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stone statues of chinese men from ancient cultures studied in the archaeology program at Trent university


Frequently Asked Questions

Studying Archaeology

How do I qualify to enter the Archaeology program?

There are no special requirements or limited spaces for this program; if you are admitted to Trent, you may declare a major in Archaeology.

I'm interested in Archaeology and am trying to decide what to major in. What do I need to consider?

Think carefully about your interests and your goals for the future. A focused degree like Archaeology might be a real benefit if you want to work in Cultural Heritage Management. If you're less certain or want to leave your options open, you might choose a broader degree, like Anthropology or Ancient Greek & Roman Studies. We have offered archaeology courses within Anthropology and Ancient Greek & Roman Studies for many years before creating a stand-alone Archaeology major. Many of our previous graduates have gone on to graduate school and careers in Archaeology and related fields.

Can I still study Archaeology if I'm an Anthropology major?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage you to consider changing to the Archaeology degree if you are primarily interested in archaeology. The Anthropology program is broader than Archaeology, but it still gives you the option of taking a lot of Archaeology courses along with a mix of courses from the other subfields in Anthropology. If you are planning to continue to graduate school, this broad-based education might be the best option for you.

Can I major in Ancient Greek & Roman Studies and still study Archaeology?

Definitely! The AGRS degree is designed to give students an all-round training in the ancient history, Archaeology, and literature of the Greek and Roman worlds.

I'm interested in human bones. What should I study?

Anthropology is probably the best major for you. Biological anthropologists (sometimes called physical anthropologists) study ancient diet and health, human evolution, forensic anthropology, primate behaviour, and all kinds of other interesting facets of human beings as biological creatures. As an Anthropology major, you will be able to take a mixture of Archaeology courses and other options offered by Trent's biological anthropologists, like Plagues and Peoples, Human Genetics, or Nutritional Anthropology. If you are interested in biological anthropology but are still really drawn to the Archaeology degree, you might want to meet with an advisor to talk about what options will best fit your interests.

Archaeology Courses

How do I choose which first-year course(s) to take?

Please ensure you check the calendar to see the requirements specific to your degree. We strongly encourage you to take 1.5 of the first-year credits, so that you get a broad base in Classical and anthropological traditions. This will also help make sure that you have the prerequisites that you need later to take certain 2000-level courses. On the Peterborough campus, we recommend ANTH-1010H, ANTH-1030H, ANTH 1010H, and ANTH 1020H. Students at Trent in Durham might want to consider ANTH-1001H and ANTH-1002H instead of ANTH 1010H and ANTH 1020H.

Why aren’t all the courses listed being offered this year?

In every program, there are some courses that are offered every year, others that are rotated on a two- or three-year basis, and still others that are offered irregularly, as staffing circumstances permit. Students can consult the home department of a course in order to find out when it will likely be offered next.

Why are some course titles followed by ‘(Sc)’?

These courses can count as science credits toward a B.Sc. in Archaeology; they also count toward the B.A. in Archaeology.

What if I've already attended a field school, but want more experience?

There are sometimes be opportunities for experienced students to join one of our projects as a volunteer or specialist-in-training. In addition, summer or other short-term employment opportunities may be offered via members of the Trent University Archaeological Research Centre.

Careers and Graduate Study

If I earn a B.A. or B.Sc. in Archaeology, will I be accredited as an archaeologist?

No, though it's a good place to start. Accreditation as an archaeologist varies from place to place, usually requiring a Master's degree at a minimum. In Canada, each province and territory maintains its own standards; in Ontario, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport maintains a tiered licensing system.

Can I work as an archaeologist if I earn a B.A. or B.Sc. in Archaeology?

In the case of Cultural Heritage Management (see below), students may begin work directly out of the undergraduate degree. However, many eventually return to school to earn a Master’s degree in order to open up more opportunities for career advancement. If you want to become a curator for a museum or archive, you will need to go to graduate school for at least a Master’s degree. Archaeologists who are based at a university usually hold a Ph.D.,which is normally required for university professors.

I'm planning to go on to graduate school. What should I be thinking about now?

If you are interested in Classical Archaeology and you're thinking of pursuing a Master of Arts and/or Ph.D. degree, consider taking a range of the Archaeology, ancient history, and Classical literature courses that are available from the Ancient Greek and Roman Studies program. In order to be admitted into a graduate program in Classics, Classical Studies, or Classical Archaeology, you will need to know the ancient Greek & Latin languages; we recommend taking at least three years of one language and two of the other (equivalent to the Specialization in Greek and Latin, offered through the Ancient Greek and Roman Studies program).

If you are interested in studying for a Master's or Ph.D. program in North America, you will probably be applying to a graduate program in Anthropology. In order to be accepted in these programs, you will usually be expected to have courses in at least three (and preferably all four) subfields of Anthropology. You should take ANTH 1020H as part of your degree; in addition, we recommend that you consider taking ANTH 2001H, ANTH 2002H, ANTH 2311H, and ANTH 2410H in addition to your Archaeology courses. If you apply to a graduate program in Archaeology (usually in the UK or Europe), the broad base in Anthropology probably won't be necessary. Note that most Ph.D. programs require students to demonstrate proficiency in one or two foreign languages that are relevant to your geographic or theoretical area of study. It would be wise to take enough courses to ensure that, at a minimum, you can read and comprehend another language.

What is Cultural Heritage Management?

Cultural Heritage Management investigates and preserves components of cultural heritage, whether they be archaeological, ethnographic, or architectural. Cultural Heritage Managers may work for government agencies as part of the planning process, or as ‘contract archaeologists’ who conduct rescue or salvage Archaeology on sites that are under threat from human activity or natural disasters. Some archaeologists in CHM work with the tourism industry to promote public education, At present, many Canadian jobs in Archaeology are in Cultural Heritage Management. Some of our graduates have also taken CHM jobs abroad.