Prospective Student Information
Why study archaeology at Boston University?
Since 1982 the Department of Archaeology has been the only independent department in the United States that offers both BA degrees at the undergraduate level and MA and PhD degrees at the graduate level. In addition, we offer concentrated MA programs in Archaeological Heritage Management and Geoarchaeology (currently we are not admitting student into the Heritage or Geoarchaeology degree programs). With a large number of faculty and graduate students working throughout the world and offering specialized programs in a diversity of topical and technical areas, our department offers an unmatched environment for constant discussion and debate of practical, methodological, and theoretical matters in archaeology.
We hope the Quick Links and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below will provide you with the information you seek. If you still have unanswered questions, we encourage you to contact the Director of Graduate Admissions with specific questions regarding the application process. In addition, we encourage all prospective graduate students to make direct contact by e-mail, postal mail, or telephone with those professors with whom they share interests and with whom they would most likely work upon entering our programs. Department visits are also encouraged.
Click here to learn all about our department’s graduate mission, facilities, degree programs, and courses.
Follow this link to the Admissions page of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where you can read about the application process (qualifications, deadlines, addresses for submission, etc.).
Submit an ONLINE application to one of our programs (Application Deadline: January 1)
Use the Graduate School’s web-based application for streamlining the application process.
Click here for important information about funding your graduate studies.
Click the link above to send an e-mail to the Director of Graduate Admissions, Prof. Christopher Roosevelt, with specific questions about the application process and general questions about our graduate programs that the information and links on this page do not answer.
Click the link above to send an e-mail to the Director of Graduate Studies, Prof. Andrea M. Berlin, for specific questions about our graduate programs that the information and links on this page do not answer.
1) Whom should I contact if I am interested in applying to one of BU’s graduate programs?
After reading this website and following its links, we encourage you to contact the Director of Graduate Admissions with specific questions regarding the application process. In addition, we encourage all prospective graduate students to make direct contact by e-mail, U.S. Postal Mail, or telephone with those professors with whom they share interests and with whom they would most likely work closely upon entering our programs.
2) How do I apply and what are the application deadlines?
Use the online application system (see above under Admissions Information).
Applications with all the support materials listed in #3 below including those applying for merit-based funding in the form of fellowships must be submitted by JANUARY 1. Applications to the Department of Archaeology are accepted for fall semester admissions only.
3) What do I need to include with my application?
In addition to the personal statement that is part of the application itself, all graduate programs in Archaeology require GRE exams, transcripts, three (3) letters of recommendation (not two, as required by other programs at BU), and a brief writing sample.
4) Does the Department of Archaeology require anything in addition to the general Graduate School of Arts and Sciences?
See answer to FAQ #3.
5) Does the Department of Archaeology have a special application that is separate from the general one for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences?
No. Applicants need only submit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application (including all materials required by the Department of Archaeology). Applications are then forwarded from the Graduate School to the Department.
6) What are the average GPAs and GRE scores of past successful applicants?
We are sorry that we cannot provide you with average GPAs or GRE scores for students admitted to our program at this time. Generally, however, GPAs and GRE scores are very competitive.
7) Do I need to visit the department if I am applying?
We do not require prospective students to visit the department, but we encourage them do so in order for them to learn most fully about our department’s faculty, facilities, and programs. If you would like to schedule a visit, please contact the Director of Graduate Admissions *and* other faculty with whom you would like to meet to make appointments. During your visit we will gladly arrange meetings and tours of the department with current graduate students to further your understanding of our department.
8) How do I know whether I should apply for an MA or a PhD program?
Our three MA programs and PhD program are intended to offer a wide variety of advanced degrees in Archaeology for students with diverse professional interests. Please read the specific descriptions of our MA and PhD programs on the online Bulletin of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
9) How do I specify on my application to which program I am applying?
If you are applying for an MA or PhD in archaeology, check the box on the first page of the application for MA or PhD, and write in your specific interest (if you have one) in the space for “Specialization” to the right of the space for “Department”. Possible entries for the “Specialization,” line include “Classical Archaeology,” “Historical Archaeology,” “Mesoamerican Archaeology”, etc.
If you are applying for an MA in our Geoarchaeology or Heritage Management programs, check the box on the first page of the application for MA, and write in “Geoarchaeology” or “Heritage Management” in the space for “Specialization” to the right of the space for “Department”.
10) What sources of financial aid are available to Archaeology graduate students?
Please see the Financial Aid section of the Admissions page of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Because of limited funding resources at BU, we can offer support in the form of fellowships to only a very few PhD applicants; only extremely rarely can we offer funding to MA applicants. Applications for merit-based funding in the form of fellowships must be submitted by January 1.
11) Do I need to know any modern languages besides English?
Reading proficiency in one modern foreign language, as approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, is required for our MA programs in Archaeology and Archaeological Heritage Management; reading proficiency in two modern foreign languages, as approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, is required for our PhD program. Work towards the fulfillment of these requirements should be demonstrated at the time of application.
12) Do I need to know any ancient languages?
Concentrators in Old World historical archaeology (including Classical Archaeology) must demonstrate, by written examination, knowledge of at least one appropriate ancient language (Greek and/or Latin for Classical Archaeologists). The level of language proficiency required is that normally attained by one graduate-level reading course. Work towards the fulfillment of this requirement should be demonstrated at the time of application.
13) Where can I learn more about the admissions process?
Please investigate the Frequently Asked Questions for Admissions on the main Admissions website of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.