University of Calgary
UofC Navigation


Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 02/02/2015 - 11:18am

What is archaeology?

Archaeology is the study of the human past. Archaeologists examine material remains and try to reconstruct the past lifeways and behaviour of people who lived many thousands of years ago or within the past 100 years. Archaeology reconstructs events of the past, the processes leading to their development, their meaning for individual cultures, as well as human development, evolution and adaptation. As a student, you will explore numerous regions of the world and will study artifact collection and analysis.

Physical anthropologists study human remains for evidence of disease, age, gender, diet and other traces of the human past found in skeletal material and relate this to culture and behaviour. Included in physical anthropology are paleoanthropology and bioanthropology. Palaeoanthropologists study the fossil remains of human ancestors and reconstruct their behaviour. Bioanthropologists study adaptation and variation in living humans. 

A unique place to study

The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary is unique in North America. It is one of only a handful of universities offering a degree in archaeology. Faculty members are currently working in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa, and Arabia. 

Fieldwork is an important component of the archaeological process. It is also important for students to acquire experience in analytical techniques and the background to past cultures needed to become a professional archaeologist.

Learn more about enhancing your degree with an honours or cooperative education program.

At the University of Calgary, there are many ways to get involved and enjoy student life during your degree.

Field schools

Experience at a field school is not a requirement for a degree in archaeology, but it is highly recommended. Field schools are a great way to gain hands-on experience and see your degree in action. The department regularly offers two archaeological field schools. Field schools offered by other institutions can sometimes be credited towards a program in archaeology. Students considering this option must consult with the Undergraduate Advisor before enrolling. > Learn more

Put your degree to work

Many students go on to obtain graduate degrees within the fields of archaeology and anthropology and finally on to academic teaching and research positions. However, as archaeology is a broad based field of study, oriented to problem solving and combining the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences, many go on to work in other fields. These fields include: law, environmental assessment, international development, education, computer science, and tourism development. Other graduates find employment with archaeological consulting firms. Most of this employment is in Western Canada but some is abroad. > Browse helpful links

Degrees offered:

Degree requirements:

  • BA or BSc in Archaeology
  • BA, BSc honours in Archaeology
  • Minor in Archaeology
  • High school students: There are no high school courses required for admission to the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology other than those required for admission to the Faculty of Arts. Prospective students should direct their high school coursework towards the sciences or arts depending on which direction they would like to see their archaeology degree proceed. Talk to our program advisor for more detailed information about recommended high school courses.

First-year courses


Dr. Chris Holdsworth
Undergraduate Program Director

Monika Davidson
Program Advising