Zooarchaeology Graduate Programs

Feb 14, 2019

Students wishing to study animal remains at archaeological sites can pursue graduate degree programs in anthropology and focus their research in zooarchaeology. Learn about specific credit hour requirements, course topics and admission standards here.

Zooarchaeology is usually offered as a research focus or group within master's and doctoral degree programs in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. These degree programs vary in length, but typically require a culminating experience and may provide field work opportunities. Find out about some of the differences for these degree programs at the master's and doctoral levels.

Master of Arts vs. Doctor of Philosophy in Zooarchaeology

Master of Arts in Anthropology

As mentioned, students wishing to study zooarchaeology at the master's level can pursue a Master of Arts (MA) in Anthropology and typically concentrate their studies in zooarchaeology or an evolutionary or archaeological track that may offer a research group in zooarchaeology. These master's degree programs may require around 30 to 36 credit hours, which may vary in some programs based on a student's choice of culminating project. For the culminating project, some programs may only require an exam or thesis, while others may offer a thesis or portfolio/project option. Some of these programs may offer additional areas of specialization, such as professional methods and techniques or humans and the environment, but commonly students will take courses in topics like the history of anthropology, theory of biological anthropology, theory in cultural anthropology and archaeological anthropology. Many graduates of MA programs in anthropology go on to pursue study at the doctoral level, but may also find professional work as zooarchaeologists.

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

There are more degree program options for students wishing to study zooarchaeology at the doctoral level, as students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Anthropology with a concentration specifically in the field or a concentration in archaeology and join a research group in zooarchaeology. These degree programs may range from a minimum of 24 to 42 credits beyond a master's degree and may be completed in about 5 years. Students typically complete comprehensive exams and a dissertation prior to graduation, as well as additional responsibilities, such as attending lecturer programs, completing field work and/or performing teaching assistantships. Coursework for these degree programs vary greatly to accommodate students' specializations and research interests, but students generally take multiple courses in anthropological theories, research methods and statistics. Graduates of these degree programs may pursue advanced careers in research, higher education or the field of zooarchaeology.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students applying to master's or doctoral degree programs in anthropology must have at least a bachelor's degree and may be required to have majored or at least minored in anthropology. Since these programs are usually small and may offer funding, some of these degree programs may have a minimum GPA requirement, which may be as high as a 3.3, and/or expect sufficient GRE scores. It is fairly common for these degree programs to require applicants to include their transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a writing sample with their application. The writing sample may be a professional report, term paper, published article or other research report. Some programs may also like to see a current resume or CV.

Students can earn an MA or PhD in Anthropology and focus their research in zooarchaeology. Master's students may complete a final thesis, exam or project, while doctoral students usually complete a dissertation.

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