Archaeology major shares tips for students transferring to SFU as she prepares for graduation

April 10, 2024

As soon as she realized she wanted to study archaeology, Gemma Rance knew that SFU was the right fit.

“The archaeology program at SFU has more course variety and the opportunity to do research,” she says, adding that it made the most sense for her career goals. “I had heard from friends that there were hands-on courses and more archaeology-based events.”

Gemma transferred from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2021. “Originally, I went to university for English,” she explains, though she loved archaeology as a kid. Then, after taking a breadth course in the subject, she fell back in love.

While she describes her transfer experience as “pretty smooth,” Gemma says changing majors made it a bit more complicated, and she advises others who want to make the switch to meet with an academic advisor within their first semester.

When it came to adjusting to the larger campus, she was glad to have friends who gave her a tour when she arrived, easing any culture shock. “I would also recommend transfer students participate in the HIVE program and attend Welcome Day,” she says.

Gemma has been a member of her departmental student union, the Archaeology Student Society, since 2023. It has helped her network with other undergraduate students and her professors, while also presenting the opportunity to participate in various volunteer opportunities within the department, including setting up for events, doing lab work — and being the one giving tours to new archaeology students now.

Just as she hoped when she transferred, Gemma also had the opportunity to get hands-on experience in archaeological field schools, helping her to realize her interest in field work and prepare for her career. Graduating this semester, she already has a job lined up in her field.

“I am also looking forward to starting a master’s degree in BC archaeology at SFU in fall 2024!”