The Archaeology program at Columbia is housed in the Center for Archaeology and taught by faculty who come from a range of different backgrounds. To take advantage of this range of expertise we have developed a true interdisciplinary major that takes advantage of the full scope of archaeological expertise on offer at Columbia University. Below we outline the requirements for the interdepartmental major.

In addition, it is also possible to study archaeology as part of an Anthropology, or Art History major among other options.

If you’re not sure which course of study to choose, make an appointment to talk with the archaeology Director of Undergraduate Studies. You can also download this pdf brochure about the various archaeology opportunities for undergraduates

Inter-departmental Major in Archaeology

Director of Undergraduate 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 Director of Undergraduate Studies and program advisors, preferably before the end of the sophomore year, and no later than the beginning of the junior year. A minimum of 30 points within the major and 9 points of related courses are required, as follows:

Two introductory courses (6 points):


  • Two upper-level courses from different regions of the world, in addition to three other upper-level courses, planned in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • 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 as agreed with the DUS
  • One laboratory course in archaeology or its equivalent in the field, as approved by the DUS

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.

  • A capstone seminar in archaeology, preferably taken in the junior or senior year.  ANTH V3993 World Archaeology (taught alternate years) or a substitute seminar to be decided with the advance approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students who are writing a thesis may substitute a thesis seminar for this requirement.
  • 9 points of related courses, planned with the DUS 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 April 25.

Requirements (pdf) Planning form (doc)
Which classes count for the major?

The Columbia Bulletin lists recommended classes for the major. We also compile a list of courses each semester and circulate them to undergraduates. They may be found posted here and via a link on the front page of the website.

Other options for studying archaeology:

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 Think Like an Archaeologist
  • 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 department’s archaeology adviser to discuss this

Contact the archaeology adviser for Anthropology to find out more. More information here


Art History and 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 cn2303@columbia.edu for more information.


Other related majors

The following departments also offer degrees that include archaeological content. Check out their requirements below:

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

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