How to Apply for RPA Registration

Qualifications to Apply for Registration

The online process (Apply Now) requires that all applicants:

  1. Accept the Register’s Code and Standards. The applicant must accept and agree to abide by the standards the Code of Conduct, Standards of Research Performance, and Grievance Procedures of the Register of Professional Archaeologists.
  1. Hold an advanced degree in archaeology or a related field. The applicant must have an advanced degree (such as an M.A., M.S., Ph.D., or equivalent) from an accredited institution and submit their official transcript with their application. The degree must be in archaeology, anthropology, classics,  or another germane discipline with a specialization in archaeology.
  1. Design, execute, and report on archaeological research and analysis in a thesis, dissertation, or equivalent documents. The report must include substantive data analysis by the applicant directed towards an explicit archaeological research problem.

Please Also Note:
Applicants who have completed a thesis or dissertation aligned with #3, above, should use the short form (fill in Sections I, II, and III only).

Applicants who have an advanced degree but attended a non-thesis program or completed a thesis/dissertation that does not include both archaeological research problem focus and substantive data analysis must also

(a) complete Section IV of the application (detailed documentation of 52 weeks of excavation, survey, and laboratory experience, including 20 weeks of supervisory research experience) and

(b) submit up to two project reports they have authored that demonstrate problem focus and data analysis equivalent to that required for a thesis or dissertation.

Descriptive reports, including standard survey reports, cannot be accepted as thesis equivalents.

Documentation Needed

With your application, you must submit:

  1. A completed online application
  2. An official transcript showing degree completion (scanned copy uploaded to application)
  3. A .pdf CV/Resume
  4. A .pdf not to exceed 14mb (trim pages from the end of document, as needed) of the master’s thesis, dissertation, or equivalent report or series of reports that demonstrate the applicant’s design, execution of research, and substantive data analysis on an archaeological topic. At minimum, the .pdf must include:
    • Title page
    • Abstract (if not originally required, prepare and include one as the first or second page of the .pdf)
    • Table of Contents (must list all document chapters/sections, figures, and tables)
    • Chapter 1/Introduction
    • All chapters containing or summarizing data and data analysis

Please Also Note:
Effective January 1, 2020, applications for RA and RPA registration must be accompanied by an official transcript from an accredited institution. Diplomas and unofficial transcripts are only acceptable in rare cases and only if prior arrangements with the Registrar are made.

Application and Annual Fees

Upon application submission you will receive a prompt reply from the Register confirming receipt and providing a link to the invoice for the non-refundable application fee ($35). Upon application acceptance, you will receive a notification with a link to the invoice for your initial annual registration fee. The $35 application fee is waived for applicants who have received their advanced degree within the six (6) months prior to application submission. The annual registration fee is $55 for members of the Register’s sponsoring organizations (AIA, AAA, SHA, SAA), $85 for members of affiliated societies who are not otherwise members of a sponsoring organization, and $135 for unaffiliated individuals.


Please Note: Starting 2021 the annual registration fee for the following Registrant types will change to:

$75 – Members of the Register’s sponsoring organizations
$95 – Affiliated Society members

Process for Application Review

You can read more about our application review process and timeline here.


Visit our Registration FAQs for frequently asked questions! You can also contact the Register’s Business Office at (410) 931-8100 or if you have unanswered questions or encounter difficulties.

Online Application

Ready to become an RPA? You can apply for registration using our online application!