The archaeology program offers the student a broad background in the method and theory of anthropological archaeology. Students in the program should specialize in the areas of research in which the faculty has interest and expertise. Faculty interests include cultural ecology, bioarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, archaeozoology, the history of archaeology, emergent social complexity, early empires, hunter-gatherer prehistory and coastal adaptations. Area specialties available to the student are North America, Andean South America, Mesoamerica, Western Europe, and the Middle East.
Students in archaeology are admitted to the M.A./Ph.D or the M.A.-only program. Students interested in any of the traditional academic archaeological areas of research offered by the department should apply to the M.A./Ph.D program. Most students are enrolled in this program. The M.A.-only program is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in cultural resource management, and it is restricted to an area specialization in North American archaeology. A student admitted to the M.A.-only program can transfer to the M.A./Ph.D program only by formally petitioning both the department and the Graduate Division. Such a petition does not guarantee admission.
The archaeology program involves a set of requirements that includes courses, a comprehensive exam, a research paper, dissertation proposal, an oral qualifying exam, and the dissertation. The details of the requirements are worked out between an advisor and the student in order to formulate a plan of study that is tailored to the student's specific research goals.
Courses are normally taken for two years with a student taking three courses per academic quarter (or two courses, if the person is serving as a Teaching Assistant). A total of four core courses is required for the M.A. degree; remaining courses are specified in the individual contracts. In the spring quarter of the second year of study, the student takes a qualifying examination that focuses on general prehistory and method and theory in archaeology. A satisfactory performance in the above requirements is necessary to attain the M.A. degree.
A research paper is due in fall quarter of the third year. Upon completion of all of the requirements for the M.A. degree, the research paper, and one additional core course, the student writes the dissertation proposal. Once this proposal has been approved by the Ph.D committee the student is advanced to candidacy.