Archaeology and Anthropology

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Internships are an excellent way to get hands-on experience in your field. They can be completed during the school year (usually on campus or in town), or during the summer (potentially world-wide). They can be paid or unpaid, depending on the sponsoring organization; for college credit or no credit. Usually, a one-credit internship would call for 3 hours of work each week during the semester, with higher credit loads calling for proportionately more work.

The Career Services office and web page can help you to learn more about internships in general, give you some ideas on where to look for internships, sign up for internships on campus, and make arrangements to receive credit, if needed. 

https://www.uwlax.edu/career-services/

Current opportunities

WisCorps: Volunteer and paid environmental education opportunities

WisCorps Environmental Education has opportunities for students to work with naturalists and local K-12 groups. These would be fabulous for cultural anthropology and archaeology students, those interested in human-environment interactions, getting experience working with children of all ages, gaining teaching experience, and of course, getting involved with helping local communities change in ways that they want to change. Volunteer training occurs regularly. If you are interested, contact Dr. Christine Hippert.
 

UWL/MVAC opportunities

Are you interested in getting more experience with archaeology laboratory and curation methods? MVAC has a variety of internship opportunities available at UWL. Each credit calls for 3 hours of work per week, and schedules are arranged individually. Currently, these are unpaid internships but there are grant possibilities available. Internships at MVAC are good preparation for a career in CRM, Museum Studies, or graduate school. If you are interested, contact Connie Arzigian  (carzigian@uwlax.edu), and we will arrange a meeting for further discussion. If you have any other projects you would like to pursue, let Connie know.

Internships in Archaeology Laboratory Processing: Sort and catalog artifact assemblages from the La Crosse area, enter into database. Supervise open lab times to teach other students. Get extensive experience with the full range of lithics, ceramics, flora and faunal remains in the region, as well as experience with data management and record digitization. If interested in more detailed analysis, we can discuss ways to design a research project using the catalogued material, or other collections. Requires completion of ARC 303 Laboratory Methods (ARC 450; 1-3 credits)

Internships in Curation: Work with MVAC staff to digitize paper records, conduct data entry on archaeological sites, digitize slides and photographs, prepare records for curation; experience with Photoshop and Access helpful but not required (Arc 450; 1-3 credits).

Internship in Advanced Archaeological Analytics: Learn to apply techniques such as pXRF or GSMS to archaeological problems such as sourcing local clays, or analyzing ceramic residues; some background in chemistry helpful; a willingness to learn is required. Would work with professors in Chemistry or Physics on developing and applying methods. requires completion of ARC 303 Laboratory Methods (Arc 450; 3 credits)

Petrified Foreset National Park-summer 2017

The Petrified Forest National Park, northern Arizona, is seeking four undergraduates or recent graduates for 2017 field season; details are in the pdf. Applications due March 17, 2017.

The Human Relations Area Files is offering a one year paid internship in cross-cultural research, with preference to those interested in graduate studies in anthropology. Applications due April 3, 2017.

http://hraf.yale.edu/2017-hraf-internship-in-honor-of-melvin-ember/

Other Sources for Internships

If you are interested in working with materials from the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, which has archaeological assemblages from the La Crosse region, contact Connie Arzigian to discuss possibilities. If you are interested in working with a particular faculty member on a project, talk to them about the possibilities.

There are many internships around the world. Below are just a few possibilities for archaeology and anthropology students. 

The La Crosse County Historical Society has provided internships for students in projects such as curation or documentation of collections. They have a wide range of historic material from the local area.

http://www.lchshistory.org/new-page/

The American Anthropological Association is offering two internsips for Juniors, Seniors, or first year graduate students. There is one on Underwater Archaeology and one with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art:

http://www.americananthro.org/LearnAndTeach/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=1658

The Milwaukee Public Museum has a variety of opportunities. 

https://www.mpm.edu/join-support/volunteers/internships 

The Science Museum of Minnesota has a wide range of both jobs and internships, many dealing with education and outreach to museum visitors.

https://www.smm.org/jobs

The Minnesota Historical Society has a variety of museum internships available for summer and during the school year. http://www.mnhs.org/internships/college

Undergraduate Research

One of the great strengths of our program is that our undergraduate majors have the opportunity to conduct their own, independent research, an opportunity that is rare on other campuses. In fact, they are required to do so! All of our seniors must complete a capstone thesis in their final semesters at UWL, which gives them the opportunity to practice the entire research process. 

