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Anthropology Department Graduate Program Description

For questions, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Cartwright, Graduate Program Director at



The mission of the Department of Anthropology is to research and teach about humankind the world over from the distant past to the present. Anthropology consists of sub-fields that specialize in the human past, human biology and evolution, language, society, and culture, and provides cross-cultural, environmental, international, and global perspectives on past and present human behavior. An important part of the anthropology mission at Idaho State University is to apply anthropological concepts to the resolution of important social, cultural, and environmental problems of our times. The Department of Anthropology offers graduate students courses leading to the Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in Anthropology, with opportunities for specialization in archaeological science, ecological, medical, and applied anthropology, linguistics, biocomplexity, informatics, and oral history.


Students who have completed a graduate degree in Anthropology at Idaho State University should be able to:

    1. Read and understand anthropological theory at a professional level.
    2. Understand current debates within the field of anthropology.
    3. Synthesize and critically evaluate the professional literature.
    4. Use a comparative approach to theorize about the similarities and differences in the human condition across space and through time.

Measurable Outcomes - The Thesis or Special Project should show the following competencies based on the learning objectives:

    1. Write a proposal for pure research or the application of theory to contemporary social issues.
    2. Perform quantitative and/or qualitative analysis of data appropriate to the chosen subdiscipline.
    3. Competently conceive, conduct, and write-up either research in anthropology or applications of anthropology at a level suitable for publication.

Admission Requirements

The student must apply to, and meet all criteria for admission to the Graduate School. In addition the student must provide:

    1. A letter of application, including areas of interest and professional goals;
    2. Three letters of recommendation;
    3. Undergraduate transcripts and transcripts of any previous post-graduate coursework;
    4. Minimum grade point average of 3.0;
    5. Total GRE scores that average at least the 50th percentile for admission;
    6. An undergraduate degree in anthropology is not required for acceptance into the program; however, students without upper division coursework in sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, and human origins equivalent to ANTH 5501, 5503, 5530, and an upper division linguistic anthropology course will be required to take these courses or approved readings courses before enrolling in contentrespective graduate seminars.

General Requirements:

Option 1: Master of Arts

A minimum of 30 credits must be taken, including 15 at the 6600-level or higher and these required courses:

ANTH 6605 Seminar in Linguistic Anthropology 3 cr

ANTH 6615 Seminar in Biological Anthropology 3 cr

ANTH 6625 Seminar in Sociocultural Anthropology 3 cr

ANTH 6635 Seminar in Archaeology 3 cr


ANTH 6641 Research Project 6 cr


ANTH 6650 Thesis 6 cr

An additional 9 credits of graduate level courses approved by the student’s advisor are also required.

Fours semesters of foreign language must be completed, or equivalent competence must be demonstrated.

Option 2: Master of Science

A minimum of 30 credits must be taken, including 15 at the 6600-level or higher and these required courses:

Two of the following graduate seminars:

ANTH 6605, 6615, 6625, 6635 6 cr


ANTH 6641 Research Project 6 cr


ANTH 6650 Thesis 6 cr

An additional 9 credits of advanced techniques and methods courses are also required. Additional Requirements for Option 1 and Option 2: By the end of the first semester, each student must develop a proposed program of study specifying elective courses (Options 1 and 2) and techniques and methods courses (Option 2) in consultation with the student’s graduate advisor.

Students completing an M.S. or M.A. in Anthropology with an MPH degree may apply up to 9 credits to both degrees subject to approval of the student’s advisors in both programs. To maintain Classified status, students must register for a minimum of 6 credits in the Fall and Spring Semesters of the first year. Each student must write a Master’s thesis or publishable manuscript, and must successfully defend it in a formal oral examination.