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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


Page address:

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Department of Anthropology

359 Trafton Science Center N
Phone: 507-389-6318

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


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 and write a personal statement which describes their previous training in Anthropology and reasons for pursing a graduate degree. Submit these materials to the Anthropology Graduate Coordinator. 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 Master's seminars.

Financial Assistance

We are able to offer some financial support to most of our students at some point in their training. Graduate teaching and research assistantships are granted each year in Anthropology, on a competitive basis. The Andreas Graduate Scholarship in Anthropology is also awarded annually. Some scholarships and assistantships are available for incoming students. Advanced students can apply for adjunct teaching positions.

To Apply for Financial Assistance, complete a Graduate Assistantship Application, 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 questions submitted by the department faculty in two areas: 1) a special area of concentration selected by the student, and 2) general anthropological history and theory in biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. These exams will be graded independently by all members of the anthropology faculty, and the results will be summarized by the graduate coordinator. Students may pass or fail any question. 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.

Anthropology MS

(Thesis - 30 credits)

Common Core
ANTH 601 must be taken twice (A and B) in different semesters, once in Fall and once in Spring, for a total of 6 credits. 601A is only offered Fall semesters and 601B is only offered Spring semesters.
A minimum of two ANTH 586 Workshop credits are required. A minimum of three ANTH 697 Internship credits are required. No more than ten credits earned as individual study, fieldwork, internship, or laboratory can be applied to the total elective course credit. A minimum of three and a maximum of six ANTH 699 Thesis credits are required.
ANTH 586 Workshop 1-3
ANTH 601 Seminar 3
ANTH 603 Practicing Anthropology 3
ANTH 697 Internship 1-12
Restricted Electives
ANTH 510 Archaeology of Minnesota 3
ANTH 511 Archaeology of Native North America 3
ANTH 512 Archaeology of Latin America 3
ANTH 514 Museology 3

ANTH 515

Cultural Resource Management


ANTH 520 Human Osteology 3
ANTH 521 Health, Culture, & Disease 3
ANTH 522 Forensic Anthropology 3
ANTH 523 Evolution and Behavior 3
ANTH 524 Bioarchaeology 3
ANTH 525 Anthropology of Death 3
ANTH 530 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America 3
ANTH 531 Applied Cultural Research 3
ANTH 532 Kinship, Marriage and Family 3
ANTH 533 Anthropology of Gender 3
ANTH 534 Ethnographic Classics 3
ANTH 535 Origins of Civilization 3
ANTH 536 Anthropology of Aging 3
ANTH 537 Applied Anthropology 3
ANTH 538 Anthropological Theory 3
ANTH 539 Qualitative Research Methods 3
ANTH 540 Native American Cultures of North America 3
ANTH 542 Anthropology of Religion 3
ANTH 543 Peoples and Cultures of East Asia 3
ANTH 580 Fieldwork: Archea/Ethno 3-6
ANTH 585 Topics in Anthropology 1-3
ANTH 586 Workshop 1-3
ANTH 591 Archaeology Laboratory 1-3
ANTH 592 Biological Anthropology Lab 1-3
ANTH 593 Ethnology Lab 1-3
ANTH 604 Seminar: Advanced Topics 1-3
ANTH 677 Individual Study 1-6
ANTH 698 Internship: Teaching Anthropology 1-6
MUSE 697 Internship 3
MUSE 699 Individual Study 1-6
Research/Methods Course(s)
ANTH 602 Seminar: Research Methods  
Capstone Course
ANTH 699 Thesis 3-6


Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies

(15 credits)

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.

Common Core
Foundational course
Choose 6 credit(s):
AIS 555 Museum Science and Representation 3    
ANTH 514 Museology 3    

Restricted Electives
Expanded Courses
Choose 9 credit(s):
Choose 3 courses for a minimum of 9 credits
ANTH 515 Cultural Resource Management 3    
ART 534 Arts Administration 3    
MUSE 697 Internship 1-6    
MUSE 699 Individual Study 1-6    
NPL 673 Nonprofit Management and Leadership 3    
PHIL 560 Philosophy of the Arts 3    
URBS 553 Grants Administration 3  


Course Descriptions

ANTH 510 (3) Archaeology of Minnesota

A detailed study of Minnesota archaeology from ca. 12,000 years ago to ca. 1900, with a focus on diverse and changing Native American populations.

