FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The following are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the SFU online Professional Program in Heritage Resource Management. Please direct further questions to Program Director Adam N. Rorabaugh (adam_n_rorabaugh@sfu.ca).

Application Process
Program Structure and Information
Thesis
Students and Faculty
Program Cost
Learn More
New Students
Funding & Finances
Defending Your Thesis

Application Process

DO I NEED TO FIND MY OWN SUPERVISOR?

Unlike the admissions process for many graduate programs at SFU and elsewhere, prospective HRM Program candidates do not need to find their own SFU faculty to sponsor their application.

Master's candidates will be provisionally “matched” with a Supervisor to complement research interests and proposed thesis topic. Graduate Certificate candidates will be supervised by the HRM Program Director.

Per the relevant SFU Graduate General Regulations, HRM Master's candidates will be required to add at least one more member to their supervisory committee in consultation with their Supervisor. While the first committee member must be a faculty member, adjunct professor or research associate at SFU, Master's candidates are strongly encouraged to select the second committee member from their current or desired network of HRM professionals.

HOW ARE APPLICATIONS REVIEWS AND DECISIONS MADE?

All applications that meet essential requirements will be reviewed by the Program Director and Faculty Steering Group. Applicants with more HRM experience and stronger writing skills will have a competitive edge.

IS THE GRE OR GMAT REQUIRED FOR ENTRY IN THE PROGRAM?

No, the Heritage Resource Management Program does not require completion of the GRE or GMAT.   

HOW CAN I CHECK THE STATUS OF MY APPLICATION?

Applicants may check the status of applications by logging in to the SFU admissions system with the User ID and Password provided through that system. Select 'View Application Status' from the Application Services page. Through the Application Services page, you can also update your personal information and review the status of required materials required prior to the evaluation of your application (e.g., transcripts, references, etc.). Information displayed in the system is updated as items are received.

WHY ARE THE APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR THE HRM PROGRAM DIFFERENT FROM THE TRADITIONAL SFU ARCHAEOLOGY GRADUATE PROGRAM?

The HRM Program encourages applications from non-traditional students, especially working professionals, and has adjusted the deadlines to provide applicants with every opportunity to consider options, prepare their applications, and solicit the supporting materials. Because of this, the application deadline is in the early summer.  We also welcome applications on an ongoing basis, from October 1 onward.

Program Structure and Information

HOW LONG IS THE HERITAGE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM?

Enrolled candidates are encouraged to complete the required coursework in one year by taking two courses in the fall term and two in the spring term, after which HRM Master’s students will begin thesis preparation.

Graduate Certificate Program completion times normally range from 9 to 21 months.

Master’s Program completion times range from 11 to 23 months. Under no circumstances should prospective candidates plan to take more than 3 years to complete all Program requirements. The duration of studies depends on external workload and whether students arrive with a practical, well-focused thesis plan.

IS THERE A SPRING TERM INTAKE?

There is no spring or summer intake into the HRM Program.

CAN I TAKE ELECTIVES OUTSIDE THE PROGRAM?

The HRM Program offers four required courses only, and there are no elective options within the Program. Students wishing to take other courses through SFU may arrange to do so independently.

HRM Program candidates who require technical or analytical capacities beyond the Program curriculum may speak with the Program Director or their Senior Supervisor. All efforts will be made to support the candidate's thesis research.

WHAT RESOURCES CAN HRM STUDENTS ACCESS AT SFU?

Master’s candidates based in Vancouver or the Lower British Columbia Mainland may work with their Senior Supervisor to obtain access to SFU Archaeology labs, collections, and related facilities. Students have accessed zooarchaeology samples and have worked with the SFU Centre for Forensic Research. All candidates will have access to SFU-wide support, such as the Library's Research Commons, which supports students working with thesis templates, formatting, and workshops to facilitate thesis writing and presentation.

Thesis

WHY DO I NEED A THESIS? WHY NOT GRANT THIS DEGREE WITHOUT A THESIS?

The master’s thesis remains the essential indicator of researcher competence and is a requirement for permit holding throughout most of North America. Many Canadian provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland) require professional archaeologists to minimally hold a master’s degree in anthropology or archaeology granted on the basis of a written thesis. It is also a requirement for the Secretary of the Interior (SOI) federal standards for archaeologists in the United States. Many HRM employers also require senior staff members to complete master's theses as demonstrations of requisite capacities in research and writing.

The master’s thesis (or equivalent) is also necessary for listing in the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA). RPA requires applicants to hold an advanced degree and to “have designed and executed an archaeological study and have reported on that research in the form of a Master's thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation. The thesis or dissertation must show a substantive data analysis by the applicant directed toward an explicit archeological research problem” (RPA – How to Apply).