Often this research stems from discoveries at field school or from an interest that is stimulated by a class discussion or project. Frequently, students begin this research during the summer between their Junior and Senior years. Much research done by archaeology students is conducted through the auspices of the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, or is done on aspects of ongoing faculty research. 

Please contact any of our faculty to ask questions about research opportunities for our majors or minors at UWL!

 

Scholarships and Grants

There are scholarships available for students of archaeology and anthropology, including the Archaeology Scholarship, the Maurice and Elizabeth Graff Scholarship, and the Scott Carnes Memorial Scholarship. Information about these grants can be found on the UWL Foundation Archaeology page.

Many of our students also take advantage of various UWL Undergraduate Research Grants to help fund their research and travel here in the United States and abroad.

PREPARING FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL

Students who plan on applying to a graduate program in archaeology, anthropology, or a related field need to follow a series of steps early in their undergraduate career, and they should be making detailed plans by the beginning of their junior year.  Some of the crucial components for graduate careers are discussed below.  During your junior year you should take the 1-Credit Graduate Preparation Seminar, ARC 395 in which much of the information presented below will be discussed in detail.

The Basics

Your Grade Point Average (GPA): Students with graduate program aspirations should have a final GPA of 3.5 or higher.  Some graduate programs may accept a slightly lower GPA if other aspects of your application are outstanding.  It is worth the effort to strive for the highest GPA given the competition for graduate school admittance and the sharp limits on available funding for graduate students.  Top-quality graduate programs may receive 50 or more applications for 4 or 5 slots.

Appropriate Course Work: As listed in Career Directions, students who intend to pursue a particular direction should focus on the best possible sequence of courses prior to applying to graduate school.  For example, anyone who hopes to be accepted into a Forensic Anthropology program must have a specialized biology background.  The list of appropriate courses is very different for those interested in a Cultural Resources Management career.  An academic advisor with knowledge of your area of interest can be of great assistance to you.

Join the Archaeology & Anthropology Club, a UWL student organization.  The club sponsors field trips to archaeological sites, museums, and universities and attends meetings as a group.  Please don't be shy!  Interacting with other students who have similar interests will help prepare you for the important relationships you will develop in graduate school and your career.  Get involved, be a professional (see Archaeology & Anthropology Club).

Complete your Archaeology Field School as soon as possible.  The Field School is a requirement for the major, and it will also help you find out whether field work is to your liking.

Getting Involved and Gaining Experience

Students should attend several professional conferences at the regional and/or national level while an undergraduate.  Many UW-La Crosse students attend regional and national meetings each year.  This will allow you to see what is going on in the profession, inquire about graduate programs and faculty, and network.  Professional meetings offer an excellent opportunity to meet distinguished professionals.  You might wish to seek out specific people to ask about their graduate programs and research.  There is limited funding available for students to attend meetings through the College of Liberal Studies and the Archaeology & Anthropology Club.

Some undergraduates present papers or posters at professional meetings.  Such presentations provide excellent exposure and are an important addition to your vita.

Work on research projects is an essential part of your training.  Archaeology students may be able to do volunteer work in the Archaeology Lab after completing Field Methods (ARC 402).   From this point you can begin to undertake basic laboratory research and additional field work.  Anthropology students are encouraged to take Ethnographic Methods (ANT 401) in their sophomore year, after which they are prepared for internships, research assistantships with faculty, and can work on developing their own research projects. All students need to be involved in field and laboratory research as early as possible in your career.  Many students find that their lab or field work forms the basis for their Senior Project/Thesis.  Students who wait until the beginning of ANT 495/496 or ARC 489/499 to select a topic typically experience problems and are left behind by their peers.

Learn a foreign language relevant to your research interest.  Most graduate schools require all students to pass oral and written language competency exams.  By becoming competent now, you will be able to focus your efforts in grad school on your research, and you will also be prepared for field work in a foreign country where you speak the language.

