Anthropology

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts program in Anthropology at CSUN prepares students to enter the profession as trained anthropologists, and is recommended only for those who wish to seriously pursue a career specialization in Anthropology. It requires a higher level of achievement and places greater emphasis upon independent study and research, than does the BA. Our program emphasizes broad training in three fields of anthropology (sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology) while offering students some flexibility in degree planning and requirements. Our MA program offers two tracks: one emphasizing general anthropology and the other public archeology.

The Department offers computer facilities, media support, an archaeology lab, and biological anthropology labs with extensive collections of bone casts for study.

GENERAL ANTHROPOLOGY TRACK

The General Anthropology Track offers two alternatives. Students wishing to emphasize a generalist approach, especially in preparation for teaching anthropology at the community college level, undertake a broad range of coursework that culminates in a series of comprehensive examinations in each of the three fields covered by the department. A more specialized degree option prepares students to enter a Ph.D. program or pursue a more specific line of anthropologically-related employment; this path requires original research and culminates in a thesis under the direction of the faculty. The latter option is well-suited for students who may not have the background or foundational knowledge to enter a doctoral program in Anthropology directly as well as students who seek to use anthropology in their professional lives and want to develop their methods and skills at the graduate level. All students in the General Anthropology track are required to take seminars in sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, anthropological theory, research design, and proposal and grant-writing. In addition, students take elective courses to fit with their area of specialization.

PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY TRACK

The Public Archaeology track prepares students to become cultural resource managers. All Public Archaeology students complete a research project under the supervision of a member of the archaeology faculty. Students in the Public Archaeology track are required to take a course in archaeological laboratory methods and seminars in archaeology, anthropological theory, the management of archaeological resources, research design, and proposal and grant-writing.  They also complete a Practicum in cultural resource management.  In addition, students take elective courses to fit with their area of specialization.


ADMISSION PROCESS
The members of the Anthropology faculty represent a wide range of interests and approaches to the discipline. Information on individual faculty members, their backgrounds and interests is available on the faculty page of this website, or from the department office (818) 677-3331. Prospective graduate applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the website and the department to compare their interests with those of existing faculty, and to contact the Graduate Advisor as well as faculty they are interested in working with before completing the admission process.

Students are only accepted for Fall admission.

Students seeking admission to the CSUN MA in Anthropology Program must be admitted to both the University and to the department; separate applications must be submitted to the university and the department.  The department reserves the right to not admit otherwise qualified students whose interests do not fit the strengths of the department. Applicants must submit their University application packets to Admissions & Records at least two months before the departmental deadline.  This includes all your transcripts.  The department cannot consider applicants for admission unless both the CSUN and departmental portions of the application have been received and the University has evaluated your application.

For Academic Year 2015-16, the deadlines are:

  • January 15, 2015 for the University application packet
  • March 15, 2015 for the department application

For information on the university application, go to: http://www.csun.edu/research-graduate-studies/admissions. Note that your university packet must include a complete set of official transcripts. These should be sent to

The University website says that you don't need to send your transcripts until August; however, your application is not complete until all your transcripts have been received, and the Anthropology department will not consider your application until your University application is complete.  We apologize if this is confusing.  

Your departmental application must include the following:

  1. The department application form (see link below).
  2. A complete set of transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the departmental application only).
  3. Two recent letters of recommendation from faculty members or supervisors.  These must be mailed to the department separately by the referees.  Do not include them in your application package.
  4. A one-page resume showing dates of education and work experiences.
  5. A one-page personal statement written by the candidate indicating objectives for graduate study.
  6. A 10-12 page writing sample.

Your departmental application packet should be sent to:

Graduate Adviser
Department of Anthropology
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330-8244.

Have your sealed and signed letters of recommendation sent to the same address.

Graduate Program Application (.pdf)

 

PREREQUISITES FOR GRADUATE STUDY
Students may be admitted as either classified or unclassified. “Classified” means students have completed all the prerequisites to graduate coursework, and may take 600-level classes. Unclassified students have not yet completed all their prerequisites, and have one academic year to complete all requirements for classification in order to remain in the program. For a preliminary list of prerequisites for admission, see below.

For the General Anthropology Track: Classified Status

  • General university requirements for Classified Status.
  • For those whose cumulative undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, the department requires a minimum score within the 50th percentile on at least 2 sections of the GRE on the same test.
  • BA degree with a major in Anthropology.
  • Students without a major in Anthropology who meet university requirements for admission to Graduate Studies must fulfill certain prerequisites in Anthropology. These may be determined in consultation with the Graduate Advisor, but include the following:
    • MATH 140 (Introduction to Statistics) or equivalent
    • ANTH 151 (Introduction to Biological Anthropology), ANTH 152 (Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology) and ANTH 153 (Introduction to Archaeology) or equivalents
    • ANTH 303 (Anthropological Thought) or equivalent
    • ANTH 473 (Archaeological Method and Theory) or ANTH 475 (Ethnographic Research Methods) or equivalent
  • Completion of the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam.

