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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 new degree in Archaeology, which is more intensive than the Emphasis. If you are a current Trent student who was taking courses for the Emphasis, you probably already have many of the required courses for the Archaeology major. Of course, it's always a good idea to meet with an advisor to make sure you're on the right track. 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.

Specializations, Joint Majors, and Emphasis

How do I declare a specialization in Classical or Anthropological Archaeology?

You don't! If you've declared your major as the B.A. (Honours) in Archaeology, all you need to do is choose your courses using the published degree requirements as a guide. When it comes time to graduate, the Office of the Registrar will evaluate your record and will add the specialization that you've completed to your transcript. You are responsible for ensuring that you are taking the appropriate courses for your specialization; if you are uncertain about your selections, talk to an Academic Advisor.

Why aren't there specializations within the B.Sc. degree, if there are in the B.A.?

The B.Sc. requires 14.0 science credits for the degree. It is possible to take these credits by registering for Anthropology courses marked with (Sc) in the calendar, or by taking related courses in Biology, Geography, Chemistry, and other related disciplines. Ancient History and Classics courses are not listed as science credits, so it is not possible to meet the requirements for the B.Sc. and to specialise in Classical Archaeology at the same time.

What happened to the Archaeology Emphasis?

Students used to be able to major in one subject and add on an ‘Emphasis in Archaeology’ by taking six archaeological credits. Now the Archaeology degree builds on and expands the previous Archaeology Emphasis, so the Emphasis was phased out as of the 2011-12 academic year. Students are bound by the calendar for the year in which they declared their major. This means that if you declared your major in 2010-11 or earlier, you will be operating under the requirements of an earlier calendar and may therefore graduate with the Emphasis on your transcript. If you declare your major (including changing your major) in 2011-12 or later, you will be bound by that calendar, and will no longer have the option of the Emphasis.

Archaeology Courses

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

You are required to take at least 1.0 credits out of the listed 1000-level courses. However, we strongly encourage you to take 1.5 of the 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 AHCL 1001H, ANTH 1010H, and ANTH 1020H. The two ANTH half courses are the equivalent of ANTH 1000Y, which is taught in Oshawa only.

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 Department of Ancient History & Classics. 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 Minor in Greek & Latin Languages, offered through the Department of Ancient History & Classics). For more information, plan to attend the Classics Graduate School Information Session, held each spring.

If you're in the Anthropological Archaeology stream and 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 2000Y, ANTH 2310Y, and ANTH 2400Y 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.