Prerequisite: ANTH 102 or 210/310 or permission of instructor

ANTH 511 (3) Archaeology of Native North America

A survey of current knowledge about the prehistoric Native American inhabitants of North America from ca. 15,000 years ago until ca. 1900. Topics will focus on the processes of cultural development, change, and disruption by Euro-American influences.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 102, or 210/310, or permission of instructor

ANTH 512 (3) Archaeology of Latin America

A detailed study of Latin American archaeology from ca. 12,000 years ago to ca. 1900, with a focus on diverse and changing Native American populations.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 102, or 210/310, or permission of instructor

ANTH 514 (3) Museology

A review of the history and philosophy of museums, the legal and ethical issues impacting museums, the nature and treatment of collections, creation, exhibition and exhibit design, the role of museums in education, museum personnel and management, and museums in the technological/electronic age.

ANTH 515 (3) Cultural Resource Management

Review of how cultural resources are being preserved and managed under current laws and regulations. Emphasis on examination of conservation, preservation and rescue methods in modern archaeology, and problems and issues in historic preservation and resource management.

ANTH 516 (3) Archeological Methods

An intensive exploration of how to identify, catalogue, and curate archeological materials in a laboratory setting. Topics will include lithics, pottery, faunal, floral, metal, and other materials as well as data structure and recordation. (F) On demand

ANTH 517 (5) Quaternary Environments and Climatic Change

An interdisciplinary investigation into Quaternary environmental/climatic change and the impact of change on the behavior and evolution of humans. This course has three segments: 1) an examination of natural systems responsible for climatic change, the impact climatic fluctuations have on Earth systems, timing of Quaternary changes, evidence of climatic/environmental change from spatially distant, climatically distinct environments; 2) investigation into worldwide evidence of human evolution, global dispersion, and adaptation to environmental systems; introduction to various methodological approaches in Quaternary archeologic, geomorphic, and climatic studies. Focus is on proxy records used for climate/environmental reconstruction, archeolgic/geomorphologic field methods, geochronologic dating methods.

ANTH 518 (4) Agricultural Systems and Environmental Change

This course examines the history of agricultural systems in world wide perspective, with an emphasis on understanding their social and environmental contexts and the effects on them of climate change. Case examples will highlight the conditions under which agricultural systems emerge, thrive, and fail, and the impacts of these processes on human populations.

ANTH 520 (3) Human Osteology

An advanced examination of the human skeletal system and the application of this information in the fields of bioarchaeology, paleonanthrology, and forensic anthropology. This course features hands-on identification and analysis of human skeletal material, with an emphasis on laboratory techniques.

Prerequisite: ANTH 220, 221, 320, and 321 or permission of instructor

ANTH 521 (3) Health, Culture, & Disease

Cross-cultural examination of the response of peoples in non-Western societies to the human universal of illness. Non-Western concepts of disease, health, and treatment.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 220, or permission of instructor

ANTH 522 (3) Forensic Anthropology

This course will acquaint students with the application of human osteological techniques in civil and criminal investigations, including assessment of the recovery scene, determination of identity and analysis of evidence relating to cause and manner of death.

ANTH 523 (3) Evolution and Behavior

An examination of the biological basis of human behavior and organization from an evolutionary perspective. Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or 220 or consent.

ANTH 524 (3) Bioarchaeology

Bioarchaeology focuses on the diet, health, and occupations of past populations through the analysis of their skeletal remains. Readings and lab work will promote a practical understanding of the methods used in the discipline.

ANTH 525 (3) Anthropology of Death 

The biological and cultural aspects of death, as seen anthropologically, are the focus of this course. Mortuary behavior, ritual, and treatment of the human body will be addressed both temporally and cross-culturally.  

ANTH 530 (3) Peoples and Cultures of Latin America

The contemporary peoples and cultures of Mexico and Central and South America. Emphasis is on cultural patterns and contemporary issues of the region.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 103, or 230/330, or permission of instructor

ANTH 531 (3) Applied Cultural Research

This course introduces concepts and methods of applying anthropological understanding to contemporary problems to bring about the empowerment of affected peoples. Case studies illustrate the impact and problems of culture change with special attention to its affect on powerless groups of people. Students will also design their own applied projects.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 103, or 230/330, or permission of instructor

ANTH 532 (3) Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kinship is the most basic principle of organization for all human societies. The course analyzes the main theories and methods of studying social organization, and explores cross-cultural variations in kinship, marriage and family systems.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 103, or 230/330, or permission of instructor

ANTH 533 (3) Anthropology of Gender

Major anthropological theories of gender relations are read, discussed, and applied to a variety of contemporary ethnographic case studies.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 103, or 230/330, or permission of instructor

ANTH 534 (3) Ethnographic Classics

This course provides an opportunity for students to examine several of the "classic" ethnographies not used in regular course offerings. A different group of ethnographies will be used each year and students may register for the course as many times as they wish.

