Are you searching for an academic program that combines a love of oceanic exploration, ships and sea faring history, and the archaeology of shipwrecks? Would you enjoy being trained in hands-on underwater data collection, the management of submerged or recovered artifacts, deep sea diving, and the study of naval history?

From very humble beginnings in 1981, the maritime studies program at East Carolina University has blossomed into one of the world's leading academic underwater archaeology programs. It is characterized by hands-on underwater training, primary document historical research, and other practical skills such as remote sensing and grant writing. These skills provide the type of training eagerly sought by employers. Since its inception, the program has graduated 201 MA students in this field, with an overall graduation rate of 71 percent. A very large percentage of our graduates go on to get jobs in the field as archaeologists, contract archaeologists, government cultural resource managers, museum archeologists, curators, museum directors, national and state park staff, conservators, and teachers at all levels.

Qualified students enjoy extensive university support in the form of graduate assistantships and scholarships. These positions supply both teaching and research experience. Yet we don't just rely on the classroom. The program in Maritime Studies takes pride in the fact that we take theory into the real world and practice it in the field. In the program, exciting careers are not an accident, they are the result of planning, introspection, training, and last but not least, field experience.

ECU Advantage

There are only six programs in the world that offer graduate degrees in underwater archaeology, and ECU has become preeminent in this field. Program staff includes professors with both national and international reputations in research excellence, including eight full-time PhD archaeologists and historians, backed by three technicians, as well as a fully staffed Diving and Boating Safety Office, which boasts a well-maintained fleet of research vessels.

Our expertise includes cutting edge remote sensing, remotely operated vehicle training, and courses in archaeological survey techniques, all skills that attract employers. Our professors have written more than 35 academic press books concerning their various research interests, plus innumerable articles and site reports concentrating primarily on North American underwater archaeology, and projects ranging geographically from Europe and Bermuda to the Middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea to Lake Superior.

We can offer you the opportunity to pursue a career in underwater archaeology while also letting you benefit from a very large network of working alumni. Education is our forte, yet our job placement after graduation is also a source of pride. It is an element of solid academics and a growing web of working professionals who remember their family here at ECU's program in maritime studies.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Nathan Richards (Eller House; 252-328-6097; richardsn@ecu.edu)

The master of arts in maritime studies requires a total of 36 s.h. of course work, 26 s.h. of which must be taken in history. The student may take the additional 10 s.h. in history or related fields outside the Department of History. Course work is divided into three broad areas of inquiry as follows: core courses in maritime history and nautical archaeology and the thesis, which account for 15 s.h. History electives account for 3-18 s.h., and professional phase courses account for 3-18 s.h.

In addition to the 36 s.h. of course work described above, students must fulfill the department's research skills requirement by one of the following: a) successful demonstration of reading knowledge in a foreign language (FORL 6000 satisfies this requirement); b) successful completion of HIST 5950HIST 5951 (Introduction to Quantitative History/Directed Readings and Research in Quantitative History); or c) CSCI 5774 (Programming for Research) or CSCI 2600 (Introduction to Digital Computation). If HIST 5950HIST 5951 are used to satisfy the research skills requirement, they may not be counted toward the 36 s.h. requirement for the degree. Students who intend to pursue a PhD program are strongly advised to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

An oral comprehensive examination will be a component of the thesis defense. Candidates will be required to demonstrate their knowledge of their field of concentration as well as establish how their thesis contributes to that field of study.

Minimum degree requirement is 36 s.h. of credit as follows:

Core courses - 15 s.h.
    a. Maritime History - 6 s.h.

    (Choose two from the following.)

    • HIST 5505 - Maritime History of the Western World to 1415
    • HIST 5520 - Maritime History of the Western World Since 1815
    • HIST 6010 - Maritime History of the Atlantic World, 1415-1815
    • HIST 6525 - Sea Power, 480 BC to the Present
    b. Nautical Archaeology - 3 s.h.
    • HIST 6805 - History and Theory of Nautical Archaeology
    c. Thesis - 6 s.h.:
    • HIST 7000 - Thesis
2. History electives - 3-18 s.h.

The director of graduate studies in history maintains a list of history electives and professional phase courses.

    3. Professional phase electives - 3-18 s.h.

    (Maximum of 10 s.h. in courses other than HIST may be counted toward the degree)

    The director of graduate studies in history maintains a list of history electives and professional phase courses.

      4. Research Skills Requirement
        For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

        Careers With This Degree

        Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

        • Faculty Positions in Academia
        • Federal and state government agencies (eg. NOAA, NMFS)
        • Private Consulting
        • Conservation Scientists
        • Historians
        • Postsecondary Teachers

        Career Opportunities

        ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

        NC Tower

        This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

        • Self-employed;
        • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
        • Work outside of North Carolina.

        US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

        This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

        Degree-specific internships

        For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.