About Archaeology

Classical archaeology is the study of the material culture — the artifacts, sites, monuments, and landscapes — of the ancient Mediterranean world. While we focus principally on the civilizations of Greece and Rome, other areas, notably Egypt and the Near East, can also form an important part of the concentration. The study of classical archaeology extends broadly through time as well as space, ranging from the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of the second millennium BC to the collapse of the Roman empire — which occurred in AD 476 or in AD 1453, depending on who you ask.

At Michigan, you can study everything from the Parthenon in Athens to the Colosseum in Rome, from the forts of Roman Britain to the art of Egypt of the pharaohs, from the palaces of prehistoric Crete to the Ice Man, from cities in Afghanistan to red-figure pottery — as well as things between and beyond.

These diverse course offerings encourage the interdisciplinary study of art, history, languages and archaeology. Many classes are held in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and objects from its collections are widely used in teaching. Student opportunities exist for volunteering in the museum, and undergraduates are also encouraged to think about gaining fieldwork experience in the summer months. Finally, many archaeologists visit and lecture on the Michigan campus each year and undergraduates are always welcome (and encouraged) to attend.


Requires a minimum of 9-10 courses (at least 3 credits each) including:

  1. At least two of the following introductory courses:
    Classical Archaeology 221: Introduction to Greek Archaeology
    Classical Archaeology 222: Introduction to Roman Archaeology
    Classical Archaeology 323: Introduction to Field Archaeology
  2. At least three upper level courses in the field of Classical Archaeology.
  3. At least one course in either Greek or Roman history or civilization.
  4. At least one upper level course in a cognate field (e.g. Anthropology, History, History of Art, Near Eastern Studies, Religion, Women's Studies)
  5. Third term proficiency in Greek or Latin (Language courses that are a prerequisite of third term proficiency DO NOT count among the number of credits required for the major).


This minor is intended to provide students with the opportunity to explore the archaeology and art of the ancient Mediterranean world. Students will acquire a broad archaeological, historical and cultural overview, before turning to more specific courses dealing with the artistic production and material conditions of Greek and Roman society.
Prerequisites to the Archaeology minor:
One of the following introductory course in classical archaeology:

  • Classical Archaeology 221: Introduction to Greek Archaeology
  • Classical Archaeology 222: Introduction to Roman Archaeology
  • Classical Archaeology 323: Introduction to Field Archaeology

Requirements for the Archaeology minor:
At least 16 credits of courses chosen from the following three groups:

  1. At least one broad introductory course in classical archaeology, other than the course chosen to meet the prerequisite (Classical Archaeology 221: Introduction to Greek Archaeology; Classical Archaeology 222: Introduction to Roman Archaeology; Classical Archaeology 323: Introduction to Field Archaeology)
  2. At least one broad introductory course in Greek or Roman civilization or Greek and Roman history (History 200; History 201; Classical Civilization 101; Classical Civilization 102)
  3. At least three upper level (upper 300 or 400 level) courses in classical archaeology.

Honors Concentration in Classical Archaeology

NEW Honors Requirements (effective as of Jan. 1, 2005. Students declaring after this date must follow these requirements.)

In addition to the concentration requirements stated above, Honors candidates are required to take a minimum of eight credits in the second classical language (Ancient Greek if the major language is Latin; Latin if the major language is Ancient Greek). Honors students receive six credits during their senior year for researching and writing an Honors thesis (CA 495); they must offer an oral defense of this work, in a form to be agreed upon with their thesis advisor. The thesis should be a minimum of 40 pages in length. Interested students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 should contact their concentration advisor no later than the winter term of their junior year at the latest.

OLD Honors Requirements (discontinued as of Dec. 31, 2004. Students who declared before this date may still follow these honors requirements, or may elect to follow the new requirements instead.)

The Department of Classical Studies invites any archaeology concentrator with an overall GPA of 3.5 (3.5 in courses taken for the concentration) interested in and capable of carrying out independent work to give serious thought to an honors concentration. While an honors concentration does require more work, the opportunity to collaborate closely with a faculty member and the additional exposure to the classics substantially enrich an undergraduate program. Students who wish to be admitted to the Departmental honors program should apply to the concentration advisor. This can be done either when declaring the concentration or at any time up to the beginning of the senior year, though it is strongly recommended that students apply by November of their junior year. The Departmental honors program is not restricted to students who have been in the College Honors Program in their freshman and sophomore years.

The normal concentration requirements for Classical Archaeology, with the addition of:

  1. A minimum of eight credits in the second classical language.
  2. The writing of an honors thesis, under the direction of a Classical Studies faculty member.
  3. Classical Archaeology 324: Practicum in Field Archaeology
    [This requirement may be filled in a variety of ways including: summer fieldwork, volunteer experience in a museum setting, or supervised research with a faculty member. Students should consult with the undergraduate advisor.]
    Students work on the thesis over the course of their final year with an advisor who will, with the assistance of another faculty member, assess its quality and assign the degree of honors (no honors, honors, high honors, highest honors) to be awarded. Consult with the concentration advisor well in advance of your senior year if you are interested.

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Images above are from the collections of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

If you are at all considering either a study abroad program or archaeological fieldwork, you should meet with your Classics advisor in the fall term to begin planning.

Want an easy way to manage your degree requirements? Easy to use Archaeology checklists are available here!