Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarships

Now accepting applications. The deadline is January 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

2021 HUGS Application

The SAA Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS) helps increase the number of under-represented minorities obtaining degrees in archaeology. It provides funding to minority archaeology students, helping them enhance their education and successfully prepare for a variety of careers in archaeology and heritage management. The scholarship is overseen by the Minority Scholarships Committee of the SAA. 

How to Apply for a Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS)

Few college financial aid packages cover summer coursework, such as lab or field training, making such study an out-of-pocket expense for many students. The SAA is committed to assisting individuals in realizing their goals of entering careers in archaeology by offering the HUGS. 

This scholarship can be used for a field school, to volunteer on a project directed by a professional archaeologist, or to receive other forms of archaeological training in summer 2019.  A total of three HUGS awards will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students (see below for eligibility). Each scholarship is $3,000. 

The recipients of the HUGS  will be selected by the Minority Scholarship Committee of the SAA.


You must be a member of historically underrepresented minorities in archaeology, including but not restricted to African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, and other non-European minorities. 

You must be a resident of either the U.S. or Canada. 

At the time of application, you must be enrolled in a regionally accredited university in the United States or Canada, or if outside the United States, a university with equivalent accreditation.  

If the applicant is a graduate student, s/he must be in Year 1 or Year 2 of graduate studies. The applicant cannot already have an M.A./M.S. degree at the time of application. 

Note: Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply to the Native American Scholarships program for parallel funding opportunities.

Minorities in Archaeology

Diversity of narratives and heritage is a core principle of archaeological ethics. However, minority groups are under-represented in US professional archaeology, creating an imbalance with consequences, not only in research goals, but particularly in communication with diverse publics. The Minority Scholarship Committee is committed to the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in archaeology and is working to increase recruitment and retention of African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, and other non-European minorities in professional archaeology (if you self-identify as Native American, please apply to the SAA Native American Scholarships program).

Archaeology and other social sciences have been unusual career choices for first generation college students of less privileged sectors of society, and the SAA is committed to making the initial steps toward entry in archaeology more feasible. Funding scholarships is but a single step in bringing the composition of SAA closer to parity with North American populations, assisting individuals in realizing their goals of entering careers in archaeology, assuring diversity of its professional body, as well as the resilience and relevance of American archaeology to diverse populations.

The Minority Scholarships Committee was established in 2010 to administer the Scholarship Fund and oversee scholarship application and awards. The first Scholarships were awarded in 2015 to Gabriel Sanchez (HUGS), Dania Jordan (HUGS), and Sameen Mansoor (HUGS-IFR)

Support for these scholarships comes from the SAA Minority Scholarship Fund, which is currently sustained by individual donations and book royalty donations, as well as corporate partnerships.

2019 HUGS Scholars*

HUGS Undergraduate Scholarship
Jazmin Jones
Ariana Robles

HUGS Graduate Scholarship 
Jenail Marshall
Ashley Vance

*Due to Covid-19, HUGS did not award scholarships in 2020.

Prior to any award recommendation being finalized and publicly announced, anyone recommended for an award, scholarship, or grant will be required to certify the following:

(a)  I am not and have not ever been the subject of a discrimination or harassment lawsuit or related administrative complaint that resulted in an adverse finding; and

(b)  I do not have and have not had a current or pending disciplinary action such as suspension or termination of registration, resulting from a Register of Professional Archaeologists’ grievance investigation.