Master of Arts in Anthropology

Admission to Program

The Department accepts applications for fall semester enrollments only. Applications will be reviewed on a semi-rolling basis and strong applicants may receive early admissions offers as soon as the application review is completed. For full consideration, applications for fall admissions should be submitted by February 15th, but we will continue reviewing candidates up until the start of the term on a space-available basis. 

While we welcome applications from students with a wide range of experiences and a diversity of undergraduate degrees, we recommend that applicants have a B.A. or B.S. in Anthropology or an allied field. Students enrolling without an anthropology degree may be required to take the following prerequisite classes or equivalents.

ANTH 100Introduction to Biological Anthropology3
ANTH 110Introduction to Archaeology3
ANTH 120Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology3
ANTH 300Foundations of Anthropology: History3

Students may satisfy the prerequisite requirement by having taken similar classes at the undergraduate level at their undergraduate or other institution. Prerequisite coursework will not count toward the degree and may not be included on the ATC.

The application is submitted online through CalState Apply and consists of the following elements:

  • One-page Curriculum Vitae;
  • Statement of Purpose (500-word max.);
  • Two Letters of Recommendation;
  • Writing Sample;
  • Official Transcripts; and
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if necessary.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Possess advanced knowledge and understanding of the concepts and theories of the three sub-disciplines covered by the Department.
  2. Have the ability to analyze and evaluate complex data about human biological and cultural systems.
  3. Have the ability to employ a comparative approach and make meaningful cross-cultural comparisons.
  4. Demonstrate an advanced ability to perform all phases of anthropological fieldwork in one of the three sub-disciplines, including but not restricted to archaeological fieldwork, collection of biological data, ethnographic participant observation, interviewing, audio-visual, and archival research methods.
  5. Have skills at levels sufficiently high to allow them access to Ph.D. programs in their sub-field, or move directly into a professional employment in their sub-discipline.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

The University has a requirement for written English proficiency that is to be assessed at two different levels.

Level One

Completion of ANTH 715ANTH 716, and ANTH 717 with grades of B or above. 

Level Two

Completion of the M.A. thesis (ANTH 898) or completion of the written component of the MA Creative Work Project (ANTH 894).

Classified Graduate Status

All graduate students are admitted to the program with conditionally classified status. To attain classified status, graduate students must meet the following:

  • Completion of prerequisite coursework (if any).
  • Completion of ANTH 710 with a grade of B or above.

Anthropology (M.A.) — 30 units

All students must complete the following courses and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above.

Core (15 units)

ANTH 710Proseminar in Anthropological Theory and Method3
ANTH 720Foundations in Visual Anthropology2
ANTH 721Seminar in Archaeological Problems2
ANTH 722Seminar in Biological Anthropology2
ANTH 723Seminar in Problems in Cultural Anthropology2
Research Skills
ANTH 714Anthropological Ethics1
ANTH 715Research Skills: The Craft of Anthropological Writing1
ANTH 716Research Skills: The Literature Review1
ANTH 717Research Skills: The Research Proposal1

Electives (12 units)

To reach the minimum number of units required for the degree, students must:

  • Take graduate elective classes (numbered 700 and above) selected from those offered in the Anthropology Department or, with approval, from other departments at SF State.
  • Students are advised to take ANTH 899 Independent Study (1, 2, or 3 units) as part of their area of specialization. Students may take ANTH 899 no more than twice for a maximum total of 6 units.
  • With approval, students may take upper-division undergraduate classes.

NOTE: no more than 30% (9 units) of undergraduate coursework may be included on the ATC. (Prerequisite coursework may not be included on the ATC.)

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Select One:

ANTH 894Creative Work Project3
ANTH 898Master's Thesis3