The minor in Archaeological & Environmental Sciences engages students in the study of scientific approaches that illuminate human interaction with environments in the past. By integrating perspectives and methods from both the natural and social sciences, students gain a well-rounded understanding of the deep history of human modifications of the environment and a deep-time perspective on sustainability. The degree allows students to accumulate considerable scientific expertise in an area, or multiple areas, of their choice, building upon a broad background in basic chemistry, biology, and data analysis methods. A capstone seminar and research opportunities with faculty from both the Archaeology Program and Department of Earth & Environment allow students minoring in Archaeological & Environmental Sciences to apply their knowledge to real-world problems of the present day, preparing them for graduate study (for example, in environmental archaeology, archaeological sciences, environmental or sustainability studies, or paleoenvironmental sciences) or professional employment (in environmental or archaeological consulting, laboratory work, nonprofit organizations, or with local, state, and federal agencies).

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a minor in Archaeological & Environmental Sciences are able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental concepts and specific topics in biological, environmental, earth, and climate sciences that inform the study of past environments on Earth and human interactions with them.
  • Understand the application, and limits, of problem-solving tools from the earth and environmental sciences to represent, organize, and assess information.
  • Appropriately and ethically apply methods of archaeological analysis to material remains common to archaeological datasets.
  • Identify and quantitatively analyze data in order to critically evaluate scientific arguments related to the study of human interactions with environmental systems.
  • Communicate these understandings clearly and persuasively, orally, in writing, and through digital means of data presentation and storytelling.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students minoring in Archaeological & Environmental Sciences will ordinarily, through coursework in the minor, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Historical Consciousness; Scientific Inquiry I & II; Social Inquiry I & II; Quantitative Reasoning I; and Research and Information Literacy, among others, depending on elective choices. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the minor or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

The minor in Archaeological & Environmental Sciences requires a total of six courses (24 credits), all completed with a grade of C or higher. Those courses include three required core courses, at least two required methods courses, and one additional elective.

Required Core Courses (3)

  • CAS AR 190 Introduction to Archaeology
  • CAS AR 307 Archaeological Science
  • CAS EE 107 Introduction to Climate and Earth System Science

Required Methods Courses (at least 2, of which at least 1 must be coded AR and 1 coded EE)

  • CAS AR 506 Regional Archaeology and Geographical Information Systems
  • CAS AR 507 Low Impact Field Methods in Archaeology
  • CAS AR 516 Paleoethnobotany
  • CAS AR 518 Zooarchaeology
  • CAS AR 520/EE 520/AN 519 Theory and Method in Environmental Archaeology
  • CAS EE 270 Data, Models, and Analysis in Earth & Environment
  • CAS EE 302 Remote Sensing of Environment
  • CAS EE 317 Introduction to Hydrology
  • CAS EE 351 Paleoclimatology and Paleoceanography
  • CAS EE 371 Introduction to Geochemistry
  • CAS EE 375 Introduction to Quantitative Environmental Modeling
  • CAS EE 509 Applied Environmental Statistics
  • CAS EE/MR 544 Coastal Sedimentology

Required Electives (1)

One additional course (chosen in consultation with faculty advisors) at the 200 level or above from any courses in AR or EE, or one of the approved cognate courses from the list below:

  • CAS AN 331 Human Origins
  • CAS AN 335 The Ape Within: Great Apes and the Evolution of Human Behavior
  • CAS AR 507 Low Impact Field Methods in Archaeology
  • CAS AN 552 Primate Evolution and Anatomy
  • CAS AN 556 The Evolution of the Human Diet
  • CAS BI 260 Marine Biology
  • CAS BI 303 Evolutionary Ecology
  • CAS BI 306 Biology of Global Change