# MA Program

## Overview

### Prospective Students

The MA Program in Archaeology at Cornell is designed to provide students with an intensive orientation to the field, appropriate to both students with BA degrees in the liberal arts who have considerable experience in archaeology and those seeking to build a solid foundation for future work or study. The goal of the program is to offer students the intellectual resources and institutional support necessary to prepare them for successful admissions to top tier PhD programs and for careers beyond academia.

Cornell Archaeology supports a diverse array of interests, ranging from material culture studies to public archaeology, museum studies, archaeological science, and archaeological method and theory. Archaeology at Cornell is deeply committed to multidisciplinary studies. Faculty in Archaeology belong to the fields of Anthropology, Classics, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, History of Art, Landscape Architecture, Near Eastern Studies, and City and Regional Planning.

The ideal trajectory toward the MA should result in the completion of all requirements within 12-18 months, although extensions to 24 months are allowed when warranted by a student’s research program.

## Overall Requirements

Conferral of the MA in Archaeology entails satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

• 8 courses at the 6000 level or higher;
• Arkeo 6100: The Craft of Archaeology (offered in the Spring);
• A thesis;
• Successful completion of the MA exam;
• 2 semesters in residence (i.e., taking courses on the Ithaca campus)

## Courses and Distribution

Within the total of 8 required courses, at least 4 must satisfy the following requirements:

• 1 course at the 6000+ level devoted to Archaeological Theory;
• 1 course at the 6000+ level devoted to Archaeological Method;
• 1 course at the 6000+ level devoted to the Archaeology of a Region;
• 1 additional archaeology course at the 6000+ level (this could be Archaeological Research Design, ARKEO 6250, or Master’s Thesis, ARKEO 8901)

During the Fall semester, students are required to enroll in the CIAMS Core Seminar in Archaeological Theory and Method (ARKEO 7000). This course is intended for the entire entering cohort and is required in order to apply for research funding from CIAMS. The CIAMS Seminar will typically satisfy either the course requirement in Archaeological Theory or Archaeological Method. In Fall 2021, it will satisfy the former.

During the Spring semester, students are required to enroll in The Craft of Archaeology (ARKEO 6100). This course, co-taught by the in-residence faculty, provides practical advice on thesis development, professional skills, and career trajectories within and beyond academia. Students are also strongly encouraged to enroll in Archaeological Research Design (ARKEO 6250) in the Spring.

Only one course to be counted in the total of 8 required courses may be taken S/U. All the rest must be taken for a quality grade.

If a course is not available in a given area of interest, students may speak to relevant faculty to discuss the possibility of an independent study. Students are advised to take no more than one independent study, but exceptions can be made in consultation with the Graduate Affairs Committee or the Special Committee.

Click here for a list of all MA courses by distribution.

## Model Course of Study

Each student’s course of study is guided by the Graduate Advisory Committee. There is thus no single model for a program of study. One possible model for a 2-semester curriculum would be:

 Semester 1 Course in Archaeological Theory (CIAMS Seminar) Course in Archaeological Method Course in the Archaeology of a Region Other elective or language* Semester 2 The Craft of Archaeology Course in Archaeological Theory or Method Course on the Archaeology of a Region Other elective or language Archaeological Research Design End of Semester 1 Establish special committee Graduation Semester MA Exam Submission of MA thesis Before Day 1 of Semester 2 Submit research proposal to committee

* See section on language below

Each student’s tailored course of study is developed in close consultation with faculty advisors. Entering students receive guidance initially from the temporary advisor assigned to them upon admissions and from the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC). Composed of the DGS, CIAMS director, and one additional faculty member, the role of the GAC is to provide advice until such time as the Special Committee is constituted and to provide any assistance that might fall outside of the academic purview of the special committee (e.g., issues pertaining to the Graduate School, TAships, etc.).

Please note that the Graduate School requires all students to have registered an adviser online via Student Center by the 3rd week of the fall semester. If you have not selected a Special Committee chair by this time, you should select the DGS or the adviser who was assigned to you in your letter of admissions. Once a Special Committee has been formed, you can remove the temporary member or alter their status as needed.

You should establish a Special Committee, including Chair and Minor Member(s) by the end of Fall semester. The Special Committee is ultimately responsible for all decisions regarding a student’s academic trajectory. Each student should officially constitute a Special Committee no later than the end of the first semester in residence. The committee chair must be a member of the Field of Archaeology; the second member can be chosen from the Graduate Faculty at large, in consultation with the Chair. Students may change the composition of their committees at any time if needed.

## Language

There is no language requirement for the Archaeology MA. However, the Special Committee can advise language study as appropriate. In particular, for some MA research papers – where relevant primary sources or key scholarly literature are not available in English – it will be necessary for students to demonstrate suitable minimum language ability (as advised by the Special Committee) at least by the time of their MA defense.

Language courses do count toward the 8-course requirement but they must be taken at the 5000+ level. If you wish to take a lower-level language course that does not have a graduate number, contact the DGS to discuss options.

## MA Thesis

The final thesis for the MA in Archaeology should present a piece of original research on a topic of empirical, theoretical, or methodological importance. It must not exceed 30 pages including tables, figures, bibliography and notes (using standard formatting in accordance with graduate school requirements). It should aim to be similar in quality and scale to those published in professional archaeological journals.

No later than the second week of spring semester, students must submit to their Special Committee a short (maximum 4 pages) proposal detailing the focus of their thesis.

## MA Exam

After submission of the MA research paper an oral examination is convened with the Special Committee and any other Archaeology Field members who choose to attend.