This is the first in a series of posts in which I will be examining where and how you can study Egyptology. This post will focus on undergraduate degrees at universities in the United Kingdom, but future posts will cover postgraduate qualifications, European universities, studying further afield, and distance learning.
Although rebranded as the BA Human, Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge still offers the chance to specialise in Egyptology. In the first year, you can study modules such as Egyptian Language and Cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia, combining these with politics, social sciences, anthropology, and archaeology. In the second year, you can tailor your degree to follow an Egyptology pathway, while still pursuing modules in the other categories.
Egyptian collections: Fitzwilliam Museum.
In a nutshell: Prestigious university, but no mention of Egyptology in your degree title.
Liverpool offers the BA Egyptology, largely focusing on the language but also offering modules in the archaeology, history, and religion. You will learn the languages of all periods of Egyptian history, including Coptic, as well as learning basic archaeological methods. They also offer the BA Egyptian Archaeology for the archaeologists out there.
Egyptian collections: World Museum.
In a nutshell: Fantastic for those who want to specialise in the language or archaeology.
The BA Oriental Studies at Oxford allows for specialisation in Egyptology. It is an extremely intensive course which encompasses language training, archaeological methods, and artefact classes. There is a vast selection of ancient languages to combine with your Egyptology modules, including Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite. As with most Oxford courses, there is a huge emphasis on assessment by examination.
Egyptian collections: Ashmolean Museum.
In a nutshell: Like Cambridge, prestigious university with intensive classes, but no mention of Egyptology in your degree title.
Swansea offers the BA Egyptology as well as a selection of joint honours programmes, such as the BA Egyptology and Ancient History. The language is a compulsory part of the single honours degree scheme, with continuous assessment and in-class examinations. The pass mark is set at 60%+ and failure to reach this standard will result in a transfer to an Egyptology joint honours scheme in which the language is not compulsory. Modules covering the archaeology, art and architecture, history, and religion are also on offer, with a strong emphasis on interactive teaching and learning.
Egyptian collections: Egypt Centre.
In a nutshell: All-encompassing degree scheme, with challenging language pass marks that encourage high aims and high achievements.
At UCL, the focus is on the archaeology of ancient Egypt. The BA Egyptian Archaeology boasts the status of being “the only UK degree to combine the theory and practice of archaeology with detailed study of Egyptian sites”. However, the BA Ancient History and Egyptology offers language modules, and there is freedom to study modules in other ancient languages, including Akkadian and Sumerian.
Egyptian collections: Petrie Museum.
In a nutshell: Fantastic for the archaeologists, yet still appealing to the linguists.
With the UK rise in tuiton fees, many students are looking to studying overseas. Next time, the focus will be on European and overseas undergraduate Egyptology courses.