Course Overview

Are you interested in archaeology, understanding the past and Ireland? The Diploma in Irish Archaeology (Online) is the first online Diploma in Irish Archaeology and is the only wholly online course dedicated solely to the story of the Irish archaeological past, which facilitates diverse participation regardless of geographical location. This two-year course has four broad aims:

  • To introduce students to the discipline of archaeology.
  • To present the archaeology of Ireland as a way of understanding ten thousand years of human settlement on this island.
  • To study aspects of current archaeological research in Ireland in detail.
  • To promote interest in Ireland’s heritage at a national and international level.

The Discipline of Archaeology covers a remarkable span of time and investigates some of the most profoundly important developments of the past. There is something to interest everyone - whether interests lie in outdoor fieldwork and exploring ancient monuments, the study of artefacts, the history of technology, local studies, or simply in the rich heritage of Ireland's past. The course can be enjoyed as a general interest undertaking, a social learning experience, or a career-related qualification.

Mode of Study: Online Learning - please visit our Online Learning webpage for further details on what is required to be an online learner.

Applications and Selections

 Applications open from 1st April 2024.

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Applications System. This course is listed under Adult Learning & CPD Courses Application.

Please visit our How to Apply page for Application tips and Supporting Documents information.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

All teaching and student-teacher interactions will take place online in the course’s online learning environment. Course content comprises illustrated text, online asynchronous discussions with lecturer and classmates, and multi-media content that includes recorded mini-lectures and recorded site visits. There are no live teaching sessions, rather set tasks to be completed by specified days of the week, removing the requirement to be online at any particular time. Support will be provided to students to help them become familiar with the online learning environment. The assessments take the form of weekly online reports and discussions, and essays completed at the end of each module.


Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for part-time students can be found in our FAQs section (i.e. age, english language requirements etc.). There are no specific entry requirements for the Diploma in Irish Archaeology (Online) and no previous knowledge of archaeology is required.

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2024

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date
NFQ level


Mode of study

Online Learning

ECTS weighting




Course code

Course Outline

Archaeology is the study of the material remains of past human societies. It covers a remarkable span of time and investigates some of the most profoundly important developments of the past. The wide scope of archaeology is one of the features which makes the subject so attractive to professional and amateur alike. This course explores the archaeology of Ireland, from the arrival of the first peoples in the stone age, right through to late medieval times. Topics covered include the tombs of the Neolithic such as Newgrange, Bronze Age goldwork, the Celtic question, early Christianity, masterpieces such as the Tara Brooch and Book of Kells, the Vikings in Ireland, and the great castles and church buildings of the medieval period.

Further Education

After completing this diploma, options for further study include an undergraduate degree or higher diploma in archaeology (depending on individual circumstances).

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Past students of the diploma in archaeology have taken a number of routes after graduation. Some have entered straight into related employment - joining commercial archaeological companies as excavators, or working in the heritage industry (as guides, in museums, in visitor centres etc.). Others have continued their academic studies, some returning to complete a BA degree, followed by an MA degree, and even PhDs in several instances! For those who had already completed a degree in any area, they completed a Higher Diploma in Archaeology (1 year full-time, or 2 years part-time), before proceeding to postgraduate studies.

Archaeology graduates work in a variety of roles - as excavators, surveyors, researchers, in local and national government, as guides, in museums, in visitor centres, and in third-level institutions. Of course, archaeology now forms part of the history curriculum at secondary-school level, so the diploma also provides useful training for teachers.


Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€1,000 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Tuition

€965 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Student levy

€35 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Non EU

€1,500 p.a. 2024/25

A fee scholarship of up to 30% may be available for students who wish to upskill for the purposes of re-employment. For more information download the 2023_24 Fees Scholarship Form

Find out More

Dr. Michelle Comber

School of Geography and Archaeology
Tel: 091 492670



What Our Students Say


Melanie Howard-Browne |   Graduate

Having an interest in Ireland’s history, heritage, culture and landscape, my goal has always been to incorporate my passion into my career. Exceptionally knowledgeable instructors set a benchmark of high standards, questioning and debating each topic that we covered. The past two years have flown by and I have enjoyed every moment.

Ronan O' Laoi |   Graduate

I enjoyed this course immensely. I’ve learned a lot and have had to re-evaluate and revise what I had thought of as fact. The course notes, uploaded lectures and the reading material provided were excellent; interesting, very comprehensive and totally up-to-date. Overall, I found the course fascinating and totally worthwhile and consider it perfect for anyone with an interest in Irish history or archaeology.

Seán Cleary |   Graduate

My objective in taking this course was to expand and develop my knowledge, not just of archaeology but also of the human history of Ireland. As a civil engineer involved in large infrastructure projects, I had a basic awareness of the importance of our archaeological patrimony. It has certainly improved my professional competence.