MA in Anthropology

Total units required for MA: 30

Program Description

The Master of Arts program in Anthropology is designed for students who plan to continue their graduate studies in Anthropology at the Ph.D. level as well as for students who plan to pursue any of the numerous opportunities for graduate anthropologists, such as in private research, Foreign Service, education, and government.

The program centers on a core of general requirements designed to provide each student with a graduate level exposure to the broad discipline of Anthropology, with an emphasis on general methodology and the ways in which problems are conceptualized and approached in at least three of the interrelated sub-disciplines. Beyond this core, each student is encouraged to design a plan of elective coursework relevant to his/her postgraduate goals. The plan may be to continue a broad, unspecialized course of study, or to concentrate on any of the specialties represented by the interests of the faculty.

Following admission to classified standing, each student is assigned a temporary advisor and informally interviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee to determine the scope of his/her interests and academic background and to establish the plan for elective coursework. After the graduate interview, the student forms a Thesis Committee composed of a graduate advisor and at least one additional member of the Anthropology faculty. The responsibility of the Thesis Committee is to provide general academic advice and to guide the student in conducting research and writing the thesis.

Students may develop their special interests through individual arrangements with their faculty advisors, or they may take advantage of opportunities for special training in such areas of Applied Anthropology as cultural resource management, museology, Anthropology in education, and medical Anthropology through participation in ongoing informal programs which may include special field work or intern placement with local agencies. Prospective students should obtain a copy of the most recent Department of Anthropology Graduate Study Brochure for updated information on special opportunities.

Admission Requirements

Admission to classified graduate standing in Anthropology requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • a minimum 3.0 GPA for the last 60 units attempted.

Admission Procedures

Graduate students are considered once a year for admission for the fall semester. To ensure consideration of admission for the following year, applicants must complete a university application and a separate departmental application by the posted application deadline dates for the term applying. For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit


  • an application for admission and a supplemental application for graduate admission (forms A and B in the CSU application booklet); and
  • two complete sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.

At the same time, applicants must submit to the Graduate Coordinator, Department of Anthropology: a letter describing their academic background and present interests, two signed letters of recommendation on official letterhead from individuals who can assess the applicant's potential for graduate study, and results of the General Graduate Record Examination and Graduate Record Examination Writing Assessment.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree

Units required for the MA:  30

Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure may begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units of 200-level Anthropology courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA;
  • completed a Thesis Prospectus Review; and
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.

Students should consult the Department's current Graduate Program Brochure for deadlines.

Preliminary Examination: Passing the Preliminary Examination is a prerequisite to Advancement to Candidacy.

Note: Students may not enroll in ANTH 500 until Advanced to Candidacy. Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student fills out the form after planning a program of study in consultation with his/her Anthropology faculty advisors. The completed form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Program Requirements

Required Courses (6 Units) 1
Select seminar in area of study and select one of the following:6
Biological Anthropology Seminar
Language and Culture
Electives (21 Units)
Select any graduate level or advanced upper division courses 221
Culminating Requirement (3 Units)
ANTH 500Master's Thesis3
Total Units30

Grade "B-" or better required in each course listed.


Three (9 units) must be graduate level seminars in the Anthropology Department. Specific electives must be approved in advance by the student's Thesis Committee.

No more than 3 units of ANTH 278 or ANTH 299 may be applied to the MA. ANTH 278 and ANTH 299 courses that have passed the seven-year University limit may not be applied to the MA.