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UCLA Graduate Division

2014-2015 Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees

Applicable only to students admitted during the 2014-2015 academic year.


Interdepartmental Program
College of Letters and Science

Graduate Degrees

The Archaeology Program offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Archaeology.

Admissions Requirements 

Master's Degree


Each student should choose a chair for their M.A. research, determined by mutual agreement. The Archaeology Program chair serves as a general graduate advisor.  In addition to the M.A. advisor, the student should choose two additional core faculty to form a three-person M.A. committee.  The M.A. committee consists of a minimum of three UCLA faculty members who must hold one of the following academic ranks, Professor (i.e., faculty who are members of the Academic Senate, including Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor), Professor Emeritus and Acting Professor. Acting Assistant Professors may serve as regular members, but not as chairs.

Areas of Study

Areas of study include analysis of archaeological materials; ancient Near East; Egypt; Islamic world; China and the Far East; Bronze Age in the Mediterranean; classical Greece and Rome; India and Central Asia; Andean South America; Mesoamerica; Pacific; paleoenvironmental studies; Western North America. Other areas of specialization are also available.

Foreign Language Requirement

The ability to read at least one modern foreign language, relevant to the student’s field of interest, is required for the M.A. There are three options available to satisfy the language requirement.  This requirement may be met by (1) completing three courses in an introductory sequence of the selected language at UCLA with a minimum grade of A- in each course;  (2) take an examination (in Spanish, Italian, French, or German; other languages, if deemed necessary by the committee, may be substituted) administered by the Archaeology Program; or (3) Petition – A student who has completed a course of study in a foreign language may petition to satisfy the language requirement. International students whose native language is not English may petition to use English to fulfill their M.A. level language requirement.  The foreign language requirement must be completed by the end of the fourth quarter or the beginning of the fifth quarter in the Program, unless an earlier deadline is imposed by the student.

Course Requirements

Incoming students are required to complete a three-quarter core course sequence that consists of Archaeology M201A (4 units), Archaeology M201B (4 units), and Archaeology M201C (4 units).  The master’s program requires a minimum of 42 total units taken for a letter grade and distributed among at least nine courses.(the three core courses listed above count toward this 42-unit total). Six of the nine courses must be taken in the form of 4 or 6 unit classes. At least two of these additional 4-6 unit courses (beyond the three core courses) must be graduate-level courses. The remaining four of the nine courses may be upper division undergraduate or graduate level courses (taken with the approval of the Instructor of the course).  Students should keep in mind that independent studies and other courses taken for a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory(S/U) grade cannot be applied to the 42 unit requirement. Students must take two M205 (or commensurate course[s] approved by the Chair), laboratory based courses such as paleoethnobotany, ceramic analysis, zooarchaeology, GIS, or lithic analysis, among others.  One course must be well outside the student’s sphere of geographic interest, selected  from a pool of eligible courses in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and the Archaeology Program Chair; this course may be  upper-division or graduate level, and must be taken for a letter grade.

Teaching Experience

Not required. The Program assists students in obtaining teaching experience through appointments as teaching assistants in a number of other departments.

Field Experience

No graduate degree is awarded until the student has worked in the field and has demonstrated her/his competency to direct field research in archaeology. Both theoretical and practical knowledge of methods and techniques used in field archaeology are necessary. This requirement may be met in several ways: ordinarily the student will take a regular UCLA field course such as Anthropology 115P, Archaeology 259, Ancient Near East 261, Classics C251E, or similar courses offered by other departments. Comparable courses offered by other institutions may also be accepted.

Except for the courses listed above, any given formula to fulfill the requirement must be cleared in advance with the chair of the program.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

The comprehensive examination consists of three examinations, given at the completion of each section of Archaeology M201A, M201B, and M201C respectively, and a research paper. The comprehensive examinations are graded by three readers (the professor in charge of the course, program chair, and a third faculty member) as high pass, pass, or no pass. Each of the three examinations may be retaken once. The research paper, to be completed by the seventh quarter of residence, is read by three faculty members and assists students and faculty in the determination of whether a student may continue for the Ph.D. degree.

