BA in Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of past human cultures through their material remains. The objectives of archaeology also include a concern for the management of cultural heritage, for the ethics of preserving and presenting the human past, and for the appreciation of how understanding the past enriches us in the present and in our orientation toward the future. Undergraduate students majoring in Archaeology learn the scientific and humanistic methods of analyzing and interpreting past human cultures within their spatial and temporal contexts, as well as different theoretical perspectives for understanding this evidence. Skill sets developed by Archaeology students are transferable to careers in professional archaeology and a range of other fields, including international studies, cultural heritage and preservation, museums, cultural ecology, and spatial and material analyses.

Courses may be credited toward the major only if a grade of C or higher is earned.

Required Courses

The major requires nine courses in archaeology (AR), two in anthropology (AN), and one in statistics.

All required courses are 4 credit hours.

Students are required to take CAS AR 101, 307, 450, and 503* (or equivalent, for which prior approval is necessary).

*CAS AR 503 is offered as part of field school programs of the department both during the academic year and in the summer.

In addition, students must select the following from the departmental distribution courses offered by the Department of Archaeology.

Note: Courses listed as fulfilling more than one departmental distribution requirement can be applied only once, and cannot count as fulfilling two or more distribution requirements.

  • one technical course from:
    CAS AR 381, 382, 400, 404, 505, 506, 509, 510, 512, 515, 556, 570, 585, or 590
  • one topical course from:
    CAS AR 200, 202, 205, 206, 208, 215, 221, 262, 280, 290, 305, 335, 353, 375, 393, 396, 430, 435, 438, 480, 504, 507, 508, 543, 544, 555, 570, 572, 576, 577, 580, 585, 590, or 593
  • three area courses from:
    all CAS AR courses not listed above

Archaeology Field School Policy

Every major in archaeology must complete CAS AR 503, a course in archaeological field methods, for 4 credits. It is expected that the requirement for AR 503 will be satisfied by participation in one of Boston University’s field schools. Credits may be transferred in exceptional cases from a field school in another institution. Prior approval from the student’s advisor is required for transfers, and the field school must carry the equivalent of 4 Boston University academic credits. Transfer credits from field schools at other institutions will be approved only if the field school satisfies the requirements for AR 503, which are listed on the Department of Archaeology website. In certain exceptional circumstances, extensive or unusual fieldwork that does not carry academic credit may be used to satisfy the requirement for AR 503, but prior approval from the student’s advisor, the director of undergraduate studies, and the chair of the Department of Archaeology is required.

Required Related Courses

  • CAS MA 115 or MA 213,
  • CAS AN 101,
  • one other CAS AN course (to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor)

Students are expected to fulfill the CAS language requirement with a language appropriate to their majors. In some cases, at least two semesters of an ancient language are recommended in addition to a modern foreign language.

Second Major or Minor

Students are encouraged to select a related second major or a minor in the humanities, social science, or natural sciences.

Research Project

Students may elect to write a substantial research paper for honors in the major (the equivalent of two regular courses). A written proposal describing the project must be submitted to the undergraduate advisor no later than the end of the junior year.