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Egyptologist

Qualifications

Even minor Egyptology-related jobs, like being a tour lecturer in Egypt, require a Ph.D. these days, due to an oversaturation of people who want to be in the field and a lack of positions for all of them. You don't have to get a bachelor's degree in Egyptology (few schools even offer one), but you will want to study history or art or a field related to the areas of specialty you’re considering in Egyptology. Once you get to graduate school, your master's and doctoral programs are likely to be combined, where you'll spend the master’s degree years taking classes in your specialty, and Ph.D. time on writing a dissertation. Aspiring Egyptian archaeologists are required to take more math and science classes, but don't let that fool you into thinking other specialties are easier: Mastering dead languages or memorizing the details of 6000-plus years of art history are not exactly entry-level brainwork.

Academics also have to study all the forms of Egyptian language, and usually French and German (since most of the existing research is in those languages; English-speaking Egyptologists were late to the game). They also often are asked to take another relevant ancient language, depending on what their specialty and time period of interest is. The most common ones in that case are ancient Greek, the Mesopotamian/cuneiform languages (Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite, etc.) for the pharaonic academics; ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic for those who want to study Egypt in a Biblical context; and various forms of Arabic and Turkish if they are studying the later, non-Pharaonic periods of Egyptian history.

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