MA in Archaeology

Changes to this program will take effect in the 2015–2016 academic year.

The MA in Archaeology prepares students for professional careers in museums and in public and private cultural resource management and heritage work as well as for further study towards the PhD in Archaeology or a related field. The intent of the program is to provide appropriate education and training in the recovery, analysis, and interpretation of archaeological materials and contexts while assuring sufficient background in one or more cognate fields, such as classics, art history, anthropology, and history. The program includes classroom and practical training in the quantitative methods and scientific techniques employed in the analysis, dating, and interpretation of archaeological finds, either within the framework of the Archaeology curriculum or within that of other departments or programs.

Applicants must have a BA or BS, preferably from a program in archaeology or one related to archaeology (such as anthropology or classical studies, with a concentration in archaeology). Students lacking sufficient preparation in archaeology will be required to take courses, as determined by the Graduate Studies Committee, to make up the deficiency. On occasion these courses may be beyond the minimum specified by the Graduate School.

Course Requirements

A minimum of eight semester courses (32 credits) is required. Current requirements include:

  • GRS AR 701: The Intellectual History of Archaeology
  • GRS AR 702: Contemporary Theory in Archaeology
  • GRS AR 705: Pre-Urban Development
  • GRS AR 706: Archaeology of Complex Societies
  • GRS AR 780: Archaeological Ethics and Law
  • Students must also take (or demonstrate command of the material covered by) CAS AR 503: Archaeological Field Methods: Survey and Excavation
  • Three courses in an area of topical concentration

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA in Archaeology are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language by the end of the second semester of study. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination, successful completion of a non-credit graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University.


Two written examinations on the student’s area of topical concentration are required upon completion of coursework and the language requirement, normally in the third semester of study.


Student are required to submit a thesis; the MA thesis must satisfy normal requirements for scholarly style and conform to the applicable “Guide for Writers of Theses and Dissertations” available on the GRS website.