University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archaeology: Masters Requirement

Prerequisites for Admission

Admission to the Archaeology area in the Anthropology Graduate Program is determined by the rules and regulations of the Graduate School and by the Archaeology faculty. Prospective students must send their application to the Graduate School Admissions Office and the Anthropology Department. See Admission for more details regarding application and admission. The deadline to apply is December 1.

Archaeology Faculty: Bunn, Clayton, Kenoyer, Kim, Schroeder

Requirements for the Master’s Degree Program

Student must complete a total of 30 credits of graduate course work, including three seminars (Anthro. 942) in archaeology.  Substitutions for the required seminars in archaeology are not normally allowed. (Incoming MA students must take at least two seminars as a part of the Ph.D. requirements, and these classes may be taken before or after the Qualifying Examination; see below.)

Qualifying Examinations Requirement in Archaeology

All graduate students are required to take the qualifying examinations. The examinations include a written component, given in two parts (1: World Prehistory, and 2: Method and Theory, each four hours in length on two consecutive days); a prepared bibliography; and research paper component.

The format of the written examination is as follows. Questions are provided to students one week in advance of the examinations. In preparation for the written examination, students will draw from course work, archaeological literature, and departmental lectures and colloquia. Students should consult their advisor and faculty members in the archaeology section for suggested readings. Incoming students should take courses in areas of weakness or lack of knowledge along with graduate seminars to improve their basic comprehension of archaeology. Examinations are given anonymously and are evaluated by the departmental archaeologists in residence. Each part of the exam is ranked as 1) fail; 2) MA pass with no retake; 3) MA pass with retake; 4) Ph.D. pass.

Part 1, World Prehistory: In addition to three sets of questions asked of all students in a given cohort, one question in this section will focus on a geographic region of interest selected in advance by each student in consultation with their advisor. This question will require that the student be familiar with past and current archaeological research and literature related to their intended doctoral dissertation research.

Part 2, Method and Theory: In addition to three sets of questions asked of all students in a given cohort, one question in this section will focus on a topic selected in advance by each student in consultation with their advisor. This question will require that the student be familiar with the theoretical concepts and methodological approaches specific to their intended doctoral dissertation research.

The Master’s thesis is not required. In lieu of a thesis, each student will consult with his/her advisor to develop one research paper and a separate, comprehensive bibliography as described below. The paper should result from a graduate seminar in archaeology, taken in the context of coursework in the Program, and must be revised based on feedback from the professor whose course it was written for.

In addition, each student is required to submit a thorough and well-organized bibliography of literature related to their intended doctoral research. This bibliography is to include references to key literature relevant to their region(s) of specialization as well as the methodological and theoretical approaches important for their research.

The paper and bibliography will be submitted one month prior to the qualifying exam and will be read, reviewed, and approved by the Archaeology Section faculty. The paper and bibliography will be archived with the student’s records. Students will be awarded the Master’s degree only when the paper and bibliography have been approved, the qualifying exams have been passed successfully, and all other criteria (credit requirement, degree deadlines, GPA etc.) have been met.

Student Responsibilities in Archaeology

    1. Attend department colloquia and brown-bag lectures.
    2. Maintain desk and laboratory space.
    3. Know requirements for curriculum and degree from department and Graduate School.
    4. Provide a minimum of two weeks notice to faculty for requesting letters of recommendation, proposals, Preliminary Examination, etc. When requesting letters of recommendations include self-addressed and stamped envelopes.
    5. The doctoral dissertation should be delivered at least two months prior to the desired defense date.
    6. First-year students are responsible for arranging a room, audio-visual equipment, and speakers for the Brown Bag Lecture every Friday noon during both semesters.
    7. Dissertators taking Thesis Credits or Reading and Research Credits will provide a written statement of progress to their advisor by the last day of classes each Fall and Spring semester.