Researching Graduate Programs

Selecting the right graduate program for you is an extremely important and difficult procedure.  Work closely with a trusted UWL academic advisor.  Most students apply to 3 or 4 graduate programs.  A helpful first step is to select a faculty person at a graduate program institution who is doing research in an area or field related to your interest.  Then you can investigate this person's graduate program.  Is it just a master's program (M.A. or M.S.), or does it also offer a doctorate (Ph.D)?  Try making an appointment to "interview" the faculty person you are interested in working under as a grad student.  Do you have positive "chemistry" with this person?  If they don't have time for you now, they certainly won't when you arrive at graduate school! 
If you plan to meet with a faculty person at a graduate school of interest, you should do a number of things to prepare: 

  • Make an appointment weeks in advance, and be sure to reconfirm the appointment a day or two before the scheduled meeting day. 
  • Be on time and dress like a professional. 
  • Research the faculty person's academic background on that university or institution's web page or in the Guide to Departments of Anthropology kept in the Sociology/Archaeology department office at 435 Carl Wimberly Hall. 
  • Try to find and read the person's recent publications so you are knowledgeable about their research and interest.  Is this what you are interested in?  Most graduate faculty expect their students to be doing research for their master's and/or doctorate in topical and geographic areas that parallel their own interests.  In many cases they will insist on it.  

During this discussion, you might wish to ask about graduation rates, number of students in residence in the graduate program, laboratory facilities, and the possibilities of receiving financial aid through grants, teaching or research assistantships, or a CRM program.  Money is very limited at all public universities.  Financial aid generally goes to the best qualified incoming students, those with the highest GRE scores, and the highest GPA.  

 

The Application Process

Preparing your vita is an essential element for graduate school or job applications.  A vita is a summary of your professional (academic) career.  It should be a summary of what you have done in a professional sense.  While it is nice that you have worked at the local grocery store for the past three years, experiences not directly related to your education and career goals should be a minor part of your vita.  On your vita you can, however, list your GPA, field experience, professional meeting attendance, laboratory experience, research projects, public outreach activities, and professional references.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) should be taken during the junior year by all students who plan to apply to a graduate program.  This exam measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study.  A GRE Information and Registration Bulletin that provides test dates and fees is available at the UWL Counseling and Testing (C&T) Center in 112 Wilder Hall.  The C&T Center offers practice tests that will help you become familiar with the test and assesses your potential GRE score.  GRE information is available online at www.gre.org.  There are also short crucial courses and booklets available that may help you prepare for the GRE.  Your score may be crucial in the admittance process at most quality graduate programs.

Letters of reference are needed to apply for a job or a graduate program.  In general, you will need 2 to 4 professionals to write you a favorable letter of reference.  If you are a student who has been in the program for 3 years, and have taken only the minimum class work, with no attendance at professional meetings, no lab or field work beyond field school, and no serious research, how will you get quality letters?  Students who show up at a faculty office in their junior year, asking for a letter cold, cannot expect a positive response.  If your only basis for a recommendation is the grade you received in a particular class, what do you think your chances of a good recommendation will be?  That is why you need to be a "player" from the start, attending professional meetings, networking, becoming involved in all the professional activities you possibly can.  Think about it!

For professionals who agree to write you a positive letter of reference, you will need to provide them with the following: 

  1. A copy of your vita 
  2. A transcript of the courses you have taken 
  3. A copy of the best paper you wrote while an undergraduate student 
  4. A list of the graduate programs to which you are applying, with 
    1. the exact and complete address 
    2. the name of the person or committee to whom the letter is directed 
    3. the date by which each must be postmarked

Typing or word processing your graduate application forms is highly recommended - neatness counts!  Many applications are available online.

 

Links of Interest

Career Opportunities for Archaeology Majors

U.S. News & World Report ranks Archaeologist among the Top 10 Best Science Jobs for 2016 (#6) and 2017 (#8) (http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-science-jobs). The median salary for Archaeologists is $61,220, the unemployment rate is only 2.8%, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the fields to grow 4% between 2014-2024.

A recent issue of the SAA Archaeological Record focuses on "Diverse Careers in Archaeology," written by those in a wide range of specialities, telling how they made their decisions, and what their careers are now like. 

