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Top Archaeology Universities in 2022-2023

Apr 26, 2022

Best Archaeology Colleges and Universities in the World

About Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of the human past. The word “archaeology” comes from the Greek word “arkhaios,” which means “prehistoric.” The experts who investigate the past of humanity by unearthing places and analyzing the material remains discovered are called archaeologists. Archeology is considered as the brach of both, social science and humanities. It can potentially reveal what our distant forefathers ate, clothed, lived in, and worshipped. A degree in archaeology also aids in the development of a variety of essential and transferrable skills. Since archaeology provides a unique viewpoint on human history and culture, Students who are interested in history and the human past will be best suited for this course.

Duties of an Archaeologist 

An archaeologist’s duties and responsibilities vary depending on the type of job and experience. Archaeologists are typically employed full-time. However, archaeologists working in the field may be needed to travel and work long and unpredictable hours, including weekends. Here are some generalized duties of an archaeologist:

  • Work as part of a team on field excavations or digs, utilizing a variety of digging equipment
  • Research the artifacts and structures discovered during site excavation to identify their period of origin, authenticate them and study their significance using computer-aided design (CAD) and geographical information systems (GIS)
  • Analyse or examine historical societies and cultures in order to obtain answers to particular research topics
  • Write, present, and publish reports that include site history, methodology, and findings
  • Describe the physical characteristics of artifacts, such as the materials used in their creation, as well as their size, form, function, and ornamentation
  • Manage and protect archeological sites and monuments
  • Conduct lab testing and research such as radiocarbon dating

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Archaeology 

Most institutions offer either a B.A. or a B.S/B.Sc. undergraduate degree, which includes lectures, field trips, and practical experience. Students can then pursue specialized areas in archaeology for master’s programs, such as osteology, which involves the study of skeletons and bones. Here is a list of some of the most popular archaeology degrees available at top-ranking institutions across the world.

Bachelor’s programs

  • B.A. in Archaeology
  • B.A. in Anthropology
  • B.S./BSc. in Archaeology
  • B.S./BSc. in Bioarchaeology
  • B.A. in History
  • B.A. in Geography

Master’s programs

  • M.A. in Archaeology and Anthropology
  • M.S./M.Sc. in Archaeology
  • M.S./M.Sc. in Bioarchaeology
  • M.S./M.Sc. in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
  • M.S./M.Sc. in Forensic Investigation
  • Mater of Field Archaeology
  • Master of Heritage Management
  • Master of Landscape Archaeology
  • Master of Egyptology

Doctoral programs 

Even though, a master’s degree is sufficient for the majority of archaeological jobs, some positions, however, do favor candidates with a Ph.D. For example, a P.h.D. in Archeology is required for most roles in research, such as governmental archaeological sites or projects. In addition, archaeologists who want to work in academia must have a Ph.D. degree.

Specializations in Archaeology

Archaeology is a broad subject that links many other disciplines, including geography, history, and social sciences. Plus, specializations in science degrees, such as biology, botany, medicine, geology, or environmental science can also be considered for archelogy. 

There are four primary areas to consider in archeology:

  1. Contract or business archaeology: It involves working for a developer who is in charge of the cost and time required for the entire project.
  2. Research or academic archaeology: This area of archaeology consists of working on sites or projects based on funding and may involve months to several years of work.
  3. Specialist archaeology: It focuses on certain geographical areas, historical periods, or material categories like pottery, coinage, or bones.
  4. Community archaeology: In this, the  work is carried out by professional organizations but the public is also involved. 

