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Graduate Program

Our  M.A. in anthropology is structured around two core courses that cover the history and theory of humanistic and scientific approaches to the discipline:

 

  • archaeology + biological anthropology
  • sociocultural anthropology

 

After this, we encourage you to select area and topical courses according to your personal interests from one of three distinct tracks:

 

  • Sociocultural
  • Archaeology
  • Biological

 

Each track offers a series of courses that will provide focus and direction for putting together a program of study. In addition, we require each student to complete a thesis based on original field, laboratory, or archival research.

Graduate Degree Tracks

During your first semester you will take both core courses designed to expose students to major issues and contemporary thinking in the discipline’s four major subfields. In addition, all graduate students, regardless of specific interests, must take a graduate level statistics course.

 

Beyond that, the Department of Anthropology encourages its graduate students to select one of three distinct tracks and offers a series of courses that will provide focus and direction for putting together a program of study. The Department of Anthropology requires that an individual take 9 credit hours to be considered a full-time student.

CORE COURSES (14 credits)

Program Outcomes
  • Anthropology 503: Biological Anthropology & Archaeology (3 cr)
  • Anthropology 510: Theoretical Dimensions of Cultural Anthropology (3 cr)
  • Anthropology 699: Research (4 cr)
  • Statistics 401: Statistical Methods for Research Workers (4 cr)

TRACK COURSES

Socio-Cultural Anthropology
  • Culture Change and Applied Anthropology (Anthr 511) [3 cr]
  • Ethnographic Field Methods (Anthr 530) [3 cr]
Archaeology
  • Environmental Archaeology (Anthr 516) [3 cr]
  • Archaeological Laboratory Methods (Anthr 528) [ 3 cr]
Biological Anthropology
  • Skeletal Biology (Anthr 519) [3 cr]
  • Forensic Anthropology (Anthr 524) [3 cr]
  • Primate Behavior and Evolutionary Ecology (Anthr 538) [3 cr]

ELECTIVES (14-15 credits)

Students are required to take one course in each of the following three areas:

  • Area studies: 3 credits (Student would select one of the department’s “peoples and cultures” courses)
  • Topical: 3 credits (Student would pick any one of the topical- or theory-based offerings)
  • Outside department: 3 credits (Course normally would come from department or discipline from which outside committee member is chosen)

TOTAL CREDITS: 34-35

In addition, students are encouraged to develop areas of concentration outside the department — beyond the program’s required 3 credits. Examples include such areas as Sustainable Agriculture, Women’s Studies, Linguistics, or may come from the wide range of offerings from regular departments.

FORENSIC SCIENCES PROGRAM

Learn more about the Forensic Sciences Graduate Certificate Program here!

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CAREERS

By studying anthropology you open the door to many career opportunities in which your newly-found knowledge of cultures and humankind will take you far beyond the classroom and campus (though those are pretty nice jobs, we think!). Whether you want to work in a large corporation, government, or a non-profit, many job titles probably won’t have “Anthropologist” anywhere in them! Here you can read the rest of the article quoted above.

Whether you work in market research, international development, or historical preservation, there are many types of jobs out there for you. As an anthropologist, though, your work will always be outside of the normal grind of many jobs because your focus on culture will always set you apart and make your work meaningful!

Read more about different career paths here at the website of the American Anthropological society. Check out this site answering the age-old question: “What can I do with this degree?

CAREER SPOTLIGHT:

Cultural Resources Management (CRM)

One booming sector right now is CRM. In this field your job would be to preserve, conserve, and act as a steward to important cultural materials such as:

  • Historic properties
  • Native American graves and cultural items
  • Shipwrecks
  • Museum collections
  • Historical documents
  • Religious sites
  • Religious practices
  • Cultural use of natural resources
  • Folklife, tradition, and other social institutions
  • Theater groups, orchestras, and other community cultural amenities

Scholarships

NANCY R. COINMAN AWARD FOR ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH

The Department of Anthropology offers a research award for an anthropology student who wishes to conduct anthropological research. One award for $300 will be awarded each spring semester. The applicant will be a graduate student majoring or minoring in anthropology at Iowa State University who demonstrates a strong interest in anthropological research. The grant is intended to supplement travel and research expenses.

