Academic Program

Career Information

Archaeology Student

An undergraduate degree in Archaeology qualifies you for any career that requires good research, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills. As a well-rounded student of the liberal arts, you are well qualified for professions in public relations, retail, research, and management.

Within the field of archaeology, you can join an archaeological research project and complete a variety of tasks from digging to cataloguing and illustrating. Many students will already have experience with such tasks from their undergraduate field school. It is important to note, however, that most archaeological projects that are affiliated with universities are seasonal (i.e. six weeks in the summer), and it would be unusual to find full-time employment with such a project. Another option is to work full-time for a Cultural Resource Management firm, such as New South Associates. Firms such as these engage in archaeological field work year-round for companies who wish to develop or use land that is protected under federal historic preservation laws.

If you are interested in moving up the ranks in archaeology to work as a supervisor or director, you will need to obtain an advanced degree (M.A. or Ph.D.) in archaeology. Most field directors have doctoral degrees and are employed by universities, colleges, or museums. Depending on the type of archaeology and the time period in which you are interested, graduate programs are housed in various departments: Anthropology, Classical Studies, Geography, etc. A few universities have interdepartmental graduate programs in archaeology. Before you consider applying for a graduate program, you should make an appointment with your adviser to have a serious discussion about the qualifications that are necessary to obtain admission and enjoy success in graduate school.

Another option for students who are interested in artifact studies and curation is to find work in a museum. Summer internships are often available at major museums and can be a good way to gauge interest in such a career. Additional coursework or advanced degrees in Art History or Museum Studies may be necessary to find full-time employment in a museum. FYI: UNCG has a graduate program in Museum Studies.

For an extensive (and enormously helpful) explanation of what you can do with a degree in archaeology, see David Carlson’s website at Texas A&M University. The Society for American Archaeology also has helpful information for students interested in careers in archaeology.