Graduate Program

Archaeology embraces all aspects of the human past through study of its material physical remains. It is a capacious discipline that welcomes, incorporates, and reinforces the approaches of all disciplines involved in the study of the past. From the investigation of ritual and sacred spaces to biomolecular research on human health and disease, there are few forms of investigation of the human past that do not find new insights through the application of archaeological approaches. Precisely because of its great interdisciplinarity and the broad spectrum of its potential contributions to advanced research and distinguished teaching, graduate students working in fields as diverse as Classics, History or Chemistry may find it advantageous intellectually and academically to gain serious exposure to the methods and materials of archaeological research. To that end, the Standing Committee has developed a secondary PhD field in Archaeology.


Students should select an advisor in Archaeology, ordinarily from the list of Faculty members of the Standing Committee on Archaeology and outside the student's home department. Courses required for the Secondary Field should be selected in consultation with the student's Archaeology advisor and approved as indicated below. Further consultations will be available with the Chair of the Standing Committee, and with the members of the SCA subcommittee on the Secondary Ph.D. field.


Candidates should submit to the SCA for approval in advance a proposal identifying courses that will serve to fulfill this requirement.

Students will be required to take four half-courses, distributed as follows:

  1. One framing half-course chosen in consultation with the advisor. Examples are listed below. These are courses that offer an overview of archaeological methods and practices, as well as a broad orientation in the field. These are courses that offer an overview of archaeological methods and practices as well as a broad orientation in the field.
    • Anthropology 2270a (Archaeological Method and Theory), OR Anthropology 2250a OR 2250b (Proseminars in Archaeology)
    • SLS 16 Human Evolution and the Human Body or a half-course in Human Evolutionary Biology with significant archaeological framing content, as available
    • Introductory half-course in Classical Archaeology(The Classics) or in Medieval Archaeology (History) or in Near Eastern Archaeology (NELC), as available
  2. Three upper level undergraduate or graduate half-courses of related interest that contain significant archaeological content.

    1. Substantial excavation experience on a project approved in advance may be substituted for one of the three courses.
    2. Attendance and participation in regularly scheduled, year-long GSAS archaeologically-themed workshop or course equivalents, culminating in a graded written report and (optional) presentation to the workshop evaluating its lessons that will be submitted to the student's archaeology advisor and the subcommittee on the secondary field, may, with advance approval, be substituted for one of the three courses.
      • The Medieval History Workshop
      • The East Asian Archaeology Seminar
      • Harvard Archaeology Program Seminar Series
      • History 3 0 l 0: Archaeology and history of early medieval Europe

All course work taken for completion of the Secondary Field must be passed with a grade of B+ or better.