The PhD in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology is an interdisciplinary, research-based degree that prepares students to join a global community of scholars and professionals in studying and managing the world’s industrial heritage. Academic interest revolves around postindustrial regions and communities of the world struggling with the social and material consequences of industrial decline. This degree program is designed to afford intellectual maturity to students pursuing academic careers in heritage science or high-level managerial positions in heritage management.
Michigan Tech offers one of the few industrial heritage and archaeology PhD programs in the world. This unique degree was created to fill a critical void in the modern intellectual and professional landscape. While existing disciplinary degree programs train students for high-level positions in planning, heritage management, economics, anthropology, industrial history, or the engineering perspective on remediation/reclamation, none of these disciplines place the complex situations of industrial society at the core of their curricula. Our students distinguish themselves through their multifaceted perspectives on industrial societies.
Innovation in Research
As an advanced degree of an emerging field, the PhD in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology does not fit neatly into the conceptual framework of typical degree programs in more established disciplines. Our students develop competencies in research as well as formal and substantive bases of knowledge in multiple disciplinary areas.
Doctoral students formulate original research projects in consultation with a faculty committee; secure financial support; define rigorous data collection and analytical schemes; and generate solutions that satisfy preestablished procedures. Research topics have included the rise and decline of industrial facilities, the environmental consequences of past industrial developments, and heritage-related tourism, among others.
Because heritage problems do not exist in theoretical vacuums, partnerships with sponsors offering real-world problems will drive many student projects in the future; in most instances, student research agendas will cohere with, or arise from the needs of sponsoring organizations. These opportunities serve to involve students in the critical business of proposal writing, sponsor negotiations, and budget generation, as well as provide sources of financial support.
In addition to those seeking appointment to academic professorships, many of our doctoral students wish to become directors of industrial heritage museums and national or international heritage organizations, as well as partners in major “brownfields” reclamation and redevelopment projects.
Readings in Industrial Archaeology
Read what our faculty and other scholars in the field have written about industrial archaeology, in general, and our graduate programs, in particular.
- Scarlett, T. J. and Sweitz, S. (2011). Constructing new knowledge in Industrial Archaeology. In Harold Mytum (ed.), Archaeological Field Schools: Constructing Knowledge and Experience. Springer Verlag, New York, pp. 119–145.
- Martin, P. (2009). Industrial Archaeology. In T. Majewski and D. Gaimster (Eds.), International Handbook of Historical Archaeology (pp. 285–297). New York, NY: Springer.
- Seely, B. and Martin, P. (2006). A Doctoral Program in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology at Michigan Tech. CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship, 3(1), 24–35.
- Weisberger, J. (2003). Industrial Archaeology Masters Program, Michigan Technological University: Leading the Way in a Developing Genre. Journal of Higher Education Strategists, 2, 201–206.
- Crandall, W., Rowe, A. and Parnell, J. A. (2003). New Frontiers in Management Research: The Case for Industrial Archaeology. The Coastal Business Journal, 2(1), 45–60.
- Martin, P. (1998). Industrial Archaeology and Historic Mining Studies at Michigan Tech. CRM Magazine, 21(7), 4–7.
About the Area
Houghton and Michigan’s famous Copper County and Keweenaw Peninsula are ideal locations to study industrial heritage. Faculty and students rely upon the superb holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections in the University’s J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. The industrial archaeology graduate programs also maintain close ties with the Michigan Historical Center, Keweenaw National Historical Park and Isle Royale National Park, as well as both the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests and several state parks, wilderness areas, and heritage sites. Faculty and students work within several academic organizations. Of particular note, Michigan Tech provides leadership and programmatic support for the Society for Industrial Archeology (SIA) and The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH).
Graduate Student Society
Our department has a vibrant graduate society, the SSGSS. Begun in 2012, the society organizes graduate student events, outings, internal seminars and paper presentations, and professional development opportunities. For more information, see their web page.