Thesis Plan



There is a limit of six quarters for the completion of the M.A. degree.

Doctoral Degree


Each student chooses a chair for his/her Ph.D. research, determined by mutual agreement.  The Ph.D. committee must be constituted before the end of the first year of doctoral work.  The signatures of the members of the Ph.D. committee, indicating their willingness to serve, must be filed with the Archaeology Program. Admission to the doctoral program for students completing a UCLA M.A. in Archaeology is based on the recommendation by all three members of the M.A. committee; submission by the student of a plan of study, including projected coursework, choice of foreign language, description of qualifying examination components, and dissertation topics; quality of work undertaken in the Archaeology Program, (i.e., a High Pass in the M.A. paper, satisfactory evaluation of the core examinations, and judgment of suitability for original research at the Ph.D. level); and quality of the M.A. core examination results and the M.A. paper.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Major fields or subdisciplines include analysis of archaeological materials; ancient Near East; Egypt; Islamic world; China and the Far East; Bronze Age in the Mediterranean; classical Greece and Rome; India and Central Asia; Andean South America; Mesoamerica; Pacific; paleoenvironmental studies; Western North America. Other areas of specialization are also available.

Foreign Language Requirement

Reading competence in two modern foreign languages relevant to the student's interests is normally required.  Research competence in two modern foreign languages (including one fulfilled at the M.A. level, either at UCLA or elsewhere), relevant to the student’s research interests, is normally required. Competence may be demonstrated in the ways outlined for the M.A. Degree Foreign Language Requirement. When proficiency in two foreign languages is not mandated by a student’s interest, a petition outlining the justification for waiving the second language requirement may be prepared. This petition shall include a proposed program of course work or research in a field not directly part of dissertation that is equivalent to the preparation for the foreign language exam .

Course Requirements

For the Ph.D., the student is required to have taken two laboratory courses (this may include the course[s] taken by the student at the M.A. stage). Students are also highly encouraged to take additional courses in archaeological theory to build upon the expertise gained in the core courses.

Teaching Experience

Not required. The Program assists students in obtaining teaching experience through appointments as teaching assistants in a number of other departments.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

The expectation is that by the end of the third quarter of the doctoral program, after the foreign language requirement has been fulfilled, students take a written qualifying examination in the following three areas: (1) topical specialization; (2) analytical theory, method, and technique; and (3) regional culture history. Before the written examinations, the candidate will be required to submit to the doctoral committee a formal dissertation proposal of approximately 7500 words (excluding bibliography and figures) indicating the research problem, geographic area, method of study, and preparation for the dissertation. If the written qualifying examination is passed, students may then make arrangements to take the oral examination.

The University Oral Qualifying Examination must be taken by the end of the third quarter of the doctoral program. The Ph.D. oral proposal defense must take place within 2-4 weeks of the completion of the written examinations.

If the written examination or any portion thereof is failed, students may make one further attempt if their committee deems it appropriate. The written and oral qualifying examinations must be taken and passed no later than the sixth quarter in the doctoral program. 

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

Not required for all students in the program. The decision as to whether a defense is required is made by the doctoral committee.


There is a ceiling of five academic years for the completion of the dissertation after advancement to candidacy, although the expectation is for the student to complete the dissertation as expeditiously as possible. The dissertation must be filed with the Graduate Division.  At the same time, an additional copy of the dissertation is to be filed with the Chairperson of the Archaeology Program.

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

In addition to the reasons noted above, a student may be recommended for termination for two failures of the core examinations, failure to fulfill the foreign language requirement, an unsatisfactory master's paper, two failures of the written qualifying examination, a level of incompetence on the oral qualifying examination that would lead to denial of a second examination, two failures of the oral qualifying examination in instances where a student is allowed to repeat it, or an unsatisfactory dissertation. A student may appeal a recommendation for termination through a request for a hearing before the Executive Committee.

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