Degree in Archaeology: Career Overview

Archaeology is the study of human cultures of the past by researching historical sites and artefacts, like tools, skeletal remains, and architectural ruins. To begin a career in the field of archaeology, the basic requirement is a bachelor’s degree of four years. However, most archaeologists need an advanced degree and an extensive amount of field experience. You require a high school diploma or equivalent for the undergraduate program. Sometimes some prerequisite coursework like a foreign language, history or geography may be necessary.

The two year’s Master’s program and the PhD program that varies in its duration, both concentrate on topics like small or complex societies, heritage, a specific geographic region or period. Both these programs are research-oriented.  Graduation requirements usually include a final project, thesis, exam, and dissertation.

Admission Requirements

For admission to a Master’s degree program, you must have a bachelor’s degree, writing a sample, recommendation letters and standardised test scores. The PhD program has similar requirements with a Master’s degree in a related subject and might need the student to be proficient in more than one foreign language.

Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeology

Bachelor’s degree programs in Archaeology develop students’ capabilities in processing, analysis, computing, methods, and theory in the field of archaeology. The coursework integrates history, culture, and art as well. In the United States, many schools offer archaeology as a specialisation within the subject of anthropology.  Some possible courses in the Bachelor’s degree program are:

  • History of anthropological theory
  • World cultures
  • Historical geology
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Earth materials
  • Human evolution

Master’s Degree in Archaeology

Students pursuing a Master’s degree in Archaeology are allowed to specialise in a specific geographic region or period. When applying, students are recommended to choose a program that aligns with their interests and professional goals. A master’s degree program focuses on teaching archaeological theory, removal methods, practical field experience, analysis, and lab techniques. Some possible courses are:

  • Managing cultural resources
  • Archaeological laws and ethics
  • Ethnographic research
  • Human Osteology
  • Historic preservation
  • Geographic Information Systems

Possible Career Options

There are many career options open for an undergraduate degree in Archaeology. Opportunities can be found in research organisations, governments and museums. Careers could include:

  • Research archaeologist
  • Archaeological lab technician
  • Park ranger
  • Collections manager
  • Cultural resources specialist

If you possess a Master’s degree in Archaeology, the chances are that you can enter education or cultural resources management areas. Careers could include:

  • Egyptologist
  • Contract archaeologist
  • Archaeology instructor
  • Archaeological field director

A Look at Jobs and Salary

It is predicted that jobs for anthropologists and archaeologists will increase by 4% between the years 2014 and 2024. In 2015, the annual median salary of archaeologists and anthropologists according to the U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics was $61,220.

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