Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology

Note: AMNE is in the process of updating the name and requirements of our MA Program. Students should continue to plan their degree for 2021/22 using the current program requirements. 

MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology (CNAR)

The MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology is a two-year degree that allows students to specialize in the archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Coursework can survey from the Bronze Age civilizations of the Near East and Egypt to Roman provincial archaeology, providing a broadly based foundation for further archaeological training. The degree balances research with fieldwork to best prepare students for a career in archaeology.

The official requirements for graduation are always those published in the UBC Calendar entry for the year of your program start date.

All MA degrees require:

  1. The completion of 30 credits, including CNRS 500 (3 credits) and CNRS 549 (a six-credit thesis).
  2. Demonstrated competence in one modern language

Students in the programs specified below must meet additional requirements, unless they have already completed them prior to acceptance into the program:

MA Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, MA Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity, and MA Religious Studies

  • Complete at least 2 years of coursework in an ancient language.

MA Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology

  • Complete the archaeological fieldwork requirement.

Coursework Requirements

All students must complete 30 credits, including 24 credits of coursework (normally 8 courses) and 6 credits for the MA thesis, CNRS 549. All courses are normally at the 500-level and selected from graduate course offerings in the Department.

Students may choose courses according to the following regulations, and are strongly encouraged to do so in consultation with the program advisor, to ensure all program requirements are met.

MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology (CNAR): at least 12 credits at the 500 level must be in courses in CLST, NEST and/or CNRS. Additionally, MA CNAR students must complete the archaeological fieldwork requirement.

Archaeological Fieldwork

All students in the MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology must have fulfilled this requirement by the end of their program.  All MA students may include CNRS 535 (to a maximum of 3 credits) as part of their program, as long as other degree requirements are met, they are in good academic standing, and they are making satisfactory progress in their program. Students applying for entry to the PhD program in Classics (Classical Archaeology) must have fulfilled this requirement prior to entry.

This requirement can be fulfilled by any of three means:

  1. The completion of CNRS 535.
  2. Participation in another field project undertaken during the program, provided that it has been approved in advance by the Chair of Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies and/or the DGS. This includes but is not limited to excavation, museum work or conservation, archaeological survey, or geophysical work. For outside (non-UBC) projects to qualify for credit as CNRS 535, they must involve a minimum of 4 weeks of fieldwork and must be demonstrated to fulfill the specific learning objectives that are described in the CNRS 535 Syllabus. Students must seek approval from the Chair of Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies for these projects as soon as possible and no later than 2 months in advance of the project start. Please contact with questions and/or with your petition request.
  3. The completion of previous field experience as defined above, subject to approval by the Chair of Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies. Field programs that are not completed as CNRS 535 can fulfill the field requirement, but do not count for course credit toward the MA program. To count for credit toward the MA program, field experience must be fulfilled in the form of CNRS 535 during the degree.

Students in other MA programs who wish to participate in a field school for credit towards their degree should discuss this with the program advisor.

Modern Language Requirement

All MA students are required to attain minimal reading knowledge of at least one  foreign modern languages in addition to English. Available choices are French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Students select the language in consultation with the program advisor and/or their supervisor. The selected language will be reported to the program advisor.

Competence in a language can be established by any of four means:

    1. Being a native speaker of the language.
    2. The successful completion of an examination administered by the department’s Graduate Committee or, when available, by another department. The examination may be re-attempted until passed.
    3. The successful completion of 6 credits (one year) in the language. This is may be fulfilled with any paired language courses (e.g. GERM 100 and 110, ITAL 101 and 102, SPAN 101 and 102, SPAN 206 and 207, FREN 101 and 102, FREN 342 and 343). These two courses must be taken for academic credit while registered in the graduate program, must meet minimum grades for G&PS, and do not count towards the credits required for the degree.
    4. The completion of a modern language requirement as part of another graduate degree.

The Department strongly urges students to consider early on in their program how they will fulfill the language requirements in order to further their career development.

Ancient Language Requirement

The MA in Classics requires advanced study in Latin and Greek prior to admission. The MA in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity, the MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and the MA in Religious Studies require the completion, before the end of the program, of at least two years’ study (12 credits or equivalent) in one of the following ancient languages: Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, or Classical Arabic (minimum grade: B-/68%). Any courses taken to satisfy this requirement do not count toward the 30 credits required by the program. Students intending to pursue doctoral degrees are advised that more languages are typically required for admission, and that these minimum standards may not be sufficient.

Students in MA ACRE, MA CNAR, or MA RELG are also strongly encouraged to take courses in Akkadian, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Coptic and/or other relevant ancient Near Eastern languages, particularly if they wish to pursue doctoral degrees. Senior undergraduate courses in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian languages can be counted among the 6 upper level undergraduate courses which the university allows to count towards the 30 credit MA program minimum.

MA Thesis (CNRS 549)

As part of their degree, students in the AMNE MA programs write a thesis. Research should commence in the summer of Year 1 and its completion typically takes place in the second term of Year 2. Students undertake to produce a lengthy piece of academic work (15 000 to 18 000 words) at an advanced level demonstrating their mastery of core methods and primary materials. This thesis should be the best piece of academic writing that students have done, and consequently requires a commitment of at least 312 hours’ work over 8 to 12 months.

MA Supervisory Committees

MA students select their thesis advisor at the end of their first academic year (before May, year 1), with the expectation that work begins that summer. Once the Director of Graduate Studies is informed of the selection, the thesis advisor becomes chair of the MA supervisory committee. In consultation with the student, the thesis advisor selects a second member for the committee, and upon submission the two must agree upon a final grade for the thesis (CNRS 549). The Director of Graduate Studies serves as a member of each committee ex officio to ensure fairness across the cohort. In cases where the Director of Graduate Studies is one of the two markers for the thesis, a third suitable person is to be selected as a member of the committee. All MA supervisory committees must include at least two faculty who are members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC.

See also the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies guidelines for Supervisory Committees.

AMNE MA Program Transfers

The department recognizes that graduate students may wish to change programs within the department mid-stream, in order to realize their academic goals better. To change programs, the student must make a written request to the Director of Graduate Studies, providing a rationale for the transfer. The transfer will be decided by a majority vote of the Graduate Committee. Application will be made before April in the second year of study, and will not be approved if the student has failed any necessary component of his or her current program.