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 California University of Pennsylvania, 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.

 Cal U 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.  

Learn more about applying

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

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. Cal U 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.


Cap icon.

Graduate Outcomes

 Cal U 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 Cal U poses with bones.

Professional Connections

Archaeology students are encouraged to join the local chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, which meets in Cal U'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 Cal U Faculty Professional Development Committee's Service Award and the Presidential Distinguished Merit Award for Teaching.

Cal U 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 Cal U 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.

Example Courses
  • Archaeology Field School
  • Old World Prehistory
  • Aztecs, Mayans And Incans
  • Prehistoric American Indians
  • Research Laboratory In Archaeology
  • Historic Sites Archaeology
  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Fundamentals Of Archaeological Theory

View full course sequence

B.A., Anthropology - Concentrations and Minors

Concentrations and Minors
  • Anthropology - Minor
  • Forensic - Concentration

Archaeology Faculty

Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Cassandra L. Kuba
Professor and Chief Forensic Anthropologist

View profile