There are three main employment areas for archaeologists:

1. Research and government employment

Research archaeologists may be hired by Federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.  State Agencies, such as the Department of Transportation, State Historical Societies, state burial sites preservation programs, and historic preservation programs, typically have one or more archaeologists on staff. Museums and research institutions, such as the Smithsonian, the Field Museum, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center (UW-La Crosse), have staffs of archaeologists.  Some job titles include:

Regional Archaeologist 
Research Archaeologist 
State Archaeologist 
Historic Preservation Officer 
Park Ranger 
Archaeological Field Technician* 
Archaeological Lab Technician* 
Museum Technician* 
Archaeological Surveyor* 
Public Education and Outreach Coordinator 
     *Entry-level positions that require only a bachelor's degree.  Other positions require graduate training.

2. Teaching

Most teaching positions are at colleges or universities and typically require a doctorate (Ph.D.) degree.  Teaching specialties include:

Prehistoric Archaeology 
Classical Archaeology 
Near Eastern or Biblical Archaeology 
Historical Archaeology 
North American Archaeology 
Geoarchaeology 
Environmental Archaeology 
Egyptology

3. Cultural Resources Management (CRM)

State and Federal legislation has created the fastest-growing area for archaeological career opportunities, cultural resources management. CRM archaeologists assist developers and public agencies in meeting the requirements of preservation legislation by contracting their services.  These archaeologists locate previously unknown archaeological resources (sites and artifacts), evaluate the importance of the resources, and if necessary conduct rescue excavations if the remains are threatened by development.  Job titles include:

Contract Archaeologist 
Cultural Resources Specialist 
Director of a CRM company 
Archaeological Field Director 
Archaeological Lab Director 
Collections Manager 
Archaeological Lab Technician* 
Archaeological Field Technician* 
Public Education and Outreach Coordinator 
   *Entry-level positions requiring only an undergraduate degree.

Many professional archaeologists have careers that involve work in more than one of the three major areas mentioned.  For example, an archaeologist who is a university or college professor during the academic year is often involved in research or consulting during the summer.

Many other undergraduates choose Archaeological Studies as a major, not because it is their career choice, but because it is an interesting, broad-based and challenging Liberal Arts major.  These students go on to careers in business, teaching, communications, legal, or medical professions.

Possible Course Sequences for Different Careers

The following courses are strongly recommended for students who plan to pursue one of the following graduate-to-professional career areas (to find out more about each course, visit the Archaeology course description or the Anthropology course description pages of this web site)

Cultural Resources Management*

ARC 205             North American Archaeology 
ARC/ANT 334    Bones for the Archaeologist 
ARC 403             Archaeology Lab Methods 
ARC 404             Environmental Archaeology 
ARC 435             Cultural Resources Management 
GEO/ESC 343    Geoarchaeology 
*A minor in geoarchaeology is strongly recommended.

Environmental Archaeology*

ANT/ARC 305    Indigenous Agricultural Societies 
ARC 403            Archaeology Lab Methods 
ARC 404            Environmental Archaeology 
GEO/ESC 343    Geoarchaeology 
GEO/ESC 425    Biogeography 
ESC 221             Introduction to Climate Systems 
*A minor in geoarchaeology is strongly recommended.

Forensic Anthropology*

ANT 102               Introduction to Physical Anthropology 
BIO 102 or 103    Introductory Biology or General Biology 
CHM 103              General Chemistry 
Bio 312                Human Anatomy and Physiology 
ANT/ARC 334      Bones for the Archaeologist 
*A second major or a minor in biology is strongly recommended.

Midwest/Plains Archaeology*

ARC 205             North American Archaeology 
ARC 310             Midwest Archaeology 
ARC 403             Archaeology Lab Methods 
ARC 404             Environmental Archaeology 
ANT 343             North American Indians 
ARC/ANT 304    Hunter and Gatherer Societies 
ARC/ANT 305    Indigenous Agricultural Societies 
ARC/ANT 334    Bones for the Archaeologist 
*A minor in geoarchaeology is strongly recommended.

Old World Archaeology or Classics*

GEO 304           Geography of Europe 
GEO 331           Geography of the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia 
ARC/HIS 331    The Ancient Greek World 
ARC/HIS 332    Ancient Rome and the Mediterranean 
ARC/HIS 340    The Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilizations 
ARC 350            Independent Foreign Research in Archaeology 
ARC 365            Ancient Egypt 
ARC 433            History of Archaeology 
*Foreign language expertise will be required (Latin for Classics, French or German for Old World).

