How Do I Get an Archaeology Scholarship?

Tara Barnett

In order to get an archaeology scholarship, it is important to apply early to many different scholarships. This is the best way to improve your chances of actually getting a scholarship. Different programs have different application requirements and look for various qualities in applicants, so researching each individual program and any past winners can be a valuable investment of time. There is no way to ensure that you will get any scholarship, so casting a wide net is key.

Jaffa, Israel, an ancient city that has been studied by many archaeologists.
Jaffa, Israel, an ancient city that has been studied by many archaeologists.

The first thing to do when trying to get an archaeology scholarship is to investigate possible scholarship programs. Some scholarships are devoted to particular topics, like Italian archaeology or Biblical archaeology, but others are more general and can be applied to any archaeological project. Looking into scholarships for particular digs can help you identify small, relatively non-competitive sources of funding.

Megalithic sites like Stonehenge are often used to acquaint archaeology students with prehistory.
Megalithic sites like Stonehenge are often used to acquaint archaeology students with prehistory.

Next, you need to fill out your applications. Some scholarships require only a form application because they base their decisions on financial need, minority status, or lottery. A merit-based archaeology scholarship is more difficult to apply for, but these programs are often easier for people devoted to archaeology to reliably obtain.

Some scholarships are devoted to particular topics, like Italian archaeology or Biblical archaeology.
Some scholarships are devoted to particular topics, like Italian archaeology or Biblical archaeology.

Before applying for an archaeology scholarship, it is important to make sure that you meet all the necessary requirements regarding degree level, location, or even previous experience. The actual application will almost certainly take time to complete, so starting early is a good idea. If the application asks for reference letters, notifying possible references early is also important. This can ensure that any recommendations are well composed, which improves an applicant's chances.

Many archaeology scholarships ask questions about the proposed course of study. It is therefore important to find an actual dig or archaeology-related project on which to work. In some cases, the merits of the project are as important as the merits of the applicant, and highly interesting or unique work is important. Having experience in the field you propose to study is also key, so completing coursework, papers, or even presentations on that field can be good preparation for an archaeology scholarship application.

It is also possible to get a scholarship that is more general and apply it to archaeology. Some programs fund field research in general, while others aim to make it possible for students to pursue independent research. These scholarships may be suitable if a person has a particular proposal in mind. For graduate students and some undergraduates, grants may be available to fund research as well.

Some scholoarships are associated with particular digs.
Some scholoarships are associated with particular digs.

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