ANTH 535 (3) Topics: The Rise of City-States and Nations

A pivotal moment in cultural development is when city-states and nations arrive to change the structure of a cultural group. This course has varying topics to present each cultural area in its unique context. May be repeated with different topic.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 103, or 230/330, or permission of instructor

ANTH 536 (3) Anthropology of Aging

An evolutionary and cross-cultural examination of the aging process, status, and treatment of the elderly.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, 230/330, or 220/230, or permission of instructor

ANTH 537 (3) Applied Anthropology

Examines the practical applications of anthropological knowledge to problem-oriented research and the problems of directed sociocultural change among contemporary populations. Selected projects and case studies are used to illustrate the complexity of applied sociocultural change.

ANTH 538 (3) Anthropological Theory

Examination of the intellectual history of anthropology from its nineteenth century roots to today's current theoretical trends. Students will learn about major school of thought in anthropological theory and practice critical examination of their applications.

ANTH 539 (3) Qualitative Research Methods

The aim of this course is to make students methodologically literate. Students will learn how to develop research designs that rely on qualitative research methods such as participants observation. They will learn how to apply these methods by participating in small scale studies of human behavior. some quantitative methods will also be discussed. Students will learn to critically examine published data and conclusions.

ANTH 540 (3) Native American Cultures of North America

American Indians adapted to environmental systems in North America with cultures ranging from small groups of foragers to cities supported by intensive agriculture. This course presents a variety of perspectives of this cultural diversity from the Ice Age to the 21st Century.

ANTH 542 (3) Anthropology of Religion

The variability and universality of human religious expression are explored in specific cross-cultural contexts.

ANTH 543 (3) People and Cultures of East Asia  

Survey of East Asian cultural region. Cultural diversity, change and continuity examined in China, Japan and Korea through institutions and cultural settings. Focus includes how modern East Asian societies face internal social changes and their changing international status.

ANTH 580 (3-6) Fieldwork: Archaeology/Ethnology

Field experience in which method and theory are learned through participation in and on-going field project.

Prerequisite: one of the following: ANTH 101, 103, 102, 210/310, or 220/320, or permission of instructor

ANTH 585 (1-3) Topics in Anthropology

This course allows faculty the flexibility to consider the challenges of new developments in anthropology. Content will vary from one course to the next. Students may take the course, with the permission of the instructor, more than one time.

ANTH 586 (1-3) Workshop

A brief intensive hands-on introduction to an anthropological topic usually as it applies to a particular issue or skill. Topics vary but might include: Understanding that race is not a scientific concept; combating racism and ethnocentrism; participant observation methods; culture shock; cultural diversity and communication; forensics; cultural resource conservation.

Prerequisite: depends on topic and instructor

ANTH 591 (1-3) Archaeology Laboratory

An introduction to archaeological laboratory techniques and museological practice, through participation in the various processes involved.

ANTH 592 (1-3) Anthropology Laboratory

Guided advanced laboratory work in biological/physical anthropology.

Prerequisite: ANTH 221 and 321, or permission of instructor

ANTH 593 (1-3) Ethnology Lab

Individual projects are done in close coordination with faculty member. Prerequisite: permission of instructor

ANTH 601 (3) Seminar

A comprehensive historical overview of the major theoretical schools of thought in anthropology. Special emphasis given to assumptions, methods of data collection and analysis, and major issues surrounding each theoretical perspective. This course is often taught as a two semester sequence.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

ANTH 602 (3) Seminar: Research Methods

Advanced review of major qualitative and quantitative methods used in anthropological research. Course is also intended to aid students in the preparation of the thesis proposal.

ANTH 603 (3) Practicing Anthropology

An advanced seminar examining the ways anthropologists practice anthropology. The course explores theoretical foundations and issues related to the professional practice of anthropology and focuses on developing necessary skills for sound professional practice.

ANTH 604 (1-3) Seminar: Advanced Topics

A seminar on a topic from one of the major sub disciplines in anthropology. Topic is announced. Seminar may be taken more than once for credit, as the topic changes.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

ANTH 677 (1-6) Individual Study

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

ANTH 697 (1-12) Internship

Practical field experience, usually under the supervision of some off-campus professional

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

ANTH 699 (3-6) Thesis

Preparation on the master's thesis

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

MUSE 586 (1-6) Workshop

A brief, intensive or hands-on experience based on museum best practices, theories, and methods. Variable topics.

MUSE 697 (3) Internship

Arranged internship allows students to have a hands on experience applying theories and methodology from course work in the field to area of interest. Requires coordination with a faculty member.

ANTH 698 (1-6) Teaching Internship

Practical classroom experience under the supervision of faculty. This course will prepare students to assist faculty in the delivery of courses as well as prepare them to teach on their own.

MUSE 699 (1-6) Individual Study

This course allows pursuit of individual avenues of study that may not be offered in the curriculum and for advanced level pursuit of special projects of research on an independent basis. Requires coordination with a faculty member.