Archaeology : Social Complexity


Why study Archaeology : Social Complexity?

Archaeology students become familiar with approaches for studying the archaeological record to make inferences about prehistoric peoples, their societies, and environments. Archaeology majors develop research skills that enable them to investigate problems, analyze and evaluate data, and infer aspects of ancient human behavior and modes of organization. Students learn about archaeological ethics, the history of archaeology, heritage management, and the relevance of archaeology to contemporary society. Archaeology majors pick one of three tracks on which to focus: landscape archaeology, geoarchaeology, and archaeology of social complexity.

Landscape archaeology refers to the suite of archaeological and geo-spatial approaches, such as survey archaeology, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and remote sensing (terrestrial, airborne, and satellite) for determining the degree to which humans have altered terrain (i.e., the geophysical environment) and vegetation communities for economic, political, and ideological reasons.

Geoarchaeology focuses on the application of geo-scientific principles drawn from geophysics, sedimentology, soil science, and geochronology for understanding the origins, content variability, and the formation history of the archaeological record.

Archaeology of social complexity is the systematic and cross-cultural study of the factors (e.g., climatic, demographic, economic) that affect the trajectories of societies representing various organizational structures and sociocultural levels of complexity. The archaeology of social complexity track is intended to serve those students who have an abiding intellectual interest in and curiosity about world archaeology, human history, and the diversity of ancient societies.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

The focus of the program is on experiential learning that includes field school training, laboratory and museum research, and participation in community historic preservation and archaeological projects. With its emphasis on research and professional training, the program provides undergraduate students with opportunities to directly participate in scholarly research through hands-on activities. The program incorporates information about recent discoveries and current interpretations of archaeological research in order that the student will appreciate the evolving nature of knowledge and theories in the field. The program also integrates core values of citizenship, cultural diversity, cultural heritage appreciation, and historic preservation.

The need for individuals trained by in archaeology is clearly illustrated by the abundance of local, state, and national government institutions and agencies that have staffs of archaeologists, including the USDI Bureau of Land Management, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the USDI National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Transportation, among others. In addition, studies conducted by the Society for American Archaeology indicate that trained archaeologists at the BA level will be needed to fill numerous positions within city, county, state and federal agencies that will become available as the baby-boom generation enters retirement. Moreover, graduates of the UC archaeology program will have a competitive advantage if they choose to continue their studies in MA programs.

Websites that highlight employment opportunities in archaeology worldwide include the following:

Minors are not available in the archaeology program. Students interested in a related minor or certificate might consider the following:

  • Minor in anthropology
  • Certificate in heritage studies
  • Certificate in historical preservation

The University of Cincinnati is well positioned to use community resources to enrich students’ experiences. The Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati History Museum and Cincinnati Museum of Natural History each provide a source of artifacts for detailed study and a site to observe or experience the process of information documentation and specimen curation. The main campus is uniquely situated in close proximity to hundreds of sites of national archaeological significance, such as Turner, Madisonville and Mariemont, as well as Shawnee Lookout, the first archaeological district in Ohio to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which provides our students with hands-on learning. Finally, the program builds on and strengthens existing relationships with the many local professional archaeologists employed in Cultural Resources Management (CRM) and environmental engineering firms, government agencies, historic preservation programs and museums that can provide opportunities for our students.

Students in the UC College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

The University of Cincinnati Center for Field Studies (UCCFS) is an off-campus resource located on 17.6 acres of South Shaker Farm in Miami Whitewater Forest, Hamilton County, Ohio. It is connected administratively to the UC College of Arts and Sciences with the direct involvement of the departments of anthropology, biological sciences, geography, geology and environmental studies. Designed to serve the Greater Cincinnati region, the UCCFS provides a base of operations for on-site and regional field research, a protected area for long-term environmental research and a training center for interdisciplinary research and education activities

To graduate from the UC College of Arts and Sciences, students must:

  • Earn at least 120 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 120.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits after matriculating into the college.
  • Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
  • Complete the College Core Requirements.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.

Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has 2.0 GPA cum and a 2.0 in the most recent institution.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a 2.0 GPA cum and a 2.0 at most recent institution
  • successfully completed one semester of English composition or its equivalent
  • successfully completed one semester of math with a grade of C- or higher that minimally meets on of the following:
    • Mathematical Literacy (MATH 0029)
    • Intermediate Algebra (MATH 0034)
    • Algebra for College (MATH 0039)
    • Students may also take the UC Math Placement exam, but must score an MPT of 420 or higher

University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.

Admission to A&S is generally available for University of Cincinnati students enrolled in other colleges if they were admissible directly from high school, have a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 in their most recent UC college.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions)
  • successfully completed one semester of English composition or its equivalent
  • successfully completed one semester of math with a grade of C- or higher that minimally meets on of the following:
    • Mathematical Literacy (MATH 0029)
    • Intermediate Algebra (MATH 0034)
    • Algebra for College (MATH 0039)
    • Students may also take the UC Math Placement exam, but must score an MPT of 420 or higher

Application Deadlines

While midyear admission is possible, fall semester is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that semester. Applicants to the UC College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

481 Braunstein Hall
PO Box 210380
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0380

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Program Code: 15BAC-ARCL-BA-ARCL-SC