Topic ID #25265 - posted 12/4/2012 8:56 AM



I'm a junior in high school, and I'm really interested in archaeology as a career- I know I'm kind of young to have an account, but I can't find someone just anywhere that can answer these questions. :)
For one, I know that people typically major in anthropology or something related... and unfortunetly the college I have been looking at is pretty small and doesn't have a major or minor in anthropology.  :(  The closest related major they have is sociology, and that is only with one cultural anthropology class.  Would I be able to get into an archaeological master programs with a sociology major if I was able to go to a field school or do I need to have a anthropology degree for sure?
Thanks  :)

Post ID#19893 - replied 12/4/2012 1:07 PM


I don't think it's every too early to start thinking about this kind of stuff, as long as you don't pigeon hole yourself -- These kind of long term plans have a way of changing.

I went to grad school with several people who had majors other than Anthropology.  There was usually some common element that intertwined with archaeology (forensics, biology, history, GIS, planning, IT, etc.).  Archaeology can be incredibly interdisciplinary to begin with, resulting in many "related" fields.  I think the key is to take relevant coursework in related fields, which will probably involve various independent studies.

It's been my experience that the #1 key of getting into grad school is to have a skill or background niche that your potential adviser can exploit in his or her own research.

Post ID#19894 - replied 12/4/2012 6:36 PM


KB hit the nail on the head, I think! As long as you're studying a related field, you'll be okay, since archaeology is pretty multifaceted in its own right. I just finished my undergrad degree this past spring, and I'm (hopefully!) starting grad school next fall after I get some solid work behind me, so I have a couple of recommendations off the top of my head, based on what I've experienced so far...
If you're really dead set on the one school, look at the last 4 semesters' course catalogs- you should be able to find them online, and they can give you a really good idea of what to expect in terms of course offerings. Sometimes they'll have archaeology-related classes, even if it's not a major or minor: e.g., I was able to take a GIS class listed under Enviro. Sci. at my school. If you end up studying abroad, like I did, you can always look for places that have archaeology classes, too.
Also, you can always fill in the gaps of undergrad stuff with field school and work experience- in fact, you should! The SCA ( and NCPE always have really good summer opportunities for students posted every year, and if you've done an accredited field school, you can try to pick up short-term project work with CRM firms near your home or school whenever you can.
Between classes, work, and some reading in your free time, you'll probably start to get a pretty clear idea of what it is in particular you want to be researching, whose work interests you, where you want to be, etc., and you'll have enough experience that a lack of an Archaeology major won't be a big issue.

Good luck!

Post ID#19895 - replied 12/5/2012 10:01 AM


Welcome Annie,

It's great that you already have long-range plans: to answer your question I would suggest the best way to determine whether or not a soc. degree would be acceptable for entrance to an M.A. program is to query the M.A. school in question and see if that is an acceptable major. In some cases you may be required to take a number of undergraduate anthro classes in addition to the normal M.A. seminars.

There are two increasingly used aspects of anthropology in the Cultural Resources Management (CRM) field among Federal agencies: these are social justice analysis, often completed under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, and ethnography, or rather neo-ethnography, conducted as part of the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) process, whereby tribal members are "interviewed" for the identification of certain historic properties (traditional use areas, landscapes, religiously significant locations, etc, among other lines of inquiry) prior to project approval. Both, I would propose, could well support a background in sociology if given an anthropological flavoring.

Hope this helps. Cheers,

Post ID#19896 - replied 12/8/2012 11:03 AM


Its nice to see Annie so focused as Hi school junior.  The only advice I would add is to try to gain some eexperience  while in hi school or as an under grad such as joining the local archeological society and going to their annual meetings or volunteering on some field projects localy or with the FS Passport in Time.  She wil gain some experience and meet a variety of people who can share experiences or give advice.


Post ID#19912 - replied 1/7/2013 8:38 AM


Thanks everyone for your advice!


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