Archaeological Studies program

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor

Do you want to explore people and cultures of the past?

By studying archaeology, you can help deepen our understanding of humanity and apply this knowledge to help address problems of today.

UWL's Archaeological Studies major is one of the few comprehensive undergraduate degree archaeology programs in the U.S. and the only one in the Midwest. It is ranked No. 2 program nationally by College Values Online.

UWL's program is unique in providing undergraduates with hands-on training using cutting-edge methodologies and technologies at archaeological sites and world-class laboratory facilities. Also, UWL has attracted internationally-respected professors with research engagements around the globe who provide a rich array of international study and research experiences for students.

Archaeology definition

Archaeology is a discipline that studies the human past through the material remains that people left behind, such as artifacts, human burials or ancient ruins. Archaeologists gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be human and apply their knowledge to help solve problems of today.

"Being an archaeologist has been a dream of mine for a very long time. This program has provided the foundation of my knowledge in archaeology and taught me that continuing to learn is the key to being a good archaeologist. I would tell anyone thinking about being an archaeologist that UWL is the best place to be."

Jenni Rich

Archaeology jobs

Archaeology regularly ranks in the US News & World Report's Top 10 Jobs in Science. An archaeology degree can lead to specialized careers at museums and universities, as well as a variety of more common professional pursuits in environmental science, development planning, government agencies, K-12 education, business, law, forensic science, healthcare, non-profit organizations and more. See our archaeology careers page.

Archaeology careers

  • University professor
  • Museum curator/exhibits specialist
  • Cultural resource management
  • Environmental law
  • Medicine and forensic science
  • Historic preservation officer
  • Tribal preservation officer
  • Archaeological field and laboratory technician
  • State archaeologist
  • Preservation planner
  • National park service interpreter/ranger
  • Agency archaeologist (Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers)

What distinguishes UWL's archaeology program?

Find ample opportunity for archaeological research

UWL's program has a close relationship with the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center (MVAC), which conducts extensive research and public education activities throughout the tri-state region of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. MVAC’s facilities include lab space, equipment, and extensive archaeological collections, many of which become the focus of student research projects and internships. With close student-instructor interaction and intensive hands-on experience at MVAC, UWL students have ample opportunity for direct participation in all aspects of archaeological field and laboratory research.

Collaborate with internationally-engaged faculty

UWL's program has attracted internationally-respected professors with specializations in Egypt, the South American Andes, Mesoamerica, the Dominican Republic, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America. Active research engagement provides a rich array of international experiences for students, providing them with practical anthropological, archaeological and ethnographic methods.

Apply for archaeology scholarships, research grants

Scholarships are available for archaeology students including the Archaeology Scholarship, Maurice and Elizabeth Graff Scholarship and the Scott Carnes Memorial Scholarship. Many students also take advantage of the UWL Undergraduate Research Grant to help fund their own research in the U.S. and abroad.

Use cutting-edge technologies

Students are trained with cutting-edge technologies that are crucial in today's job market, yet few U.S. programs offer: geophysical and remote sensing equipment (ground penetrating radar, magnetometer, resistivity meter); precision laser mapping equipment; a complete photogrammetry array; 3-D scanning, photo, and video equipment; photographic drone for aerial photography and video.

Get financial support for lab, fieldwork

A substantial amount of financial support is available to students for part-and full-time lab and fieldwork during the summer and school year. This support ensures that students graduate with both academic and practical job preparation.

Facilities, spaces dedicated to archaeology

The UWL campus has an entire building dedicated to Archaeology, the Archaeology Laboratory Building. Two laboratory classrooms are dedicated to archaeology courses, an Environmental Archaeology Laboratory, a Photogrammetry and 3-D Technology Laboratory, an Ethnographic Research Lab, and a lab facility designated for special undergraduate research projects. UWL research resources are unmatched by any other undergraduate-only program anywhere in the world.

World-Class teaching collections

Exceptional teaching collections include human and primate osteological materials, a complete set of fossil hominid casts, ethnobotanical and zooarchaeological reference collections, and thousands of artifacts from all over the world.

Wide-array of international opportunities

The program offers an international field school in Serbia focused on the rise of complex society during the Bronze Age of Eastern Europe and an advanced field opportunity to conduct laboratory and field research in Egypt. Other opportunities include summer courses in the United Kingdom (Galway, Ireland and London, England) and Eastern Europe. Shorter-term study tours are available in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.

Large department, diverse expertise

Department faculty include seven full-time anthropologists and archaeologists. The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center employs an addition seven professional archaeologists. This size of faculty and staff is typical of much larger institutions than UWL, so the program has an extremely impressive array of diverse experts for an institution of UWL's size.

Alumni attest to program quality

Perhaps the best evidence of the quality of UWL's program is the extraordinary testimonials from graduates

Areas of study

Sample courses