Stanford University
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Major - Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to:

1.     Demonstrate an understanding of core knowledge of the history of thought and basic theoretical foundations in archaeology.

2.     Write clearly and persuasively, communicating ideas about archaeology to multiple audiences and different communities, from the scholarly and to the general public in a variety of formats.

3.     Learn about the development of archaeology as a discipline and the major trends that have influenced thinking and writing about archaeology today.

4.     Demonstrate their mastery of the broad historical and theoretical trends in the field through critique of research within archaeology.

To declare a major in Archaeology, students should apply for the B.A. in Archaeology on Axess and contact the student services specialist, who provides an application form, answers initial questions, and helps the student choose a faculty adviser. Students should declare by the beginning of their junior year.

All majors must complete 65 units with an overall minimum grade of 'C', which must form a coherent program of study and be approved by the student's faculty adviser and the program director. All majors must complete at least one summer field school.

Degree Requirements

The B.A. in Archaeology requires a minimum of 65 units in the major, with an overall minimum grade of 'C', and no more than 10 units may be taken for pass/no pass credit. The major requirements are divided among four academic components: core, methods and skills, theory, and electives. A course may only be used once to fulfill a component, and may only be used to fulfill the requirements for one major.

Click here to see the most up to date classes categorized into the Archaeology Major Academic Components

1. Core Courses

20 units must be taken for a letter grade (minimum passing grade of 'B')

Course Title Units
ARCHLGY 1 Introduction to Archaeology (Gateway) 5
ARCHLGY 102 Archaeological Methods (Intermediate) 5
ARCHLGY 103 History of Archaeological Thought (Intermediate) 5
ARCHLGY 107A Archaeology as a Profession  5
    Total: 20

ARCHLGY 1 Introduction to Archaeology is recommended as a first course. Many upper-level courses in Archaeology require this course as a prerequisite. Students should normally take the capstone course in their final year of course work in the major.

2. Analytical Methods and Skills (15 units)

Quantitative skills and computing ability are indispensable to archaeologists. To fulfill the analytical methods and skills requirements, students must take one statistics course, and may choose to fulfill the remainder of the unit requirements with a variety of courses on archaeological skills and methods. Archaeological skills include archaeological formation processes, botanical analysis, cartography, ceramic analysis, dating methods, faunal analysis, geographic information systems, geology, geophysics, genetics, osteology, remote sensing, soil chemistry, and statistics. With the approval of the instructor and Archaeology director, undergraduates may fulfill part of this requirement from graduate-level courses (typically courses with catalog numbers of 200 or higher).

To fulfill the analytical methods and skills requirements of the major, students must choose one of the following statistics courses:

Course Title Units


Introduction to Statistical Methods: Precalculus 5


Introduction to Statistical Methods (Postcalculus) for Social Scientists 5

To fulfill the remainder of the analytical methods and skills requirements, students will take a minimum of ten units from the following courses:

Course Title Units
ARCHLGY 21Q Eight Great Archaeological Sites in Europe (Sophomore Introsem) 3-5
ARCHLGY 110 Environmental Archaeology 3-5
ARCHLGY 115 The Social life of Human Bones 3-5
ARCHLGY 119 Zooarchaeology: An Introduction to Faunal Remains 5
ARCHLGY 124 Archaeology of Food: production, consumption and ritual 3-5
ARCHLGY 125 Archaeological Field Survey Methods 3
ARCHLGY 126 Archaeobotany 3-5
ARCHLGY 134 Museum Cultures: Material Representation in the Past and Present 3-5
ANTHRO 98C Digital Methods in Archaeology 3-5
ANTHRO 130D Spatial Approaches to Social Science 3-5
ANTHRO 175 Human Skeletal Anatomy 5
CLASSICS 115 Virtual Italy: Methods for Historical Data Science 5
    Total: 10

3. Theory (at least 10 units)

Topics include archaeological, art-historical, sociocultural, historical, and material culture theory. With the approval of the instructor, undergraduates may fulfill part of this requirement from graduate-level courses (typically courses with catalog numbers of 200 or higher).

