Graduate Program

Graduate Program

PSU’s Master’s degrees in Anthropology (MA, MS) are designed to prepare students for professional employment or in some cases, for further education in a PhD program.  Our program gives background across three main subfields of biological anthropology, archaeology, and sociocultural anthropology, while promoting a student’s focus within one of the subfields. Students have the option of choosing either the thesis track, the internship track, or the skills-based track (courses + comprehensive exams).

The Master’s program has been planned for students who hold an undergraduate degree in anthropology or its equivalent in course coverage. For students with this preparation, the master’s degree, including research and thesis, may be completed in two to three years. Graduate applicants who lack an undergraduate major in Anthropology may be admitted to the program, but completion of the degree may require a more extended period of study. Students without an adequate background in anthropology will be required to take selected undergraduate courses to remove deficiencies. These courses normally do not offer graduate credit.
Please visit the PSU Bulletin for details on graduate program admission requirements and for requirements to earn the MA/MS.  

Graduate Handbook
The Anthropology Graduate Student Handbook (PDF) will be available soon. The Handbook covers course requirements, the Thesis and Applied paper processes, second language requirements, and more. 

Graduate Program Coordinator
The Graduate Program Coordinator is available to answer student questions about the Anthropology MA/MS program. The Coordinator facilitates the admissions process, the annual beginning-of-year graduate student orientation and welcome meeting, and the annual end-of-year graduate student review. The coordinator assists students with understanding degree requirements, meeting program deadlines, and completing forms and paperwork. The current Coordinator is Michele Gamburd (  

Graduate Advisors
Graduate students in our program work closely with their advisor.  As you prepare your application, contact faculty that share your interests and with whom you wish to work. Set up interviews (virtual or in-person) with prospective advisors to discuss common interests.  In your Statement of Intent, highlight the faculty that you wish to work with.  During the graduate application reviews, students are assigned an advisor based on student interests and faculty availability.  

Once admitted, the Advisor agrees to make themselves available for regular meetings, either in person or over phone/email; provide timely notice if meetings must be moved or canceled; advise the student in areas such as appropriate coursework and research foci; provide planning and support for the student to make progress in the program; and serve on the student's thesis committee.

Likewise, by entering the graduate program the student agrees to meet with his or her advisor on a regular basis, either in person or over phone/email; provide timely notice if meetings must be moved or canceled; and make steady progress through the program per a plan agreed upon with his or her advisor.

Teaching Assistantships
The Anthropology Department offers 3-5 teaching assistantships per year. These assistantships provide nine hours of tuition reimbursement per quarter (but do not cover fees or books), as well as a monthly stipend.  New applicants can fill out the TA application as part of the online application process.  If you are already a graduate student in the program, apply via the Graduate assistantship application form.

How to Apply
Applications to the PSU Anthropology Graduate Program must be made through the PSU Office of Graduate Studies. The application deadline for the 2021-2022 cohort is February 1, 2021. Applications are reviewed only for admission for fall term. Applications received after the February 1 deadline, or for alternative term admission will NOT be reviewed, except in extenuating circumstance and by special request from the faculty member the student intends to work with.

In order for your application to be considered for admission, all application documents must be uploaded by February 1, 2021.  Please do not send any application material directly to the Anthropology Department office, it will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified of their admission results no later than April 1, 2021. 

Before you apply please make sure you have:

  • Reviewed the information about the PSU Anthropology Graduate Studies program
  • Contacted & interviewed with at least one potential tenure-track academic advisor
  • Selected which of the three tracks you would like to pursue (thesis, internship, or skills-based)
  • Taken the general GRE (or will have taken by the application deadline)
  • Taken the TOEFL exam if required (International Students)
  • Names/Contact information for three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation
  • The PSU graduate admissions minimum requirements
  • Copies of ALL official transcripts from every educational institution you've attended
  • Completed a 500 word "Statement of Intent"*
  • A writing sample that illustrates your academic skills and interests, and ability to craft a sustained argument supported by scholarly data.
  • Graduate teaching Assistantship Application (optional)

* 500-word essay that summarizes your academic background and your main goals in attending graduate school and our program in particular.  It should note which track you seek (thesis track, the internship track, or the skills-based track [courses + comprehensive exams]), and the faculty with whom you wish to work.  Explain why your interests mesh well with our program.  

Admission Requirements
For more information on admission, please see the 2020-21 Bulletin