The following are some specific specializations in the field of archeology:

  • Field Archaeology
  • Prehistoric Archaeology
  • Linguistic Archaeology
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Digital Archaeology
  • Environmental Archaeology
  • Cultural Resource Management
  • Underwater Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Biblical Archaeology
  • Classical Archaeology

Duration of programs in Archaeology 

Archaeology courses vary in length depending on the country and university. The following are the average durations of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in archaeology:

Country Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree Doctoral Degree
USA and Canada 4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years
UK 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years
Australia 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years

Career opportunities in Archaeology

Archaeologists can find work in museums and historic sites, colleges and universities with cultural resource management sections. Most of their jobs are in the public sector rather than the private sector. Some archaeologists might work as consultants or start their own businesses after gaining enough experience in the field. A typical job path for an archaeologist can include several years as a digger, followed by a few years as a site supervisor, and then a transition into management roles. The following are the potential career options for an archaeologist:

  • Archaeologist
  • Conservator
  • Academic researcher
  • Professor
  • Documentation specialist
  • Museum curator
  • Field technician or supervisor
  • Cultural resource lawyer
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysts
  • Heritage manager

Average salaries for Archaeologists

A bachelor’s degree is required to find employment in this field. Bachelor’s degree holders may be employed as assistants or fieldworkers, which pays less. Fieldwork experience is also beneficial to get a higher salary in archeology. A master’s degree in archaeology opens up more job prospects and pays better. The following table shows the average annual salary of archaeologists around the world.

Country Average salary in USD*/year
USA 78,793
Australia 69,711
Canada 65,982
UK 54,758

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Top 50 Universities in the world for Archaeology based on subject rankings (QS/THE/US News)

QS Ranking THE Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 3 3 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
2 4 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 5 4 UCL UK Click Here Click Here
4 26 54 Durham University UK Click Here Click Here
5 6 2 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
6 9 10 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) USA Click Here Click Here
7 1 8 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
8 24 39 Leiden University Netherlands Click Here Click Here
9 13 14 University of California, Los Angeles USA Click Here Click Here
10 80 118 Sapienza University of Rome Italy Click Here Click Here
11 126-150 77 Arizona State University USA Click Here Click Here
12 57 81 University of York UK Click Here Click Here
13 29 20 The Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
14 21 134 Peking University China Click Here Click Here
15 16 10 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here
16 NA 209 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Mexico Click Here Click Here
17 151-175 239 Simon Fraser University Canada Click Here Click Here
18 14 13 University of Pennsylvania USA Click Here Click Here
19 126-150 26 Pennsylvania State University USA Click Here Click Here
20 8 21 University of Chicago USA Click Here Click Here
21 20 68 Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Germany Click Here Click Here
22 96 42 The University of Arizona USA Click Here Click Here
23 15 9 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
24 12 5 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
25 26 73 Freie Universitaet Berlin Germany Click Here Click Here
26 47 NA Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne France Click Here Click Here
27 11 18 Columbia University USA Click Here Click Here
28 NA 166 University of Florida USA Click Here Click Here
29 63 109 Sorbonne University France Click Here Click Here
30 97 NA Kyoto University Japan Click Here Click Here
31 59 47 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
32 53 131 The University of Tokyo Japan Click Here Click Here
33 10 7 The University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click Here
34 176-200 140 Washington University in St. Louis USA Click Here Click Here
35 151-175 NA University of Bordeaux France Click Here Click Here
36 60 72 Aarhus University Denmark Click Here Click Here
37 94 79 The University of Auckland New Zealand Click Here Click Here
38 33 112 Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Germany Click Here Click Here
39 67 57 The University of Sheffield UK Click Here Click Here
40 46 12 The University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
41 101-125 82 University of Reading UK Click Here Click Here
42 101-125 207 Seoul National University South Korea Click Here Click Here
43 176-200 159 University of Leicester UK Click Here Click Here
44 NA NA Jilin University China Click Here Click Here
45 58 41 University of Copenhagen Denmark Click Here Click Here
46 201-250 NA Flinders University Australia Click Here Click Here
48 50 24 University of Texas at Austin USA Click Here Click Here
48 90 92 Uppsala University Sweden Click Here Click Here
48 176-200 NA Nanjing University China Click Here Click Here
51-100 21 66 Cornell University USA Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the USA for Archaeology

When it comes to the quality of education, the USA ranks at the top among all other nations. Therefore, studying in the USA is the first choice of many international students. All the world’s well-known and top-ranked colleges in archaeology belong to the USA. These American universities offer courses such as bachelor’s in archeology, master’s in archeology, and other specialized courses pertaining to arceology. 

