Bachelor's Degree in Archaeology

Students in archaeology bachelor's degree programs explore the past by investigating the material remains left behind by individuals and communities. Learn about the classes in an archaeology undergraduate program, and find out the differences between archaeology and anthropology programs. Schools offering Social Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Differences Between Archaeology and Anthropology Degrees?

You may earn a bachelor's degree in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. In an anthropology program, you might be required to study the other three sub-fields - including biological anthropology, linguistics and cultural anthropology - in addition to archaeology, as set forth by the American Anthropological Association (

While a few programs do exist, archaeology is rarely taught as a separate discipline from anthropology or art history in the United States. Stand-alone archaeology programs are usually interdisciplinary and allow you to study related fields, including geology and earth science.

Program Specifics Archaeology concentrations are usually offered within anthropology programs
Common Courses Forensic anthropology, urban civilizations, classical art, underwater archaeology, digital map creation
Possible Job Duties Conservation/protection of national park resources, analysis of development projects at archaeological sites
Median Salary (2018)* $62,410 (for anthropologists and archeologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 4% (for anthropologists and archeologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

Some Web classes cover topics such as the history of archaeology, the transition from pre-agricultural societies to urban civilizations and forensic anthropology. Campus-based programs may consist of more hands-on training. For instance, you might learn how to make stone tools in a prehistoric technology lab class. Some other popular on-campus courses include:

  • Survey methods for archaeological sites
  • Digital map creation
  • Cultural heritage management and law
  • Analysis of animal remains
  • Classical art and architecture
  • Mayan sculpture
  • Underwater archaeology field methods
  • Cuneiform and hieroglyphic decipherment

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Archaeology?

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) maintains that the minimum requirement for an entry-level job is a bachelor's degree in archaeology or anthropology with field and lab experience ( If you're interested in becoming an archaeological project manager or lab director, you'll need to earn a graduate degree and gain supervisory experience in the lab and field, according to the SAA.

As a professional archaeologist, you may work for a government agency protecting and conserving cultural resources at a national park. Alternatively, you might find employment with a contract firm assessing the potential impact of development projects on archaeological sites.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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