Graduate Program in Archaeology

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Students are expected to complete their MA Degree by the end of the second year or fourth semester, defend their proposals and “Advance to Candidacy” by the end of the third year or sixth semester in the program. Students must form a dissertation committee made up of a minimum of three qualified department faculty members by the end of the third year. The PhD must be completed in five to six years.

In addition to the general degree requirements outlined in the Departmental MA. and Ph.D. document, students specializing in archaeology have other requirements to satisfy, as described below.  The archaeology faculty reserves the right to allow exceptions to any of the below rules in special cases.

MA Degree Requirements

First Year Meetings: All students are required to meet with the archaeology faculty during the first year to discuss potential MA projects, in order that the faculty might determine any additional training relevant to the student’s program, as well as assisting the student in defining an appropriate research topic.

Required Thesis or Research Paper:  At the MA level, the student must prepare, and successfully defend, either an MA thesis or an MA research paper by the end of the fourth semester of academic residence.  A defensible draft should be completed by the first Monday after Spring Break.

The MA thesis or MA research paper demonstrates the candidate’s abilities to identify a problem and select an appropriate research strategy, as well as presenting the results in a professional manner. A final file copy of the MA paper or thesis must be submitted by the deadlines and in the format specified by the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences, and the department, before the archaeology staff can recommend granting the degree.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Advancement to Candidacy
Items 1 through 8 must be completed before the student’s committee, and hence the department can recommend ‘Advancement to Candidacy’ to the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences. 

Required Courses: Completion of the following required courses in archaeology.

  •  L48-Anth 5053  Theoretical Approaches in Archaeology

Diverse Training: Completion of courses with at least four different departmental archaeological faculty members, covering a range of theoretical skills and laboratory specializations.

Field Training:  Students are required to demonstrate requisite field experience.

Research Language:  On a case-by-case evaluation, the student’s dissertation committee will review and identify possible research language skills to be acquired.

Other Educational Requirements:  The student’s committee may establish skill attainment in other areas, such as statistics or regional expertise, to be satisfied for the degree.

Dissertation Proposal: The student must successfully defend a dissertation proposal.  It is expected that this will be accomplished by the end of the sixth semester in residence.  The dissertation proposal ordinarily will be in the form of an appropriate research/dissertation improvement grant proposal prepared for submission to NSF, NEH, Wenner-Gren, or other external funding agency.

Professional Development:  In-residence semesters seven and eight should be devoted to implementing the dissertation research plan, and to professional development, such as working on publications.

Fieldwork write-up outline:  Within 60 days after the final field season, a detailed outline of the dissertation must be provided to the student’s principal advisor(s).

Post Fieldwork Meetings: Students must meet with their dissertation committee every year. Scheduling annual meetings with the candidate’s committee is the responsibility of the candidate.

Academic Probation Dismissal

Students who are not making satisfactory progress may be recommended for dismissal after a probationary period or be recommended for immediate dismissal in cases of extreme underperformance. Not being able to form a dissertation committee is also grounds for termination from the program.

Thesis, Research Paper, Dissertation Proposal and Dissertation Defense Procedures

Bringing a document to official defense

The Archaeology faculty requires a complete hard-copy document for any and all defenses.  

For MAtheses and Ph.D. dissertations.  A “complete draft” includes the following:

  • Cover sheet
  •  Table of contents
  •  List of illustrations, figures, and maps
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Complete body of text, including introduction and conclusions
  • All figures, maps, charts, tables, and other illustrations
  • References cited
  • All appendices

For MA  research papers:  A complete draft includes a cover sheet, complete body of text, all figures and other illustrations, references cited, and appendices.

For Ph.D. research proposals:  The proposal document ordinarily should be in the form of an NSF dissertation improvement proposal, ready to submit on NSF FastLane.  Proposals formatted for submission to other funding agencies are acceptable but need to be cleared in advance with the committee.

Deadlines and Time Frames for Submission of Hard-Copy Defense Draft

Ph.D. dissertations: one month in advance during the academic term.

A doctoral dissertation must demonstrate the candidate’s ability to make a scholarly contribution in the discipline and to handle theoretical issues. It must conform to the directives of the Departmental and The Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences regulations.

Because dissertation defense guidelines require an external reviewer, the dissertation committee is required to review the completed document and to certify to the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences that it is ‘ready to come to defense’, before it is distributed to an external reviewer.  Internal departmental committee members must have two weeks to read and review the dissertation draft to reach the decision of whether to certify this document as being ‘ready to come to defense’. 

After internal certification by departmental faculty that the document is ‘ready to come to defense’, the student then, with the guidance of the departmental graduate coordinator if so desired, submits the requisite forms and materials to the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences, requesting a defense date, as well as providing draft copies to the external reviewers.  Currently, the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences timelines require 15 days between receiving such a petition, and setting up a proposed defense date.  The minimum total elapsed time to secure a defense date is one month – two weeks as required for internal departmental review, plus 15 more days as required by the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences.

MA theses, MA papers, and Ph.D.  proposals: two weeks in advance. 

For all defenses which do not involve external reviewers, the internal committee will require two weeks between receiving the complete document, and the defense date.

No Defenses during Summer or Intersession Breaks.

All MA and Ph.D. level defenses must be scheduled during the regular Fall and Spring Semesters only. 

Guidelines for Oral Defenses

At the beginning of an oral defense of a research proposal, an MA thesis or paper, or a Ph.D. dissertation, the student should provide a short oral synopsis of the research, the length of which will vary with the document coming to defense.  Such a synopsis should include:

  • a short resume of the problem, including a description of how and why the student selected the problem
  • a discussion of data collection methods
  • a summary of the analytical techniques employed
  •  a short recap of the results of the research
  •  a case for the significance of the research

For a research proposal defense, all the above except results should be addressed.