BA/MA in Archaeology

Archaeology is a global discipline in which a comparative perspective is brought to bear on all types of material culture in the pursuit of understanding people of the distant and recent past. To this end, archaeologists at BU provide education and training in the recovery, analysis, and interpretation of the material remains of the human past, including the application of scientific techniques, as well as the study of archaeological heritage.

Application and Admission

Application for the joint BA/MA in Archaeology is open only to students who have declared a major in archaeology. Students may apply as early as the 4th semester of academic year enrollment but no later than the 6th semester of academic year enrollment. As stated on the GRS website, application deadlines are as follows:

  • November 30th, for admission beginning in the following spring semester;
  • April 20th, for admission beginning in the following fall semester.

Applicants must meet a GPA requirement of at least 3.0 overall and 3.3 in archaeology-related courses at time of application. In order to be considered, applicants must:

  • complete the BA/MA Application Form and the proposed Plan of Study, both found on the GRS website.
  • have your Plan of Study form signed by the Director of Graduate Studies. Note that if you have a double major, you also need a signature from the Director of Undergraduate Studies or Faculty Advisor in the second major program.
  • submit both your application form and signed Plan of Study to the GRS (
  • submit an unofficial transcript from all institutions attended to the GRS (
  • request that two faculty members submit a recommendation form to

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will make an admissions decision upon receiving a recommendation from the department, and send an official letter of notification at that time.

During the fall registration period of the student’s senior year, the student should meet with the department’s Director of Graduate Studies in order to make an appropriate selection of courses for the fifth (full MA) year of study. Note that in order to enter the fifth (MA) year, a student must have completed the twelve courses that comprise the requirements for the BA in Archaeology.

Advisory Committee and Program of Study

At the beginning of the 7th semester of academic year enrollment (typically the fall semester of senior year) the student must form an advisory committee comprising two members of the graduate faculty of Archaeology, and submit their names to the Director of Graduate Studies. One of these members should be named as the student’s advisor of record. The student is responsible for working with his/her advisory committee to finalize a full program of study, including demonstration of foreign language proficiency, as well as outline a Master’s project. The final Program of Study and proposed Master’s project must be submitted by the end of the student’s 7th semester for review by the Graduate Studies Committee. Once approved, it will be entered in the student’s file. The Program of Study and proposed Master’s project may be changed subject to approval of the student’s advisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies. All such modifications must be finalized in writing.

In planning their program of study, students and their advisors should be attentive to upcoming faculty leaves and to projected course-scheduling (e.g., noting that not all survey courses, in particular, are offered every year). Students are responsible for maintaining regular contact and communication with their advisors. Faculty review and evaluate graduate student progress at the end of both the fall and spring semesters. Continuation in the program is contingent upon a student’s satisfactory progress.

Program Requirements

Students must complete all the requirements of the BA degree with a major in Archaeology and an additional 32 credits of graduate work in Archaeology, or in related disciplines with permission of their advisors. A total of 160 credits are required to graduate with the MA. Specific requirements beyond those for the BA in Archaeology are:

  • AR 891: Contemporary Theory in Archaeology
  • AR 893: World Archaeology
  • AR 894: Scientific Methods in Archaeology
  • An additional 20 credits of graduate coursework chosen in consultation with a student’s advisor.
  • Reading proficiency in one modern or ancient foreign language, to be demonstrated by the end of the 9th semester (i.e., the first semester of the full MA year of study). The specific language and the mode for demonstrating proficiency must be detailed in the Program of Study. The language requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing a graduate reading course offered through a department at Boston University or by a written translation examination prepared by a faculty member.
  • Master’s project. The Master’s project must be a substantial piece of research and writing. There is no required format or style; both will depend on the nature of the project. Students should work with the members of their Advisory Committee to craft a prospectus. A final prospectus must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for review by the Graduate Studies Committee by March 1st of the student’s 8th semester of enrollment (typically the spring semester of senior year). The final version of the Master’s project must be approved by the Advisory Committee no later than week 13 of the semester in which the student intends to graduate, and such approval must be indicated to the Director of Graduate Studies at that time in order for the student to receive both the BA and MA degrees.

Graduate School Master’s Graduation Procedures and Deadlines.