Archaeology Degree

Archaeology Courses in the USA

Introduction to studying an archaeology course in the USA

Archaeology is the scientific study of human history and prehistory through the excavation and analysis of artifacts, structures, and other physical remains. On an archaeology degree, students learn to interpret data, connect different pieces of evidence, and draw conclusions based on limited information. The archaeology domain can be incredibly rewarding for students, allowing them to explore the past, understand the present, and potentially shape the future.

Courses cover archaeological methods, cultural heritage management, artifact analysis, and fieldwork techniques. Students may engage in hands-on excavations and laboratory work, gaining practical skills essential for archaeological research, and the program's multidisciplinary nature often involves collaboration with other disciplines, such as anthropology, history, and geology, providing a holistic understanding of the human past.

The United States has numerous archaeological sites, from pre-Columbian Native American settlements to colonial-era structures. Studying in this environment allows students to interact directly with historical artifacts and gain practical experience in excavation projects. Upon graduation, many students find opportunities in cultural resource management, working with government agencies or private companies to assess and preserve archaeological sites during development projects.

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Types of Degrees

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Archaeology

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Archaeology offers international students a basic introduction to the fundamental principles and methodologies of archaeological study. This undergraduate program encompasses coursework in anthropology, archaeology, and related disciplines, providing a broad understanding of human cultures across different periods. International students pursuing this degree can delve into the intricacies of excavation techniques, artifact analysis, and cultural interpretation.

Moreover, international students may opt for specialization courses within their Bachelor's program. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Archaeological Science is ideal for those interested in a more scientific approach. This degree applies scientific methodologies to archaeological research, including geophysics and material analysis. 

Alternatively, international students may consider a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Anthropology with a Concentration in Archaeology. This option allows for a broader exploration of anthropology while honing in on archaeological studies. 

Master of Arts (MA) in Archaeology

The Master of Arts (MA) in Archaeology is an advanced degree that delves into specialized coursework and research, providing international students with a comprehensive understanding of archaeological principles and methodologies. International students pursuing a master's degree in archaeology after completing their bachelor's can benefit from the program's focus on in-depth research and specialized knowledge. 

Additionally, they can tailor their studies by choosing specific specialization courses, such as the Master of Science (MS) in Archaeological Science, which emphasizes scientific methods in archaeological research. Alternatively, they may opt for a Master of Arts or Science in Anthropology with a Concentration in Archaeology, offering a broader anthropological perspective while maintaining a focus on archaeological studies. These specialized master's programs enhance international students' expertise and open doors to diverse career opportunities within archaeology.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Archaeology

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Archaeology is an advanced academic degree representing a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of archaeological research. The program is designed for individuals aspiring to attain advanced research positions, pursue academic careers, or take on leadership roles within archaeology. The PhD journey involves immersive and extensive research endeavors, culminating in completing a dissertation—a substantial contribution to the field's knowledge base.


Many scholarships are available for international students pursuing an archaeology degree in the USA, including:

Scholarship Offered by Awarded value
Global Excellence Scholarships University of Minnesota   University of Minnesota up to $25,000 per year
International Flagship Scholarship at the University of Maine  University of Maine $10,000 per year
University of Tulsa International Student Scholarships University of Tulsa $4,000 to $15,000
International Distinction in Education Award at the University of Iowa University of Iowa Up to $10,000 per year

Jobs and Careers

Archaeology degree graduates in the USA have various career options, reflecting the versatility of their research, analysis, and cultural heritage management skills. One common career path is cultural resource management (CRM), where archaeologists work to assess and preserve archaeological sites before development projects, or museum curation and education, where they will contribute to museum curation, exhibition, and interpretation of museum artefacts.

For those inclined towards academic pursuits, pursuing advanced degrees can lead to careers in academia and research institutions. Archaeology professors and researchers contribute to the expanding body of knowledge in the field, conducting excavations, publishing research, and mentoring the next generation of archaeologists.


For individuals with a bachelor's degree in archaeology, entry-level positions typically offer salaries ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 per year. Many graduates begin their careers as field archaeologists, laboratory technicians, or cultural resource management specialists. Those with a master's or PhD in archaeology often have access to more specialized and higher-paying positions within academia, research institutions, or governmental agencies.

Advanced degrees can lead to roles such as principal investigator, postdoctoral researcher, or professor, with salaries ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on experience and the level of responsibility.

Top Universities for Archaeology in the USA

To learn more about the best archaeology courses in the USA, find details on the top-ranking archaeology universities in the US News & World Report 2023 below:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Yale University
  3. Brown University
  4. Johns Hopkins University
  5. Columbia University
  6. Cornell University
  7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  8. Washington University in St. Louis
  9. University of California, San Diego
  10. University of Southern California

Study an Archaeology Course in the USA

If you want to begin a career in archaeology and study in the USA, book a free consultation with SI-USA today.

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What types of archaeology courses are offered in the USA?

Archaeology courses in the USA include introductory classes, regional archaeology, archaeological methods, cultural resource management, and specialised topics like underwater or forensic archaeology.

How long do archaeology courses typically last?

Archaeology courses typically last for one semester, but degree programs range from 2 to 4 years for an undergraduate degree and 2 to 6 years for a graduate degree.

Can I specialise in a specific area of archaeology?

Specialisation options, such as historical archaeology, bioarchaeology, classical archaeology, or archaeological conservation, allow you to focus on specific areas of interest.

Are there opportunities for fieldwork and practical experience?

Many programs offer fieldwork opportunities, providing hands-on experience in excavation, surveying, and analysis. Field schools and internships are standard, allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings.

What career opportunities are available with an archaeology degree?

Archaeology degree holders can pursue careers as archaeologists, cultural resource managers, museum curators, educators, or researchers. Private firms, government agencies, museums, and academia offer diverse career paths for archaeology graduates.

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