Students who want to work in academia or in a research field of Mesoamerican archaeology often pursue a master's degree in archaeology with concentration electives related to Mexican and Central American civilizations. Students in these programs gain quantitative research skills and learn how to collect and analyze archaeological materials through coursework that covers these and other topics, like world ancient civilizations and languages, symbolic systems and paleodemography.
In order to enter into a master's degree program, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree in a similar field from an accredited university, standardized exam scores, reference letters and a letter of intent. However, a small number of schools offer supplemental coursework for individuals from a non-archaeology background.
The degree itself typically takes three years to complete, but can take longer. A research thesis must be completed prior to graduation.
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Master's in Archaeology
Archaeology master's degree programs focus on how to analyze the artifacts, bones, material objects and written records of a civilization. Mesoamerican studies focus on Mexican and Central American cultures, including the Aztec, Mayan and Toltec civilizations. Courses can be specific to chronology or a topic, like the effect of colonization amongst the Aztecs. Some examples of common topics include:
- Field methods
- Topics in modern archaeology
- Mesoamerican art and architecture
- Principles of excavation
- Mesoamerican prehistory
- The Mesoamerican calendar
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that archaeologists and anthropologists will see a 4% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. The median annual salary of these professionals was as $61,220 of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
A master's degree program in archaeology, with a concentration on Mexican and Central American civilizations, prepares graduates to pursue careers in archaeology and anthropology.