Gain Cultural Insight with an Archaeoastronomy Graduate Certificate

Gain Cultural Insight with an Archaeoastronomy Graduate Certificate

If you’re interested in increasing your understanding of how astronomical knowledge was accumulated and used by prehistoric cultures, but don’t want to commit to a master’s degree, an Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture Graduate Certificate might be right for you. The new certificate offered by OU Extended Campus will equip you with the specialized research skills you’ll need to investigate the cultural astronomy of peoples that have used the visual sky as a resource for millennia.

Archaeoastronomy—the study of astronomical knowledge within prehistoric cultures—can enhance research in fields such as archaeology and anthropology and provide insight into these cultures because the night sky that we see is relatively unchanged from the one they used to understand the world in which they lived.

These courses are the first of their kind, offering a concise source of the knowledge of astronomy and the archaeoastronomical research methods necessary for this type of study.

About the certificate

The Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture Graduate Certificate is a 12-hour program and can be completed 100% online. Additionally, there is an optional one-week elective course that is onsite with an instructor to practice field research methods. Courses are 16 weeks long in spring and fall. The optional field work course will be offered in the summer beginning in June 2020.

You’ll study topics like the observed motion of celestial objects, calendrical systems, the importance of archaeological context, astronomy’s role in the development of religion and celestial association with monumental architecture, as well as the unique archaeoastronomy of cultures from across the Americas and around the world, preparing you to add greater understanding and depth to your own archaeological, anthropological or astronomical research.

While most students take two courses in the spring and fall semesters, your course load is up to you. You can discuss your options with your advisor.

Below are a few things you need to know if you’re considering the program.


Credit hours used to complete your certificate program can be applied to a graduate degree.

You can complete the Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture Graduate Certificate while enrolled in a graduate degree program, or you can apply for direct admission into the certificate program after earning a bachelor’s degree. Credit hours used to complete your certificate program can be applied to a graduate degree.

If you’re applying for admission to pursue the certificate, the admission requirements and process are the same as degree-seeking students. However, you can’t be admitted on a conditional status to a certificate program.


After being admitted into the program, you’ll complete 12 hours of coursework. Required courses are Archaeoastronomy and Methods (three hours) and Astronomy of Chaco Canyon and Cahokia (three hours).

You’ll also choose two three-hour electives­. Elective courses include Latin American Archaeoastronomy, World Archaeoastronomy and Field Work in Archaeoastronomy.


When you earn a graduate certificate from OU Extended Campus, you’ll gain valuable skills and bolster your resume with credentials from a respected university without the time and expense required for a master’s degree. You’ll also learn from top-notch professors while interacting with other students in online forums or on campus.

If you’re ready to transform your career with a more specialized understanding of cultural astronomy, or to show employers you’re ready for a leadership role in your field, it might be time to pursue the certificate program.

Learn more by visiting our Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture Graduate Certificate information page.


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Myk Mahaffey

Michael Mahaffey holds degrees in journalism and psychology. He is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience writing for print and digital publications, including award-winning coverage of the rodeo industry. In his spare time, he writes fiction, in addition to tinkering with graphic design and photography.