Anthropology  {SF State Bulletin 2011 - 2012}

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College of Arts and Humanities

Dean: Paul Sherwin


Department of Anthropology

SCI 377
Phone: 415-338-2046
Fax: 415-338-0530

Undergraduate Coordinator: Cynthia Wilczak
Graduate Coordinator: Mariana Ferreira



Professors: Bailey, Biella, Pahl, Soh
Associate Professors: Ferreira, Griffin, Quesada, Volk
Assistant Professor: Wilczak
Adjunct Faculty: Anderson, Caldararo, Kojan, Tully



B.A. in Anthropology

Minor in Anthropology

M.A. in Anthropology



Program Scope

Anthropology is the study of humankind over time and place. Undergraduates majoring in anthropology are exposed to a multi-field approach that examines current cultures, the study of remains of past societies, study of human evolution and variation, etc., all with an aim of further understanding of what it means to be human.


The Bachelor of Arts in anthropology is designed to serve the needs of students who do not plan to continue their training beyond the baccalaureate level, as well as those who intend to pursue graduate study leading to the M.A. or Ph.D., either in anthropology or in another academic discipline.


The Master of Arts in anthropology is offered for those who plan to continue their graduate work elsewhere toward the doctorate as well as those who plan to terminate their training at the master's level and seek employment or obtain a teaching credential.


Career Outlook

Anthropological skills are important for careers in public and private sector social services, health, community organizing and advocacy, cultural resource management, urban planning, international economic development, environmental assessment, education, social work, investigative journalism, and public policy. The principal goals of the department are: (1) to provide an enriched vision of humanity and culture around the globe as well as an increased sensitivity to our everyday experiences of cultural and ethnic diversity at home and (2) to train students to pursue teaching and research careers at the M.A. level while providing a solid basis for those who plan to pursue a doctoral degree.

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

The program is built around a core of courses designed to provide a broad base of knowledge in the field. Courses in two areas give concentrated preparation for careers or graduate training in anthropology.


No subfield concentration is required for the baccalaureate degree in anthropology, however, several sequences of courses are recommended for students who want to concentrate in a particular subfield. Majors are required to meet with an adviser every fall semester to discuss the most appropriate course sequence.


Students are also encouraged to meet with an adviser early in their college career in order to discuss Study Abroad options in consultation with the Office of International Programs.


ANTH 305 GW: Writing Anthropology must be completed with a grade of C or better before enrolling in other upper division courses.


At least one upper division course (Area 1, Area 2, or electives) must be taken in each of the three subfields: biological, cultural/visual, and archaeology. The university-wide electives must be pre-approved by an adviser to quality as credits toward the major. No more than 6 units can be taken in internships (ANTH 695), independent study (ANTH 699), and teaching (ANTH 685) combined.


Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. Courses taken in fulfillment of major requirements must be taken for a letter grade (no CR/NC). On-line course descriptions are available.


Foundation Core (15 units)

Course Title
ANTH 100 Introduction to Biological Anthropology
ANTH 110 Introduction to Archaeology
ANTH 120 Introductory Social and Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 300 Foundations of Anthropology: History
ANTH 305 GW Writing Anthropology - GWAR


Area 1: Theories and Foundations (3 units)

Course Title
ANTH 301 Foundations of Archaeology
ANTH 302 Foundations of Human Variation
ANTH 420 Indigenous Media and Social Change


Area 2: Methods and Practicum (3 - 6 units)

Course Title
ANTH 333 Primate Behavior
ANTH 530 Human Osteology Practicum (4)
ANTH 531 Fossil Humans Practicum (4)
ANTH 592 Archaeological Methods (4)
ANTH 557/
USP 557 
Ethnography of the Inner City (4)
ANTH 595 Visual Anthropology I (6)
ANTH 596 Visual Anthropology II (4)
ANTH 651 Ethnographic Field Methods (6)
ANTH 652 Anthropological Statistics (4)


Electives in Anthropology (9 - 12 units)

Upper division units selected from any courses with the ANTH prefix, including those from the two areas that have not been used to fufill the area requirements.


University-wide Electives (6 units)

Upper division courses taken by advisement in anthropology or related fields. Students must have adviser approval for courses they want to apply to the major.

