Arizona State University is home to one of the world's leading programs in anthropological archaeology, attracting students and distinguished visitors from around the world. In the most recent review of archaeology programs in the nation, the Society for American Archaeology ranked ASU fifth, and it has become stronger subsequently.

Graduates from ASU are now on the faculty of many top-ranked universities. ASU archaeologists carry out research world-wide, studying topics as diverse as the origins of modern humans; the ecology and beginnings of farming; the development of institutionalized social inequality; the rise and fall of urban states and empires; and the long-term reciprocal impacts between people and their environment. Our graduate students are actively involved in research and publication, and the list of professional student publications is impressive. The students have prepared a list of "strengths of the archaeology program," which should be of interest to those considering applying to graduate study.

Since the formation of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in 2005, the archaeology program at ASU can be viewed in two ways. First, we have maintained our status as a strong, vibrant and active program of anthropological archaeology. Our students are among the best in the country. Our graduate and undergraduate courses are still labeled "anthropology" courses in the catalog, and our master's and doctoral degrees are in anthropology.

From a second perspective, archaeologists at ASU are taking advantage of transdisciplinary opportunities and resources to lead the discipline in new directions: developing basic social science theory for understanding the dynamics and challenges of Western and non-Western societies; creating new technologies for collecting and analyzing data; directing interdisciplinary teams of scientists in novel research on past sociocultural systems and their environmental contexts; and applying unique knowledge about long-term dynamics to diverse issues facing humanity today.

ASU archaeologists focus their research especially on 4 complementary areas with the potential to have transformative impact on other disciplines and society more broadly:

  • long-term change;
  • ecological dynamics of societies;
  • social complexity and urbanism;
  • and the politics and power of ideas.

Topical Strengths:


Archaeology Curriculum

Regional Strengths:

For a list of affiliated faculty, please see the Graduate Faculty page and select the appropriate degree from the drop-down menu.

See our related events, research centers and field schools: 
Archaeology Brown Bag Series 
Center for American Archeology 
Center for Archaeology and Society
Center for Bioarchaeological Research 
Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve 
Digital Antiquity 
Field Schools
Institute of Human Origins  
Teotihuacan Research Laboratory

Download a brochure on the ASU archaeology program.

2015 RuppĂ© Prize in Archaeology announcement and cover sheet.

Watch a KAET-TV Research Review segment on one of the school's Southwestern archaeology projects.

Read the article, "Applying to Graduate School in Archaeology."