Archaeology Degree Requirements


An undergraduate major in archaeology or at least two courses in archaeology or ancient art combined with a major in history of art, anthropology, or ancient history. It is expected that students of classical archaeology will have a basic knowledge of Greek, Latin, Classics and ancient history, and a reading knowledge of German and French (or Italian). For students of Near Eastern archaeology, the prerequisites are ancient history and a reading knowledge of German and French (or Italian); some preliminary study of an ancient Near Eastern language is desirable. Each application is judged individually on its aims and soundness of preparation. All applicants must submit a recent research paper. The Graduate Record Examinations score submission is optional. Students are enrolled in the Ph.D. program (we do not offer terminal M.A. degrees).

Degree and Language Requirements


Modern Language Requirement

All graduate studentsincluding A.B./M.A. studentsmust pass one modern language exam prior to the completion of their master’s level work. We strongly encourage students enrolled in the Ph.D. program to complete their second required language exam prior to completion of their M.A. In consultation with the Department, however, they may choose to take it while working on their preliminary exams (i.e., usually during their third year). Passing grades in both language exams are required by the time a student becomes a Ph.D. Candidate (i.e., successfully passes their preliminary exams). The language exams are normally taken in French and German, but other languages may be accepted with the approval of the Department.

Program and Examination for the M.A.

  • Six units of work in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology or in archaeology and allied fields
  • Completion of the Graduate Intensive Survey (ARCH B602 and 603)
  • Modern Language examination as noted above
  • A master's thesis or two qualifying papers to be defended in an hour long oral examination

M.A. is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. program and will normally take two years to complete.

Program and Examinations for the Ph.D.

After completion of the M.A. program, students continue to take seminars and supervised work in preparation for the preliminary examinations and the Ph.D. dissertation. A minimum number of twelve seminars is required for the completion of the Ph.D. degree. A program of study is designed for each individual student in consultation with the department. Participation in fieldwork projects under the auspices of Bryn Mawr College or other schools is arranged when possible.

The preliminary examinations are normally taken by the end of the third year of graduate study. Four special fields of study (one of which may be an allied field) are prepared for the preliminary examinations. The examinations consist of four, four-hour papers and an oral examination. Passing grades in both modern language exams are required by the time a student becomes a Ph.D. Candidate (see above).

All graduate students start their dissertation research in their fourth year of graduate study. They are encouraged to study abroad. While students of Classical Archaeology are advised to spend a year at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, students of Near Eastern Archaeology are advised to attend a center of archaeological research in their area of concentration. Museums and fieldwork projects in Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East should be visited in the course of the year(s) spent abroad. 

All graduate students focus exclusively on their Ph.D.-thesis in their fifth and sixth year. In consultation with their advisor, they present their doctoral research at professional conferences. The GSAS Office offers conference presentation grants for eligible students. Students must submit the dissertation and a separate vita to the GSAS Office by the deadline following the Guidelines for Dissertation Format and Submission. The Ph.D. Dissertation Defense must last at least one hour.

Additional Ph.D. Requirements

  • Completion of a GSem
  • Successful completion of graduate-level coursework in one ancient language