Application and Admission

Application for the joint BA/MA in Archaeology is open only to students who have declared a major in archaeology. Students may apply as early as the 4th semester of academic year enrollment but no later than the 6th semester of academic year enrollment. As stated on the GRS website, application deadlines are as follows:

  • November 30, for admission beginning in the following spring semester.
  • April 20, for admission beginning in the following fall semester.

Applicants must meet a GPA requirement of at least 3.0 overall and 3.3 in archaeology-related courses at time of application. In order to be considered, applicants must:

  • complete the BA/MA Application Form and the proposed Plan of Study, both found on the GRS website.
  • have your Plan of Study form signed by the Director of Graduate Studies. Note that if you have a double major, you also need a signature from the Director of Undergraduate Studies or Faculty Advisor in the second major program.
  • submit both your application form and signed Plan of Study to GRS (
  • submit an unofficial transcript from all institutions attended to GRS (
  • request that two faculty members submit a recommendation form to

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will make an admissions decision upon receiving a recommendation from the Archaeology, and send an official letter of notification at that time.

During the fall registration period of the student’s senior year, the student should meet with the Archaeology Director of Graduate Studies in order to make an appropriate selection of courses for the fifth (MA) year of study. Note that in order to enter the fifth (MA) year, a student must have completed the twelve courses that comprise the requirements for the BA in Archaeology.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a BA/MA degree in Archaeology are able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of history of archaeological theory.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the archaeological record of multiple world regions.
  • Apply methods of archaeological analysis to material remains common to archaeological datasets.
  • Participate in a significant archaeological research experience.
  • Incorporate their core knowledge of archaeological methods, theory, cases, and ethical issues to evaluating, in written and oral form, contemporary debates concerning the study and understanding of the human past.

Advisory Committee and Program of Study

At the beginning of the 7th semester of academic year enrollment (typically the fall semester of senior year) the student must form an Advisory Committee comprising two members of the graduate faculty of Archaeology, and submit their names to the Director of Graduate Studies. One of these members should be named as the student’s advisor of record. The student is responsible for working with their Advisory Committee to finalize a full program of study, including demonstration of foreign language proficiency, as well as outline a Master’s project. The final Program of Study and proposed Master’s project must be submitted by the end of the student’s 7th semester for review by the Graduate Studies Committee. Once approved, it will be entered in the student’s file. The Program of Study and proposed Master’s project may be changed subject to approval of the student’s Advisory Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies. All such modifications must be finalized in writing.

In planning their program of study, students and their advisors should be attentive to upcoming faculty leaves and to projected course-scheduling (e.g., noting that not all survey courses, in particular, are offered every year). Students are responsible for maintaining regular contact and communication with their advisors. Faculty review and evaluate graduate student progress at the end of both the fall and spring semesters. Continuation in the program is contingent upon a student’s satisfactory progress.


Students must complete all the requirements of the BA degree with a major in Archaeology and an additional 32 credits of graduate work in Archaeology, or in related disciplines with permission of their advisors. A total of 160 credits are required to graduate with the MA. Specific requirements beyond those for the BA in Archaeology are:

  • CAS AR 594 Scientific Applications in Archaeology (AR 894 prior to Fall 2023)
  • CAS AR 595 Professional Practice in Archaeology (4 cr)
  • 4 credits of field or laboratory research, or external internship (options include CAS AR 503, CAS AR 556, GRS AR 901-908, GRS AR 910, and GRS AR 911)
  • An additional 16  credits of graduate-level coursework chosen in consultation with a student’s advisor

Foreign Language Requirement

Reading proficiency in one modern or ancient foreign language must be demonstrated by the end of the first semester of the fifth year of study. The specific language and the mode for demonstrating proficiency must be detailed in the student’s program of study developed on entry into the program.

The language requirement is fulfilled 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).

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. Students must work with their Advisory Committee to craft a project prospectus. 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 in order for the student to receive both the BA and MA degrees.

Summary of Important Deadlines

  • Form Advisory Committee, submit faculty names to Director of Graduate Studies: beginning of semester 7 of undergraduate enrollment.
  • Submit final Program of Study and initial Master’s prospectus to Director of Graduate Studies: by end of semester 7 of undergraduate enrollment.
  • Complete language requirement: by end of Semester 1 of MA Year 1.
  • Complete core courses (AR 591, AR 594): by end of Year 1.
  • Complete additional 20 credits of graduate coursework: by end of MA Year 1.
  • Submit final Master’s prospectus, approved by Advisory Committee, to the Director of Graduate Studies: by Week 8 of Semester 2 of MA Year 1.
  • Notify Director of Graduate Studies of final Master’s project approval by Advisory Committee: by Week 13 of intended semester of graduation.

Graduate School Master’s Graduation Procedures and Deadlines

Graduate Program Administrators

Andrea M. Berlin

James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology, Professor of Archaeology and Religion, Director of Graduate Studies & Admissions

Maria H. Sousa

Administrator of the Archaeology Program & Journal of Field Archaeology