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.

Following admission to classified standing, each student is assigned a temporary advisor 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, preparation for the preliminary exam, developing the thesis proposal, 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 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 GPA for the last 60 units attempted.

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

Graduate students are considered twice a year for admission for the fall and spring semester. 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;
  • two sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State, should be sent to:

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

  • official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) official scores

For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit

At the same time, each applicant must file online with the Anthropology Department:

  • a completed Supplemental Application Form
  • a statement of intent describing 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

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
  • 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 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 (6 Units) 1
Select the seminar below in your area of study plus one additional core seminar:6
Biological Anthropology Seminar
Language and Culture
Elective Graduate Seminars (9 Units)
Select three of the following graduate seminars or additional core seminars listed above (with thesis advisor approval): 29
General Methods in Anthropology
Anthropological Theory
Current Problems in Archaeological Method and Theory
Bioarchaeology Seminar
Areal Archaeology
Human Skeletal Analysis
Environmental Anthropology
Museum Anthropology
Elective Graduate Course (3 Units)
Select any additional 200-level course or seminar with the exception of ANTH 278, ANTH 292, ANTH 295, and ANTH 299.3
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