Field School and Research Opportunities

Every concentrator in archaeology must complete CAS AR 503, a course in archaeological field methods, for four 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 four Boston University academic credits. 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 chairman of the Department of Archaeology is required.

1. Boston University Sponsored Programs

Students who attend a Boston University field school will take AR503 so their credits will be recorded automatically.

2. Non-Boston University Field Schools

The Department of Archaeology generally offers a range of fieldwork opportunities in different parts of the world. The faculty recognize, however, that Boston University field schools may not meet the needs or interests of all students. For this reason, bona fide archaeological field schools run by other institutions for academic credit will be considered for fulfillment of the field school requirement with prior written approval from the student’s advisor.

A student who is interested in participating in a field school sponsored by an institution other than Boston University must petition to have it accepted. The petition should be submitted to the student’s advisor for review as far in advance of the session as possible, and must answer all of the following questions.

  • Why do you wish to enroll in this particular field school?
  • What is the duration of the fieldwork season? How many hours per day and days per week will be spent in the field?
  • What is the range of archaeological activities to which students will be exposed (e.g., survey, keeping trench notebooks, drafting, photography, inventorying, analysis of finds, conservation, writing final reports, etc.)?
  • What are the criteria by which students will be judged for a grade (e.g., trench notebooks, written examinations, papers, etc.)?
  • What are the credentials of the director and staff members of the project?
  • What, if anything, has been published on the site? (Bibliographical citations should be provided, and preferably copies of articles or books, for examination.) A brief summary of the periods and cultures represented at the site should also be submitted.

Any information not provided on printed brochures or other mailings from outside field schools should be requested by the student in a letter to the director of the field school. The response should be included in the petition. Students should also include in the petition an internet link to the field school if available.

The petition will be reviewed by the student’s advisor, and the student will be informed in writing as to the advisor’s decision. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain all the necessary background information. No request will be considered until all the required information has been submitted in writing.

Successful completion of a field school requires a final grade of a “C” or higher.

Summary of Procedures for Non-B.U. Field Schools

Students who wish to take a non-B.U. field school for credit (AR 503 equivalency) must submit a petition in writing to their advisor well in advance of the fieldwork. The advisor’s decision will be communicated to the student in writing.

Note: In addition to obtaining prior written approval of a non-B.U. field school from their faculty advisor, students must also arrange, in advance, to have their field school credits transferred to B.U. as equivalent to AR 503. How this is done depends on whether the field school is domestic or international.

For domestic field schools: Students must fill out a Transfer Course Equivalency Form (found on line http://www.bu.edu/casadvising/forms/) and have it signed by the Archaeology faculty advisor, and return it to Student Records. This must be done prior to the fieldwork. Upon completion of the field school, students should have a registrar-issued official transcript sent directly to Student Records (not to the Office of the University Registrar) so that the transfer credits can be processed.

For international field schools: Students must obtain prior approval from The Abroad Office to ensure that the field school credits will be accepted by the University. Once students have identified a field school that is approved by their Archaeology faculty advisor, they should consult with Abroad Office about obtaining the necessary approval and transfer of grade records. Abroad Office has its own External Program Study Abroad Transfer Credit Course Approval Form that will be given to the student to be filled out, signed by the Archaeology faculty advisor, and returned to International Programs. Upon completion of the field school, students should have a registrar-issued unofficial transcript sent to the International Programs office so that the transfer credits can be processed.

3. Fulfillment of Field School Requirement based on Extensive Field Experience

In very rare cases a student may petition to fulfill the field school requirement without receiving academic credit for AR 503 or equivalent if the student can demonstrate extensive or unusual fieldwork experience. These cases require prior written approval from the student’s advisor, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the chair of the department. The approval is sent to the CAS Advising.