Latin American archaeology

ARC/ANT 285     Archaeology of Mexico and Central America 
ARC/ANT 353    Maya Civilization 
ARC 360             Archaeology of the Andes

At least one course on contemporary cultures in Latin America 
In addition to the suggestions given above for those interested in prehistoric archaeology in graduate school, individuals who intend to specialize in Latin American Archaeology should consider the following: 
1.    Develop a reading knowledge of Spanish. 
2.    A strong background in archaeology and archaeological field work, preferably in Latin America 
3.    Knowledge of statistics and computer skills

Geoarchaeology

GEO/ESC 323, geomorphology 
GEO/ESC 326, soil morphology and genesis 
GEO/ESC 343   geoarchaeology 
1.    A strong background in archaeology and archaeology field work 
2.    Knowledge of statistics and computer skills are essential.

NOTE: These career tracks are not set in stone.  Students do not need to follow one of these tracks - they are only suggestions.  Students are encouraged to customize their course choices to their particular area of interest, with the assistance of their mentor and/or advisor

Links of Interest

Career Opportunities in Cultural Anthropology

U.S. News & World Report ranks Anthropologist among the Top 10 Best Science Jobs for 2016 (#4) and 2017 (#7) (http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-science-jobs). The median salary for Anthropologists is $61,220, the unemployment rate is only 2.8%, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the fields to grow 4% between 2014-2024.

Anthropologists can be found in a surprising array of fields and careers as training in the field provides a great background for understanding, working with, and assessing cultural differences.  People working in all walks of life have used their training in Anthropology, including former President Barak Obama's mother: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/03/135840068/the-singular-woman-who-raised-barack-obama. Anthropologists can be found in corporations, all levels of government, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. For example, studying Anthropology is good preparation for Medical School. Check out this podcast from Minnesota Public Radio, where UWL's Peter Stovall is told that a background in Anthropology sets students apart when applying for medical school (beginning at the 43:20 mark). 

Today there are four main career paths for anthropology graduates:
 

1. Careers in International, US, and Community-Based Non-profit Organizations

Non-governmental organizations, such as international health organizations and development banks employ anthropologists to help design and implement a wide variety of programs. Many anthropologists work in local, community-based settings for non-profit agencies. Sometimes, they work through community-based research organizations gathering data and surveying communities to design programs that are targeted to their specific needs and priorities. Other times, anthropologists might work for established organizations in a community working on issues such as food security, improved health care, environmental issues, and social and economic justice.
 

2. Corporate and Business Careers

Many corporations look explicitly for anthropologists, recognizing the utility of their perspective on a corporate team. A corporate anthropologist working in market research might conduct targeted focus groups to examine consumer preference patterns not readily apparent through statistical or survey methods. These anthropologists use their research skills to talk to consumers and users of technology to find out how products and services could be improved to better meet the needs of consumers.

3. Government Careers

State and local governmental organizations use anthropologists in planning, research and managerial capacities. Contract archaeology is a growing occupation with state and federal legislative mandates to assess cultural resources affected by government funded projects. Forensic anthropologists not only work with police departments to help identify mysterious or unknown remains but also work in university and museum settings.
The federal government is one of the largest employers of anthropologists outside of academia. Possible career paths include: international development, cultural and natural resource management, preservation, local politics, forensic and physical anthropology, and defense and security sectors.
 

4. Careers in Education

On campuses, in departments of anthropology, and in research laboratories, anthropologists teach and conduct research. They spend a great deal of time preparing for classes, writing lectures, grading papers, working with individual students, composing scholarly articles, and writing books. A number of academic anthropologists find careers in K-12 education, especially when related to fields such as global studies or social studies.  Students have used what they've learned in their Anthropology minors to work in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), evaluating and assessing educational programs on cultural diversity, and study abroad programs, just to name a few.

 
In response to a survey by the American Anthropological Association's Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA)*, respondents provided the following responses to describe their post-graduate employment:
 
Education/Outreach Administration/Management
Archaeology Ethnography/Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Evaluation/Assessment
Historic Preservation Health (international/public health)
Museum/Curation/Project Design Environment and Natural Resources
Community Development Business
Advocacy (human rights/social justice) Tourism/Heritage
Human/Social Services Healthcare Management/Services/Deliver
Computers/Software Development/Information Technology Management Consulting/Organizational Development/Training
Design (products and/or services) Social Impact Assessment
International Development/Affairs Market Research
Forensics Law/Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
Mass Communication Humanitarian Efforts