College of Liberal Arts

Department of Anthropology

Archaeology Program

The graduate program in archaeology is well known for its depth in Western North American prehistory, modeling and simulation, lithic analysis, behavioral ecology, and environmental archaeology (including geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, and palynology). Recent faculty and graduate student research ranges from South America to Siberia and from the northern Plains to the Northwest Coast. Spacious, well-equipped laboratories are devoted to pollen and plant macrofossil analysis, geoarchaeology, lithic replication and analysis, ceramic analysis, zooarchaeology, and statistics and simulation. In addition, laboratory space is available for analysis of collections and field records. Instruction and practical experience in GIS and remote sensing are available through other departments on campus, and both faculty and graduate students frequently employ these methods in their research. Other units on campus offer facilities for electron microscopy, as well as NAA, XRF, and ICP-MS analysis of materials. Members of the faculty regularly offer archaeological field schools and conduct other field research projects that provide graduate students with opportunities to gain experience and to obtain data for thesis or dissertation research. The collections of the Museum of Anthropology also provide opportunities for research leading to the M.A., and in some cases to the Ph.D.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Society for American Archaeology, this department has produced a significant proportion of the currently practicing professional archaeologists in North America. In this survey, which included archaeologists working in academic, museum, and cultural resource management contexts, WSU was tied for third in its production of M.A.-level professionals, and was tied for seventh (with the U. of Chicago and UCLA) among archaeologists holding the Ph.D.

It is assumed that students who apply to the graduate program in archaeology already have field experience at least equivalent to that provided by an intensive 6- or 8-week archaeological field school. Prior experience in artifact analysis or other aspects of laboratory research is also desirable. Students are encouraged to obtain additional field and laboratory research experience during the course of their graduate study unless they have had extensive experience prior to entering.

The M.A. and Ph.D. programs are focused on developing professional archaeologists, so the course requirements emphasize archaeology rather than general anthropology. It is expected, however, that incoming students will have knowledge of general anthropology equivalent to that gained by completing a solid four-field undergraduate major. Further breadth—and a shared experience across three graduate streams—is provided by a series of four core courses taken by all graduate students in the department.

The required courses for the M.A. and the Ph.D. provide a general archaeological background in support of each degree. They are designed to furnish the student with a sound theoretical and methodological background, and a familiarity with the results of substantive archaeological research emphasizing, but not limited to, Western North America. Each student works with a graduate committee consisting of a chair and at least two other faculty members to develop a program of study that may include courses in addition to the basic requirements, depending on their relevance to thesis or dissertation research. The graduate committee also provides guidance as the student develops a research project leading to a thesis or dissertation. Students should choose a committee chair, form a committee, and file a course program during the first year of graduate study.

A thesis based on original research is required for completion of the M.A. and a dissertation is required for the Ph.D. With the approval of the archaeology faculty, a set of articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals or that are deemed suitable for publication in such journals by the student’s committee can be substituted for the dissertation.

There is no comprehensive examination at the M.A. level, but an oral exam is conducted after the thesis has been submitted. Students wishing to defend a thesis or dissertation must submit a complete draft to the committee on or before March 10 to defend in the spring semester or October 20 to defend in the fall semester. The complete draft is reviewed by the student's committee chair. If approved the thesis or dissertation is then reviewed by the other members of the student's committee. Theses or dissertations not submitted on or before these dates are not guaranteed consideration for a defense during the desired semester. Completion of a research-based M.A. thesis (either at WSU or another school) is required before students are admitted to the Ph.D. program. To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., a student must pass a preliminary examination that usually covers at least one geographic area and one or more topical areas relevant to the dissertation research. This exam consists of two days of written essays and a two- to three-hour oral exam, and is ordinarily taken after the completion of required classes. There is an oral defense of the dissertation after it has been submitted. There are no foreign language requirements for the M.A. or Ph.D., unless required by the committee as relevant to the student's research.


