Certificate in Maritime Archaeology

The Maritime Archaeology Certificate provides background information and foundational knowledge in maritime history and archaeology. The certificate will help prepare for graduate education in this field. Upon completion, students will have diving qualifications and basic maritime archaeological skills to assist in maritime archaeological projects.

Classes are offered through the Department of Anthropology and the School of Applied Health. If you are a degree-seeking Cal Poly Humboldt student, note that required courses also meeting most qualifications for the Scientific Diving Minor, and thus we do recommend that students declare and earn the minor at the same time.

See the catalog (search for 'Maritime Archaeology") for the most up-to-date requirements.

Certificate Requirements (19 units):

  • REC 252 - Diving First Aid, Introduction to Cal Poly Humboldt Diving (1 unit)
  • REC 262 - Beginning SCUBA (4 units)
  • REC 362 - Master Diver (4 units)
  • REC 471 - Scientific Diving (4 units)
  • Prerequisite (0-1 units): HED 120- Responding to Emergencies - CPRFPR (1 unit) OR Current equivalent certification

Complete a minimum of 7 units selected from the following list: 

  • ANTH 350 - Method & Theory in Archaeology (4 units)
  • ANTH 354 - Cultural Resource Management (4 units)
  • ANTH 357 - Field Archaeology (1-6 units)
  • ANTH 359 - Special Topics in Archaeology (1-4 units, topic approved in consultation with advisor)

Learning Outcomes

Students completing this certificate will:

  1. Identify interactions and relationships between people and maritime environments.
  2. Discuss the relevance of maritime heritage to present-day policy and social issues such as climate change, historical preservation, and cultural practices.
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking, quantitative analysis, and application of the scientific method to topics relevant to maritime heritage.
  4. Demonstrate skills necessary to successfully communicate, collaborate, and consult with communities, partners, and stakeholders while conducting maritime heritage studies.
  5. Explain the importance of recognizing tribal sovereignty and authority, and the importance of consulting and collaborating with indigenous communities, while conceiving of and conducting archaeological studies.
  6. Apply practical diving skills to support sub-aquatic research, education, and recreational activities with a focus on diver safety and proficiency in California.

Note that due to the scaffolded nature of the courses, the certificate will commonly take a minimum of three to four semesters to complete. 

How to Apply for and Complete the Certificate:

OPTION 1: If you are a current Cal Poly Humboldt Student in a degree program, you can declare the certificate:

    1. First, complete the Certificate of Study Course List (contract) in consultation with the Anthropology Department Chair. Check the course rotation and catalog to help plan for when you will take the needed courses. 
    2. Then, fill out the certificate application form. List the Anthropology Department Chair as the program advisor. 
    3. Complete the courses - update the contract if any courses differ than what was on the initial submission.

OPTION 2If you are not a current Cal Poly Humboldt Student in a degree program but you have completed a bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited institution and meet all other admissions requirements:

Apply to the program via Cal State Apply as a post-baccalaureate student. You can find the program under Graduate-Certificate programs. Applications are due at the beginning of the semester prior to your potential start date, for example by January to start Fall of that year. See the deadlines page to confirm exact deadlines. 

Please note the following about the application process

    • A Certificate of Study is NOT a "Degree-Seeking Program," therefore, you will NOT need to submit GRE scores, a statement of purpose, or letters of reference.  
    • In the application:
      • Intended Major: Choose the Maritime Archaeology certificate program from the drop-down menu.
      • Emphasis/concentration (if any): Type in "Certificate"
      • What is Your Degree Objective: Choose "none"
      • How many total college units…: Choose "have bachelor's degree or equivalent" 

If admitted to the program, complete the steps for OPTION 1.

OPTION 3: Individuals that do not wish to officially apply to Cal Poly Humboldt and students that have applied for but not yet been admitted, might be able to enroll in some of the courses using the the "open university" policy, if seats are open. However, we do not advise this approach, as the necessary courses typically enroll fully with students that have applied and been admitted to the university.


  • The dive courses must be taken in person - there are no online options. Some elective courses may be available online.
  • If you previously completed archaeology/dive courses at Cal Poly Humboldt, you may be able to count those courses towards the certificate requirements.  
  • Advisor-approved equivalent courses taken outside of Cal Poly Humboldt may count for a maximum of 25% of the certificate. 

Program Costs

  • Tuition and costs are described on this financial aid webpagePlease note that tuition rates are given for full-time students (greater than 6 units per semester). Those students attending part-time (0-6 units) pay less per term. You can estimate part-time fees by looking at the tuition and fees page (scroll down to Registration Fee Information & Rates and select a recent term). Keep in mind that tuition may change per year.
  • Cal Poly Humboldt is part of the Western Regional Graduate Program - residents of the following states pay in-state tuition at Cal Poly Humboldt: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands/Guam.
  • Out-of-state students can establish California residency by meeting requirements described here.
  • Stu­dents are encour­aged to con­tact the Humboldt Financial Aid office for infor­ma­tion about avail­able grants, loans, schol­ar­ships and work study. If desired, students may apply to Humboldt Housing + Dining services to explore on and off-campus housing options.


  • For more information, please see the Catalog
  • For general questions about the certificate program, and archaeology-specific questions, contact the Anthropology Department at anth@humboldt.edu. You may also contact the Department Chair.
  • For questions specific to the dive courses, such as equipment needed and whether a course taken at another institution may count, please contact the Department Chair of the School of Applied Health.


Photo by Guilherme Garcia, 1999 CC BY-SA 4.0