The Anthropology Department MA program focuses on preparing students for careers in archaeology. The program is designed to 1) prepare students for immediate employment in Archaeology in federal or state agencies, and/or 2) entry into a PhD program. The graduate curriculum offers a diversity of classes on peoples and cultures of the world, as well as an intense emphasis on graduate level courses in archaeological method and theory. Graduate students gain knowledge of the many facets of archaeology through hands-on work with the Office of Public Archaeology, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, supervisory positions with the undergraduate Archaeology Field Schools, and opportunities to work as Teaching Assistants in the Department. Our program serves students who wish to strengthen their knowledge and experience in the field of Archaeology with the option to add the Museum Studies Certificate to their program (See Museum Studies Certificate).
Field Work and Technical Skills
Graduate students will be competent in archaeological field work and the analysis of archaeological materials. Specific technical skills attained include understanding and use of a system of archaeological site documentation and excavation, using a total station, global positioning systems, and using appropriate analysis tools in site exploration and interpretation. (ANTHR 501, ANTHR 502, ANTHR 530, ANTHR 59R, ANTHR 599R, ANTHR 695R).
Graduate students will create and present professional quality papers on archaeological topics, including presenting papers and posters at professional meetings, and/or submitting written findings to journals or other publication outlets. (ANTHR 500, ANTHR 501, ANTHR 502, ANTHR 511, ANTHR 512, ANTHR 522, ANTHR 524, ANTHR 525, ANTHR 526, ANTHR 530, ANTHR 535, ANTHR 562, ANTHR 564, ANTHR 565, ANTHR 566, ANTHR 580, ANTHR 590R, ANTHR 596, ANTHR 599R, ANTHR 694R, ANTHR 695R).
Graduate students will know and follow professional standards and ethics relative to the management, excavation, interpretation, and display of the cultural resources of the world. (ANTHR 501, ANTHR 502, ANTHR 512, ANTHR 522, ANTHR 524, ANTHR 525, ANTHR 599R).
Graduate students in Anthropology/Archaeology will have a solid foundation in current anthropological and archaeological method and theory, as well as an appreciation and understanding of the historic development of the disciplines. Students must demonstrate their knowledge of the above by applying this knowledge in formulating professional papers, research proposals, and in their MA thesis.
Evidence of Learning
The number of graduate students is small, so assessments of individual students provide the best evidence of learning. Students are assessed regularly while in the program, with the MA thesis and oral defense providing the best evidence of learning. Graduate advisors and committees evaluate student progress each semester in consultation with the graduate advisor. The evaluation includes academic performance, progress in meeting program requirements, professional papers, posters, or other products completed in the previous year, grants applied for and obtained, and thesis progress. Each student must defend their thesis proposal and demonstrate that the proposed thesis project is well-conceived and likely to suceed. All students defend their completed thesis publicly, and the thesis committee reviews the thesis for quality and original contributions. As an indirect measure of evidence of learning, the graduate coordinator tracks graduate student alumni to document PhD program acceptance and graduation and/or job placement.
Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement
The graduate curriculum has undergone major revisions twice in the last 15 years and is subject to yearly assessment within the department. These annual assessments are completed by an assessment committee chaired by the graduate coordinator and including the other members of the graduate faculty. BYU Self-studies also assess the program every seven years. The graduate coordinator also seeks student assessment of the graduate program both while they are enrolled and as alumni. Graduate students are also asked to assess their perceived preparation in the undergraduate program for the graduate requirements, thus assisting the Department in improving both levels of their curriculum.