Topic ID #23161 - posted 9/14/2012 9:35 AM

Questioning my future.


I have wanted to be an archaeologist since I was in 8th grade. I am about to graduate with my BA in anthropology and history. I have been involoved in numerous field schools and have volunteered at several archaeological digs as well. It is what I want to do with my life. I am going to get my masters in anthropology after I graduate from my BA program.

I want to work as an archaeologist, but I do not want to be a professor. I would prefer not to get my Ph.D. but I will. My question is what can I do with a masters degree in Anthropology and a BA in history? That is archaeology intensive and does not involove teaching students?

My second question is how do I go about obtaining this?


Post ID#19771 - replied 9/14/2012 9:44 AM


from what I understand, DO NOT GET A PHD! Well ok, you can if you want ;-)  In terms of cost/benefit, the MA is the way to go I Believe because you will(should) finish it in 2 years, therefore paying less tuition.  The majority of "upper-level" positions will be open to you as most tend to be in the private sector, you will just need to rack up on the experience.  You will get pigeon-holed if you go for a phd and there is an immense amount of competition and very few positions availabe, not that there isn't within CRM either. 

If you don't want to be a professor then why go to school for 10 years? If possible, try to look for a program that has an actual Cultural Resource Management degree or something similar, you would hopefully open up more doors that way.  Maybe check out Colorado State?

Post ID#19772 - replied 9/15/2012 12:13 AM


Just take a look at the jobs posted on this website. You will get a feel for the types of jobs available, academic and experience requirements, geographic regions with the most employment, salary, etc. Use this information to decide which graduate program to attend (e.g., CRM, 4-field, Colorado, Texas), thesis topic (e.g., lithic analysis, human behavioral ecology), and what opportunities to take advantage of when attending a graduate program (e.g., GIS certification, museum internship). If you want a PhD go get one, but in the end what really counts is experience. So put yourself out there and if you can't get paid to do archaeology it never hurts to volunteer. Best of luck!

Post ID#19777 - replied 9/19/2012 12:19 PM


With an MA or MS, the goal is typically to wind up on either a supervisory, analyst, or regulatory track with either a private firm or regulatory agency.

With such a broad question, I think your first step is to think about what period/region/artifact you're interested in and then start researching programs and faculty advisers.  Some programs have more of a CRM focus, as well as Terminal Masters programs, and others are definitely geared more towards doctoral students.  At the same time, study for the GRE, research how to write a personal statement, and put together a CV.

Post ID#19779 - replied 9/22/2012 1:39 PM


>>> I want to work as an archaeologist, but I do not want to be a professor.

You don't need a doctorate to work as an archaeologist.  The very, very basic break down in American archaeology is thus: 

  • BA = Field Tech.
  • MA = Crew chief/supervisor.
  • Ph.D. = Director
It's obviously not that clear cut.  Experience often triumphs academic achievements, though it varies depending on which part of the world you find yourself.

What can you do with a Masters degree in the archaeological profession?  The answer is quite simply... a lot.  For the most part, though, it has to be coupled with experience.

>>> My second question is how do I go about obtaining this?

That has been addressed by others.  Do not "find yourself" in a Masters degree as one might in a Bachelors.  Know what you want from it from the get-go.


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