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General Guidance on MA in Zooarch or Similar


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Hey All,

So I graduated from Berkeley with a BA in English (Medieval focus). After a long process which I won't bore you with, I decided this past Fall to apply for a MSc in Zooarchaeology at York in the UK. I have been in touch with professors at York to get more information on the program and how I can prepare. I took an Intro to Archeology class at Cal, as well as a Physical Anthro class, and am currently taking a Forensic Anthropology class and a Cultural Anthropology class at UT Austin Extension. I am IN LOVE with my forensic class and this has only solidified my desire to dive into an archaeological (and osteological) field.

In one sentence: I want to study human artifacts, with a strong focus on osteological remains with a possible/probable focus on animal remains.

Though I am fairly flexible as to the time period or place that I study (the great thing about zooarch is that it's everywhere and every-when), I do have a keen interest in Europe (specifically Celtic and Gaulish areas), and the older the better.

I should hear back from York any day now, and I would be very excited to complete their program. However, my decision to apply was fairly last minute and based on a complete change in tracks (do not let this confuse you in regards to my interest and dedication -- it's more like I woke up than that I changed my mind) and as a result I didn't really get a chance to poke around and consider other programs (and woulnd't have had time to apply even if I did). If I am accepted to York, I am now strongly considering deferring a year (largely for finacial reasons) and taking that time to also look at what other programs, both in the UK and the US, would be good for me.

My understanding is that UT Austin has a very good program (not top, but very good). However, all ranking information I can find is on the Anthropology program, but not specifically on the Archeology program. Can anyone comment on UT Austin's MA program when you put in a focus on Archeology? How about York? Their Archeology department is well regarded in the UK, but how about over here? I know Stanford has an excellent program, and I will likely apply, but I also know my chances of getting in are low. Can anyone suggest other programs that are very good?

Above all, I think what I need to know is how important is the "ranking" of an MA program? I know that for employment purposes (specifically if you're looking at Tenure Track academia) it quite matters how others view your PhD program. But what about a terminal Masters program as a precursor to a PhD program? I assume it's not entirely unlike the "prestige" of your BA granting institution -- it may help you get into a program but it's not the be-all-end-all.

Thanks in advance for any guidance or thoughts!

Edited by Elbee
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Overall ranking don't mean anything. The last rankings were done in 94 and only the schools who requested rankings got ranked. As for what matters, it all depends on the name of your advisor and then what help he gives you. Most programs require you to get a masters first then a phd even if they say otherwise on their websites. And yes where you go for masters can affect where you get into for your phd.

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