If you’ve seen the Indiana Jones movies, you probably have a pretty good idea of what archeologists do (well, except for the running from boulders part).

Archeology is the study of past human life on earth. It involves digging up and analyzing the remains of people who lived a long time ago to learn more about how they lived. This involves work both out on the field and in high-tech labs.

As an archeology student, you’ll learn about techniques like geophysical surveying, statistical sampling, and carbon dating. If you want to make a career out of excavating remains of a long-lost civilization in remote rainforests and deserts, here are seven of the best schools in the world to set you on your way.

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Top Archeology Schools in the World

1. University of Cambridge

Despite being among the world’s oldest, Cambridge University’s Department of Archeology is a leading school for archeology in the world and is a trailblazer when it comes to using the latest technology and coming up with radical ideas. Its extensive research facilities and world-class faculty create an environment where students can push boundaries in one of the world’s oldest areas of study.

Cambridge specializes in subjects such as archeological science, biological anthropology, and Egyptology. Students can gain knowledge of a variety of fields while exploring their individual interests. At Cambridge, you’ll also do plenty of fieldwork at dig sites.

As a Ph.D. student, you’ll work at the renowned McDonald Institute for Archeological Research, where you’ll have access to research labs, libraries, and museums. Crucially, you’ll also have plenty of help getting your research published.

2. University of Oxford

Given that they’re two of the oldest universities in the world, it’s no surprise to find Oxford and Cambridge at the top of this list. Studying at Oxford’s School of Archeology gives you a world-class experience and access to the Institute of Archeology and the Research Lab for Archeology and the History of Art, two top research hubs.

As an undergraduate student at Oxford, you’ll study both archeology and anthropology. This will help you understand the biological and cultural contexts behind your archeological discoveries and make you a more well-rounded researcher.

At the graduate level, you can opt for a Master of Science in Archeology or in Archeological Science. The former teaches you the nitty-gritty of working at digs and laboratories, while the latter is a more theoretical program aimed at those who want to be managers and policymakers. Both taught and research PhDs are offered.

3. University College London

Britain is the historical center of archeology, and that is certainly reflected in this list. Having existed for more than 80 years, the University College London has built up a strong global network and compiled a vast library of research for your perusal.

UCL’s program has strong heritage studies and world archeology components. Besides learning the science of archeology, you’ll also learn about how to preserve human cultures and to understand archeology as a global field.

UCL offers an exceptional archeology program and is also unique in that it welcomes archeology students around the world to do a study abroad year at the university.

4. Durham University

Durham University has an extremely top-notch diverse archeology program that welcomes students from all over the world.

Durham students employ techniques like remote sensing, isotopic analysis, and ancient DNA analysis out in the field and in laboratories. As a student here, you’ll constantly be on the field’s cutting edge, which makes you extremely marketable to future employers.

In contrast to the previous universities on this list, Durham offers a range of specialized degree programs, rather than offering one or two programs and leaving it to students to customize their degrees. If subjects like bioarchaeology, archeology and ancient civilizations, museum and artifact studies, etc. interest you, Durham is the place to be.

5. Harvard University

Harvard University is the best school in North America and in the world for archeology. Its programs are run by the Department of Anthropology, which gives them a uniquely human-centric approach.

As an undergraduate, you don’t need to declare a major until your second year, which makes Harvard perfect for those who are thinking of pursuing archeology but aren’t sure yet.

Harvard offers a unique graduate program called Medical Anthropology, which teaches students about the history of man’s relationship with disease. This is perfect for students who want to approach medicine and public health from a historical perspective.

6. Stanford University

Stanford University’s Archeology Center is one of the best schools for archeology across the globe as it uses its close ties to other Stanford departments to give students a holistic archeology education. Here, you’ll be allowed to take courses in biology, business, etc. to supplement your education.

Because of this, those who study archeology at Stanford are in high demand for fieldwork and teaching positions, but also for jobs in business, medicine, and many other fields.

Stanford’s field school gives undergraduate students from both the Archeology Center and elsewhere the opportunity to spend 4-6 weeks at an archeological site. Past excursions include a sunken ship off the Sicilian coast and a dig site in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

7. Leiden University

The Netherlands is home to some of the world’s best museums, so it’s no surprise to find a Dutch university on this list. Leiden University is the premier institution for archeology in continental Europe and one of the bests in the world, and it’s easy to see why: the teaching is world-class, and important research is regularly done here.

Leiden University’s archeology programs center around the relationship between the behavior of individuals and society as a whole. The university regularly hosts career workshops and fairs, which helps tremendously in finding a job after you graduate.

Leiden University also helps its students get published in top journals, which is crucial if you want to get into research or teaching.


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