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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Graduate Program

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Master of Science (MS) in Applied Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of origins and diversity of human biology and culture. Students who complete the Master of Science program in Applied Anthropology at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU), are competitive either for the applied professional career market or for admission to nationally recognized doctoral degree programs. Graduate work at MSU offers students a generalist, holistic foundation in the discipline and one of the four subfields of Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, or Cultural Anthropology. The program includes a series of core seminars in anthropological theory, research methods, and applied anthropology. A key component of each applied specialization is a semester long field intensive internship. Electives are chosen from within the department or in a cognate field relevant to the student's professional goals.

Department Faculty

Chair: Kathleen Blue, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator: Chelsea Mead, Ph.D.,
Faculty: J. Heath Anderson, Ph.D.; Rhonda Dass, Ph.D.; Kathryn "Jay" Elliott, Ph.D.; Susan Schalge, Ph.D.; Ronald Schirmer, Ph.D.


The GRE is required. Prospective students should submit the application provided by the MSU College of Graduate Studies and Research. For the Department of Anthropology, students need to provide three letters of recommendation mailed to the Anthropology Graduate Coordinator directly from the persons writing the references. Applicants must also write a personal statement which describes their previous training in Anthropology and reasons for pursing a graduate degree, which is submitted as part of the Graduate College application process. Anthropology attracts people from a wide variety of backgrounds, so we welcome applicants from any field. Students who do not have the equivalent of at least an undergraduate minor in Anthropology may need to take some undergraduate core courses before taking the Graduate seminars.

For more about admission go to the Applying to MSU page.

Financial Assistance

We are able to offer some financial support to most of students at some point in their training. Graduate teaching and research assisantships are granted each year in Anthropology on a competitive basis. The Andreas Graduate Fellowship in Anthropology is also awarded annually. Some scholorships and assistantships are available for incoming students.

For more information about financial aid go to the Financial Aid MSU page.

To Apply for Financial Assistance

Complete a Graduate Assistantship Applicaion. Submit a statement about your relevant experience (if you have taught or done research, etc.) with the other materials that you send to the Department of Anthropology. You can apply for other types of financial aid (such as Federal work-study or loans) through the Office of Financial Aid.

Comprehensive Exam Policy

All students are required to take a written comprehensive exam during or following the semester in which the core theory seminar courses are completed. The exam will consist of five essay quesions submited by the department faculty in key areas: 1) a special area of concentration selected by the student and their advisor, and 2) general anthropological history and theory in physical anthropology, archeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. These exams will be graded independently by all members of the anthropology faculty, and the results will be summarized by the Graduate Coordinator. Failed questions may be repeated only once. A student must pass all questions to continue in the program.

Thesis Policy

Students are required to complete a thesis as part of the degree program. The Department of Anthropology follows the basic guidelines found in the Minnesota State University, Mankato Graduate Studies Bulletin. Prior to commencing work on the thesis, a student must present a thesis proposal to the examining committee. This proposal should be complete and presented to the student's committee no later than the end of the eighth week of the semester prior to commencing the thesis project. The student will present an oral defense of the thesis to the examining committee at least two weeks prior to the end of fall or spring semester. No thesis defense can be scheduled during the summer.

Graduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies

The aim of this program is to provide a perspective on the theory and practice of museums in an expanding global environment of technological, social and political change for current and future museum professionals. It emphasizes the role of technology as a pervasive aspect in today's museum, examines new models of education, exhibition, and business strategies, and explores the role of the museum as an agent of social change. We welcome students interested in all types of museums including history, technology, science, art, special topic or themed museums, historic sites, national parks and zoos and those interested in exhibitions for corporations, government agencies and private organizations.

Program Requirements: Museum Studies Graduate Certificate