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How Do I Become an Egyptologist?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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A person who wants to become an Egyptologist should plan on going to school for a doctorate in this field and might want to consider post-doctorate work as well. This career path can be long, and the discipline is quite diverse; Egyptologists study everything from what ancient Egyptians ate to the languages used in various regions and periods of Egyptian history. Numerous colleges and universities around the world offer Egyptology degrees, usually as part of their archeology and antiquities departments.

High school students who have an interest in Egyptology might want to plan ahead. French and German are both useful languages to study to work in this field, and a thorough knowledge of history is very helpful. Students might want to apply to undergraduate institutions that have Egyptology or archeology programs. As undergraduates, they can start to develop knowledge and skills. They might also start thinking about research topics, because this will affect the decision about where to go for graduate school to become an Egyptologist.

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Undergraduate students might have opportunities to work or intern in museums, at archeological sites and in the offices of Egyptologists. These opportunities can provide valuable learning experiences and might help students decide on their specific area of study. It also can be beneficial to have experience when applying for graduate school, because admissions committees want to see evidence that a student who wants to become an Egyptologist is prepared for the rigor of grad school and has a specific plan for graduate research.

Some Egyptology programs offer a combined masters and doctorate program to their students, but in other cases, a student might need to get a master's degree and then get a doctorate to become an Egyptologist. Graduate students should apply to institutions that conduct ongoing research in their area of interest. Students who have an interest in multidisciplinary topics such as the study of the climate in Ancient Egypt might want to consider institutions that have a track record of cooperation between departments.

While in graduate school to become an Egyptologist, a student might participate in ongoing research and could have an opportunity to publish papers in academic journals and present information at conferences. These opportunities provide valuable professional networking opportunities. They also can help a graduate student establish a reputation, which will be useful during the job hunt after graduation. Employment opportunities for Egyptologists are found primarily in museums and academic institutions, and competition for available positions can be intense.

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