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Archaeology Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Depending on the degree-level and specialization, an archaeology degree program can prepare a student to become a museum curator, preservation specialist, laboratory technician or researcher. Programs vary by specializations, fieldwork and laboratory experiences offered.

Archaeology programs are commonly available at four-year colleges and universities and cover the practical and theoretical knowledge required to become an archaeologist. Schools that have access to archaeological dig sites may appeal to students looking to gain some hands-on experience.

Schools with Archaeology Programs

These schools all offer programs suitable for archaeology students, with tuition listed for the 2015-2016 period:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Pennsylvania State University University College, PA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $17,514
University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,806 in-state, $34,676 out-of-state
University of Missouri Columbia, MO 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,509 in-state, $25,166 out-of-state
Brigham Young University Provo, UT 4-year, Private Bachelor's $5,150
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $47,750
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $50,277
University of Akron Akron, OH 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $10,509 in-state, $19,040 out-of-state
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,591 in-state, $33,673 out-of-state
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $48,436

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Important things to consider when selecting the right archaeology program for you include:

  • Many undergraduate programs are intended to prepare students for graduate study, which should be considered for students wishing to work within academia.
  • Look for curricula that has fieldwork and laboratory training alongside traditional classroom learning.
  • Some schools operate archaeology dig sites for a chance at hands-on experience.
  • Programs may have specializations or provide a broad overview of different areas under archaeology; students should tailor their search to find what most interests them.

Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology

Generally, an archaeology bachelor's degree program prepares students to work in a lab or continue on to a graduate program. Most involve fieldwork and lab components, as well as a research project.

Master of Arts in Archaeology

Archaeology master's degree programs typically allow deeper specialization. Available concentrations may include African prehistoric archaeology, old world archaeology or new world historical archaeology. Most programs include comprehensive exams and require a thesis or completion of a master's project. Graduates may be prepared for careers in museum curation or historic preservation.

Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeology

Doctoral programs in archaeology train students to become researchers, educators or museum curators. Students complete courses, fieldwork and laboratory work in their specialties, and receive additional training in quantitative methods, biology and physical science. Students must pass qualifying exams and complete a dissertation. These programs take 4-6 years to complete.

Archaeology programs are a mix of both science and history, teaching students how to recognize, assess and care for physical remnants of the past. Many archaeology students go on to complete graduate degrees due to the academic nature of the field, leading them to work at educational or research-based institutions.

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