as a minimum.

Applications for this programme can only be made through the sponsoring employer.

Each employer must:

  • Identify apprentices that may be suitable for the [insert as appropriate] Apprenticeship;
  • Ensure the apprentice is undertaking real work, which is productive and gives apprentices opportunities to access, develop, practice and evidence knowledge and skills to meet the standard;
  • Allow the apprentice to attend external off-the-job training and assessment as part of their normal paid working hours;
  • Take part in quarterly reviews with BGU to review the apprentice’s progress;
  • Be expected to employ an apprentice for the full duration of their apprenticeship;
  • (In most cases) be expected to employ an apprentice for at least 30 hours per week.

Archaeological specialist (degree) / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education


Module assessments provide opportunities for Archaeological Specialist Apprentices to acquire, develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, subject specific, intellectual and transferable skills. A range of assessments are used which are relevant to the individual demands of the subject matter and enable Archaeological Specialist Apprentices to participate in a varied and engaging educational and personal development experience. Assessments are used to appropriately test and encourage Archaeological Specialist Apprentices to apply different areas of knowledge and demonstrate a wide range of skills.

Multi-method weighted assessments form a key feature of the 30-credit modules (75:25 coursework: practical). Across the programme, the workload for students is also carefully managed through the effective scheduling of assessments and the use of a consistent rubric. For written work at Level 7, a rubric of 6,000 / 80 minutes (Practical) words per 30-credits is applied. There is an allowance of +/-10% on submitted work, across all assessment types.

Where practical assessment takes place, students are supported with skills development during taught sessions prior to delivery. This may include specialist digital input from the Centre for Enhancement in Learning and Teaching (CELT). CELT work closely with the programme team to support Archaeological Specialist Apprentices to develop and enhance their digital and academic literacy throughout the programme. Group work is not used as a summative assessment strategy, although Archaeological Specialist Apprentices can expect to work with their peers throughout the duration of their programme.

Archaeological Specialist Apprentices’ knowledge, skills and critical understanding of the subject will be assessed by a variety of methods. The method of assessment mirrors the end-point assessment plan for the Archaeological Specialist Apprenticeship standard. The assessment strategy has been designed to complement the teaching and learning strategy of the design by design adaptive curriculum design by having nested formative assignments that act as key points of engagement which lead to a component of each module’s summative assessment.

Careers & Further study

This programme has been designed to provide Apprentices practical instruction in specialist archaeological skills. Assignments have been designed to reflect work Apprentices will be required to undertake in the archaeological sector. Commercial archaeology units, as well as the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, were consulted during the development of this programme. As this programme is a professional development programme for individuals in existing employment, it has been designed to enhance their employability by preparing them for transitioning into more senior management roles and formalising their knowledge and skills within a qualification framework. Employability is therefore seen as an intrinsic aspect of the programme. Graduates with Archaeological degrees often require a minimum of 3 months experience in commercial archaeology to be employed as a Field Archaeologist. To address this issue, commercial archaeology units have developed their own internal training programmes. The Archaeological Specialist Apprenticeship has been designed to provide a training route for graduates trying to enter the archaeological sector, whilst reducing the amount of time and resources the commercial units have to invest in monitoring the work of new employees. In addition, the Archaeological Specialist Apprenticeship allows experienced staff the opportunity to upskill, and gain an overview of different workflows, which will breakdown silos within the sector.

A commitment to levelling up and engaging with organisations to drive social mobility has been made by the programme team, and this approach and ethos will be core to developing the Archaeology provision and a wider network of engaged, committed, and connected stakeholders. It is therefore anticipated that Archaeological Specialist Apprentices may in the future become mentors and sponsors for undergraduates or apprentices on other programmes within the Archaeology and Heritage portfolio at BGU.

As well as learning a number of highly practical skills, Archaeology also teaches you how to assemble and assess evidence, analyse data and present and defend your views – all of which are highly sought-after by employers upon graduation. Possible future careers for Archaeology graduates may include Commercial Archaeologist, Heritage Consultant, Archivist, Researcher, Museum education and outreach, or Editorial work or journalism.

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Fees & Finance

Costs may be covered by government funding and/or your employer – employers who pay the Apprenticeship Levy can pay fees directly through their Levy Contribution. Alternatively, businesses who do not pay the levy may be able to claim 95% of the cost of tuition fees from the Government.

Further details can be found at:


Apprentices benefit from, and appreciate, the inclusive culture at BGU. They are treated as individuals, and tutors make positive adjustments to support their personal circumstances. As a result, apprentices are provided with the best opportunity to achieve their qualifications.

Ofsted inspection report - January 2024

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If you'd like to find out how we can support you to recruit an apprentice into your business, please email us at apprenticeships@bishopg.ac.uk or call 01522 563872 for more information.

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