Ph.D. and MSc Research Programs in Archaeological Science at the Weizmann Institute

The PhD and MSc research programs in Archaeological Science at the Weizmann Institute Archaeology are an intimate blend of field and laboratory research. Furthermore, both field and lab work involves using the scientific approach - quantitation, controls, hypothesis driven questions, verifiability by others and so on. Even today, however, the overwhelming majority of archaeologists are trained in faculties of humanities and not natural sciences, and the (cultural) gap is large.

With this in mind, the Weizmann Institute of Science established a PhD research program in 1997 and an MSc research program in 2015 to train archaeologists to be at home in both the field and the laboratory. For the PhD program students with masters degrees in the natural sciences spend the first year of the 5 year program devoted entirely to studying undergraduate courses in archaeology, and at least one summer in the field. Those with degrees in archaeology study pertinent disciplines within the natural sciences, especially chemistry during the first year. These studies continue throughout the PhD, with students taking the required number of graduate level courses, but progressively focusing on their chosen field of research.

Students for the MSc program can have training in either archaeology or natural sciences, but preference will be given to students who have training in both disciplines.

PhD Students receive a fellowship from the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, made possible by a generous gift to the Weizmann Institute from Helen and Martin Kimmel, New York. This allows them to devote all their time to studies and research. Students may have two advisors with expertise in archaeology and the scientific discipline most closely related to their research interests. Research is carried out primarily at the Weizmann Institute, although the archaeological sites under investigation can be anywhere in the world. The Kimmel Center also provides students with instrumentation and start-up funds needed for their specific research. Research is generally carried out in the laboratories of one or both advisors, and of course in the field. Wherever possible on-site analyses are carried out in order to exploit the major benefits of working interactively in the field.

MSc students receive a fellowship from the Feinberg Graduate School. They devote their first year to taking graduate courses and they carry out 3 small research projects each for about 2-3 months in 3 different laboratories. In the second year, students carry out full time research on one topic. Towards the end of this year, a thesis is written. There is also an option to continue directly to a PhD without writing a thesis. For more details, see the Feinberg Graduate School web site. Note that the MSc degree is given in one of the basic disciplines such as chemistry, biology, physics or mathematics depending upon the nature of the research.

The Center is housed in a small building that contains a seminar room, several laboratories with facilities for research. The Center also operates the D-REAMS accelerator mass spectrometer for radiocarbon analysi under the directorship of Dr Elisabetta Boaretto. Students also have access to all the Institute's analytical facilities, laboratories, libraries etc.

The Weizmann Institute is a basic research center with faculties of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. It has only graduate (MSc and PhD) students (about 750) and an academic staff of around 250. The official language is English, thus enabling visiting students and scientists to easily integrate into Institute research programs. For more information, please contact:  Dr Elisabetta Boaretto (elisabetta.boaretto@weizmann.ac.il). Read also the web site of the Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute for information on how to apply to the MSc and PhD programs of the Institute. Note in this application that you are interested in the archaeological science program.