Undergraduate Program

A&S graduating senior

Majoring in Archaeology

Joining the major:

Requirements for the major:

Coursework requirements:

  • 32 credit hours from the Archaeology Course List or related fields
  • 16 of the credit hours must be at the 3000-level or above.

Distribution requirements

Major distribution requirements: (Students are required to take the following number of courses from different categories within the Archaeology Course List.)

  • Comparative Survey: One course.
  • Methods/Theory: Two courses.
  • Regional Concentrations: Students must take a minimum of one course in at least two different regional concentrations.

Some notes on course credits:

  • Students select their courses in consultation with a major advisor of their choosing. In some areas of specialization, intensive language training should be coordinated with other studies as early as the freshman year.
  • To receive credit towards the major, students must receive a grade of C or better within a course.
  • A maximum of 4 of the 32 required credit hours can come from independent study courses (e.g., Arkeo 3000 Individual Study).

Fieldwork requirement:

  • Because engagement with original research is a critical part of archaeological education, students are required to participate in some form of hands-on research experience approved by their advisor and the DUS. Students may obtain research experience through a range of means, including but not limited to traditional fieldwork, and students should consult with their advisor about what kind of research might best meet their needs and interests. Some options might include participation in field-based or collections-based coursework, field-based research directed by Cornell faculty or outside researchers or institutions, hands-on laboratory research, working with museum collections, or another supervised research experience that goes beyond traditional classroom learning. Under exceptional circumstances, this requirement may be waived by special permission of the student’s advisor and the DUS.
  • Fieldwork requirement form

For those students who opt to pursue research that would require travel beyond Cornell, both CIAMS and the College of Arts and Sciences provide substantial funding to reduce or eliminate costs associated with undergraduate participation in extramural fieldwork or other kinds of materials-based research. More information can be found at the following links:

Graduating with Honors

Undergraduate students interested in working for an Honors degree should apply to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in Archaeology in the second semester of their junior year (requests for late admission may be considered, but in no case later than the second week of the first semester of the senior year).  It is the student’s responsibility to identify an appropriate topic for a thesis and to find a faculty member willing to sponsor and supervise the research; the adviser and at least the general subject of the thesis must be identified at the time of application for admission to the Honors program.


Admission to the Honors Program requires an overall GPA of 3.0 or greater and a 3.5 GPA in the major.  In addition, the student should have no outstanding Incompletes in major courses (provisional admission with Incompletes is possible at the discretion of the Chair of the Honors Committee on evidence that a good faith effort to finish them is underway).

Students working for Honors normally register for Archaeology 4981: Honors Thesis Research, in the first semester of their senior year; the thesis adviser will assign a grade for the course based on an assessment of the student’s research.  In the second semester of the senior year, students register for Archaeology 4982: Honors Thesis Write-up.  Note that either Archaeology 4981 or 4982, but not both, may count toward the minimum hours for completion of the Archaeology major.


Submission of a thesis does not guarantee an Honors degree.  Each thesis will be read by at least two faculty members in addition to the student’s thesis adviser; readers will be selected in consultation with the DUS and Archaeology Program Director.  Each faculty reader will submit an evaluation of the thesis and a recommendation for a grade for Archaeology 4982.

At least three copies of a final draft of the thesis must be submitted to the thesis adviser no later than the Monday of the 13th week of classes of the semester in which the student expects to graduate (April 20th for Spring 2020).  The thesis should be a complete draft at this point, with illustrations, citations and bibliography.  Citations and other stylistic considerations (e.g., footnotes vs endnotes) should be worked out in consultation with the thesis adviser.

The thesis adviser will distribute copies to the other readers and may schedule a conference in which the readers discuss the thesis with the student.  The student may wish to revise the draft in light of the discussion, and readers may wish to see the revisions before submitting their evaluations and grade recommendations; the thesis adviser will coordinate these arrangements.  A final, inexpensively bound, copy of the thesis, signed on the title page by the thesis adviser, must be submitted to the DUS no later than the Friday of the week following the last week of classes (May 15th for Spring 2020).  All faculty recommendations are due on that day as well.

The student’s major adviser, the DUS, and any other interested faculty thesis reader will make recommendations about whether Honors should be awarded, and if so at what level.  This recommendation is based on the student’s overall performance; that is, the criteria include, but are not limited to, the thesis.  Possible recommendations are: no honors, Honors (cum laude), High Honors (magna cum laude), and Highest Honors (summa cum laude). In any case in which there is substantial disagreement among the recommendations, the DUS will seek to resolve the disagreement in whatever manner seems most appropriate and fair.  The DUS will notify the entire faculty of tentative Honors recommendations before they are transmitted to the Dean.

Students have the right to appeal any recommendation concerning Honors that they feel is inappropriate.  Procedures for such appeal can be worked out on an ad hoc basis by the DUS and the Program Director.

At least one copy of each Honors thesis will be retained by the department and filed in some convenient place for the guidance of future Honors candidates.

Minoring in Archaeology

Joining the minor

Requirements for the minor

Coursework requirements:

(Students must take 5 archaeology courses, including courses from the following categories - see Archaeology Course List):

  • Comparative Survey: One course.
  • Methods/Theory: One course.
  • Regional Concentrations: Students must take a minimum of one course in at least two different regional concentrations.
  • Note: To receive credit towards the minor for a course, students must receive a grade of C or better.


Fieldwork is recommended, but not required.

  • Minors are encouraged to gain some fieldwork experience.
  • Scholarship opportunities for fieldwork: Minors are eligible for Hirsch Scholarships in support of fieldwork on the same basis as majors. See further information at https://archaeology.cornell.edu/funding.