Requirements for the Major

Entrance Requirements
Requirements for the Major
Honors Program in Archaeology
Additional Information about Majoring in Archaeology at UW-L

Important Facts about the Archaeological Studies Major

The Archaeological Studies Program is designed as a quality, comprehensive course of study potentially leading to a B.A. or B.S. degree in Archaeological Studies.  To ensure that our students have the greatest possible access to faculty, courses, and facilities, the Archaeological Studies pre-majors and majors enrollment is capped at a total of 125 at any point in time.  When enrollment is at 100, students who wish to register as a major must wait until an opening is created by graduation of program majors.  Currently, about 20 majors graduate each year.

Steps to Becoming a Major

If you wish to become a member of the program, you must follow a series of steps.  First you must enroll as a pre-major in Archaeological Studies.  This is important because each applicant will be assigned an archaeologist as an advisor.  To register as a pre-major, you must declare your intention by filling out a form at the College of Liberal Studies Office at 227 Graff Main Hall.  If the available slots for the pre-major/major are filled, priority is assigned based on the date you submit your form.  Only students who have been admitted to the program are classified as Archaeological Studies majors.

Entrance Requirements

Admission to the Archaeological Studies Program as a major is based on the following minimum requirements:

  • Prior to applying for the major, completion of the following archaeology courses with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00:

    • ARC 195,

    • ARC 200,

    • and two other 200- or 300-level archaeology courses

      These courses will apply toward the major after acceptance into the program.

  • An overall GPA of 2.5 for all university work completed

  • Completion of 32 total credits

  • Completion of the Archaeological Studies Major application form

The above requirements are considered minimum criteria.  Admittance to the program is limited and competitive.

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Requirements for the Major

1.    Core courses

All of the following are required for Archaeological Studies majors.

ARC 195 Archaeology (3 cr.), offered every fall semester.  Students should take this introductory course the Fall Semester of their first (freshman) year, or as soon as possible after declaring the Pre-Archaeological Studies Major.

ARC 200 World Archaeology (3 cr.), offered every spring semester.  Students should take this course the Spring Semester of their first (freshman) year or as soon as possible after declaring the Pre-Archaeological Studies Major.

ARC 402 Field Methods in Archaeology (3-8 cr.), offered only in the summer.
Taking ARC 402 is a critical step in becoming a major and an archaeologist.  Field Methods (Field School) in Archaeology is offered nearly every year by UW-La Crosse faculty.  It may be taken at another accredited institution if the field school is directed by a qualified archaeologist.  The Field School must be at least 6 weeks in length (30 field days) and be offered for 6 credits or more.  A group of shorter field programs, may in exceptional circumstances, be strung together to satisfy the requirement.  DO NOT wait until your senior year to complete this requirement.  You cannot graduate with a degree in Archaeological Studies without having completed this requirement

ARC 455 Historical and Theoretical Perspectives in Archaeology (3 cr.).  This course is offered only every other spring semester so students must plan ahead and take ARC 455 either their Junior or Senior year.

ARC 499 Senior Project/Thesis in Archaeology (3 cr.), offered every spring.  Senior Project/Thesis is the capstone course for the Archaeological Studies Major and is taken during a student's senior year.  The purpose of this course is to allow a student to mentor with faculty and demonstrate his or her ability to engage in, and present the results of a research project.
Students are encouraged to select a possible ARC 499 topic during their junior year and begin reading and/or research for their ARC 499 project under and ARC 409 course: Readings and Research in Archaeology.  This should be designed as a one-on-one consultation with a faculty advisor/mentor with a very specific topic and approach.
The Senior Project/Thesis is offered only during the spring semester.  Any student planning to graduate at the end of the fall semester must take ARC 499 the previous spring semester or wait until the following spring semester.  No transfer students will be allowed to enroll in ARC 499 until they have completed two contiguous, full-time semesters at UW-La Crosse, plus the basic requirements (including ARC 195, Arc 200, and ARC 402, with the required GPA), and are officially admitted as an Archaeological Studies Major.                                                                                                                                                                    

The General Education course ARC 100, Archaeology: Discovering Our Past, is not recommended for students pursuing an Archaeological Studies Major.  Archaeological Studies students will take the introductory course ARC 195 which will provide them with a strong foundation in archaeological method and theory that will allow them to achieve at a higher level in their subsequent archaeology coursework.

