Coursework and Thesis





In-person participation in the Program orientation in the first week of fall term classes to introduce students to their cohort, Program faculty, Program goals and course delivery format, thesis requirements, and British Columbia as a context for heritage resource management practice.



The completion of four online courses:
• HRM Law and Policy – ARCH 531
• HRM Practice and Ethics – ARCH 541
• HRM Business Management – ARCH 551
• HRM Research Design and Methods – ARCH 561




Completion of i. and ii, above, plus a written Master’s thesis and in-person defence at SFU (see FAQs). This thesis is prepared in accord with SFU standards and tailored to meet requirements for specific jurisdictions and the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

The Program’s four required courses are delivered in accord with SFU’s fall and spring terms.


Course Name ARCH 531 - HRM Law and Policy ARCH 541 - HRM Professional Practice and Ethics
Description Provides a broad survey of international heritage authorities and rules with an emphasis on HRM policy in Canada and the United States. Particular attention is given to how the development of rules and organizations affect archaeological practice. Focuses upon the complexity of operating within an HRM field characterized by overlapping, and at times contradictory, professional standards and ethics. The emphasis is on opportunities to add value to knowledge creation and mobilization through creative engagements with clients, Indigenous and local communities, governments, partners, and publics.
Instructor Dr. John Welch Dr. George Nicholas


Typical Assignments
Weekly Readings
Weekly Discussion
Weekly Exercise
Weekly Readings
Weekly Blogging
Weekly Commentaries
Course Outline ARCH 531 PDF ARCH 541 PDF
Average time commitment per week (incl. lectures, readings, assignments, etc.) Approximately 10 hours per week, inclusive Approximately 10 hours per week, inclusive
What our students say: “Everything has been fantastic, I am so happy to finally be taking courses that are applicable to working in industry, while having great discussions about theoretical approaches and legislation.”

“A good mix of readings and online media that played out well every week.”

“I was happy with the content - as someone with a bit of experience I was provided with good learning opportunities.”

“I am getting more take away lessons from my peer's posts than I imagined possible.”

“The weekly blogs were fun.”

“This semester's courses complement each other very well. The assignment types and deadlines work well together in format and in content.”


Course Name ARCH 551 - HRM Business Management ARCH 561 - HRM Archaeology Research Design and Methods
Description Contextualizes the business of HRM by targeting five clusters of essential concepts and tools in business management -- accounting and finance; marketing, sales, and contracting; human resources, labour, economics, corporate governance, and risk management; business operations and project management; and business models, innovation, and globalization. Examines the hallmarks of excellent research in HRM archaeology through studies of successful and less successful research designs and methods. The course provides essential guidance for student thesis preparation.
Instructor Dr. Christopher Dore Dr. David Maxwell


Typical Assignments
Solve business management problems grounded in HRM case studies Develop and deploy research methods tools; Refine thesis prospectus
Course Outline ARCH 551 PDF ARCH 561 PDF
Average time commitment per week (incl. lectures, readings, assignments, etc.) Approximately 10 hours per week, inclusive Approximately 10 hours per week, inclusive
What our students say: "All of the candidates are being challenged to think outside the excavation unit, improve our business communication skills, and develop conceptual and analytic frameworks for archaeological and business applications. Topics range from archaeological statistical analyses and visual communication techniques, to marketing, overhead calculations, and enterprise valuation." "Dave's PowerPoint lectures add great technical content and provide tools I know I’ll use repeatedly.”

Please note that course instructors, structure and assigments are subject to change.

Courses will be delivered online via the Canvas learning management system. See the Canvas Guide for Students. The four courses will typically be taught by an SFU faculty member or Program associate.

The SFU Centre for Online and Distance Education is the Program partner for course development and delivery. Following successful completion of the required coursework, master’s candidates will begin thesis research and writing for up to three additional terms.


ARCH 898 – MA Thesis  Students in the HRM MA Program will complete a written thesis followed by a formal public defence adhering to policies and procedures of SFU Graduate regulations for Master's thesis.

Master’s candidates should choose a thesis topic that is of particular interest to them or that relates to their current work. See our current HRM student profiles for a selection of projects. 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 field or analytic method (e.g., winter testing);
  Jurisdiction- or issue-specific “Recommended Management Practices” for guiding HRM research, practice, or both;
  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.

Student Learning Outcomes

Heritage Management Resource Program graduates will be ready and able to:

  1. Identify and analyse how personal, collective, governmental, and institutional values and interests are linked to heritage and how these values and interests influence management processes and outcomes.
  2. Recognize, describe, and practice heritage resource management as an international, interdisciplinary profession that draws strengths and creates synergies from the integrated application of biophysical science, social science, and humanities to heritage and heritage management.
  3. Compare and apply international, Canadian and U.S. systems for heritage regulation, identification, categorization, evaluation, and treatment.
  4. Identify and engage individuals and groups with interests tied to particular heritage in discussions regarding the values, threats, management priorities, and investigative and interpretive opportunities presented by that heritage and its status.
  5. Plan, prepare, and deliver the results of heritage resource management research.
  6. Identify and put to work reliable knowledge, skills, and expertise relating to heritage resource management law and policy, ethics and practice, business and management, and research planning and methods.