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About the Faculty of History and Philosophy

This faculty covers three main subject areas, archaeology, history and philosophy, In addition, programmes are offered in classical studies, medieval studies and applied studies in culture and communication.

Archaeology is the study of human society from its material remains, including such things as artefacts, buildings, bones or plant remains. It is primarily concerned with the past but its methods can be equally applied to contemporary societies; it operates in the distant past, before written records (prehistory) as well as in historic periods (historical archaeology). Archaeologists study almost all aspects of society from ideologies and belief systems to economic and political systems, from technology and trade to art styles. Because of its focus on material culture retrieved from the ground, archaeology shares both methodological and theoretical aspects with both the human/social sciences and the natural sciences – especially disciplines such as history, anthropology/ethnology, biology and geology.

Philosophy is an attempt to answer fundamental questions, be it regarding everyday experiences, matter, the soul thought or higher powers. Students are trained in critical thinking, precise reading of original sources and clear reasoning.

Classical studies deal with the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome and their legacy. The studies involve history, literature, philosophy and linguistics at once, and thus constitute an interdisciplinary introduction to the foundations of Western culture.

History deals with human societies and individuals, their systems of governance and politics, liberty and constraints, industries and economies and all kinds of way of life and culture in the broadest sense. Historians read and interpret sources in a critical and creative manner. Therefore logical thinking, resourcefulness and originality are important in their work. Clarity and good linguistic skills are also important in disseminating historical information.

Medieval studies bring together knowledge from different subjects, e.g. languages, literature, history or music, and apply this knowledge in specific or general research into the culture of the period. A programme is offered towards a B.A. degree with medieval studies as a minor.

Applied studies in culture and communication is an interdisciplinary M.A. programme aiming to join together Icelandic history and culture, in order to provide students with new ways of disseminating their research and knowledge. Emphasis is placed on students completing projects on dissemination, adopt varied methods for presenting a topic and gather experience that will enable them to work independently on dissemination.

The faculty offers various single courses taught in English.