Archaeology Major: Information and Requirements

Oct 12, 2019

A B.A. in Archeology from an accredited college or university is required of individuals interested in becoming an archaeologist. Degrees are offered at the Master's and Ph.D. levels and prepare students to work in the field of archaeology.

Essential Information

Although archaeology degrees are generally offered at the graduate level, baccalaureate programs are available and include a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology. These programs teach students how to search for and identify material artifacts from ancient human societies. Students enrolled in such a program must take an equal number of history and science classes, as well as learn about the basic identifying features of past cultures. They are also expected to study the history of archaeological thought, the scientific methods used in archaeology and the research methods used archaeological studies.

Some universities require that archaeology majors select a particular concentration in the field, such as Mediterranean archaeology or New World archaeology. Students taking an intensive concentration gain a more in-depth background into one particular, small-scale human society. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for the 4-year bachelor's degree program in archaeology. Additionally, many colleges and universities also require students learn at least one foreign language.

Bachelor's Degree in Archaeology

College freshman interested in declaring a major in archaeology should first complete general education courses in science, mathematics, communication, history and social sciences. The courses found within a bachelor's degree program in archaeology focus on the history and scientific methods of the archaeological process. Core courses might include:

  • Prehistoric archaeology
  • History of archaeological thought
  • Archaeological skills
  • Human osteology
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Archaeological methods and research design

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

In May 2018, there were about 6,500 archaeologists and anthropologists in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, Between 2018 and 2028, that number is predicted to grow by about 10%, which is faster than the average growth rate for jobs during that time period. Archaeologists and anthropologists made a median annual salary of around $62,410 in 2018, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Options

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in archaeology can go on to earn both master's and doctoral degrees in the field. Both advanced degrees provide students with a more in-depth knowledge of a particular subfield of archaeology or anthropology. Most graduate programs also require that students complete actual archaeological fieldwork by examining historical digs or looking for ancient artifacts at the sites of uncovered ancient civilizations. Advanced degrees can prepare archaeologists for positions in research and academia.

The most common degree program for archeology is a 4-year long Bachelor of Arts in Archeology. This program will introduce you to various areas of specialization, foreign languages and research methods and approaches used in basic archaeology studies.

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