QS Ranking THE Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
5 6 2 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
6 9 10 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) USA Click Here Click Here
7 1 8 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
9 13 14 University of California, Los Angeles USA Click Here Click Here
11 126-150 77 Arizona State University USA Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the UK for Archaeology 

Studying in the UK, especially a course on a subject such as archeology, is the second best choice after the USA for international students. The duration of bachelor’s degrees in archaeology is often shorter (3 years) in the UK. Similarly, master’s courses in archaeology in the UK are of one year duration mostly. Refer to the table below containing the top universities in the UK for archaeology.

QS Ranking THE Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 3 3 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
2 4 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 5 4 UCL UK Click Here Click Here
4 26 54 Durham University UK Click Here Click Here
12 57 81 University of York UK Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Canada for Archaeology

International students flock to Canada to study because of its high living standards and quality education. Due to the high employment rate in Canada, a Canadian bachelor’s degree in archaeology will easily fetch a decent paying job. A master’s degree in archaeology will allow a graduate to easily climb the professional ladder and get a salary hike in Canada. 

QS Ranking THE Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
17 151-175 239 Simon Fraser University Canada Click Here Click Here
23 15 9 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
31 59 47 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Australia for Archaeology

After the USA and the UK, Australia is the third most popular destination for overseas students in the English-speaking world. The cultural diversity, the high quality of education, and the friendly natives are the top reasons why international students prefer to study in Australia. Universities in Australia are known for offering diverse bachelor’s courses in archaeological studies. For example, the Australian National University has the following bachelor’s courses in archaeology:

  • Bachelor of Archaeological Practice
  • Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship
  • Bachelor of Arts degree
  • Bachelor of Arts (Archaeology)

Australian universities also have a variety of specializations for master’s degrees in archaeology.

QS Ranking THE Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
13 29 20 The Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
40 46 12 The University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
46 201-250 NA Flinders University Australia Click Here Click Here

Top universities in France for Archaeology

Paris, capital of France, is not only known a palace for fashion, but it is also an excellent place to study in France. Despite the fact that just a few universities provide bachelor’s degrees in archaeology, there are a large number of archaeological sites in France that are potential employment options for international students pursuing archeology in France. A few specialized master’s programs in archaeology are also offered by these institutes.

QS Ranking THE Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
26 47 NA Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne France Click Here Click Here
29 63 109 Sorbonne University France Click Here Click Here
35 151-175 NA University of Bordeaux France Click Here Click Here

Academic requirements for studying Archaeology

Getting admission to a foreign institution for archaeology is not an easy task. It is necessary to have knowledge of basic arithmetic, science, English, and history. In addition to their digging capabilities, archaeologists must have great research and writing skills. They must be able to speak with a wide range of people, so learning a foreign language may be advantageous. This will be useful, particularly when writing a statement of purpose as part of the admissions process. Here are some of the academic prerequisites that top archaeological universities throughout the world ask for.

Bachelor’s level

  • A high school diploma with a GPA of 3.0 or greater out of 4.0
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Statement of purpose
  • Recommendation letter
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)

Master’s level

  • A bachelor’s degree in archaeology or a relevant field with a GPA of 3.0 or greater
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Statement of purpose
  • Recommendation letters
  • Work experience
  • Portfolio for auditions
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)
Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, archaeology has a lot of potential in foreign countries, particularly in the USA and the UK. Many universities in the USA and UK offer archaeology bachelor’s and specialized master’s degrees. Furthermore, these countries provide a plethora of job prospects in archeology. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the USA, the employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is projected to accelerate at a rate of 7% from 2020 to 2030, which is approximately the same as the average for all occupations.

Yes, archaeologists are obliged by law to have a license in most jurisdictions, and they should carry their license with them when working on the sites. Only those candidates who pass an interview assessing their competency to hold such a license are granted the license.

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