Archaeology is a multidisciplinary subject that integrates the knowledge of history and anthropology with subjects like geology, chemistry and art. The areas of specialization include numismatics and epigraphy. To become an archaeologist, one should study the subject at the Master's degree level and pursue M.Phil. or Ph.D.

Study options

Choose Humanities subjects including history for your Plus Two study. For degree course, it would be better to go for a Bachelor's degree course in archaeology or history.

Degree, PG courses

Some colleges under the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, offer the archaeology course at the Bachelor's degree level. Among them are Union Christian (UC) College, Aluva; Assumption College, Changanassery and St. Thomas College, Pala. List of more colleges can be obtained from the website www.mguniversity.edu.

Three-year Bachelor's degree courses are also offered by the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, and Barkathullah Vishwa Vidyalaya, Bhopal.

The Master's degree course is offered only by a few universities in India. The Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala, University Campus, Kariyavattom, Thiruvananthapuram – 695581 is the only institution that offers the MA course in archaeology in the State. This is a two-year fulltime four-semester course having 12 seats.

Meritorious graduates in any discipline are eligible for admission. The University of Kerala also provides M.Phil. and Ph.D. study facilities. Details can be collected from the Department of Archaeology or from the website www.keralauniversity.edu.

PG diploma

The Centre for Heritage Studies, Hill Palace, Thripunithura conducts a one-year postgraduate diploma course in archaeology; museology, archival studies and conservation. The course has been designed to train students in the fundamentals of archaeology. Graduates in any discipline from a recognised university are eligible for admission. Age limit is 25 years. Details can be collected from the centre (Phone: 0484 – 2776374).

Outside Kerala

The University of Madras, Chepauk, Chennai – 600005 (www.unom.ac.in) conducts MA and M.Phil. courses in ancient history and archaeology and also offers postgraduate diploma in archaeology and tourism.

The Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi – 221005 (www.bhu.ac.in) offers MA in ancient Indian history, culture and archaeology.

Some other universities that offer archaeology at the Master's degree level are the following:

Bangalore University, Bangalore – 560056

Dr. Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar- 470003

Nagpur University, Nagpur – 440001

Osmania University, Hyderabad – 500007

The list is only indicative. List of more universities that offer degree and Master's degree courses in archaeology can be collected from the University Handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, which will be available for reference in the University Employment Information and Guidance Bureaux functioning under all Universities in Kerala.

The Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, also offers a Master's degree course in archaeology and heritage management . Graduates in history, archaeology or anthropology are eligible for admission. Detailed information can be had from the Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management, 18 A, Satsang Vihar, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi. Those who complete the Master's degree course in archaeology with at least 55 per cent can go for the two-year postgraduate diploma course in archaeology conducted by the Institute of Archeology under the Archaeological Survey of India, Red Fort Complex, Delhi-110006.

Master's degree holders in ancient or medieval Indian history, anthropology or Indian and classical languages such as Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic or Persian, or geology from a recognised university with a minimum of 55 per cent marks are eligible for admission.

The upper age limit is 25 years. The selection is based on an entrance test and interview. The students are entitled to a monthly stipend. More details can be had from the institute.

JRF Lectureship

Those who score at least 55 per cent marks in their Master's degree examination can appear for UGC's Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and lectureship examinations (National Eligibility Test). Those who qualify the JRF can go for research leading to Ph.D. with fellowship or scholarship and the lectureship examination is to determine the eligibility for the appointment of lecturers in colleges and universities.

Related options

If interested, one can also choose museology, conservation and history of art as related options at the higher level. The National Museum Institute University of History of Art, Conservation and Museology , National museum, Janapath, New Delhi – 110011 is a prominent centre and deemed university under the Government of India, that provides excellent higher study facilities in these subjects. The MA museology course has 15 seats. BA / B.Sc. / BFA degree holders in any discipline are eligible for admission. MA in history of art and conservation course is also conducted here, for which graduates in different disciplines are eligible for admission. More details can be collected from the website www.nmi.gov.in

Career prospects

The Archeological Survey of India under the Union Government and the Department of Archaeology of the State governments are the major employers who provide job opportunities such as those of assistant archaeologists or archeologists. The selection to the Archaeological Survey of India is done by the Union Public Service Commission and to the State Departments by the Respective State Public Service Commissions. The National Museum in New Delhi, State Museums, National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage and so on employ archeologists, museologists, curators and other specialists. Research and training is possible at the Indian Council of Historical Research. The work requires patience and involves travelling to remote areas for field work. Archaeology could be fascinating for those interested in the historical past. The U.S. and the U.K. are the leading countries that provide educational and job opportunities in archaeology.