BA in Archaeology

Requirements for the Undergraduate Major

In addition to the curricular requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, an undergraduate major in Archaeology requires the successful completion of a total of 12 courses: nine in archaeology, two in anthropology, and one in statistics.

 Students at work in one of the department's research laboratories
Students at work in one of the archaeology research laboratories

Required Courses (9)

 Students take a core of four required courses:

  • CAS AR 101 Introduction to Archaeology
  • CAS AR 307 Archaeological Science
  • CAS AR 450 Methods and Theory of Archaeology
  • CAS AR 503 Archaeological Field Methods: Survey and Excavation* (or equivalent, for which prior approval is necessary; see Archaeology Field School Policy)

* Note: CAS AR 503 is offered as part of field school programs during the academic year and/or in the summer.

Students choose five additional courses, distributed as follows, with a maximum of one course at the 100 level:

  • One technical course
  • One topical course
  • One area course
  • Two additional CAS AR courses selected in consultation with the advisor

Required Related Courses (3)

  • One course in statistics (CAS MA 115 or CAS MA 213)
  • CAS AN 101 (Introduction to Cultural Anthropology)
  • One additional CAS AN course selected in consultation with the advisor

Archaeology Field School Policy

Every major in Archaeology must participate in an approved archaeological field experience, which may include survey, excavation, laboratory analysis, heritage management, remote sensing, or other research relating to an archaeological project. The field experience requirement may be satisfied by successfully completing AR 503, AR 556, or another supervised field program. Prior approval from the student’s academic advisor is required. If a non-BU field program carries academic credit, prior approval for transfer of at least 4 academic credits at BU should be obtained. 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 director of the Archaeology Program is required.  Faculty advisors will work with students to identify an appropriate field school placement. For details about this policy, majors should consult with their advisor.

Second Major or Minor

Because archaeologists’ study of the human past draws so widely on other fields and links to interests across the liberal arts, sciences, and professions, the major in Archaeology works particularly well in combination with a second major or complementary minor. Recent Archaeology students, with strong encouragement and support from their advisors, have branched out to major or minor in related areas including anthropology, history, and international relations; history of art and architecture, classical and medieval studies; foreign languages and regional (European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, etc.) studies; biology and chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, marine science, computer science and engineering, and medical science; as well as communications and journalism. Many other major-major or major-minor combinations with Archaeology are possible.

Honors in the Major

Qualified 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.

Program Assessment


As part of the University’s ongoing efforts to improve its academic programs, the Archaeology Program has identified specific learning outcomes and conducts regular assessments and evaluations of its degree programs.


Learning Outcomes for the BA in Archaeology

Students graduating with a major in Archaeology are able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of archaeological theory and of the archaeological record of multiple world regions
  2. Use analytical methods from archaeology to understand past human cultures
  3. Conduct archaeological field research and scientific analyses to investigate material remains
  4. Discuss contemporary debates concerning the study and understanding of the past, including ethical issues relevant to preservation

Portfolio Guidelines for Archaeology Majors

Major portfolios allow students to document their capstone accomplishments in Archaeology and provide data for the purpose of annual program assessment and evaluation by the faculty.

The AR major’s portfolio contains the following materials provided by the student as PDF files:

  • A paper written in AR450
  • A 2-3 page summary of the student’s field research (AR503 or equivalent)
  • A copy of the student’s honors thesis or IWD (if applicable)

The AR major’s portfolio will contain the following other materials provided by faculty/staff:

  • A written evaluation of the student’s performance in AR 450 by the instructor of record
  • A written exit interview provided to the student by archaeology staff prior to graduation (the student’s identity is anonymous in these interviews and all are uploaded by staff to a single folder)

A record of the portfolio will be kept in digital form mounted as a folder on the centralized server maintained by Archaeology.

Server Address
For instructions on how to connect to servers click here.

For Macs (write it exactly as it is written below):
smb:// Major Portfolio

For Windows (write it exactly as it is written below):
\\\Archaeology Major Portfolio