Undergraduate Program in Archeaological Studies

This interdisciplinary major is supervised by the Yale’s Council on Archaeological Studies. Inquiries about the major may be addressed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), or the Chair of the Council. 

The major in Archaeological Studies provides a program of interdepartmental offerings covering prehistoric, early historic, medieval and other cultures and cultural developments in the Old and New Worlds, and introduces students to the analytic tools that facilitate archaeological studies. The major is designed to expose students to a variety of archaeological research perspectives: anthropological, historical, art historical, and scientific. Also emphasized are substantive studies including (1) study of such prehistoric–early historic transformations as the origins of agriculture, cities and states, and early empires, and (2) study of the material culture, art, and architecture of prehistoric, early historic, and medieval cultures, including the iconography of ancient cultures, the relationship between art and society, ancient writing systems, and American historical archaeology.

Requirements of the major

The major consists of twelve courses including the senior project. In addition, students must participate in a Yale-affiliated summer research project, or another archaeological field school approved in advance by the director of undergraduate studies (for more information about field research opportunities, click here). The following five courses are required: an introductory survey; the introductory laboratory course ARCG 316L; an advanced laboratory course; a theory course; and the senior research project ARCG 491. The remaining seven courses required for the major must be distributed among the six subject areas represented by the departments and programs offering courses multiple-titled with Archaeological Studies, with three of those seven courses falling in different departments and programs. The relevant departments and programs are Anthropology, Classics, Environmental Studies, Geology and Geophysics, History, History of Art, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Religious Studies. Some courses may be applied to categories other than the ones in which they are listed upon approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. For three of the seven archaeology electives students may, with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, substitute courses from other departments in areas related to their research.

Students majoring in Archaeological Studies are strongly encouraged, but not required, to devote a second summer to archaeological research in the field or laboratory. Members of the Council faculty currently direct archaeological field projects in China, Egypt, Guatemala, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Peru, Rome, Senegal, and Syria. Qualified majors are encouraged to apply for research positions with these projects.

Senior requirement. The final requirement for the major is a senior research project (ARCG 491) in some field of archaeology, preferably one involving more than one area or discipline. Students majoring in Archaeological Studies should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the beginning of each term.

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior project)

Specific course required ARCG 316L

Distribution of courses 1 intro survey; 1 intro lab; 1 summer field techniques course or research project, as specified; 1 advanced lab; 1 theory course; 7 electives, at least 1 in each of 6 areas, as specified

Substitution permitted For 3 electives, 3 courses related to research, with DUS permission Senior requirement  Research project (ARCG 491)

Field Research

In addition to being the base for several faculty field projects around the globe, the Council on Archaeological Studies takes as its principal mission the encouragement of multiple field experiences by our undergraduate and graduate students. Our undergraduate majors are required to participate in at least one intensive summer field school. Approval is required, and costs are often subsidized by the Council. Both undergraduates and graduate students are encouraged to participate in each other’s field projects, thereby learning about the greatest number of cultures and areas possible, while experiencing a diverse array of field situations. Click here to learn more about fieldwork resources and funding possibilities.

List of field schools (pdf)