Graduate Syllabus


The Ancient Egypt Archaeology Program introduces students to the history, art and architecture of Pharaonic Egypt in a real and tangible setting. This is a six-week course that includes a two week on-line component and four weeks of archaeological exploration based out of the Upper Egyptian city of Luxor. Upon successful completion of the program, graduate students will earn a total of three Villanova University credits (HIS 8204-40).

Learning Objectives and Outcomes:

Students will gain an overall understanding and familiarity with ancient Egyptian history, archaeology, art and architecture. They will learn to recognize the most important archaeological problems relating to the reconstruction of ancient history, as well as controversial issues affecting Egyptology today. Students will gain the ability to discuss issues and evidence from the material culture of Pharaonic Egypt. As the majority of existing structures in ancient Thebes date to the New Kingdom or later, the on-line component builds a foundation for students to appreciate their stay in modern Luxor.

During the program students will consider topics such as, what did art mean to the Ancient Egyptians? Why did they invest such wealth and effort into its production? Students will also look at the ways in which historical, religious, and social changes affected the developments in Egyptian art and architecture. Additionally, during the on-line pre-departure section students will become familiar with the particulars of traveling in Egypt and how to prepare for their four-week stay abroad. Issues such as health and safety, culture, and local sensitivities will be addressed.


Graduate students will be required to write a research paper based on their fieldwork in Egypt. Before leaving for Egypt each student will meet with me individually (in person or on-line) to discuss potential research topics. I will formulate individual reading lists for each student based on their area of interest. The majority of the reading should be completed before traveling abroad so that time in Egypt can be used more productively. A preliminary outline for the paper should be formulated before departure; however, one’s field research may affect the organization as far as either limiting available resources or offering additional material. Research topics will reflect the students’ interests and be determined by which sites are open for study. During the two-week on-line portion of the course graduate students have the option of following the lessons while completing their reading list. It is recommended that students keep abreast of the topics being covered so they can appreciate the archaeological sites in Luxor.

While in Egypt, students will use their four weeks abroad to collect evidence, formulate their argument, and acquire any photographs or drawings necessary to supplement their research. Although graduate students will be required to follow the daily lectures, visit local sites, participate in weekly field trips and write the exams, their prime objective will be to focus on their individual research. Often the lectures and the accompanying site visits will overlap with students’ individual lines of research. Students must declare a topic by the end of Week One in Egypt.

Upon returning to the States, students will have the remaining portion of the session to conclude the research on their paper. Research papers are due Monday, July 30th, 2012.

Papers will be graded based on the following areas:

  • A clear and concise thesis
  • A familiarity with foundational sources
  • Evidence of complete and methodical research
  • Comprehensive citing of sources
  • Presentation of evidence for ideas
  • Comprehensive field research with photography, drawings, etc. and references to sites/monuments visited abroad

Once in Egypt students will attend 75-minute lectures Sunday through Thursday. In their free time they will be required to visit the list of sites and prepare for their exams. The sites included in the list will be those on which our lectures are focused.

There will be a total of 4 exams, one of which will deal the material covered on-line.


Exam 1            10%

Exam 2            10%

Exam 3            10%

Exam 4            10%

Research Paper           60%


The individual exams are worth a small percentage of your final grade. They are intended to keep students on track, help students organize their notes, and put their research in context.