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Program Description

Just the Facts

Archeology. A program that focuses on the systematic study of extinct societies, and the past of living societies, via the excavation, analysis and interpretation of their artifactual, human, and associated remains. Includes instruction in archeological theory, field methods, dating methods, conservation and museum studies, cultural and physical evolution, and the study of specific selected past cultures.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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Additional Information

Perseverance is one of the most important characteristics of an archeologist. That's because it can take years of education and experience to become one.

In addition to your bachelor's degree, you'll need a master's degree. A doctorate degree, however, is optional. Many master's graduates are very happy with the work they find.

Few schools have archeology departments for undergraduates. Archeology is usually offered as a subspecialty of anthropology rather than as a program on its own. Most students get a bachelor's degree in anthropology while taking as many archeology classes as they can.

Expect to take classes like archeological research, prehistory, cultural resource management and botanical and artifact analysis. Students may also take practicum courses and enroll in field school or internship programs.

"I would also strongly recommend coursework in geology, business management and statistics," says Anthony Klesert. He is the director of an archeology department.

Klesert adds that it's important to get hands-on training in field methods like excavation and surveying. That way, you'll acquire some essential research skills, like lithic (stone) analysis, computer graphics or GIS (geographic information systems).

"Do a lot of reading about other peoples and cultures around the world," he suggests. "It is very important that you are able to appreciate and respect the varieties of cultures and people in the world."

Elin Danien says that high school students should learn another language to prepare for international jobs. Danien is a research associate at a university's museum of archeology and anthropology.

"Not only will future archeologists probably be working in other countries, where a knowledge of the language will be essential, but many of the early reports are in French, Spanish, German and have not been translated," she says.

Danien adds that math, physics and biology are also good preparation. And believe it or not, artistic skills come in handy.

"Drawing classes are good," says Danien. "Even though we now rely on computer programs for recording sections and plans, there are times when computers aren't available. And photographs of artifacts frequently do not register the slight variations that can be detailed by a pencil."

The ability to write grant applications will be crucial when you're looking for research money. "Take writing courses so you can learn to communicate clearly, simply and with passion," says Danien.

Most archeology majors are required to enroll in field school for academic credit. Some colleges and universities have their own field school programs that might send you to do archeological work in Scotland or Spain.

Field school can be expensive. Books are also an expense. Later in your career, fieldwork is often paid for by grant money.


Archeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin
Listings for archaeological projects around the world.

Exploring Historical Archaeology
Information on careers in historical archeology


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