MA in Archaeology

The MA in Archaeology prepares students for professional careers in museums and in public and private cultural resource management and heritage work as well as for further study towards the PhD in Archaeology or a related field. The intent of the program is to provide appropriate education and training in the recovery, analysis, and interpretation of archaeological materials and contexts while assuring sufficient background in one or more cognate fields, such as classics, art history, anthropology, and history. The program includes classroom and practical training in the quantitative methods and scientific techniques employed in the analysis, dating, and interpretation of archaeological finds, either within the framework of the Archaeology curriculum or within that of other departments or programs.

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.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • 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.

Course Requirements

A minimum of eight semester courses (32 credits) is required. Current requirements include:

  • GRS AR 891 Contemporary Theory in Archaeology
  • GRS AR 892 Archaeological Ethics and the Law
  • GRS AR 893 World Archaeology
  • GRS AR 894 Scientific Methods in Archaeology
  • 4 credits of field or laboratory research

Students must also complete a master’s research project report or pass the PhD qualifying examinations.

Language Requirement

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 either through a language examination, successful completion of a non-credit graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University.

Master’s Project

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. The 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.