2. At least two of the following area or topical courses for a total of 6 credits
    * Credits vary for some courses, check current catalog; all others are 3 credits each.

ARC 204             Ancient Literate Civilizations (3 cr.)
ARC 205             North American Archaeology (3 cr.)
ARC 275             Ancient Britain and Ireland (3 cr.)
ARC 280             Archaeology of the Andes (3 cr.)
ARC 285             Archaeology of Mexico and Central America (3 cr.)
ARC 310             Midwest Archaeology (3 cr.)
ARC/ANT 315      Prairie-Plains Archaeology (3 cr.)
ARC 320             Historical Archaeology (3 cr.)
ARC/HIS 331       The Ancient Greek World (3 cr.)
ARC/HIS 332       Ancient Rome and the Mediterranean (3 cr.)
ARC/HIS 340       The Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilization (3 cr.)
ARC/HIS 367       Ancient Egypt (3 cr.)
ARC/INS 350       Independent Foreign Research in Archaeology*
ANT/ARC 353      Maya Civilization (3 cr.)
ARC/HIS 365       Ancient Iraq (3 cr.)
ARC/HIS 366       Ancient Israel (3 cr.)
ARC/ANT 399      Archaeological Forum*  
ARC 404             Environmental Archaeology (3 cr.)
ARC 409             Readings and Research in Archaeology*  
ARC 433             History of Archaeology (3 cr.)
ARC 498/598       Seminar in Archaeology*

3. At least two of the following skills courses for a total of 6 credits

ARC 250             Museum Studies (3 cr.)
ARC 300             Cultural Resources Management (3 cr.)
ARC/ANT 334      Bones for the Archaeologist: Human Skeletal Anatomy (3 cr.)
ARC/ANT 399      Archaeological Forum*          
ARC 403             Archaeology Lab Methods (3 cr.) 
ARC 445             Research Methods in Archaeology (3 cr.)
ARC 450             Internship in Archaeology*  
ARC 498/598      Seminar in Archaeology*  
GEO/ESC 323    Geomorphology (3 cr.)
GEO/ESC 343    Geoarchaeology (3 cr.)
GEO/ESC 345    Remote Sensing of the Environment (3 cr.)
GEO/ESC 390    Field Methods (3 cr.)
GEO/ESC 426    Soil Morphology and Genesis (3 cr.)
GEO/ESC 481    Introduction to GIS (3 cr.)

4. At least two of the following Anthropology courses for a total of 6 credits

ANT 203             Culture and Ecology (3 cr.)
ANT 250             Women in Society (3 cr.)
ANT 342             The Celtic World (3 cr.)
ANT 343             North American Indians (3 cr.)
ANT 350             Language and Culture (3 cr.)
ANT 352             The Anthropology of War (3 cr.)
ANT 355             Peoples of Africa and the Middle East (3 cr.)
ANT 409             Readings and Research in Anthropology (3 cr.)
ANT 444             Comparative Religion and Magic (3 cr.)
ANT 499             Seminar in Anthropology*  
ARC/ANT 304     Hunter and Gatherer Societies (3 cr.)
ARC/ANT 305     Indigenous Agricultural Societies: Past and Present (3 cr.)
ARC/ANT 399     Anthropological Forum*  
ANT/SOC 300     Problems of Developing Nations (3 cr.)
ANT/SOC 354     Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (3 cr.)
ARC/SOC 454    Historical and Theoretical Approaches in Anthropology

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Departmental Honors Program in Archaeology

The Archaeological Studies Program also offers a departmental honors option. This is not to be confused with University Honors, which is a separate entity.  You can receive Honors recognition in Archaeology only by fulfilling the requirements in our department.

We strongly urge you to consider participating in the Archaeology Departmental Honors Program. Its successful completion is listed as a permanent part of your official transcript.  It is a fine and important addition to your vita when you seek a graduate school or a job.