Course Requirements for the M.A. Program in Archaeology

Lecture and seminar courses provide 3 units, laboratory courses 4. In creating a program, students choose at least the indicated number of units from each of the following course groups:

Group A - Required Courses: [Take all four for a total of 13 units]
ANTH 510 Fundamentals of Cultural Anthropology (3 units)
ANTH 530 Archaeological Method & Theory (3 units)
ANTH 537 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology (4 units)
ANTH 562 Evolutionary Method and Theory in Anthropology and Archaeology (3 units)

Group B - Topical Courses: [Choose 1, for a total of 3 units]
ANTH 535 Cultural Resource Management (3 units)
ANTH 536 Ethnoarchaeology (3 units)
ANTH 546 Complexity in Small Scale Societies (3 units)
ANTH 547 Models and Simulation (3 units)
ANTH 548 Hunter and Gatherers: Past & Present (3 units)
ANTH 549 Settlement and Agro-Pastoralism (3 units)

Group C - Laboratory Courses: [Choose 3, for a total of 12 units]
ANTH 513 Lithic Technological Organization (4 units)
ANTH 514 Ceramic Analysis (4 units)
ANTH 570 Sediments in Geoarchaeology (4 units)
ANTH 573 Zooarchaeology (4 units)
ANTH 576 Palynology (4 units)

Group D - Area Courses: [Choose 1, for a total of 3 units]
ANTH 539 Prehistory of the Southwest (3 units)
ANTH 540 Prehistory of the Northwest Coast (3 units)
ANTH 543 Prehistory of the Plateau and Basin (3 units)
ANTH 544 Archaeology of the Tropics (3 units)

Group E - Thesis: [Minimum 4 units]
ANTH 700 Master's Research, Thesis, and/or Examination.

Group F - Electives: [Minimum 3 units]
Electives other than thesis, dissertation, and research units, as required by student’s own program specialization.

Total Units: Minimum 38


Course Requirements for the Doctorate in Archaeology

In creating a program, students choose at least the indicated number of units from the following course groups:

Group A - Required Courses: [Take all four for a total of 13 units]
ANTH 510 Fundamentals of Cultural Anthropology (3 units)
ANTH 530 Archaeological Method & Theory (3 units)
ANTH 537 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology (4 units)
ANTH 562 Evolutionary Method and Theory in Anthropology and Archaeology (3 units)

Group B - Topical Courses: [Choose 2, for a total of 6 units]
ANTH 535 Cultural Resource Management (3 units)
ANTH 536 Ethnoarchaeology (3 units)
ANTH 546 Complexity in Small Scale Societies (3 units)
ANTH 547 Models and Simulation (3 units)
ANTH 548 Hunter and Gatherers: Past & Present (3 units)
ANTH 549 Settlement and Agro-Pastoralism (3 units)

Group C - Laboratory Courses: [Choose 4, for a total of 16 units]
ANTH 513 Lithic Technological Organization (4 units)
ANTH 514 Ceramic Analysis (4 units)
ANTH 570 Sediments in Geoarchaeology (4 units)
ANTH 573 Zooarchaeology (4 units)
ANTH 576 Palynology (4 units)

Group D - Area Courses: [Choose 3, for a total of 9 units]
ANTH 539 Prehistory of the Southwest (3 units)
ANTH 540 Prehistory of the Northwest Coast (3 units)
ANTH 543 Prehistory of the Plateau and Basin (3 units)
ANTH 544 Archaeology of the Tropics (3 units)

Group E - Dissertation: [Minimum 20 units]
ANTH 800 Doctoral Research, Dissertation, and/or Examination

Group F – Electives: [Minimum 12 units]
Electives other than thesis, dissertation, and research units, as required by student's own program specialization.

Total Units: Minimum 76

One-page pdf admission checklist

CONTACT INFORMATION

Graduate Coordinator
Dr. Andrew Duff
duff@wsu.edu

Student Representative

Meet the Archaeology Faculty

 

 

 

 

Western Regional Graduate Program
(WICHE)


The graduate program in archaeology is a participant in the Western Regional Graduate Program of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). This makes high-quality graduate programs available to WICHE-state students at a reasonable cost. Through this program, residents of:

Alaska
Arizona
Colorado
Hawaii
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
North Dakota
Oregon
South Dakota
Utah
Washington
and Wyoming

are eligible to enroll at resident rates of tuition.

 

 

 


For answers to any questions not covered in these pages please email, call or write to us:

 

Main Office Contact Info:

College Hall 150
PO Box 644910
Pullman, WA 99164-4910
Phone: 509.335.3441
FAX: 509.335.3999

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archaeology

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Department of Anthropology, PO Box 644910, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-4910, 509-335-3441, Contact Us