Egyptology Degrees: Master's, PhD & Online Course Information

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What will you learn in an Egyptology degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of a master's and Ph.D. degree and potential careers.
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Study Egyptology: Degrees at a Glance

Simply put, Egyptology is the study of ancient Egypt. You will also delve into the cultures of Persia and Turkey. Students may be required to fulfill a foreign language requirement in German and French, as well as ancient languages that are necessary to study primary sources from ancient Egypt and nearby regions. Because the basis of the study of Egyptology is scripts and original texts, this language requirement is vital.

A graduate degree in Egyptology can open the door for many careers. You may choose to work as a historian or anthropologist. You will also be qualified to curate museum exhibitions. With a doctoral degree, you'll be eligible to teach at the collegiate level.

Master's Ph.D.
Who is this degree for? Those who intend to continue their research independently or to pursue a Ph.D.Individuals who wish to advance their careers or enter the fields of research or academia
Common career paths (with approx. median salary)* - Historians ($58,000)*
- Anthropologists and archaeologists ($59,000)*
- Curators ($54,000)*
- Museum technicians and conservators ($42,000)*
A Ph.D. can help facilitate advancement in the careers listed under 'master's degree.'
- Postsecondary teacher ($74,000)
Time to completion2-3 yearsAbout three years of coursework followed by comprehensive examinations
Common graduation requirements - Written examinations
- Foreign language requirement
- Written exams or papers
- Dissertation
Prerequisites - Undergraduate degree- Reading knowledge of French and German
Online availability YesNo

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011 figures).

Master's Degree in Egyptology

The master's degree in Egyptology gives you the knowledge and foundation you need to continue your studies after graduation in the fields of history or anthropology. While there is a strong emphasis on language, you are able to choose an area of specific concentration, such as Persian studies, social life in ancient Egypt, historical texts and Aramaic studies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that employment of historians will increase by 18% from 2010-2020, while anthropologists and archaeologists were expected to see a 21% growth in the same time period.

A master's degree can also qualify you for a job as a museum curator, in which you oversee museum collections in your area of expertise. Museum technicians are those professionals who take care of all the items in a collection. The field of conservation, in which you are responsible for cleaning and preserving fragile and ancient artifacts, may also appeal to you.

Pros and Cons


  • A master's degree will prime you for many different careers related to the study of Egypt
  • You are able to choose a concentration, which may further train you for the job of your choice
  • If you choose to move on to a Ph.D. program, you will be sufficiently prepared


  • The employment of historians is dependent on government budgets
  • The language requirement may be a lot of work to fulfill
  • Some museums prefer curators with a doctoral degree

Courses and Requirements

Graduate degree programs in Egyptology allow you to tailor the coursework to your experiences, needs and interests. It is such a niche major that there is room to work independently with professors to reach your goals. In general, students take courses in history, archaeology, art and architecture, religion and literature. You'll take a series of written examinations and likely have to complete a research project.

Online Degree Options

Some colleges and universities offer online master's degree programs in Egyptology. These programs can be tailored to your experience and needs. They grant you the flexibility to complete the coursework at your own pace. You will still be in contact with your advisor and have professors who are readily available.

Stand out with this Degree

While you have some room to research areas of your choosing, it is best to stick to those topics that are new and upcoming, rather than the same things that have been done over and over again. Potential employers, specifically those of historians, like to see hands-on work experience. Also, you can join the International Association of Egyptologists, which you can then add to your resume. Both student and professional memberships are available.

Ph.D. in Egyptology

In a doctoral program, you will typically be required to specialize in a certain aspect of Egyptology, especially when you begin researching your dissertation. Common specializations include language and archaeology. These programs are language-heavy, and you are expected to be able to read French and German before beginning your coursework. About three years of coursework is followed by examinations and your dissertation. In addition to using a Ph.D. to advance your position as historian, anthropologist or curator, a doctoral degree qualifies you to teach in higher education institutions.

Pros and Cons


  • Some colleges and universities sponsor summer excursions to Egypt, which allow you to develop your research projects
  • Ph.D. students are typically given a stipend and medical benefits
  • You have to freedom to research the area of your choosing


  • A Ph.D. is not generally required to become an historian, anthropologist or museum curator
  • You may be asked to teach undergraduate courses while pursuing your degree
  • If you do not complete your exams on time, you may be asked to leave the program

Courses and Requirements

Coursework varies by program, but you will likely take classes such as:

  • Introduction to Old Egyptian
  • Coptic texts
  • Demotic texts
  • Art or archaeology of Egypt
  • Near Eastern history
  • Archeological studies

You are also required to complete comprehensive examinations on a variety of topics such as language, the hieratic writing system and Egyptian history before you can begin your dissertation. Exams may encompass topics such as grammar and translation, Egyptian philology, history of the language and archaeological theory.

Online Degree Options

Accredited online Ph.D. programs in Egyptology are extremely rare. This may be in part because of the hands-on nature of this degree. With on-campus degree programs, you have the resources and facilities to pursue your research and dissertation to the best of your abilities.

Stand out with this Degree

Again, researching new developments in your field can help bolster your resume. If you intend to pursue the teaching path, you should hone your communication and instructional skills. It is also imperative to stay on top of emerging technologies in the field of academia. New ways of teaching are always being developed. Potential advancement in other fields is largely based on work experience and research credentials. Getting an article published in an academic or historic journal is another way to stand out above the competition.

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Liberty University

  • PHD: History

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