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. The MA in Archaeology provides 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. 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.
- Demonstrate a broad and deep mastery of the research topics and theoretical frameworks common in contemporary archaeology.
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the methods by which to compare different world regions.
- Demonstrate competency in scientific methods common in contemporary archaeology, to the level of being able to evaluate scholarly arguments that employ such methods.
- Demonstrate competency in contemporary archaeological ethics, to the level of being able to conduct their own scholarly activities ethically.
- Successfully incorporate core knowledge of archaeological topics, theory, science, and ethics into their own area of inquiry within the larger discipline.
- Undertake independent archaeological research, in the field or lab, equivalent to a minimum of 4.0 credit hours (5 weeks).
- Produce and defend, in both written and oral forms, original and significant contributions to knowledge about the human past recorded in the archaeological record.
A minimum of eight semester courses (32 credits) is required. Current requirements include:
- GRS AR 891 Contemporary Theory in Archaeology (4 cr)
- GRS AR 892 Archaeological Ethics and the Law (4 cr)
- GRS AR 893 World Archaeology (4 cr)
- GRS AR 894 Scientific Methods in Archaeology (4 cr)
- 4 credits of field or laboratory research
Students will acquire the remaining 12 credit hours from additional courses selected in consultation with their faculty advisors.
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 by successfully completing a graduate reading course offered through a department at Boston University, by a written translation examination arranged in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, or by the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at an accredited undergraduate institution (as documented in an official transcript).
The master’s project will consist of a substantial piece of research and writing. There is no specific format and style; both will depend on the nature of the project. An initial prospectus must be included in the student’s program of study. The final prospectus must be approved by the Advisory Committee and submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for review by the Graduate Studies Committee by the eighth week of the student’s second semester in the program. 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.
For general MA information for prospective students and application instructions, please refer to the MA and MS Admissions section of our website.