MA in Archaeological Heritage

Program Overview

Admission |Cost | Course Requirements | Advisor & Supervisory Committee | Internship | Thesis Project | Subsequent Studies

The Master of Arts in Archaeological Heritage program, established in 2021, is designed to provide graduate training and credentials to qualify students for careers in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) in the United States and abroad. These career areas employ the majority of archaeologists globally. 

Each student is required to:

  1. Gain knowledge of archaeological theory and ethics, archaeological analytical methods, archaeological field methods, archaeological data and histories of research, and the relationship between archaeology and heritage;
  2. Obtain an understanding of CRM and heritage law;
  3. Complete coursework and an archaeological internship in the field of CRM;
  4. Complete an MA thesis project using knowledge or archaeological research design and reporting.
  5. Complete Master’s degree requirements set by the UW Graduate School


Anyone with interest in an archaeological heritage career is welcome to apply to the program. However, admission is prioritized for students who have completed the requirements of UW undergraduate option programs in archaeology (such as Archaeological Sciences or Indigenous Archaeology), or equivalent from another university. Equivalence would consist of an introductory archaeology course (e.g. any 200 level ARCHY class in our course catalog), 3 archaeology related lab classes, and a minimum of 15 additional credits in the fields of archaeological sciences or indigenous archaeology. 

Admission Requirements

Applicants are not required to submit GRE's. The application deadline for admission consideration in Autumn 2025 is January 15, 2025. Applications open on September 15th. Please visit the Graduate School's Admission Requirements page for a complete list of requirements. Visit Anthropology's Graduate Admissions page for admission information specific to our department. Please visit Apply Now to submit your application. 

Relevant Experience

Relevant experience includes but is not limited to: course work in anthropology or archaeology, participation in an archaeological dig, field school attendance, and/or relevant career experience (i.e. museum work, historical records, architectural history, industrial heritage, etc.). 


Students pay regular UW graduate tuition rates depending on Washington residency status. With good planning, students who have completed one of the UW Archaeology undergraduate programs or their equivalent elsewhere can complete this rigorous high-quality MA degree in 3-4 additional quarters (9-12 months) at UW, saving significantly on tuition costs compared to many MA programs in the US. Currently, there is extremely limited funding support for MA students. Please visit the Cost of Admission page on the Office of Admission's website for more information.

Course Requirements

Incoming students will meet regularly with their advisor to plan coursework appropriate for their career goals, considering prior coursework and experience. MA students are also expected to attend all archaeological guest lectures, seminars, and student colloquia. Program requirements are listed below.

  • ARCHY 500-level courses (student works with advisor to identify appropriate courses) (min 17 credits at 500 level)
  • Archaeology field school taught by UW faculty or approved alternative, such as a non-UW field school or other field or equivalent professional experience (min 5 credits at 400 or 500 level); field schools completed before students enter the MA program may qualify.
  • ARCHY 601 internship with a CRM government agency or private contractor working on actual projects under their supervision, minimum 150 hours (minimum 5 credits at 600 level)
  • ARCHY 710 MA Thesis Project including a written report (minimum 9 credits at 700 level); examples include a written CRM project final report that could be linked directly to the internship or a CRM project proposal plus a context statement and reflection.

Total minimum 36 credits, 18 of which at 500-level or higher

Advisor & Supervisory Committee

Incoming MA students will be assigned a faculty advisor. As soon as possible after beginning the program, students will work with their faculty advisor to appoint a Supervisory Committee. At least 2 members of the Master's Supervisory Committee must be members of the Archaeology faculty. Please refer to Policy 4.2.1: The Master's Supervisory Committee for a complete list of Supervisory Committee composition requirements. Students are free to change advisors or Supervisory Committee members at any time.


Faculty advisors will help students arrange for an internship with a CRM government agency or private contractor, and/or other heritage organizations. For most students, internships should take place in winter and/or spring quarter of year 1.The internship will include working on CRM projects under the supervision of the agency or company staff member, and must include a minimum 150 hours (completion of 5 credits of ARCHY 601). Ideally, internships will lead to possible Thesis Projects.

Thesis Project

MA students must complete a Thesis Project including a written Report and Context Statement (minimum 9 credits ARCHY 710). Examples include a written CRM project final report, a CRM project proposal, a heritage impact assessment or other written product used in the archaeological heritage field. Completed MA Thesis Projects (including report and context statement) will be uploaded to UW Research Works, which offers options for protection of sensitive information. Students should check with project advisors to ensure sensitive information is handled properly. Context Statement should include the information listed below:

  1. A general statement about your type of project, with background about its purpose, intended audience and the different parties involved.
  2. The background to your particular project, and, if it differs from the standard, how.
  3. How and when you became involved in the project, your role in writing the report and other aspects (e.g. field work, meetings with clients, other background research, etc.), and, if other people worked with you, the division of labor.
  4. How you handled sensitive info and the review and redaction process (without giving away sensitive info).
  5. Reflection on your experience being involved in the project, how you will use this experience going forward in your career, and helpful guidance for future MA students.

Thesis Project Presentation

The student must submit a Masters (Non-Thesis) request in MyGrad prior to completing their presentation. MA students will work closely with their advisor(s) and committee members to review drafts of their project and context statement. When the committee is satisfied with that work and approve awarding of the MA degree, students will present their project to the department and other invited guests. The presentation should be in the style of a professional or academic conference paper, typically a 15-20 minute presentation followed by q/a with the audience. Presentations should be done in the same quarter as degree completion.

Subsequent Studies

MA students may apply for admission to the UW PhD program in Archaeology. However, completion of the UW MA program does not guarantee admission to the Archaeology PhD program.