Course Title Units
ANTHRO 34 Animals and Us 5
ANTHRO 90B Theory of Cultural and Social Anthropology 5
ANTHRO 113 Culture and Epigenetics: Towards A Non-Darwinian Synthesis 4-5
ARCHLGY 130 Senior Research Seminar for Archaeology Majors and Minors 3-5
ARCHLGY 151 Ten Things: An Archaeology of Design 3
ARCHLGY 156 Design of Cities 3-5

4. Electives (20 units)

Select from any of the courses listed below. Courses are arranged around a regional or thematic focus, and therefore, may appear more than once. Students have the option of taking courses around a theme or concentration, and are encouraged to do so by consulting with their faculty adviser(s) to design a course plan. Courses other than those on this list can be used to fulfill this requirement with prior approval of the student's faculty adviser and program director. With the approval of instructor, undergraduates may fulfill part of this requirement from graduate-level courses, typically courses numbered 200 or higher.

World Archaeology: Europe

Course Title Units
ARCHLGY 83 Pots, People and the Press: Greek Archaeology in the Media 3-5
ARCHLGY 128 Europe before the Romans 3-5
ARCHLGY 118 Engineering the Roman Empire 4-5
ARCHLGY 145 Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Maritime Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean 3
ARCHLGY 165 Roman Gladiators 3-5
CLASSICS 52 Introduction to Roman Archaeology 3-5

World Archaeology: Americas

Course Title Units
ARCHLGY 65 Looking out from California: North American Prehistoric Archaeology 3-5
ARCHLGY 84 The Kingdom of Peru 3-5
ARCHLGY 102B Incas and their Ancestors: Peruvian Archaeology 3-5
ANTHRO 30Q The Big Shift 4

World Archaeology: Asia

Course Title Units
ARCHLGY 111 Emergence of Chinese Civilization from Caves to Palaces 3-4
ARCHLGY 135 Constructing National History in East Asian Archaeology 3-5


Course Title Units
ARCHLGY 80 Heritage and Human Rights 3-5
ARCHLGY 95 Monumental Pasts: Cultural Heritage and Politics  
ARCHLGY 135 Constructing National History in East Asian Archaeology 3-5
ANTHRO 112 Public Archaeology: Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project 4-5
ANTHRO 112B Advanced Study in Public Archaeology 2-5

Urbanism and Cities

Course  Title Units
ANTHRO 112 Public Archaeology: Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project 5
ANTHRO 112B Advanced Study in Public Archaeology 2-5
ARCHLGY 156 Design of Cities 3-5

5. Archaeological Field School

Students must take part in a Stanford Archaeology Center field project directed by a Stanford faculty member, and enroll in any coursework that is required for participation in the field project. Projects are typically offered during summer months and funding may be provided. In 2018, field schools were located in: Peru, Mauritius, and Italy. Learn more about our field schools

6. Collateral Language Requirement

All Archaeology majors must demonstrate competence in a foreign language beyond the first-year level. Students can meet this requirement by completing a course beyond the first-year level with a grade of 'B' or better, and are encouraged to choose a language that has relevance to their archaeological region or topic of interest. Students may petition to take an introductory-level course in a second language to fulfill this requirement by demonstrating the connection between the language(s) and their research interest(s).

7. Research and Independent Study

Students may count up to 5 units of research and independent study toward the Archaeology major:

Course Title Units
ARCHLGY 190 Archaeology Directed Reading/Independent Study 1-5
ARCHLGY 195 Independent Study/Research 1-5
ARCHLGY 199 Honors Independent Study 5

Honors Program

The honors program in Archaeology gives qualified majors the chance to work closely with faculty on an individual research project culminating in an honors thesis. Students may begin honors research from a number of starting points, including topics introduced in the core or upper-division courses, independent interests, research on artifacts in Stanford's collections, or fieldwork experiences.

Interested Archaeology majors of junior standing may apply for admission by submitting an honors application form, including a 4-5 page statement of the project, a transcript, and a letter of recommendation from the faculty member supervising the honors thesis to the student services specialist, no later than the end of the fourth week of the Spring Quarter. Archaeology majors are eligible to apply for honors candidacy. The thesis is due in early May of the senior year and is read by the candidate's adviser and a second reader appointed by the undergraduate committee.

Overseas Studies Courses in Archaeology

For course descriptions and additional offerings, see the listings in the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site or the Bing Overseas Studies web site. Students should consult their department or program's student services office for applicability of Overseas Studies courses to a major or minor program.