UMass Boston

Historical Archaeology MA

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Combine archaeological methods, historical research, and cultural analysis to bring the past to life.

In the Master of Arts in Historical Archaeology, you will spend two to three years in a program that prepares you for a career as an academic, professional archaeologist, or related anthropological/social science fields. Our program draws on anthropological archaeology, historical anthropology, and other disciplines. We offer you a rich venue for engaging with diverse research topics and data sources, frequently in community-engaged and collaborative contexts.

In this program, you will:

  • Develop advanced knowledge of archaeological theories, methods, and fieldwork techniques, enabling you to effectively excavate, analyze, and interpret historical artifacts and sites, and reconstruct the stories of past communities
  • Gain expertise in historical research, archival analysis, and material culture studies, allowing you to integrate historical records with archaeological evidence, and develop a comprehensive understanding of the social, economic, and cultural contexts of past societies
  • Cultivate critical thinking, ethical awareness, and communication skills, empowering you to engage with diverse stakeholders, effectively communicate research findings, and contribute to public discourse on heritage preservation and cultural interpretation

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Career Possibilities

Conduct archaeological excavations and research projects focused on specific historical periods or sites as an archaeologist. Curate exhibitions, develop educational programs, and manage historical collections in museums. Or, work with heritage organizations, preservation agencies, or architectural firms to assess, preserve, and interpret historical sites. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Become a(n):

  • Historical Archaeologist
  • Museum Curator
  • Cultural Resource Manager
  • Historical Researcher
  • Tourism Coordinator

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of recognized standing or an international equivalent at the time of enrollment
  • A minimum, cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale (or international equivalent) in all undergraduate work
  • Official transcripts for all institutions where you have earned more than 6 credits; if your transcript is in a language other than English, please include an English translation, validated by an official public translator
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • If applicable, request official TOEFL, IELTS, PTE and Duolingo scores to be sent to the University of Massachusetts Boston

Deadline & Cost

Deadlines: February 1 for fall

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar's website


Required Courses (9 Credits)

  • ANTH 625 - Graduate Seminar in Historical Archaeology 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 640 - Archaeological Methods and Analysis 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 665 - Graduate Seminar in Archaeology 3 Credit(s)

Fieldwork Course (6 Credits)

Students who can demonstrate sufficient field training and receive approval from the graduate program director may waive this requirement and complete six credits of additional elective courses.

  • ANTH 685 - Summer Field School in Historical Archaeology 6-10 Credit(s)

Electives (15 Credits)

Complete five courses from below.

  • ANTH 615 - Public Archaeology 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 635 - Material Life in New England 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 643 - Reconstruction the African Diaspora 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 645 - Topics in Environmental Archaeology 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 650 - Materials in Ancient Societies 5 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 655 - Historical Landscapes and Geographic Information Systems 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 672 - Culture Contact and Colonialism in the Americas 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 696 - Independent Study 1-6 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 697 - Special Topics in Archaeology 1-6 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 698 - Practicum in Archaeology 1-10 Credit(s)
  • AMST 604 - Gender and Sexuality in US History and Culture 3 Credit(s)
  • AMST 605 - Ethnicity, Race, and Nationality 3 Credit(s)
  • HIST 620 - Introduction to Public History and Popular Memory 3 Credit(s)
  • HIST 625 - Interpreting History in Public Approaches to Public History Practice 3 Credit(s)
  • HIST 685 - Topics in Atlantic History 3 Credit(s)
  • HIST 688 - Oral History 3 Credit(s)

Thesis Course (6 Credits)

  • ANTH 699 - Thesis Research Projects in Historical Archaeology 6-10 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete 36 credits from ten courses including three required courses, one fieldwork course, five electives, and one thesis course.

Capstone: Completion and defense of a thesis based on original research.

Minimum grade: No course with a grade below B- may be applied toward the program.
Statute of limitations: Six years.


Graduate Program Director Heather Trigg
heather.trigg [at]

Graduate Program Coordinator Marisa D. Patalano
marisa.patalano [at]

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