Anthropology: Archaeology Concentration - MS

Program Code: MSANTHAG
Master of Science

Availability: campus


The MS Program in Anthropology – Archaeology Concentration consists of 24 months of full-time graduate coursework designed primarily for students who have a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology or a related sub-discipline. The program provides classroom, field, and laboratory training in anthropological archaeology that culminates in a faculty mentored individualized thesis project. Students are prepared for careers in public and private archaeological settings (e.g. Cultural Resource Management, Federal and State Agencies) and for advanced degree programs. Students anticipating part-time status should expect longer completion times.

Mission Statement

Our program is committed to the education and training of the next generation of anthropological archaeologists. As a four-field discipline concerned with the cultural and biological expressions of humanity past and present, anthropology is a diverse endeavor characterized by approaches drawn from both the sciences and the humanities. Therefore, a strong base in anthropological/archaeological core information, theories, concepts, and methodologies, as well as the ability to mobilize these resources critically and independently, form the skill set that we strive to impart to our students. We prepare students for careers in public and private archaeological spheres of practice, and for the pursuit of advanced degrees. 

Program Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the Archaeology Concentration curriculum in the Master of Science in Anthropology program, students will be able to:

  • Master knowledge of the fundamental concepts, theories, and field/ laboratory methods in anthropological archaeology
  • Master knowledge of the background information, theories, and concepts pertaining to a specialist archaeological inquiry
  • Master knowledge of the theoretical and ethical underpinnings of anthropological archaeology.
  • Knowledgeably apply relevant anthropological and archaeological information, theories and concepts to new contexts
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills, including oral and written presentations of synthesized and analyzed archaeological materials and literature
  • Design and conduct Archaeological research using appropriate techniques and procedures


Program Requirements:

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and provide official transcripts.
  • A degree in Anthropology or a related subfield is recommended.
  • Applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher and a 3.0 GPA or higher in their major field (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Applicants must have completed the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Applicants are required to supply three letters of recommendation that address their course performance, writing ability, fieldwork experience and performance, and potential for independent research
  • Applicants must submit a personal statement (less than 1000 words) that discusses educational and professional goals in reference to archaeology.

Program Requirements

To obtain the Master of Science in Anthropology – Archaeology Concentration students must successfully complete all requirements, including a 12 graduate courses (minimum 42 credits), a comprehensive examination, and a Master’s Thesis, while maintaining a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average.

Exams /Thesis

Graduate students are required to complete a comprehensive examination consisting of three questions that underpin and pertain to their thesis research topic. This examination is generally taken in the Spring Term of the second year, after students have completed most of their coursework and thesis background research. An 80% score on each question is required to pass the examination. At the discretion of the Program Director, students failing one or more questions will have one opportunity to repeat a similar exam.

All students must complete a thesis based on an archaeological topic. Approval of topics must be granted by the program director and faculty supervisor, and students will submit a formal research proposal. In order to participate in graduation, students will be expected to defend their thesis project prior to their commencement date.

Prerequisite Courses

Students with anthropology/archaeology deficiencies in their in their undergraduate curriculum may be required to take a maximum of 10 credits of undergraduate ANTH offerings at Mercyhurst University (e.g. ANTH 130/131; ANTH 336, ANTH 338, ANTH 226). These will count towards the semester load but will not substitute for any graduate curricular requirements.


All students must complete 8 required classroom courses, including one material culture course (some course have requisite lab sections) (25-26 credits), three elective courses, a graduate Field Training course held in the summer (6 credits), and prepare a Master’s Thesis document. Students will register for Anth 670 (Master’s Thesis) if they need additional time to complete their Thesis. Students will also choose a minimum of 3 elective courses (9-12 credits) from Anthropology/Archaeology departmental offerings.

Subject Courses
Material Culture Courses

(choose one from the below)






Graduate Field Training

Elective Courses

3 Additional Graduate Level Electives

9 - 12
Click here to see this course group.

Some of these classes will require corresponding labs. For example ANTH 505 will require the ANTH 506 lab.