The Department of Anthropology at Colorado State University
Master of Arts in Anthropology
The Master of Arts in Anthropology at Colorado State University prepares our students for entrance into a PhD program and for non-academic careers. The program builds on the diverse research interests of our faculty who specialize in cultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology as well as human and physical geography. The program options include writing a thesis or developing a portfolio as the principle demonstration of their preparedness for further study or professional work.
Our faculty are accessible and active mentors who will encourage MA students to engage meaningfully in research. Graduates of our program will leave with training and skills that can be leveraged in both academic and non-academic settings.
Highly qualified candidates may receive one year of funding in the form of graduate teaching assistantships that cover the cost of tuition and provide a monthly stipend. All incoming students are automatically considered for an assistantship; no separate form is necessary. Seed grants for graduate research are provided by the Anthropology Scholarship Endowment on a competitive basis, and Student Research Scholarships are available to support travel to conferences.
The application deadline for the MA program in Anthropology is February 1 for the fall semester of the same year. Late applications will not be accepted and new students are accepted for the fall semester only. Application materials and instructions are available on the CSU Graduate School website: https://gradadmissions.colostate.edu/apply/. Applicants to the MA program in Anthropology must upload all supporting documents to their online applications. Please do not send any materials directly to the Anthropology Department.
A complete application consists of the following:
Statement of Purpose
• See instructions below.
Copies of transcripts from each college/university attended
• Previous institutions should submit official transcripts to CSU using institution code 4075.
GRE General Test scores
• Scores must be less than five years old.
• The testing agency should submit scores to CSU using institution code 4075.
• Select an example of academic writing that shows your capacity for rigorous analysis and independent thought as well as your writing skills. Term papers and professional reports are both acceptable.
Three letters of recommendation
• Letters from prior faculty familiar with your academic record are preferred.
• Letters should be submitted electronically by the authors.
Recent TOEFL scores
• These are required of all applicants whose native language is not English or who have not received a university degree from an accredited college or university where the primary language of instruction is English. Please refer to CSU’s guidelines for international students whose first language is not English.
The Statement of Purpose
We use the statement of purpose to assess the fit between applicants’ research interests and our program, as well as their potential for successfully completing a MA. In addition, applicants must describe their research interests in ways that make clear their fit with the program and identify the faculty with whom they would like to work. Applicants are encouraged to contact relevant faculty to discuss their interests prior to submitting an application. They may also may wish to visit CSU before applying, which is welcomed but not required.
Students have the option of choosing between writing a thesis or developing a portfolio as the principle demonstration of their preparedness for further study or professional work. The master’s program requires 30 credits for the thesis option and 36 credits for the portfolio option.
Core Courses – two required classes (4 credits)
• Development of Anthropological Theory
• Ethical Conduct of Research
Methods Courses – one course that is relevant to the student’s research (3-4 credits)
• If an outside course: one additional regular, graduate-level ANTH course
• Additional courses chosen in consultation with student’s advisor
→ One course (3 credits) in one of the three sub-disciplines of anthropology outside of the student’s specialization.
→ Two courses (6 credits) outside the department.
Additional credits for independent study or thesis work
• Independent Study (6 credits maximum)
→ For portfolio option, 3 credits minimum
• Thesis (6 credits maximum)
→ No thesis credits allowed for portfolio option
* Minimum of 18 credits of the total taken must be regular, graduate-level ANTH courses
* Graduate School course requirements
• Minimum of 24 credits must be earned at CSU; 21 credits must be earned after admission to Graduate School
• Minimum of 16 credits in graduate courses >500; 12 credits must be in regular number courses
• MA students can count 300 and 400 level courses in program of study
• Credits proposed for transfer must be at the equivalent level of CSU’s regular courses at the 500 level or above.
Areas of Specialization (Optional)
Professional Methods and Techniques
Specialization designed to provide students the skills needed for academic careers in anthropology, qualitative survey and social science research, field excavation, cultural resource management, natural resource management, GIS and spatial analysis, and/or public interpretation. Plan A | Plan B
Humans and the Environment
Specialization looking at how human activities, past and present, influence the environment and how ecological processes affect human evolution and the human condition today. Plan A | Plan B
Interdisciplinary Studies Program in Resilience of Social Ecological Systems
Specialization concentrated on environmental knowledge and the framework of resilience for solving linked social and ecological problems. Requirements