 

The applicant must submit a 1-page proposal describing their research and its significance, any previous research or relevant course work in Anthropology, and how this award will enhance their research interests and goals.  Applications will be reviewed by a faculty review committee. In addition to the cash award, the recipient’s name will be recorded on the Nancy R. Coinman Research Award plaque.

SHU-MIN HUANG EAST ASIAN STUDIES RESEARCH AWARD

The Department of Anthropology offers a research award for an anthropology student who wishes to do research in East Asian studies. The award is for research support and/or travel to East Asia for the purpose of carrying out research. One award for $300 will be awarded each spring semester. The applicant may be an undergraduate or graduate student majoring or minoring in anthropology at Iowa State University who demonstrates a strong interest in East Asian studies. The grant is intended to supplement travel and research expenses.

 

The applicant must submit a one-page proposal describing their personal interests in East Asian studies, the nature of the proposed research and its significance, any previous research or relevant course work in East Asian studies, and how this award will enhance such research interests and goals. Applications will be reviewed by faculty. In addition to the cash award, the recipient’s name will be recorded on the Shu-min Huang East Asian Studies Research Award plaque.

THE D. MICHAEL WARREN MEMORIAL STUDENT RESEARCH IN AFRICA GRANT

The Department of Anthropology offers a small travel grant for a student who wishes to do summer research in Africa. One grant for $300 will be awarded each spring semester. The applicant must be a junior or senior undergraduate student or graduate student majoring or minoring in anthropology at Iowa State University who demonstrates a strong interest in the peoples and cultures of modern Africa.

 

The applicant must submit a one-page proposal describing a well-thought out and feasible research activity in a specific African country. Research can focus on a broad spectrum of topics, such as indigenous knowledge systems, agricultural activities, family and community, economic and political structures, religion and the arts. Students may earn up to three credits of independent study (Anthro 490 or 590), which must be arranged prior to carrying out the research. Within one semester following the end of the research period, the recipient is required to submit to the Department of Anthropology a report on the research activity and findings.

Application & Admissions

Decisions on admission to the graduate program are made by mid-April (for the fall semester), and by mid-October (for spring semester entry). The Department of Anthropology requires all applicants to obtain three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to assess the applicants academic and professional potential.

In addition, as part of their application students must submit a statement (300-5OO words in length) indicating professional goals and areas of interest. In addition, the Graduate Record Exam is required. Acceptance may occur in three ways: Full admission is for students with solid grade point averages and strong letters of recommendation. Provisional admission is reserved for students with demonstrated potential but whose undergraduate experience lacks background courses which are equivalent to our undergraduate core courses. Restricted admission occurs in situations where the undergraduate record is clearly not indicative of the applicant’s current true academic potential.

New students will be assigned advisors who will help assist in planning their programs until they choose major professors who will chair their graduate advisory committees.

For addition information or to apply for admissions, visit the Graduate College at Iowa State University.

REQUIRED INFORMATION:

Send Electronically:

  • Graduate application (see above)
  • GRE scores (sent by testing services)
  • TOEFL score (sent by testing services) from international students (A score of 600 is required.)
  • Three letters of recommendation (sent electronically with application)
  • Statement of Purpose (sent electronically with application) describing your career goals and reasons for choosing ISU, which should not exceed 500 words. Please address how you plan to use Anthropology in your professional career, how your educational experience in anthropology and other fields prepared you for our program, and what kinds of research you are considering for your graduate work.

Send by mail:

  • Financial statement (international applicants only)
  • Official academic transcripts

Send to:

Office of Admissions
100 Enrollment Services
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2011 USA

  • DEGREE TRACKS
  • FORENSIC SCIENCES
  • CAREERS
  • SCHOLARSHIPS