 

For the Public Archaeology Track: Classified Status

  • General university requirements for Classified Status.
  • For those whose cumulative undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, the department requires a minimum score within the 50th percentile on at least 2 sections of the GRE on the same test.
  • BA degree with a major in Anthropology.
  • Students without a major in Anthropology who meet university requirements for admission to Graduate Studies must fulfill certain prerequisites in Anthropology. These may be determined in consultation with the Graduate Advisor, but include the following:
    • Math 140 (Introduction to Statistics) or equivalent
    • ANTH 151 (Introduction to Biological Anthropology), ANTH 152 (Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology) and ANTH 153 (Introduction to Archaeology) or equivalents
    • ANTH 303 (Anthropological Thought) or equivalent
    • ANTH 427 (Archaeology of North America) or equivalent
    • ANTH 473 (Archeological Theory and Methods) or equivalent
    • ANTH 476E (Field Study in Archaeology: Excavation and Survey) or equivalent.
  • Completion of the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam.

 

OVERVIEW OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS FOR MA IN ANTHROPOLOGY

I.  Classification:  students who are admitted without Classified Status will have an individual set of requirements to meet.  If you are not certain what you need to take in order to be Classified, consult with the Graduate Advisor.  Students are required  to achieve Classified Status within their first year of graduate work.

II.  Once classified (X=required):

 

General Anthropology

Public
Archaeology
(Thesis only)

Anthro Course

Comprehensive
Examination

Thesis

518

(can be taken as an elective)

(can be taken as an elective)

X

601

X

X

X

602

X

X

(can be taken as an elective)

603

X

X

(can be taken as an elective)

606

X

X

X

607

(can be taken as an elective)

(can be taken as an elective)

X

694

 

 

X

696A

X

X

X

696B

X

X

X

697

Enroll in this during semester you take exams

 

 

698

 

Research and write thesis; enroll the semester you plan to complete thesis. 3 units maximum

Research and write thesis; enroll the semester you plan to complete thesis. 3 units maximum

Electives

Students must take at least 12 units of electives.  At least 3 of these units must be at the 500 or 600 level.  The other 9 units can be at the 400, 500, or 600 level.  With the consent of the Advisor, 6 of these units can be in a department other than Anthropology.  See the Catalog for a complete listing.  Some restrictions apply to Public Archaeology students.

Research Skill

The research skill requirement may be fulfilled by passing the MA Language test in an appropriate field research language.  The alternative option of taking a suite of approved courses in statistics, GIS, film editing, etc..., must be formally approved, in writing, by both the graduate coordinator and the student’s thesis advisor.  Please note that students entering the program beginning Fall 2008 and later are required to have Anthro 475 or Anthro 473 as a condition of classification, so this course will no longer count for the research skill requirement.

Students intending to write a thesis must maintain a 3.5 GPA.  Thesis students whose GPA falls below a 3.5 have one semester to raise the GPA back to 3.5.  General Track students with a lower GPA will be required to take the comprehensive exams to complete their degrees.  Public Archaeology students who fail to maintain a 3.5 GPA will be required to change to the General Track, as there is no comprehensive examination option in the Public Archaeology Track.

As a graduate student, it is your responsibility to know the rules and regulations governing your graduate program. Please check regularly the Graduate Studies website: http://www.csun.edu/research-graduate-studies/graduate-studies.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ANTHROPOLOGY

Students completing the Master's degree program in Anthropology should be able to:

  1. Analyze characteristics of human diversity across space and time from an anthropological perspective
  2. Analyze the evolutionary process particularly as it relates to primate and specifically hominin evolution
  3. Analyze biological and behavioral variation among human and non-human primates in context
  4. Analyze the concept of culture as a fundamental principle in anthropology
  5. Analyze the causes and consequences of cultural diversity, social inequalities and change in human societies
  6. Analyze anthropological theories and paradigms, how they have changed over time and how they are applied to explain fundamental aspects of the human condition such as cultural diversity and social change
  7. Independently conceptualize, collect, describe, analyze and interpret anthropological evidence according to generally accepted professional practice
  8. Analyze ethics as they pertain to 21st century anthropology
  9. Examine how anthropology may be used to engage in contemporary issues
  10. Communicate effectively using anthropological standards
  11. Synthesize and evaluate current issues and debates in the subfields of anthropology