Information on Applying

To apply for the Historical Archaeology Graduate Program, please visit the Office of Graduate Admissions in person or on the web. In addition to the application form, you will need to provide a two-part personal essay stating interests and intent, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GRE scores. Click for details. International applicants may have to submit TOEFL scores and other documentation, as outlined here.

We also welcome the submission of any writing sample(s) that might help the Graduate Committee evaluate writing, research, or analytical ability. The deadline for priority consideration for admission and funding is February 1 of each year for the coming Fall semester. We highly discourage prospective students from applying for Spring admissions since our program is based on a cohort model. Applications for Spring admissions typically are denied or deferred in decision until the Fall admissions cycle.

We expect applicants to have a background in archaeology, which is normally provided with a baccalaureate degree in anthropology or archaeology; however, undergraduate or graduate degrees in historic preservation, history, American studies, art history, Classics, Egyptology, sociology, and allied fields are accepted if the applicant demonstrates sufficient background and potential. We realize that archaeology/anthropology may not have been available to all undergraduates except as a minor field of study or as only a few courses and that some students “find” the field too late to have changed their undergraduate major anyway. Those admitted who show solid potential but insufficient background may be required to take select undergraduate courses in addition to the regular graduate curriculum to compensate for the deficiencies in background that might affect their performance at the graduate level. A better option for such students seeking admission – since they will be competing for a slot in the program with those who have the requisite undergraduate training – is to boost their background beyond the already-awarded bachelor’s degree by taking undergraduate archaeology courses before applying.

The Historical Archaeology M.A. Program offers financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships, a rare opportunity for archaeology and anthropology master’s programs in the U.S. These funds come from the Office of Graduate Studies and the external grants and contracts frequently awarded to our faculty and research staff. Assistantships are awarded competitively to incoming and continuing students based primarily on merit criteria drawn from your application materials, and these awards involve tuition remissions, partial fee waivers, and paid research hours to work on faculty and department projects as well as gain some teaching experience. These involve no separate application than the one for regular graduate admission, but please indicate in your personal statement if you are not interested in such an opportunity. Otherwise, you will be considered automatically and notified with or soon after an offer of admission is made.

For further information, please contact Professor Stephen Silliman, Graduate Program Director, at or 617-287-6854. You may also contact the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Anthropology, Barbara Davis, at or 617-287-6850 if you would like a hard-copy of the “Graduate Handbook” (available in PDF) or have general questions.