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List of Top Colleges for Becoming an Archaeologist

by Cassandra Ifie

Archaeology is a subfield of anthropology. Students studying archaeology focus on connecting with past civilizations and prehistoric people by examining, recovering and preserving historically significant artifacts and physical remains. The Society for American Archaeology's most recent review of leading archaeology programs includes approximately 12 schools. According to the SAA, characteristics of exemplary archaeology degree programs include valuable research opportunities for students, an exceptional academic curriculum, and outstanding faculty qualified to teach diverse topics related to the discipline.

Harvard University

Located within the Department of Anthropology, the archaeology department at Harvard University specializes in several areas including art, religion, archaeology of ethnicities and languages, and archaeology of human evolution. The doctoral degree in archaeology at Harvard is designed to prepare students to teach and conduct research at the academic level. Harvard ranks second among the best national universities in the latest edition of "U.S. News & World Report." Additionally, in the most recent version of the National Research Council's rankings, Harvard's anthropology department reigns as the most prominent in the nation. Archaeology students significantly benefit from having access to enriching resources such as the Peabody Museum, one of the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world.

University of Michigan

In its latest survey report, the Society of American Archaeology recognizes the University of Michigan as the top archaeology degree program in the U.S. The university's undergraduate degree program exposes scholars to the four-field approach of studying anthropology, which includes exploring anthropological archaeology. The doctoral program concentrates on classical art and archaeology. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, located on the Ann Arbor, Michigan, campus, serves as a resource for students to gain fieldwork and research experiences.

University of Arizona

Through the School of Anthropology, the University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Science in archaeological science, a Master of Arts in applied archaeology and a Ph.D. focusing on archaeology. The National Research Council ranks the anthropology program at the University of Arizona as one of the best in the nation. At the time of publication, the university secures the second-place spot on the Society for American Archaeology's top programs list.

University of California-Berkeley

Students can earn a Ph.D. in anthropology with a specialization in archaeology at the University of California-Berkeley. The doctoral program is research-intensive, and students are encouraged to participate in pilot projects and grant-writing experiences related to the discipline. The anthropology department at the University of California-Berkeley is considered one of the premier research institutions in the country by the National Research Council. The university has a well-established reputation, earning the third-place position on the Society for American Archaeology's list.

About the Author

Cassandra Ifie is a librarian living in Richmond, Va. She has also been a writer since 2008. Ifie received her Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman's University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Rust College.

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