3140 Anthropology

Programs Offered:

  • Master of Arts in Anthropology
    • Concentration in Museum Anthropology

Department of Anthropology
33 Gilmer Street
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 3998
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Kathryn A. Kozaitis, Chair
Jennifer Patico, Director of Graduate Studies

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in anthropology provides rigorous training in anthropological theories, methods, and skills. The program is dedicated to the investigation of a broad range of social, cultural, political-economic, and biological issues, processes, and problems pertaining to the human experience in its past and present dimensions. The Department of Anthropology program utilizes resources in metropolitan Atlanta to promote student learning.

Students may seek comprehensive training in anthropological methods and theory in anticipation of pursuing an academic career in anthropology or enhancing their education in another discipline. Alternatively, they may pursue specialized training in methods, problems, and theories for a career beyond the academy, applying anthropological knowledge to assess and help meet community needs, identify and help solve social problems, or write and help to implement public policy.

To provide graduate students with training specific to their career goals, the program offers a Thesis Option and a Course-Intensive Option. Students may choose either option in consultation with the Graduate Director and their advisor. The Thesis Option requires primary research, whether basic or applied, on an issue relative to the student’s subdiscipline of concentration, e.g. archaeological, biological, cultural, or linguistic anthropology. This option is particularly well suited for those who plan to pursue doctoral training in anthropology or another field. Students complete this work under the guidance of a primary advisor and two additional committee members. The Course-Intensive Option focuses the student’s time more in coursework, prioritizing topical content and professionalization through means other than independent research. Students who opt for the Course- Intensive Option are encouraged strongly to take at least one, if not two, courses in fields outside of Anthropology that pertain to their professional goals, for example in public health, education, law, business, or public policy. With guidance from their advisor, Course-Intensive students complete a capstone paper (25-30 pp.) in the final semester that may build upon previous coursework and should be oriented towards defining their professional goals and illustrating their developing expertise.

All students have the option to complete an internship for academic credit as part of their curriculum in such agencies as CARE, the Carter Center, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and at any of the multiple human service organization that serve immigrants and refugees in metropolitan Atlanta. For example, students who seek training in applied sociocultural anthropology conduct participatory action research in urban domains of policy and practice, including medical, educational, and other social service settings. Students with career interests in public archaeology study within cultural resource management (CRM) firms and museums.

The M.A. program is designed to be completed in two years. During the first year, all students are required to demonstrate competence in topics, theories, and methods of anthropology through completion of a four-course core curriculum. Additional coursework is completed in consultation with the faculty. During their second year, students are expected to develop their own areas of interest and expertise within the broader framework of the program. Students are encouraged to take advantage of resources in other departments and schools at Georgia State University, and of neighboring institutions such as Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Spelman College, Morehouse University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Regents University in Augusta. Students can also choose to participate in our department’s collaborative programs with the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia State University’s Heritage Preservation Program, the Atlanta Zoo, and a number of local museums and CRM firms.

Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of Anthropology by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies at the addresses above.

Additional Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Anthropology has the following requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to do graduate work in anthropology
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Writing sample

Degree Requirements

  • Thesis Option (33 hours)
  • Course-Intensive Option (36 hours)

The following courses are required:

  1.  ANTH 8000 Anthropological Theory and Praxis (3)
    • ANTH 8040 Seminar in Anthropology (3) or ANTH 8050 Seminar in Applied Anthropology (3)
    • One course at the 6000 or 8000 level in Biological Anthropology
    • One course at the 6000 or 8000 level in Archaeology
    • ANTH 8020 Professionalization Seminar (1)
  2. One of the following methods courses (as relevant to the student’s MA concentration):
    • ANTH 6670 Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology (3) or ANTH 8010 Qualitative Methods in Anthropology (3)
    • ANTH 6360 Methods and Theories in Biological Anthropology (4) or ANTH 6370 Forensic Anthropology (3)
    • ANTH 6590 Archaeological Methods (4)
  3. Additional 6000/8000-level anthropology courses in area of specialization to achieve a total of 33 semester hours for the thesis option and 36 semester hours for the course-intensive option. Up to six hours of graduate courses may be taken outside the anthropology program
  4. Proficiency in a foreign language or approved research skill
  5. Thesis option: a thesis prospectus must be completed during the third semester. In the final semester, either six credit hours of ANTH 8999* (Thesis Research), or three credit hours of ANTH 8999* plus ANTH 8060 (Writing Seminar in Anthropology)
  6. Course-Intensive option: a capstone project must be completed in the final semester.
  7. Thesis option: oral defense of thesis. Course-intensive option: public presentation of capstone project

* Indicates courses graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Grades do not affect GPA.

Museum Anthropology Concentration

Students who are working towards an MA in Anthropology may also elect to complete a concentration in Museum Anthropology. This concentration provides students with experiences in analyzing the representation, exhibition, and curation of material culture. Museums are integral to establishing authority over knowledge with respect to what is displayed and how it is exhibited. Cultural patrimony, nationalism, identity, and cultural meaning are not only represented, but also created in the materials shown to the general public. Therefore, museums are contested places where knowledge is available for consumption, where peoples and objects are viewed, and where ideas about the world are formulated. In adopting an anthropological approach to museums, this concentration is distinct from generalized museum studies; museum anthropologists examine curation, exhibition, and museum practice from a comparative and global perspective that interrogates museums as dynamic institutions embedded in particular social and cultural contexts. Emphasis is on both the role of museums in producing anthropological knowledge and the use of anthropological theory to contextualize and critique museum practices in diverse settings. Options for the concentration are four-field and include independent fieldwork in osteology, paleoanthropology, archaeology or bioarchaeology using museum or laboratory collections, an internship at a museum, analyses of visual, aural, and/or material culture at a museum, cultural resource management, NAGPRA compliance, and studies of identity, cultural patrimony, nationalism, and the production of knowledge at one or more museums.

Students complete the concentration by undertaking a focused course of study within their overall MA program. In addition to completing the required courses listed above for the MA degree, Museum Anthropology students must devote 18 of their total course credits to the concentration. Both thesis and curriculum-intensive students may elect the concentration. There is no special application process other than that for the MA program, but students should declare their intention to complete this program of study upon entry to the MA program.

  1. Required courses (6):
  2. Elective courses (12):
    • ANTH 6080 Consumption and Material Culture (3)
    • ANTH 6112 Modernity and Identity (4)
    • ANTH 6170 Mesoamerican Archaeology (3)
    • ANTH 6180 Archaeology of the Southeastern United States (4)
    • ANTH 6190 Archaeological Practice and the Public (3)
    • ANTH 6300 Human Evolution (3)
    • ANTH 6360 Methods and Theories in Biological Anthropology (3)
    • ANTH 6370 Forensic Anthropology (3)
    • ANTH 6470 Visual Culture (4)
    • ANTH 6520 Anthropology of Public Culture (4)
    • ANTH 6530 The Archaeology of Ancient Cities (3)
    • ANTH 6590 Archaeological Methods (4)
    • ANTH 6750 Film Culture, Morality and Modernity (3)
    • ANTH 6740 Cultures of Display: Archaeology, Museums and Nationalism (3)
    • ANTH 6760 Archaeology of the Olympics (3)
    • ANTH 6980 The Anthropology of Europe (3)
    • Up to two graduate level courses outside of the unit pertaining to the interests of the student (6)

* ANTH 6190 Archaeological Practice and the Public (3) may be substituted for ANTH 6150 Museum Anthropology (3) contingent on the career aspirations and professional interests of the student. ANTH 6190 can be used as a required or elective course, but not both.