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, cultural resource management, private foundations, Foreign Service, education, and government.

The program provides general graduate-level training in four interrelated fields: sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Beyond this foundation, each student designs a plan of coursework specific to their post-graduate goals in one of the four subfields. Students are then expected to demonstrate mastery of their subfield by preparing a thesis of original scholarly research.

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 visit the department website or contact the Graduate Coordinator for updated information on special opportunities. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to classified graduate standing in Anthropology requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA for all undergraduate coursework.

Applicants lacking an undergraduate degree in anthropology may be conditionally accepted upon satisfactorily completing a set of prerequisite upper-division coursework based on the applicant’s interests and goals in anthropology.

Admission Procedures

To apply, applicants must complete a university application and a separate departmental application by the posted application deadline dates. Please submit the following to the Sacramento State Office of Graduate Studies:

  • an online application for admission via CalState Apply;
  • one set of unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended in the U.S. including transcripts from ALL community colleges attended and colleges where credit was earned as a high school student.
  • Applicants with foreign documents are required to submit one set of official, evaluated transcripts from all colleges and universities attended outside of the U.S. More information regarding approved third-party evaluation agencies can be found here. Please have the evaluation agency send electronic copies of the evaluated transcripts to or have physical copies sent to the address below.

Office of Graduate Studies
California State University, Sacramento
River Front Center 215, MS 6112
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819

For electronic transcripts submissions systems that allow for you to enter an e-mail address, please use the following e-mail address: It is the responsibility of the applicant to enter the correct e-mail address and to confirm that the Office of Graduate Studies has received their transcript(s).

If students are offered admission to their degree program, they will be required to submit one (1) OFFICIAL transcript from ALL colleges and universities attended, in university sealed envelopes or through the university’s e-transcript service, directly to the Office of Graduate Studies.

For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit

At the same time, each applicant must submit an Anthropology Department supplemental application form through CalState Apply that includes:

  • a completed Supplemental Application Form
  • a 1-2 page statement of interest that provides a brief autobiographical sketch, a statement of your research goals in anthropology, how and why the Anthropology program at Sacramento State can help you achieve your goals (including specific potential faculty mentors), and any other information that may help distinguish you from other applicants.
  • two signed letters of recommendation on official letterhead from individuals who can assess the applicant’s potential for graduate study

Each applicant may also submit a CV or resume that reflects relevant professional experience.

For more information regarding the department supplemental application, please visit

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 an approved draft of the thesis research proposal; and
  • successfully passed a preliminary exam in their area of study
  • completed a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline (ANTH 202, ANTH 203, ANTH 205, or ANTH 207) with a grade of "B" or better within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento.

Students should contact the Graduate Coordinator for current deadlines.

Note: Students may not enroll in ANTH 500 until Advanced to Candidacy, successful completion of thesis research proposal, and chair permission of his/her thesis committee. 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

Core Seminars 19
Select the seminar below in your area of study plus two additional core seminars:
Biological Anthropology Seminar
Language and Culture
Breadth Seminars6
Select two of the following graduate seminars or additional core seminars listed above (with thesis advisor approval): 2,3
General Methods in Anthropology
Anthropological Theory
Current Problems in Archaeological Method and Theory
Research Design in Anthropology Seminar
Communicating Anthropology Graduate Colloquium
Bioarchaeology Seminar
Areal Archaeology
Primate Behavioral Ecology
Human Skeletal Analysis
Environmental Anthropology
Museum Anthropology
Additional Graduate Course (3 Units)
Select any additional 200-level course or seminar with the exception of ANTH 278, ANTH 292, ANTH 295, and ANTH 299. 33
General Electives (9 Units)
Select any three elective graduate courses listed above or any upper division courses from the Anthropology major or a related discipline with approval from thesis advisor. 39
Culminating Requirement (3 Units)
ANTH 500Master's Thesis 43
Total Units30

Grade "B-" or better required in each course listed to count towards the core seminar requirement. Grade "B" or better required in one core seminar to count towards the Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) requirement.


ANTH 200, 201, 204, 211 and 223 may be repeated under different instructor or topic. 


Specific electives must be approved in advance by the student's Thesis Committee. For paired undergraduate-graduate lecture courses, graduate students must enroll at the 200-level. Graduate students who completed the 100-level paired course as an undergraduate may not retake the same course at the 200-level. No more than six semester units of paired coursework may count towards the degree. No more than six semester units of approved course credit from another department may be accepted towards general electives. No more than 3 units of ANTH 211, 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.


Students may not enroll in ANTH 500 until Advancement to Candidacy, successful completion of the thesis research proposal, and chair permission of his/her thesis committee. Students who do not finish their thesis within the semester of enrollment in ANTH 500 must enroll in ANTH 599 for up to three consecutive semesters to sustain their graduate standing. Students must re-enroll in ANTH 500 if they do not complete the thesis within four semesters.