  1. Junior Standing

  2. Twelve [12] credits completed in the Archaeology Major

  3. A 3.50 cumulative grade point in the Archaeology Major

  4. A 3.25 cumulative grade point average overall

  5. Completion of the Honors Program in Archaeology Application Form and submittal to the Sociology/Archaeology Department Program Assistant (provided in Appendix)

  6. Recommendation of two faculty members in the Archaeology program submitted to the Archaeology/Anthropology Program Coordinator

2. PROGRAM: Honors Track in Archaeology Major

    1.  ARC 445 Archaeological Research Methods, completed with a grade of AB or higher

    2.  ARC 454 Historical and Theoretical Perspectives in Anthropology with a grade of AB or higher


    1.  A grade point average of 3.50 in the archaeology major at graduation

    2.  Submission and acceptance of a thesis in ARC 499, as specified in the senior project/thesis guidelines

    3. Presentation of a paper from ARC 499 to a colloquium of faculty and students in the Major

    4.  Completion of the Honors Program in Archaeology Evaluation Form and submitted to the Department of Sociology and Archaeology Program Assistant (provided in Appendix)

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Additional Information about Majoring in Archaeology at UW-L

Course Descriptions

Descriptions of all of the above courses can be found in the current UW-L Catalog. This catalog can be found on microfiche in most university libraries or on the UW-L website at:

Course Numbers

The following guidelines apply to the numbering of anthropology/archaeology courses:
100 level courses are introductory courses
200 level courses are survey courses
300 level courses are conceptual/theory courses
400 level courses are seminars

It is suggested that 100 and 200 level courses are most appropriate for freshmen and sophomores, while 300 and 400 level courses are most appropriate for juniors and seniors, primarily because they need greater amounts of background knowledge.

B.S. or B.A. degree?

You may obtain either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeological Studies. The B.S. emphasizes more math and science, while the B.A. emphasizes more foreign language. See your UW-L Catalog for the exciting details. Which one to choose? Quite frankly, your choice in the matter probably won't affect your career or graduate school opportunities, so we suggest that you go where your interests are. You do need to make the choice however, and register that choice by indicating it on the "Change of Major Form" (you can always change your mind, too).

Minor or Program Option?

You will notice in your Catalog that for both the B.S. and the B.A. there are Advanced Course Requirements from outside of your major. You will see that you can either complete these by taking a minor (or double major) in another field or, you can do something called a "program option".

Again, it probably doesn't make much practical difference which one you choose, but some people believe that a minor(s) is more  important to perspective employers. The most important thing is to take good courses and develop as many useful skills as you can  (see also suggestions for graduate school). For example, you'll want to develop computing skills as quickly as possible no matter what field you go into and everyone should at least take C-S 101, preferably early in their college career. At this stage of your education the best strategy is to gain an educational experience that is as broad as possible. While many different fields combine well with archaeology, the Geoarchaeology and Anthropology minors are especially recommended.

Setting up your own program

One of the neat things about archaeology, since its main focus is human behavior, is that it goes well with almost any academic interests that you may have. At the same time, as you can see from the requirements for the major listed above, you have lots of flexibility in selecting your courses. This flexibility is further increased when you add in your options under the "Advanced Course Requirements" (see above).

We suggest that in setting up your program that you go with your interests. If you like biology for example, we suggest that you keep up those interests and choose biology courses that fit with your major. For example, some courses in human skeletal anatomy, zoology, and botany fit in very well with archaeology since we find human skeletal remains, animal bones and plant remains in our sites. On the other hand, if you have an interest in art, stay with it since art is an important component of past as well as present cultures. We recently had a student who combined an Archaeology major with a major in Recreation Management, and she now has a great job with the National Park Service as a Park ranger.  See also Careers in Archaeology.

Transfer Policy

Students wishing to transfer into UW-La Crosse must be accepted by the University prior to acceptance by the Archaeology Program. Criteria for acceptance into the major is the same for transfer students as it is for UW-La Crosse students. To enroll in ARC 499 (Senior Project/Thesis) a transfer student must be an archaeological studies major with at least one year in program residence.


UWL has a textbook rental system which is cool because it saves you money. However, if you are thinking of a career in archaeology (see below) or, especially if you are thinking of graduate school, you will want to purchase some of your books and develop your own personal library. After a certain point in the semester, you can purchase your books at a discount, (by then they are used books). Also, the Archaeology Club has frequent used book sales.