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Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Archaeology

Degree programs in Ancient Mediterranean studies and archaeology explore the past civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, Rome and Greece. Read on to learn more about career choices, potential earnings, degree options and course topics for students of the Ancient Mediterranean.

Are Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Archaeology for Me?

Overview of the Field

Ancient Mediterranean studies and archaeology degree programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and may be based on a variety of themes, such as languages, art, literature, history or architecture. Programs might also concentrate on a particular region, anywhere from the Near East to the Mediterranean Basin.

Career Options and Skills

With a degree in ancient Mediterranean studies and archaeology, you may find a job as a museum conservator or technician, archivist or curator. You might also pursue a career as an anthropologist or archaeologist or become a historian or tour guide. Additional education and licensure may qualify you for a teaching position at the high school or university level. To excel in these careers, you should be able to communicate effectively, interpret historical data and interact well with other people.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of museum technicians, archivists and curators was expected to increase by an average rate of 11% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Keen competition for jobs is expected; those with training in electronic records management may have an advantage in the job market.

During the same 10-year period, anthropologists and archaeologists, as well as postsecondary teachers, can look forward to a 19%, or faster-than-average, growth in jobs nationwide. Between 2012 and 2022, employment of tour guides is expected to increase by an average rate of 8%; opportunities for historians are projected to grow by just 6%, or slower than average, during the same period (www.bls.gov).

Salary Information

As reported by the BLS in May 2013, the median annual salary for a museum technician was $40,020; archivists earned a median of $40,020, while curators made median salaries of $50,550. In the same month, anthropologists and archaeologists had median annual incomes of $58,360, while tour guides averaged $23,770.

As of May 2013, the median annual salary for a high school teacher was $55,360. Postsecondary archaeology and history professors teachers earned a median of $75,930 and $66,790, respectively (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Work in Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Archaeology?

Undergraduate Programs

Earning a bachelor's degree in archaeology, ancient Mediterranean studies or a related field, such as history or anthropology, is the first step to obtaining a job in education, museum work or travel services. Depending on the program, you may study foreign languages, Biblical studies, Judaism and philosophy. Coursework in Greek and Roman mythology and archaeology, Minoan art, literature and epigraphy (deciphering ancient inscriptions) might also be included.

With a bachelor's degree, you might find work as a tour guide or museum technician. Completion of a teacher preparation program might qualify you for a position as a high school history teacher.

Graduate Programs

Graduate degree programs in ancient Mediterranean studies and archaeology may require reading proficiency in at least one ancient language, such as Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek or Latin; advanced language studies would continue in graduate school. You might also pursue advanced coursework in culture, anthropology, history and archaeological theories; museum studies are another possibility.

With a master's degree, you could pursue a career as a museum archivist or curator, or become a community college professor. If you'd like to teach subjects like anthropology, archaeology or history at the university level, you'll need a doctoral degree.