Quick Facts

Delivery: Online or Onsite**

Credit Hours: 12

Application Deadline: December 5

Next Session: January 19

**The onsite course is field experiences and is offered durring the summer sessions beginning summer 2020.

Machu Picchu

Archaeoastronomy Home

Archaeoastronomy Courses Descriptions

LSIS 5403 Archaeoastronomy and Methods

Course topics include observed motions of celestial objects, calendrical systems, quantitative Archaeoastronomy research methods and the importance of archaeological context, astronomy’s role in the development of religion and the deification of celestial objects, and celestial associations with monumental architecture. It includes a survey review of material cultural evidence for astronomical associations at selected monumental sites such as Stonehenge, Newgrange, Chaco Canyon, Cahokia, Big Horn Medicine Wheel, Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza, the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt, and the Forbidden City in China. Many additional sites will be examined in other courses.

LSIS 5423 Archaeoastronomy of Chaco Canyon and Cahokia

This course will include historic period ethnographic information (“ethno-astronomy”) for these early American culture groups, including constellations and star lore, cultural cosmology, and creation stories (or “cosmogony”). The course also includes calendrical systems, astronomical links to ritual systems, and Archaeoastronomy for these monument-building societies.

LSIS 5443 Latin American Archaeoastronomy

This course focuses on cultural insight yielded by archaeoastronomical evidence from Central and South America. Topics include architectural associations with the sun and Venus, calendrical systems, shrine sites and variations in Archaeoastronomy research methods based on the types of material evidence available. Mesoamerican traditions of regulated warfare cycles associated with the observed motions of Venus, day-count calendars including planetary motions and written evidence from codices, as well as Andean/Inca traditions of astronomically associated shrines, temples and caves are included.

LSIS 5463 Archaeoastronomy Beyond the Americas

This survey course will review evidence of the role of astronomy for a range of cultures around the world. It includes monumental architecture at sites such as Nabta Playa, Abu Simbel and Karnak in Egypt, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and as well as Rappa Nui (Easter Island). The course also includes the cultural astronomy traditions of the indigenous peoples of Australia and the integrated navigation methods (including stellar navigation) developed by the Polynesian peoples. An organizing theme for this course is the demonstrated relationship between sky knowledge and predictive skills with varied forms of social power in different cultures.

LSIS 5483: Ethnoastronomy 

This course explores ethnoastronomy and how Indigenous cultures have used visible astronomy. Many cultures have been very familiar with celestial movements in the night sky and have put this to use in the management of their societies. Students will become knowledgeable of archaeoastronomical practices in Indigenous cultures throughout the world and will thereby gain great insight as to the various ways that astronomy has been used and how astral phenomena was interpreted and employed by each. This course explores Indigenous astronomical beliefs as they relate to such as creation and religion. 

LSIS 5493 Field Research in Archaeoastronomy

This is a one-week research methods course in the field. Archaeoastronomy & Methods and Archaeoastronomy of Chaco Canyon and Cahokia are prerequisites. The field school will initially be focused on a specific site associated with the Chacoan Culture in the four corners region, but will later branch out as additional research projects are undertaken that will benefit from archaeoastronomical examination. It is designed to provide students with the required methods and tools training to integrate Archaeoastronomy methods into their own future research. This course is optional.

LSIS 5700: Astronomy Traditions of the First Nations in the United States and Canada 

This course explores how certain First Nations in the United States and Canada have used visible astronomy. Native American and other Indigenous cultures have been very familiar with celestial movements in the night sky and they put this to use in their societies. Students will become knowledgeable of the astronomical practices of many cultures in the United States and Canada and will thereby gain insight as to the various ways that astronomy has been used and how astral phenomena were interpreted and employed. 

View our Flickr album of faculty doing archaeoastronomy field work.


Admission Requirements

  • A minimum of a 3.0 GPA 
  • ·Earned a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution


STEP 1: Prepare Application Materials

  • Current Resume: Formatted in a professional manner, highlighting past work experience and education.
  • Last Degree Conferring Transcript: Must be uploaded with the rest of your materials.

STEP 2: Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application form. As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will be reviewed when it is complete and all required materials have been received.

*NOTE: When completing your application, a GRE or GMAT score is not required to apply for OU Extended Campus certificates. If you have not taken either of these exams, simply click NO for each in the Test Scores section and leave the test dates blank.

After you submit your application, you will receive an email within 24 hours with instructions on how to submit your supplemental application materials.

Note:  Upon admission, you will be required to submit official transcripts. Financial aid may be available to degree-seeking students only.