Archaeology Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Anthropology: Archaeology Concentration On-campus

About Archaeology

Explore the study of people and cultures to excel in many fields.

At PennWest California, you can follow your dream of studying people and cultures through the recovery of artifacts and other materials.  In the B.A. in Anthropology degree program with a concentration in archaeology, you'll experience archaeological digs, laboratory research, forensic casework, community service and more, working with faculty experts.

 PennWest California anthropology students engage in hands-on research of artifacts and skeletons, experience all phases of archaeological fieldwork, learn about report and grant writing, write research papers, and present findings at local and regional conferences. You'll learn firsthand what the discipline of archaeology requires. Plus, you'll gain valuable experiences to list on your resume, giving you an edge as you enter the workforce or apply for graduate school.

The anthropology program offers two concentrations: archaeology and forensics. Exchange and study-abroad educational opportunities are also available.  


Concentrations: In the B.A. in Anthropology degree program, students choose from two concentrations:  archaeology and forensic anthropology.

Students who focus on archaeology learn the fundamentals of archaeological theory and complete such courses as Historic Sites Archaeology and Advanced Methods in Archaeology.  Coursework includes such topics as the historical development of archaeological method and theory, the proper place of statistics in archaeological research, the role of ethno-archaeological research, the use of analogy in archaeological reconstruction, evolutionary archaeology, and the relationship of archaeology to anthropology and history.

Solid foundation: The anthropology program emphasizes an empirically based, comparative and cross-cultural perspective that's grounded in a scientific framework. As part of the College of Liberal Arts, students in the archaeology concentration also develop effective writing and speaking skills, and learn to perform effectively in a wide variety of settings within a multicultural world.  

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Student-to-faculty ratio at PennWest California.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
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Degree Benefits

All anthropology majors are required to take the archaeological field school course to acquire practical skills in excavation and artifact identification. The archaeology concentration offers lab method courses that entail extensive analysis of either bones or artifacts. Most other courses also include a significant number of experiential projects. Internships are essential to student learning. PennWest California students have interned at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, Westmoreland County Coroner's Office, Westmoreland Historical Society, and Monongahela River and Rail & Transportation Museum.


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Graduate Outcomes

 PennWest California anthropology graduates typically go on for graduate degrees if they wish to become university professors or work as primary investigators for archaeological firms. They have attended such schools as West Virginia University, Ball State University, Duquesne University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Michigan Tech University. Currently, two graduates are in the master's degree program in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University. Other positions graduates have held include preservation specialist, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Village; education outreach specialist, Carnegie Museum of Natural History; consultant for the National Geographic show Diggers; and various contract resource management positions, which involve conducting field work prior to the start of construction projects or doing survey work along a pipeline.


Anthropology (B.A.) Archaeology Concentration
An archaeology student at PennWest California poses with bones.

Professional Connections

Archaeology students are encouraged to join the local chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, which meets in PennWest California's lab. This connection enables students to get involved in digs, artifact analysis and networking with professionals. Additionally, anthropology majors are involved in faculty and independent research, symposiums, and community service projects. Archaeology students can take advantage of study abroad opportunities, including spending a semester abroad or partaking in international archaeological digs. Anthropology majors have completed a semester in Spain and participated in archaeological digs in Sicily and Romania. The Anthropology Club is a very active group, raising money to help support trips to regional and state conferences.

An archeaology professor instructs student in the field.

Expert Faculty

Dr. John Nass is a leading archaeologist in local history and prehistory, with more than 20 years of experience in the classroom and on excavations. He conducts numerous public outreach endeavors each year, helping to inspire students and others to learn more about local history, including special events at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, and many local heritage festivals. He is the current president of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. Dr. Nass has been recognized with the PennWest California Faculty Professional Development Committee's Service Award and the Presidential Distinguished Merit Award for Teaching.

PennWest California archaeology students use ground penetrating radar at a church.

Unique Opportunities

The anthropology program strives to develop student research skills, and success has been shown by students winning awards at the PASSHE STEM conference and the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology conference. A PennWest California student also was selected for the highly competitive Natural History Research Experience Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Archaeology students have been involved in the search for a Revolutionary War-era road to a prisoner-of-war camp in York, Pennsylvania; the search for Teter's Fort, which aided in the Manchester Farm (near Avella, Washington County) being selected as one of the nation's most endangered historic sites in 2011; and in the excavation to find Wolff's Fort (Buffalo Township, Washington County).

B.A., Anthropology Courses

Students undertake comprehensive study of anthropology, and also can choose to specialize in either archaeology or forensic anthropology.


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
Any CDC General Education Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
Any Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
Any Technological Literacy Course
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course
Social Sciences
Any Social Sciences Course
Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis
Any JUS, SOC or WST Course on EMEL Menu
General Education Options
  • Any Social Science Course
  • Additional General Education Courses (two courses)
Required Major Courses 18
ANT 100  Intro to Anthropology 3
ANT 101  Archaeology Field School 3
ANT 290  Archaeology 3
ANT 421  Anthropological Thought 3
ANT 499  Senior Seminar in Anthropology 3
MAT 215  Statistics  OR  PSY 220  Descriptive Statistics 3
Required Related Courses 18
ANT 341  Research/Lab in Archaeology 3
ANT 355  Prehistoric American Indians 3
ANT 360  Historic Sites Archaeology 3
ANT 400  Fund. of Archaeological Theory 3
ANT 445  Advanced Methods in Archaeology 3
ANT 498  Seminar in Archaeology 3
Related Electives 3
Select from the following:
  • ANT 101  Archaeology Field School (extra)
  • ANT 200  Old World Prehistory
  • ANT 220  Aztecs, Mayas and Incas
  • ANT 231  Medical Anthropology
  • ANT/BIO 232  Biological Anthropology
  • ANT 255  World Ethnology
  • ANT 280  Indians of North America
  • ANT 300  Cultural Views of Women
  • ANT 345  Cultural Politics Food and Eating
  • ANT 370  Forensic Archaeology
  • ANT 379  Special Problems in Anthropology
  • ANT 385  Primate Social Behavior
  • ANT 390  Human Origins
  • Adviser-Approved ANT Course
Free Electives 40 or 41
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): ANT 499 Senior Seminar in Anthropology
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): Any Two ANT Approved Writing-Intensive Menu Courses
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): Any Laboratory Course

Program Notes: 42 credits (or 14 courses) of upper-division (300- or 400-level) courses are required. Related electives other than those listed must be approved by academic adviser.

B.A., Anthropology - Concentrations and Minors

Concentrations and Minors
  • Anthropology - Minor
  • Forensic - Concentration