Information on Programs in Greek Archaeology

Oct 14, 2019

Students interested in Greek archaeology can pursue the topic either through an archaeology or classical studies program, or a combination of both. Master's and Ph.D. degrees in classical archaeology are also available.

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Essential Information

Archaeologists plan excavations and study artifacts such as ruins, tools, weapons and sculptures to help create a better understanding of past civilizations. They investigate ancient cultures, including where and how people lived, their societal structures and their technological innovations. Greek archaeology involves the study of ancient Greek civilizations and is often studied along with Roman archaeology.

Some schools offer an undergraduate degree in archaeology, but students concentrating in Greek archaeology often major in classical studies. These programs may offer a concentration or minor in archaeology. Bachelor's degrees typically follow didactic coursework focusing on classical languages and the ancient Greco-Roman civilizations. Entry-level candidates should hold a high school diploma or equivalent; an additional two years of core classes, previous Greek or Latin language proficiency, and a minimum grade point average is ideal. Most programs take four years to complete.

Master's and Ph.D. programs are also available, though they promote a greater emphasis in research, lab and excavation experience, proficiency in Latin or Greek languages, and the completion of a thesis or dissertation. Applicants to these programs may be required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores, writing samples, and letters of recommendation.

Applicants to master's programs are required to have a bachelor's degree in classical studies, anthropology, archaeology or a related field because candidates need to demonstrate strong academic abilities in ancient history, philosophy and art. Most schools also require language skills in Greek and/or Latin, and some may require proficiency in a modern foreign language such as French, Italian or German.

While not all Ph.D. programs require applicants to hold graduate degrees, many prefer that students demonstrate experience in research and writing through completion of a master's degree program. Classics programs commonly have Greek, Latin or modern language requirements, and prospective students may also benefit from previous archaeological field and lab experience. In addition to independent research and teaching assistantships, doctoral candidates are typically required to pass a comprehensive exam and to research and defend a dissertation in order to graduate. A doctorate may take anywhere from four to seven years to complete

In some cases, online courses and programs may be available.


Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies

A bachelor's degree program in classical studies looks at artifacts and culture of past civilizations, including ancient Greece. Classical studies is a broad liberal arts program that encompasses general studies courses, as well as core and elective classes, centered on the study of classical languages and the ancient Greco-Roman civilizations.

Some of the major and elective classes students may take include:

  • Greek archaeology, architecture, and art
  • Ancient philosophy
  • Ancient Greek development
  • Athenian politics
  • Greek literature and linguistics
  • Latin

Master of Arts in Classical Archaeology

Students interested in Greek archaeology generally enroll in programs in classical archaeology. Although some Master of Arts programs in classical archaeology are stand-alone programs, many schools award this degree to students partway through their doctoral degree studies.

The master's program emphasizes fieldwork, and some programs allow for study and work in Greece. Students learn research skills and may be required to present a thesis or take a comprehensive exam. Courses in a master's program may cover the architecture, philosophy, languages and history of ancient Greece.

The following are a sampling of course topics:

  • Historiography
  • Greek language
  • Ancient Greek philosophy and history
  • Ancient Greek art and archaeology
  • Symbolic logic
  • Philosophy of research

Doctor of Philosophy in Classical Archaeology

Doctoral degree programs give graduates the research and teaching experience needed to work in an academic setting, lead research programs, or be a museum curator.

Coursework in a doctoral degree program may overlap with master's level coursework, and may include seminars and classes in topics such as:

  • Methods and theory in archaeology
  • Material culture of Greece
  • Classical Greek archaeology
  • Ancient Greek history
  • Anthropology
  • Art history

Popular Career Options

The image of an archaeologist may be associated with a university professor or excavation leader, positions that require at least a master's degree. Bachelor's degree holders often pursue other related career paths because their knowledge of Greek culture and historical research methods opens up a variety of occupations. Some of these could include:

  • Museum technician
  • Historic preservationist
  • Museum curator
  • Travel writer

A Ph.D. in Greek Archaeology sets individuals apart as subject matter experts. This expertise can be beneficial to a number of career paths, including:

  • Classics or archaeology professor
  • Archaeological Researcher
  • Museum curator

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for anthropologists and archaeologists would increase at a rate of 10% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). Job opportunities will likely be strongest for those who hold a doctoral degree in the field. According to the BLS, as of May 2018, the median annual wages for anthropologists and archaeologists was $62,410.

Greek archaeology can be studied through classical studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, opening up a wide variety of possible career paths.

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