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Industrial Archaeology—MS

Industrial archaeologists study the physical remains of industrial societies—including artifacts, systems, sites, documents, traditions, and landscapes—within their cultural, ecological, and historical contexts.

The Master of Science in Industrial Archaeology is a professional degree that prepares students for diverse careers in areas including curation and education at historic sites and within museums; heritage and cultural resources management; field archaeology; public history; preservation and planning; education; and community and government service. Graduates of the MS program may also choose to advance their studies in a doctoral program.

Curriculum

Through rigorous course work emphasizing relevant, hands-on opportunities, our curriculum instills in students both a solid theoretical grounding and a practical skill set. Student theses, which are often developed in conjunction with outside sponsors, incorporate real-world situations concerned with proposal preparation and budgeting; site identification, interpretation, preservation, and management; heritage policy and law; and community-based research and management.

Degree Options

The MS in Industrial Archaeology is a two-year course of study. Students may choose from the following degree options:

Thesis Option

This option requires a research thesis prepared under the supervision of the advisor.  The thesis describes a research investigation and its results. The scope of the research topic for the thesis should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. The thesis must be prepared following the current procedures.  

At least two weeks prior to the oral examination, students must

The Degree schedule form (M4) must be approved before a defense is scheduled.

Students must also report the results of the oral examination and submit a final thesis to the Graduate School prior to completing their degrees.

The minimum requirements are as follows:

Course work (minimum)20 credits
Thesis research6–10 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

Report Option

This option requires a report describing the results of an independent study project. The scope of the research topic should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. The report must be prepared following the current procedures.

At least two weeks prior to the oral examination, students must

  • Schedule their examination using the Pre-defense form
  • Distribute the report to the examining committee

The Degree schedule form (M4) must be approved before a defense is scheduled.

Students must also report the results of the oral examination and submit a single paper copy of the corrected and approved report in a sturdy binder including an original signature page to the Graduate School.

Of the minimum total of 30 credits, at least 24 must be earned in course work other than the project.

Course work24 credits
Report2–6 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

Typical Work Environment

Industrial archaeologists are involved in the practical preservation, mitigation, management, and interpretation of industrial remains. Because of the nature of industrial heritage sites, our master’s graduates often work within communities striving for economic and social revitalization in increasingly complex ecological settings.

Program Statistics

We take pride in our program performance statistics, which are competitive with those of any master’s program in archaeology, anthropology, history, or heritage studies. Faculty and staff continually monitor these statistics as one way to assess our efforts and identify areas for programmatic improvement.

Statistical Results for Enrolled Students (1991–2010)

  • Entering: 91 students (54 males, 37 females)
  • Completed Degrees: 61 students (36 males, 25 females)
  • Three students from the 2010 cohort are still actively enrolled.

Time to Completion (2001–10)

Fully 90 percent of enrolled MS students completed their degrees (87 percent male, 72 percent female). Of the graduates who completed the MS degree, 22 completed the degree in two years, while five others finished the following summer (82 percent).

Financial Support (2001–10)

Nearly every enrolled student (98 percent) received some type of financial support during their time in the program. Of the supported students, approximately 80 percent received full GRA/GTA-equivalent support for two years, i.e., tuition waiver and stipend. (This is in spite of the serious fiscal challenges faced by Michigan’s public universities, including Michigan Tech. Industrial Archaeology faculty and graduate students worked very hard to meet support needs.)

Positions Secured

  • CRM/Federal or State Agencies: 52 percent of graduates
  • Accepted for Advanced Degrees: 23 percent of graduates (Brown, MIT, University of Massachusetts, University of Florida, University of Arizona, University of Kentucky, University of Nevada, and Michigan Tech)
  • The remaining 25 percent of graduates found careers in other areas, including museums, education, nongovernmental organizations, and specialized consulting.

Backgrounds of Entering Students

  • Anthropology: 50 percent
  • History: 20 percent
  • Art, Photography, and Design: 10 percent
  • Engineering, Math, and Physics; Business, Computers/IT; and Humanities: 7 percent in each category

Students originate from throughout the United States (including Puerto Rico), as well as from Canada, New Zealand, Virgin Islands, Italy, Mexico, Colombia, and Portugal.