Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

Department of Anthropology

Jodie A. O'Gorman, Chairperson


Anthropology takes humans and their cultures, throughout the world and through the entirety of human history, as its central object of study.  Blending aspects of natural and social sciences, anthropology examines humanity's evolutionary background and development, the organization of social and cultural life, the nature of culture as a system of meaning to organize and interpret experience, the evolution of societies, and the interrelationships between environment, culture, and shared ways of thinking and feeling.

Providing an excellent foundation for a diverse, liberal education, the study of anthropology fosters critical thinking and prepares students for careers in education, medicine, tourism, business and industry, government service, and other walks of life in which a broad knowledge of cultural dynamics, ethnic diversity and human relations is important. Engagement in diverse experiential learning opportunities are encouraged in field and lab settings.

The strength and vitality of anthropology lies in the ability to approach fundamental issues concerning cultural and biological diversity from multiple perspectives. Major points of orientation within anthropology include the search for patterning of cultural behavior amidst the immense variation found within and among cultures, the study of principles of cultural dynamics, the analysis of processes of change and stability within social and cultural structures, cross–cultural comparisons of different societies, the study of patterns of development of societies from simple to complex, and the functioning of cultural institutions as parts of overall sociocultural systems. Anthropology faculty specialize in sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, medical anthropology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology, bringing multiple vantage points brought to bear on these themes.
 

Undergraduate Program


Anthropology - Bachelor of Arts

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor or Arts  degree in Anthropology.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Anthropology major is met by completing Anthropology 489.  That course is referenced in item 3. a. below.
  2. The requirements of the College of Social Science for the Bachelor of Arts degree.
  3. The following required major courses (30 credits):
    1. All of the following courses:
      ANP    201    Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
      ANP    203    Introduction to Archaeology (3)
      ANP    206    Introduction to Physical Anthropology (3)
      ANP    489    Anthropology Capstone Course (W) (3)
    2. One area course from Anthropology 410, 411, 414, 415, 416, 417, 419, 432, 433, 451, 452, 453, 455.
    3. One topical/analytical course from Anthropology 320, 321, 325, 330, 362, 363, 364, 370, 420, 422, 423, 425, 426, 428, 430, 431, 436, 439, 440, 441, 443, 461, 462.
    4. One anthropological methods course selected from Anthropology 429, 441, 463, and 464.
    5. Four additional Anthropology courses, at least three of which must be at the 300–400 level.  Anthropology 101 may not be used to meet this requirement.

 


Anthropology - Bachelor of Science

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology

  1. The University requirements for the bachelor’s degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology.

    The completion of Statistics and Probability 200, 201, or 421, referenced in item 3. g. below may also satisfy the University mathematics requirement or the Department of Anthropology NATURAL SCIENCE REQUIREMENT, but not both.

    The University’s Tier II writing requirement for the Anthropology major is met by completing Anthropology 489. That course is referenced in item 3. a. below.
  2. The College of Social Science requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree. 
  3. The following requirements for the major (30 credits):
    1. All of the following courses:
      ANP    201    Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
      ANP    203    Introduction to Archaeology (3)
      ANP    206    Introduction Physical Anthropology (3)
      ANP    489    Anthropology Capstone Course (W) (3)
    2. One area course from Anthropology 410, 411, 414, 415, 416, 417, 419, 432, 433, 451, 452, 453, 455.
    3. One topical/analytical course from Anthropology 320, 321, 325, 330, 362, 363, 364, 370, 420, 422, 423, 425, 426, 428, 430, 431, 436, 439, 440, 441, 443, 461, 462.
    4. One anthropological methods course selected from Anthropology 429, 441, 463, 464.
    5. Four additional Anthropology courses, at least three of which must be at the 300-400 level. Anthropology 101 may not be used to meet this requirement.
    6. Fifteen additional credits in courses offered by a department or program in the Colleg eof Natural Science, chosen from at least two of the following: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biological Science, Chemistry, Geological Sciences, Mathematics, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Physics and Astronomy, Plant Biology, Physiology, Statistics and Probability, and Zoology. Relevant natural science courses offered through any other college may be taken with the approval of the student's academic advisor.
    7. One statistics and probability course selected from STT 200, 201, 421; or PSY 295.

Minor in Anthropology

The Minor in Anthropology, which is administered by the Department of Anthropology, provides a basic foundation for the breadth of study within the field of anthropology, and a grounding in general anthropological theory. Students obtain knowledge of at least one advanced topic in the field and command of the anthropological literature in at least one geographical area.

This minor is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at Michigan State University other than the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology. With the approval of the department and college that administer the student’s degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

Students who plan to complete the requirements of the minor should consult the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Anthropology.

Requirements for the Minor in Anthropology

Complete 18 credits in the Department of Anthropology from the following:

1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):
ANP 201 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 3
ANP 320 Social and Cultural Theory 3
2. The following course (3 credits):
ANP 206 Introduction to Physical Anthropology 3
3. One of the following courses (3 credits):
ANP 203 Introduction to Archaeology 3
ANP 363 Rise of Civilization 3
4. Complete 3 credits in an area course chosen from a list of approved courses available from the undergraduate advisor.
5. Complete 3 credits in a topics course chosen from a list of approved courses available from the undergraduate advisor.


