Academic training

Egyptology is a specialised field of study and to become an archaeologist focused on ancient Egypt, you must spend many years of your life sitting in a classroom, doing homework and research, taking tests and exams, and writing long term papers. In other words, you have to enjoy school, love learning new things and actually be good at it. Students wishing to become Egyptologists must be aware of this… because you need a PhD degree for a career in Egyptology (that would be at minimum 8 years of university studies).

Few universities offer a BA programme in Egyptology and as a result most students will have a bachelors degree in archaeology, anthropology or an other programme in the Humanities before focusing on Egyptology at the graduate level. In my case, my bachelors degree was in Art History. If your university offers a few electives related to ancient Egypt, you should take them at this time.

An Egyptology student focusing on archaeology will have to learn about different aspects of ancient Egypt, not just archaeology. You cannot dig up the artefacts if you don’t know what role they played in the culture. Therefore, even with a focus on archaeology (artefacts, art, architecture, ceramics analysis, etc…), a student will need expert knowledge in ancient Egyptian history, culture and religion. Even if you decide to become an archaeologist, you also need basic knowledge of ancient Egyptian languages, generally ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs more than the other scripts (hieratic or demotic).

In addition to the various courses in Egyptology, it is also required at the PhD level to study modern languages of scholarship. The three main languages of Egyptology are English, French and German. Many Egyptology departments actually test students’ reading proficiency in these languages before they can even continue with thesis research… Additionally, if you are going to work in the field be prepared to learn how to speak Arabic as well.

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