The Professional Archaeology Specialization in the Anthropology Masters of Art is an Option I specialization. The specialization requirements are more structured in the area of archaeology courses and less structured in the area of biological and cultural anthropology requirements, compared with the general MA program in Anthropology.

Master of Arts Specialization in Professional Archaeology

The goal of the MA specialization in Professional Archaeology is to prepare students to move immediately into positions of responsibility in the area of heritage or cultural resources management. The objectives of the specialization include exposing students to classroom situations that deal with legal and technical aspects of compliance. In addition, students will complete an internship that will expose them to real-life aspects of cultural resource management. Finally, students will complete a thesis to demonstrate their ability to design and execute research that is contextually situated, addresses important issues in the evolving literature, and is well written. All of these experiences are framed by a holistic anthropological approach.

General Requirements for Professional Archaeology

Students interested in this program should have a good foundation in Anthropology and basic archaeological field methods. Students are required to complete a minimum 36 credit hour course of study that includes an Archaeology Core (18 credit hours), a thesis (6 credit hours), an internship (3 credit hours),  Anthropology courses (6 credit hours), and other disciplinary courses (3 hours).


BA/BS in Anthropology or equivalent
At least one season of archaeological field experience
Advanced coursework in Archaeology, Cultural/Social Anthropology and Biological/Physical Anthropology
Highly recommended: statistics, GIS, coursework in archaeological material analysis

Requirements (36 hours)

Listed classes are 3 credit hours unless noted otherwise


Archaeology (18 credit hours)

Core Archaeology (6-9 credit hours)

  • 831 Historical Archaeology
  • 832 History and Philosophy of Archaeology
  • 835 Heritage Management Archaeology
  • 935 Seminar in Archaeology


Regional overview (3-6 credit hours)

  • 833 North American Archaeology (required for Federal employment)
  • 834 Great Plains Archaeology
  • 836 Ancient Maya
  • 837 Cultural Heritage of the American Southwest
  • 838 Topics in Old World Archaeology: Archaeologies of Europe

Archaeology methods and skills (6 credit hours)

  • 806 Visualizing the Ancient City
  • 816 Digital Anthropologies
  • 861 Geospatial Approaches in Digital Humanities & Social Sciences
  • 875 Artisan Technologies Past and Present
  • 882 Landscape Archaeology
  • 884 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology
  • 887A Archaeological Materials - Ceramics
  • 887B Analysis of Archaeological Materials - Lithics
  • 887D Analysis of Archaeological Materials - Archaofauna
  • 887E Analysis of Archaeological Materials - Historic Material Culture
  • 889 GIS in Archaeology
  • 898 Special Topics: Archaeological Collections Management

Anthropology (6 credit hours)

  • 812 Family, Marriage, and Kinship
  • 817 History of Anthropological Theory
  • 818 Ethnology and Museums
  • 851 Indians of Contemporary North America
  • 872 Belief Systems in Anthropological Perspective
  • 873 Ecological Anthropology
  • 874 Applied and Development Anthropology
  • 877 Hunters-Gatherers
  • 888 Contentious Issues in Anthropology
  • 822 Medical Anthropology
  • 842 Human Variation
  • 843 Dental Anthropology
  • 844 Human Osteology
  • 848 Human Growth and Development
  • 851 Contemporary Issues of Indigenous People in North America
  • 882 Research Methods in Anthropology

Thesis (6 credit hours)
Anth 899 Thesis

Internship (3 credit hours)
Anth 895 Internship in Archaeology

Disciplinary Courses (3-4 credit hours)
in Architecture, Art and Art History, Community and Regional Planning, Education, Geography, or Geosciences.

863 Architectural Preservation

Art and Art History
311 Greek Art and Archaeology (can be arranged to be taken at the 800 level)
313 Roman Art and Archaeology (can be arranged to be taken at the 800 level)

Community and Regional Planning
833 GIS in Environmental Design and Planning
895T Historic Preservation Planning

830 Introduction to Philosophy of Education

Forensic Science
846 Pollen Analysis for Behavioral, Biological, and Forensic Science

812 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (4 cr)
818 Introduction to Remote Sensing (4 cr)
819 Remote Sensing II - Non-Photographic Sensors (4 cr)
820 Remote Sensing III - Digital Image Analysis (4 cr)
822 Advanced Techniques in Geographic Information Systems (4 cr)
827 Introduction to the Global Positioning System (GPS) (2 cr)

823 Quaternary Ecology and Climate
850 Surficial Processes and Landscape Evolution

Program Personnel and Organization

The Archeology program faculty at UNL includes Effie Athanassopoulos, Phil Geib, Carrie Heitman, Heather Richards-Rissetto, LuAnn Wandsnider and affiliate Adjunct Associate Professor Alan Osborn (UN State Museum); Midwest Archaeological Center Adjunct Professor Vergil Noble; Nebraska State Historical Society Adjunct Lecturer J. Rob Bozell; and, Research Professors William Hunt and Ralph Hartley. All of these faculty members are involved in offering the core courses in archaeology. Additional support is provided by Professor Michael Hoff and Assistant Professor Phil Sapirstein (Art and Art History).  See our directory to view faculty profiles.


Students will apply through the Graduate Committee of the Anthropology Program in Anthropology during the regular graduate admission period (typically, early spring semester), specifying this specialization. Student presently admitted to the Anthropology Graduate program may submit a letter indicating their preference to follow the Professional Archaeology specialization curriculum no later than one semester into their graduate work at UNL. If the applicants meet the prerequisites and if faculty resources and internship opportunities are available, they will be admitted. Students are assigned a first-year advisor and, for their second year, may select any of the archaeology program faculty as a thesis or internship advisor.