RPA registration is a central requirement for HRM professionals employed by state and federal agencies, consulting firms, and industry project proponents. Internationally, RPA registration is mandatory for those supervising new archaeological projects in Peru and is increasingly referred to by the World Bank and other transnational investors as the certification standard for HRM professionals.  

WHAT KINDS OF THESIS TOPICS CAN I WORK ON AS A MASTER'S STUDENT?

See current HRM candidate profiles. The following list offers further ideas for thesis research:

  • CRM project report expansion and enhancement;
  • Synthesis of understudied region or problem;
  • Analysis of policy or planning problem (e.g., professional licensure; First Nations economic development via HRM archaeology; treatment of research data and conclusions as privileged information]);
  • Critical overview of national, regional or administrative contexts, rules, or organizations;
  • Assessment of a field or analytic method  and jurisdiction- or issue-specific "Recommended Management Practices" for guiding HRM research or practice;
  • Case studies of the national, regional or thematic roots of key institutional developments in heritage/cultural resource management (e.g., treatment of research data and conclusions as privileged information);
  • Jurisdiction- or issue-specific "Recommended Management Practices" for guiding HRM research, practice, or both; and
  • Collection-focused research (e.g., mining implements from ancient quarries.)

Note that several jurisdictions in Canada and the United States require or favour applications for professional status supported by a thesis completed on archaeological topics within that jurisdiction.

HOW DEVELOPED SHOULD THE THESIS PROSPECTUS BE AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION?

For most students, the thesis evolves significantly from the time of application until they submit their formal proposal. There is no obligation for you to stick to the thesis offered in the application prospectus. The prospectus is an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate  planning and writing research skills.

I HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF DATA AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND GATHERED OVER THE COURSE OF RECENT RESEARCH THAT WILL FORM THE BASIS FOR MY THESIS PROJECT. HOW WOULD YOU SUGGEST DEVELOPING IT INTO A SPECIFIC FORM?

In advancing the prospectus, consider "working backward” from your  answer to the following question: What’s the strongest data set(s) or strand(s) you have in hand or have confidence you can develop efficiently? Once that is determined, ask “what significant problem of archaeological interest can these data speak authoritatively to?” Theses that move from known to unknown with high certainty of producing something of value make the most impact with the least effort.

Students and Faculty

HOW MANY STUDENTS WILL BE ENROLLED IN EACH PROGRAM COHORT?

The target size for each HRM Program cohort is 8–16 candidates.

HOW MUCH CONTACT WILL HERITAGE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT STUDENTS HAVE WITH SFU FACULTY?

The Program’s four online courses are delivered by SFU faculty or HRM Program associates. Otherwise, a candidate’s level of faculty contact will depend on individual circumstances. If a candidate thesis is focused on SFU collections, faculty projects, or faculty research interests, then collaborations may be intensive and sustained. Those pursuing thesis topics not specifically connected with SFU faculty research interests or initiatives may have less contact.

HOW DOES THE PROGRAM FACILITATE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY WITHIN EACH COHORT?

We encourage candidates to get to know one another, their HRM Program course instructors, and other SFU personnel during our in-person Program orientation in the first week of fall term. The Program’s online learning environment also fosters community and collaboration. Candidates may choose to create a private Facebook group as a gathering place for their cohort to get to know one another, exchange thoughts and ideas, and provide support.

Program Costs

HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?

All information about tuition and fees can be found on the individual program pages (masters or graduate certificate).

WHY IS THE HERITAGE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER GRADUATE PROGRAMS AT SFU?

The HRM Program is an intensive learning experience specifically designed for professionals. No other students may enrol in or audit the courses. The courses are delivered by SFU faculty and HRM industry professionals with many decades of heritage resource management and teaching experience. The tuition fees are on par with or lower than other professional programs.

International Students

IS THERE A SEPARATE APPLICATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS?

No, there are no separate application requirements for international (non-Canadian) applicants.

WHAT IS THE PROGRAM COST FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS?

In order to encourage applicants from outside Canada and the U.S., international students pay the same amount as Canadians, except the higher cost of medical coverage. If you are not coming to Canada, please see more information about the plans and opting out here.

GIVEN THAT THE COURSES ARE DELIVERED ONLINE, DO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS NEED A STUDY PERMIT?

International students will require a valid study permit for all in-person components of this program. For more information, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, and contact an International Student Advisor if you have any questions.

Learn More

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT HERITAGE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND THE PROGRAM?

Check out the Heritage Resource Management (HRM) and Applied Archaeology: Guide to research materials prepared by John Welch, Erin Hogg, Jenna Walsh, and other colleagues.

Download the HRM Program Graduate Student Guide.

Contact Adam N. Rorabaugh (adam_n_rorabaugh@sfu.ca), HRM Program Director.