Launch of new MA Program in Archaeological Heritage

Cele Wolman in Wexley
Cele Wolman
TJ Thompson showing an artifact and wearing a hat
TJ Thompson
Maddy Henley driving a boat
Maddy Henley

In September 2021 UW Anthropology welcomed our inaugural cohort of three students into a new MA Program in Archaeological Heritage. This program addresses a regional need for advanced training in archaeology which is not filled by existing programs, and will provide trained practitioners with the skills necessary for careers in archaeology.

This new program was designed to give students specifically interested in careers in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) a clear path to qualifications and job opportunities.The vast majority of archaeologists in the US work in the CRM industry, creating job opportunities for those with undergraduate and graduate degrees. Our program is designed to better align our training to prepare students for these careers. As one current student in the program, Cele Wolman explains, “I have enormous appreciation for and faith in the expertise and knowledge of the faculty at UW in this department. Many of them have published work that was assigned in my undergraduate classes. Also, the department has a close relationship with the entire CRM community in Seattle.”

The MA Program in Archaeological Heritage builds on the foundation of UW’s highly ranked undergraduate and PhD programs in archaeology, and leverages other UW resources including campus labs and the Burke Museum. Graduates of the BA or BS program in Archaeological Sciences or Indigenous Archaeology at UW, or those with an equivalent bachelor’s degree from other institutions, are given preference in admissions. This was optimal timing for TJ Thompson, a current student in the program. “I was just finishing my BS in Archaeological Science at the UW and had begun thinking of graduate school. I had decided that I wanted to pursue an MA in archaeology and at the time of that decision the UW had only offered a PhD program, so I was looking at other universities. When the MA Archaeological Heritage program was announced, it seemed as if fate was interdicting, and I decided to continue my studies here.” 

Incoming students can potentially complete their MA degree in 12 months, which allows significant tuition savings compared to other MA programs in our region while still maintaining the highest caliber training. Student Maddy Henley is only in her first quarter at UW, but already says that the program “certainly seems to have excellent facilities, with different types of high-end lab equipment. Access to research materials is great.”  Moreover, “the staff want you to succeed. The UW archaeology community is very welcoming as well. This has made transitioning from work to school easier than I expected.” 

A 17-member Advisory Board has been convened to help guide the program, and includes members from Tribal, Federal and State cultural resource agencies, plus private consulting businesses, many of whom are UW Anthropology alumni. A significant part of student training and experience will happen during internships and thesis projects guided by advisory board members and other CRM practitioners.