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Shortage of archaeology graduates means ours are regularly headhunted



Bradford archaeology graduates highly sought after by employers

Past and present: Modern archaeology isn't just about unearthing the past (although some of it is) - our students get to use LIDAR equipment, learn about forensics and go on placements around the world, and at the end of their studies, there are plenty of career choices...

Archaeology graduates at the University of Bradford are regularly headhunted by commercial firms, according to programme leaders.

Part of that is down to a national shortage of archaeologists but another part is that Bradford has one of the world’s leading schools and a breadth of experience that spans over 40 years.

With a range of courses, students could end up on a placement abroad, using LIDAR (laser scanning) equipment, specialising in forensics, using VR to recreate historical monuments and much more.

National shortage

Dr Cathy Batt, head of the School of Archaeological & Forensic Sciences, said a national shortage of archaeologists meant it was the perfect time for anyone interested in history and heritage to take up a position.

“Because there is a shortage of archaeologists at the moment, our graduates are regularly headhunted. I have companies ringing me up to ask who is graduating this year. Bradford has some world-leading experts and it’s a very practical course with vocational and transferable skills.”

The School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences is preparing the next generation of archaeologists to help fill the employment gap. The accreditation of our BSc Archaeology degree by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists recognises that the degree provides our students with practical skills required for employment in commercial archaeological practice.

These skills are further developed in the optional placement year and excavation collaborations.

An archaeology student digging on campus

Job relevant skills

Students will develop skills that will be useful not only in heritage and archaeology, but in whatever profession they choose to follow. These include project and time management, critical review and analytical thinking, presentational skills, computer and other applied IT skills and the management of data. 

Over the last six years, more than 84% of Bradford graduates found employment or further study within six months of completing their studies. Staff research informs much of the curriculum, drawing from expertise in archaeological science, digital heritage, and the ‘real-world’ value of archaeology and heritage for societies today.

  • Our archaeology students are working in Iceland on an early Viking longhouse as part of a placement.
  • First year students recently made national headlines after unearthing a Victorian street in the middle of campus.
  • Our experts are leading research on Stonehenge and the recently discovered Durrington Pits.
  • The University also recently won a contract to use LIDAR technology to create a virtual ‘clone’ of Bradford city centre.
  • Archaeology has been taught at Bradford for more than 40 years, so we have some of the world’s leading experts.

Overseas placements

Many of our graduates proceed into commercial archaeological fieldwork, and utilise the skills acquired during placement positions. At the University of Bradford we are training the next generation of archaeological practitioners in the UK, helping to meet the skills gap.

Mia Coe, BSc Archaeology placement student, said: "Having the opportunity to work on a professional dig site whilst still studying has been fantastic. You learn a lot in your lectures, but having the experience too is also very important in your career as an archaeologist.

"It gives you a real sense of what companies expect you to do, how to not only learn new skills but develop on those taught in class, and to be proud of your hard work and achievements on site. It's also incredibly important to build connections."

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