Graduate Admissions for Archaeology
Archaeology at Boston University has offered an MA degree since 1982. Faculty and graduate students work across the world offering specialized study in a diversity of topical and technical areas, our department offers an environment for constant discussion and debate of practical, methodological, and theoretical matters in archaeology.
We hope the Quick Links and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below will provide you with the information you seek. If you still have unanswered questions, we encourage you to contact the Director of Graduate Studies with specific questions regarding the application process. In addition, we encourage all prospective graduate students to make direct contact by e-mail, postal mail, or telephone with those professors with whom they share interests and with whom they would most likely work upon entering our programs. Visits are also encouraged.
Apply For the MA
Apply for the MA
Apply For the BA/MA
Apply for the BA/MA
The Admissions Process
The departmental Graduate Studies Committee reads and makes recommendations to the Graduate School on all applications. The process begins in January and continues until all applications received by deadline have been considered. Applications are not considered until they are complete: that is, they include all required letters of recommendation and relevant transcripts. If any credentials are missing, the department will send a notice that an application is incomplete; it is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure all materials are submitted. Admission decisions are emailed to applicants as soon as possible after a decision has been reached.
The program accepts MA applications for September admission only with an application deadline of January 5th.
- Three recommendations
- Official GRE General Test score report
- Personal statement/statement of purpose
- Scholarly writing sample
- Do not send any admissions materials to the Archaeology Program. All materials must be submitted through the Graduate School’s web portal.
- A $95 application fee must be paid in order for your application to be considered complete. This fee is non-refundable. Information on fee waivers for MA applicants is available on the Graduate School website.
How to Request an Application Fee Waiver
Please follow the instructions on the Graduate School’s website listed here.
1) Whom should I contact if I am interested in applying to BU’s MA graduate programs in Archaeology?
After reading this website and following its links, we encourage you to contact the Director of Graduate Studies with specific questions regarding the application process. In addition, we encourage all prospective graduate students to make direct contact by e-mail or telephone with those professors with whom they share interests and with whom they would most likely work closely upon entering our programs. Please note that BU Archaeology no longer admits students for doctoral study – instead see the PhD program in Anthropological Archaeology.
2) How do I apply and what are the application deadlines?
Use the online application system (see above under Admissions Information). Applications with all the support materials listed in #3 below must be submitted by JANUARY 5. Applications to BU Archaeology are accepted for fall semester admissions only. Please note that BU Archaeology no longer admits students for doctoral study.
3) What do I need to include with my application?
In addition to the personal statement that is part of the application itself, GRE exam scores, transcripts, three (3) letters of recommendation (not two, as required by other programs at BU), and a brief writing sample.
4) Does Archaeology require anything in addition to the general Graduate School of Arts and Sciences?
See answer to FAQ #3.
5) Does Archaeology have a special application that is separate from the general one for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences?
No. Applicants need only submit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application (including all materials required by the Archaeology program). Applications are then forwarded from the Graduate School to the department.
6) What are the average GPAs and GRE scores of past successful applicants?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with average GPAs or GRE scores for students admitted to our program. Generally, however, GPAs and GRE scores are very competitive.
7) Do I need to visit if I am applying?
We do not require prospective students to visit, but we encourage them do so in order for them to learn most fully about our faculty, facilities, and program. If you would like to schedule a visit, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies *and* other faculty with whom you would like to meet to make appointments. During your visit we will gladly arrange meetings and a tour with a current student to further your understanding of our program.
8) How do I specify on my application to which program I am applying?
If you are applying for an MA in Archaeology, check the box on the first page of the application for MA (do not select PhD, as that program is no longer accepting students), and write in your specific interest (if you have one) in the space for “Specialization” to the right of the space for “Department”. Possible entries for the “Specialization” line include “Classical Archaeology,” “Historical Archaeology,” “Mesoamerican Archaeology,” “Environmental Archaeology,” etc.
9) What sources of financial aid are available to Archaeology graduate students?
Please see the Financial Aid section of the Admissions page of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Only in exceptional circumstances can we offer funding to MA applicants via the special funds available through the Graduate School. Applications for merit-based funding in the form of fellowships must be submitted by January 1.
10) Do I need to know any modern languages besides English?
Reading proficiency in one modern foreign language, as approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, is required for our MA degree in Archaeology. Work towards the fulfillment of this requirement should be demonstrated at the time of application.
11) Do I need to know any ancient languages?
Students studying a historical period (such as Classical Archaeology) must demonstrate, by written examination, knowledge of at least one appropriate ancient language (e.g., Greek and/or Latin for Classical archaeologists). The level of language proficiency required is that normally attained by one graduate-level reading course. Work towards the fulfillment of this requirement should be demonstrated at the time of application.
12) Where can I learn more about the admissions process?
Please see the main Admissions website of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
- Admissions Information
- Visiting Archaeology Program
- Visiting Boston University
- Financial Aid Information
- Request additional information
Graduate Program Administrators
Catherine F. West
Research Associate Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology, Director of Graduate Studies & Admissionscfwest@bu.edu
Maria H. Sousa
Administrator of the Archaeology Program & Journal of Field Archaeologymhsousa@bu.edu