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BA (Hons) Heritage and Archaeology

Rhiannon joined the University of Bradford as an undergraduate on the BA (Hons) Heritage and Archaeology degree.

Having worked in an IT role for 20 years, it was only when she was unexpectedly made redundant that she decided the time was finally right to explore something she truly loved.

This is Rhiannon’s story.

You're not too old to go to university

“I hated my job in IT.”

"I fell into the job because it was what my father did and I was good at it, but I hated every day of working in it. I thought I’d never be able to get out.

"So when I unexpectedly lost my job in 2021, I decided to not see it as a disaster, but rather as an opportunity.

"At almost 40 years old, it was time for a change."

I started searching for a degree that would encompass all my different interests in history, museums, archaeology, and the science of finding artefacts. This degree at Bradford covered everything in one nice package.

Mixed feelings

"It was exciting going to university."

"I’d never been to university, so it was quite exciting. I was daunted at first, coming in as a mature student and switching my head into study mode.

"I am transgender and have ADHD and dyslexia, which the University actually screened me for, so it was even more of a challenge to work on assignments. But I’ve received so much support from Bradford, in every sense."

A student holding a trans rights flag in support of the movement smiles at the camera

Proud to take part in University experiences

“My plan was to just get my head down and study. But you could say I’ve thrown myself into uni life!”

"I was proud to be elected as the first ever Trans+ Executive Officer for Student Council. It means I represent transgender people within the University and anyone who is on the diverse end of the spectrum.

"So far, that’s involved things like helping students go through the name change process, giving advice to students about how to speak to doctors and family about being transgender, and improving the University’s gender-neutral experiences and facilities.

"I’m also a Student Liaison Representative, Inclusion Officer on the Student Societies Committee, President of the Sci-Fi Society, and also President of the Forensic & Archaeological Science Society.

"I go out of my way to ensure no-one is being discriminated against. I’ve had to be an advocate for myself, and I’m proud that I can now be an advocate for others."

A student speaking at an event in the Atrium as an audience member looks on

Digging deep

"I love how diverse this course is."

"This year, we’ve really focused on the basic science of finding and digging an archaeological site, how you look at the different stages, and coming up with a narrative for each. It’s been so interesting.

"It’s not just about how to use a shovel and a brush, there’s a lot more to it.

"I’ve also surprised myself because I’m now able to use scientific methods to illustrate artefacts. I couldn’t even draw stick men before!

"I was excited to find my first artefact, an 18th-century ceramic, when I was digging up floorboards in a Tudor house on a University dig. 

"I’m also really looking forward to going down to Somerset in the summer, to dig at a Romano Celtic temple. We’ll be learning how to work on a new dig, and how to record everything scientifically. It’s called field recording.

"You also get to study anthropology as well as archaeology. It’s been interesting to get hands-on in the laboratories and learn how to identify different bones. I never thought I’d know all the bones in the human skull, but here I am!"

Future plans

"I can't wait to do my year in industry."

"I can see myself working in a museum with artefacts and creating exhibitions eventually, but at the moment, I can also see myself working in the field.

"Something that includes both would be ideal."

A student wearing a white lab coat smiling at the camera

Any tips?

"My advice to students considering this course would be, take the leap!"

"Pursue your passion, don’t be afraid. There was a lot of fear from me when I applied, thinking that this is my dream and what if they say no. But what’s the worst thing that could happen?

"If you get a no, it won’t be a final no - you’d just have to go and get the qualifications that you need to get a yes.

"You won’t regret it."

Interested in a career in heritage and archaeology?

Find out more about our course, entry requirements, and how to apply.