Graduate Study

The Department of Anthropology offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Graduate education in Anthropology at MSU is directed toward development of high achievement in scholarship among a new generation of anthropologists, including a commitment to research, public engagement, and the ethical practice of anthropology. The Department of Anthropology at MSU takes pride in the diversity of our own community of scholars, including our graduate students and faculty, and is committed to maintaining and supporting this diversity both in our department and in the profession. The department also emphasizes the importance of collaborative work with the people and communities whom we study, and the need to share our research with a variety of audiences.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in the Department of Anthropology may elect College of Social Sciences specializations in Environmental Science and Policy; Gender, Justice and Environmental Change; Global Urban Studies, International Development; and other graduate specializations. Dual degree programs are also possible. 

Students who are enrolled in Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in the Department of Anthropology may elect specializations in Infancy and Early Childhood. For additional information, refer to the statement on Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Infancy and Early Childhood.


Anthropology - Master of Arts

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Students applying for admission to the master's program in anthropology will be considered regardless of the field of their previous academic training. It is, however, recommended that students have earned at least 12 undergraduate credits in anthropology before entering the program. Admission on other than a provisional status is normally contingent upon the possession of a bachelor's degree from a recognized college or university, and a junior–senior undergraduate grade–point average of 3.0 or better in academic studies.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Anthropology

The program is available under both Plan A (with thesis) and Plan B (without thesis). The student must complete a total of 30 credits distributed as follows:

Requirements for Both Plan A and Plan B

               
1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):  
  ANP 830 Cultural and Linguistic Anthropological Theory: Key Issues and Debates 3
  ANP 840 Biocultural Evolution 3
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
  ANP 420 Language and Culture 3
  ANP 820 Language and Cultural Meaning 3
  This requirement may be waived by the department on the basis of prior course work.  
3. Completion of a methods course appropriate for the student’s subdiscipline. The course must be approved by the student’s guidance committee.  
4. Completion of additional elective credits approved by the student’s guidance committee. At least 21 of the 30 credits required for the degree must be earned in Anthropology.  
               
Additional Requirements for Plan A
 
1. Complete 4 credits of Anthropology 899 Master’s Thesis Research.  
2. Prepare an approved thesis proposal.  
3. Pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis.  
               
Additional Requirements for Plan B
 
1. Pass a final evaluation with a guidance committee of at least three faculty, at least two of whom should be from the Department of Anthropology.  

Anthropology - Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Incoming graduate students apply to and are accepted into the master’s degree program. At the time of the student’s second-year program review, students are evaluated by the faculty for advancement into the doctoral program. In exceptional circumstances, a student may petition for earlier review.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Anthropology

Students must complete the following:

                   
1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):      
  ANP 830 Cultural and Linguistic Anthropological Theory: Key Issues and Debates 3    
  ANP 840 Biocultural Evolution 3    
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):      
  ANP 420 Language and Culture 3    
  ANP 820 Language and Cultural Meaning 3    
  This requirement may be waived by the department on the basis of prior course work.      
3. Completion of a methods course appropriate for the student’s subdiscipline. The course must be approved by the student’s guidance committee.      
4. Completion of additional elective credits approved by the student’s guidance committee.
5. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination, including preparation of a dissertation research proposal.
6. Successful completion of 24 credits of ANP 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research and defense of the doctoral dissertation.

 


Professional Applications in Anthropology - Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in Professional Applications in Anthropology will allow students to select a flexible but highly focused plan of study to prepare for positions as practicing anthropologists in government or the private sector. In addition to specialized training within the field of anthropology, students will be expected to elect courses in a field related to the practice of anthropology such as geographical information systems (GIS), cartography, resource development, management of nonprofit organizations, museum studies, or another practice-oriented specialty that is approved by the student’s guidance committee. Students will also obtain experience as practicing professionals.

This program includes three areas of professional development: (1) in-depth knowledge of the discipline of anthropology; (2) demonstrated command of communication and presentation skills, as shown in the writing and public presentation of a master’s paper; (3) demonstrated practical experience, obtained either as part of past employment, or as an internship within the public or private sector.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Students applying for admission to the master’s program in professional applications in anthropology will be considered regardless of the field of their previous academic training. It is, however, recommended that students have earned at least 12 undergraduate credits in anthropology before entering the program. Admission on other than a provisional status is normally contingent upon the possession of a bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university, and a junior-senior undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 or better in academic studies.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Professional Applications in Anthropology

Students who are enrolled in the Master of Arts degree program with a major in Professional Applications in Anthropology must complete a minimum of 30 credits, 15 which must be earned in anthropology, under Plan B (without thesis). The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s guidance committee. Normally students complete the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in two years.

The student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completion of Anthropology 840, 855, and 901.
  2. A methods course in anthropology.
  3. Completion of additional courses in anthropology and other disciplines.
  4. Satisfactory completion and presentation of a master’s paper, which is submitted to the Department.
  5. Completion of an approved internship, Anthropology 900, unless this requirement is specifically waived by the student’s guidance committee.

 


Research Opportunities

The African, Asian, and Latin American Studies Centers offer unique opportunities for the support of anthropological research. The University Museum, International Studies and Programs, the Center for Advanced Studies in International Development (CASID), the Office of Women in Development (WID), the Agricultural Experiment Station, Urban Affairs Programs, the Hispanic Research Institute, and the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities, Incorporated (MUCIA), also support research. A program of study may be developed in cooperation with the College of Human Medicine.