Majoring in Archaeology

The Center for Archaeology is an inter-departmental center that does not have its own individual course listings or degree program. Here we provide information on the range of ways in which one can study archaeology at Columbia. These include the Inter-departmental Major in Archaeology, and studying archaeology as part of an Anthropology, or Art History major, among other options:

Download a pdf brochure about archaeology opportunities for undergraduates here

Inter-departmental Major in Archaeology

Prof. Zoe Crossland, Director of Studies

The Inter-departmental Major is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to take archaeology classes from a wide range of departments at Columbia and Barnard, including Anthropology, Art History, Classics, EALAC, History, EEEB and others. Students can put together a major that reflects their particular interests. This major has a strong focus on lab and field skills, as well as on questions of interpretation and theory.

Program Requirements for the Inter-departmental Major

The program of study should be planned as early as possible with the program advisers, preferably before the end of the sophomore year, and no later than the beginning of the junior year. A total of 30 points within the major and 9 points of related courses are required for the major as follows:

Printable Version AND Planning Form

Two introductory courses:

(6 points)
  • ANTH V1007 The origins of human society
  • ANTH V1008 The rise of civilization
  • ACLG V2028 Pasts, presents, futures: a critical introduction to 21st-century archaeology


  • Two upper-level courses from different regions of the world, in addition to three other upper-level courses, planned in consultation with the program advisers; 15 points.
  • Participation of four to six weeks in field projects with which Columbia University is affiliated, or independent study in excavation or other field projects, or relevant museum internship and/or lab work; 3 points.
  • One laboratory course in archaeology or its equivalent in the field, as approved by the program advisers; 3 points.

  • The field, school, project or internship must be approved in advance by the program advisers, and arrangements should be made in advance with the director of undergraduate studies for credits to be accepted as part of the degree.

  • The capstone seminar in archaeology, ANTH V3993 World Archaeology (taught alternate years), preferably taken in the junior or senior year, or a substitute seminar to be decided with the advance approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies; 3 points. Students who are writing a thesis may substitute a thesis seminar for this requirement.
  • 9 points of related courses, planned with the program advisers in accordance with the student’s interests.
  • A senior thesis is recommended for students planning to continue for a graduate degree.

Thesis topics should be discussed with a faculty adviser during the junior year, allowing time for planning, research, and travel during the following summer. In the senior year, students may register for two semesters of senior thesis study with their adviser, e.g., ANTH W3997 or AHIS C3997–C3998, to cover the writing of the thesis, the final draft of which must be submitted by March 25. (Email for more information.)

Recommeded Courses for the Interdepartmental Major

Courses for the undergraduate major in archaeology are offered by a range of departments. Please consult the Bulletin for available courses:

Other options for studying archaeology include:

Major in Anthropology

This program of study is suitable for students who are interested in a broadly anthropological and holistic approach to questions of social change and past peoples. This major will also be a good fit for those who want to explore issues of interpretation and the social and political contexts within which archaeology is carried out. If you are considering graduate study in Anthropological Archaeology, or if you want to take archaeology classes without the fieldwork and lab requirements, this is the major for you.

The program of study should be planned as early as possible in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies and/or department consultants.
A minimum of 30 points in the Department of Anthropology and 6 points of related courses taken in other departments are required as follows:

ANTH V1002 The interpretation of culture

ANTH V2004 Introduction to social and cultural theory

ACLG V2028 Pasts, presents, futures: a critical introduction to 21st-century archaeology

Additional courses (from within anthropology or from another department) to meet the required minimum points for the major

Students who are interested in archaeology are strongly advised to include field and lab experience as part of their degree. Please contact the archaeology adviser, Prof. Zoe Crossland to discuss this

Contact the Anthropology DUS, Prof. Audra Simpson, or the archaeology adviser, Prof. Zoe Crossland to find out more. More information here

Art History & Archaeology

There are three majors based in Art History & Archaeology. These allow students to concentrate their studies on visual culture and communication, with a focus on art and architecture.

Contact Chris Newsome the Coordinator for Undergraduate Programs at for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Advice and FAQ for majors and concentrators FAQ

Other Related Majors

Earth & Environmental Sciences
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures