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brittag8
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Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: San Benito, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: How to get started? Reply with quote

I need help. I really want to go to school for Egyptology. Only thing is I have no clue where to begin. I'm almost 23 and live in South Texas. I went to college when I was 19 for Criminal Justice but dropped out cause I wasn't interested in it and I was kinda pressured into it. I've always had a fascination with Ancient Egypt and history since I was a child.

Here I am today really ready to go to school for it, but no idea how to start. I know I'll be an undergraduate and need to look for specific schools. I plan on going to school as an undergraduate in San Antonio then go somewhere else for my masters. I honestly do not care how long it takes or the pay. I know jobs in the industry are scarce so if I cant find a curator job or something I wouldn't mind teaching. Would that be possible with a degree in Egyptology as well?

Basically, I just need advice and I appreciate any given to me.

Thank you!! Very Happy newb
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neseret
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Joined: 10 Jul 2008
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:45 pm    Post subject: Re: How to get started? Reply with quote

brittag8 wrote:
I need help. I really want to go to school for Egyptology. Only thing is I have no clue where to begin. I'm almost 23 and live in South Texas. I went to college when I was 19 for Criminal Justice but dropped out cause I wasn't interested in it and I was kinda pressured into it. I've always had a fascination with Ancient Egypt and history since I was a child.

Here I am today really ready to go to school for it, but no idea how to start. I know I'll be an undergraduate and need to look for specific schools. I plan on going to school as an undergraduate in San Antonio then go somewhere else for my masters. I honestly do not care how long it takes or the pay. I know jobs in the industry are scarce so if I cant find a curator job or something I wouldn't mind teaching. Would that be possible with a degree in Egyptology as well?

Basically, I just need advice and I appreciate any given to me.:


Start by looking at the Theban Mapping Project website link "Becoming an Egyptologist."

This gives you an idea of the coursework you may need to have taken before applying, the types of majors to excel in at the undergraduate area (there are few undergrad courses in Egyptology, per se), the language you must absolutely learn to work in Egyptology, and a list of a variety of universities - in the States and around the world - where you could make inquiries for applications.

Know that you must to be able to commit a great deal of time to becoming an Egyptologist - from undergrad to doctorate can take upwards of 9+ years of your time and of course, money is always a concern. Generally speaking, you won't be able to get much work in the field with simply an undergrad or graduate degree: in most cases, a Ph.D. is always required.

So, this is how it usually goes in Egyptology:

An undergraduate course will take you usually 4 years.

Once completed, and provided you have a good academic record, you can proceed into your master's degree, either at your same university, or at a different one (normally this depends upon your subject interest and which university has professionals who specialise in that area). In this case, your subject for research should begin to focus mainly upon Egyptological topics, and here in a very focused way.* In the UK, graduate work is normally completed in 1 year; if you go to do your master's work in Europe (usually Germany or France, although new Egyptology programmes in eastern European countries are quite good) this may take longer (particularly if you have to proceed in your studies in another language if not your native language).

As a master's student, you will have the opportunity to take additional coursework - some may even be required for the degree - but the majority of your time will be involved in research for your master's thesis, which can run from 10,000 - 25,000 words (depending upon the university's requirements). In the UK, you will periodically be subject to viva reviews by your professors, who are reviewing a) if your research is proceeding well, b) that you are finding and using your resources well, and c) that you are actually performing the research (sadly, plagiarism has been known to occur even at the advanced levels). In the final grading of your master's work, your thesis, which should be on an original topic, will make up about 70% of your grade.

Provided that you have done well in your master's thesis, you may wish to proceed onto post-graduate work for a doctorate in the field. Here the topic will focus only in an Egyptological subject - art, religion, architecture, language, archaeology, ancient forensics (anthropological/pathological/medical), social history topics, materials and artefact research, etc. Depending upon your interest, you should have by this time researched which university (and in particular which professor at the university) would be of most assistance in helping you research and critique your doctoral subject.

For example, I have known for many years that I wanted to research the temple of Seti I at Abydos from a unique perspective, and based upon advice from my MA professors, personal research, and a great deal of reading, I found that the University of Oxford would meet my needs, not the least of which because my supervisor, John Baines, is considered one of the world's experts on this temple.

During your doctorate, you may take coursework at the university (usually at the graduate level) that will assist your research. This may be coursework in ancient Egyptian language, Egyptian art, modern languages (for your research reading, as many terms will become more technical than a simple language course would teach you), but the majority of your time will be spent in research. Such research may require you to work in Egypt (particularly if your subject is archaeologically based), but trips to Egypt will nonetheless be required if your subject is a monument, tomb, or temple - or to research papyri which resides in that country. It would be a very rare topic in the Egyptological field which will not require a trip, if not multiple trips, to Egypt (so you will need to budget for such trips or apply for bursaries/grants to achieve the trips).

Depending upon your topic, a doctoral dissertation may take from 3-5 years, although it is not unusual for it to take longer. You will again experience periodic reviews by your department's faculty, particularly as you a) enter the full doctoral programme, b) confirm your doctoral status, and c) orally defend your doctoral thesis.

So, for the UK, setting aside a minimum of 8 years (from undergraduate --> doctorate) is usually the norm, with a maximum of 10-15 years being within the realm of possibility.

In the US, undergraduate coursework takes the same amount as the UK undergraduate level (4 years).

However, at the graduate level, the usual minimum for an MA is 2 years, and sometimes 3. This is the case because Year 1 is set aside for taught coursework, and Year 2 for research.

At the doctoral level, I would say the amount is about the same (3-5 years) with the same proviso that it may take longer, depending upon how much research one has to do. I am aware of US citizens who took 12 years to complete only their doctoral work.

So, in the US, one would need to set aside a minimum of 9 years from undergraduate --> doctorate level, though a maximum of 12-15 years to complete to the doctoral level is not unknown.

Please note that you should "flesh out" your studies to make yourself more marketable, as the Theban Mapping Project website notes:

Egyptologists specialize either in language or archaeology, although all must take at least some courses in both areas. As a specialist in the ancient Egyptian language, you will need to take courses in the various forms of the language (Old, Middle and Late Egyptian in both hieroglyphic and hieratic scripts, Demotic, and Coptic). If you decide to specialize in Egyptian archaeology, courses on art and architecture of ancient Egypt in different periods will be needed. Having some training in another specialty of use to archaeology can often increase your marketability, so consider learning surveying, photography, or drawing.

The type of work you end up doing as an Egyptologist may depend upon your skills and background, in addition to your Egyptology knowledge. University teaching is an option, of course, as is museum curating. In most of the museum jobs, they now would like to see people have some museum studies under their belt as well as their topic matter, while field work is usually engaged by Egyptologists attached to universities as professors, and the university will have concessions in Egypt for excavation work. In some cases, Egyptologists are recruited into field work by a excavation team, but this is usually a university level recruitment (that is, recruiting professionals from other universities or museums), and rarely use freelancers.

Remember that an Egyptologist is primarily two things: an ancient historian and an archaeologist. He or she may be more than this, depending upon their studies (such as a theologian, a forensics, expert, etc.), but at the very basic this is what they can spring forth from in terms of finding work.

Hope this assists.
_________________
Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

Doctoral Candidate
Oriental Institute
Oriental Studies
Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom
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rubenhorus
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Joined: 27 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm currently in my last year undergrad degree at Liverpool Uni (UK). I agree with the above that there is a lot of information to take in but I wouldn't have it anyother way. I hope to go to the US to study my Masters and after that a PhD somewhere....who knows!

Good look with your research. I can give you info about the UK process but the US I'm still a little unsure myself!
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