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 or suggestions to welch@sfu.ca.

Application Process
Program Structure and Information
Thesis
Students and Faculty
Program Cost
Funding and Financial Aid
Learn More

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 assigned a Senior Supervisor based on an attempt to match research interests and expertise. 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 Senior Supervisor. Master's candidates are strongly encouraged to select the second member of their supervisory committee 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.

Program Structure and Information

HOW IS THE 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 well-defined thesis plans.

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 candidate’s thesis research.

WHAT RESOURCES CAN HRM STUDENTS ACCESS AT SFU?

Master’s candidates based in Vancouver or the Lower 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. 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. Many HRM employers also require more 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, chance finds; 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 (e.g., winter testing);
  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 in Utah).

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.

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, total.

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

The Program’s four online courses will be largely 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. 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, the HRM Program course instructors, and other faculty 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 our Applications and Costs page.

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 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.

GIVEN THAT THE COURSES ARE DELIVERED ONLINE, DO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS NEED A STUDENT VISA?

International students should investigate the process for obtaining a student visa.

 

Funding and Financial Aid

WHAT FINANCIAL AID IS AVAILABLE?

While candidates in professional graduate programs are not eligible for some forms of SFU financial aid, HRM Master’s candidates are encouraged to apply for funding through the following sources:

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 Student Guide to the HRM Program.

Contact John Welch, HRM Program Director, at welch@sfu.ca or 520-991-1739.