Total for Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology: 39


Minor in Anthropology

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Course Title Units
ANTH 100 Introduction to Biological Anthropology 3
ANTH 110 Introduction to Archaeology 3
ANTH 120 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
One course from Area 1: Theory and Foundations (above) or ANTH 300 3


Electives in Anthropology (6 units)

Upper divisions units selected from courses with the ANTH prefix, including those from the two areas that have not been used to fufill the area requirement. Total units 18

Total for Minor in Anthropology: 24


Master of Arts in Anthropology

Admission to Program

Students must have completed an undergraduate major in anthropology or preparation in another field, provided their undergraduate study has included work covering the general scope of ANTH 300, 301, and 302, with a grade of B or better, and such additional undergraduate courses in anthropology as the graduate adviser deems necessary. Students who do not meet these conditions will be required to make up deficiencies to be advanced to candidacy. This course work is considered preliminary and is designed to create a sound foundation for the graduate program. It cannot be used as part of the approved program for the Master of Arts. These courses may be taken credit/no credit.


Applicants must furnish the graduate coordinator of the department the following material, no later than 1 February for the following fall semester (no spring admissions): (1) GRE scores (SF State Institution Code: 4684); (2) Three Letters of Reference; (3) One or more Writing Samples (no more than 15 typed pages); (4) Letter of Intent: outlining experience, career objectives, and rationale for studying anthropology at the graduate level. Include your name and program area of interest within anthropology (archeology, biological, cultural, or visual) at the top of your letter of intent. It is the responsibility of the student to keep in touch with the graduate coordinator, who deals with documentation and administration.


Each student is assigned to a faculty adviser on the basis of the student’s field of interest. The adviser acquaints the student with the department and helps in establishing an initial plan of study. Students should identify a second reader for their thesis or creative work. project during their first year.


The faculty graduate committee evaluates applications for admission, assesses the overall program, and reviews student progress. If a student is not making reasonable progress towards the degree, the committee may recommend termination of candidacy.


Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: Minimum 4.0 on the analytical writing section of the GRE. Applicants who score less than 4.0 on the AWA may be admitted conditionally and will need to earn a grade of B or better in ANTH 710 in the first semester of study. Level Two: completion of a written thesis or completion of a creative work project.


Advancement to Candidacy

By the end of the first two semesters of graduate study, the student is expected to have completed 9 units maintaining a 3.0 grade point average, with a grade of B or better in all required courses as follows:

  • ANTH 710, Seminar in Anthropological Theory and Methodology (3 units) with a grade of B or better.
  • Six units in upper division or graduate courses as outlined in the curriculum below, with a grade of B or better.

In addition, an applicant for candidacy must successfully complete a written examination in a foreign language or complete ANTH 652, Anthropological Statistics, with a grade of B or better. The choice between a foreign language or Anthropological Statistics is determined by the faculty graduate committee or as recommended by a faculty adviser. The foreign language examination is administered by the department of anthropology which may call on specialists from other departments if necessary.


Upon advancement to candidacy, students are required to assemble a committee of at least two faculty members to supervise their thesis research or creative work project.


Students may select any upper division course with the exception of ANTH 300, 301, and 302, which are requirements for advancement to candidacy (ATC).


Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Course Title Units
ANTH 710 Proseminar in Anthropological Theory and Method 3
ANTH 740 Seminar in Archaeological Problems 3
ANTH 760 Seminar in Biological Anthropology 3
ANTH 770 Seminar in Problems in Cultural Anthropology 3

Electives in Anthropology or allied fields upon advisement. (15 units)

(A maximum of 9 upper division units may be included on the ATC, with approval of an adviser.)

One of the following:

Course Title Units
ANTH 894 Creative Work Project 3
ANTH 898 Master's Thesis 3

Minimum total for Master of Arts in Anthropology: 30


Thesis or Creative Work Project. Students may satisfy this requirement either by writing a thesis or, after consultation with the student's advising committee, and subject to the approval of the department graduate committee, a creative work project. This could involve a video, photography, or multi-media project.


Those who elect to write a thesis will meet with an adviser to select an appropriate topic and establish an advisory committee. Normally the committee will consist of at least two anthropology faculty members who are themselves concerned with the areas of interest to the student. However, if the thesis is to deal with material from a discipline related to but outside the field of anthropology, then a faculty member from that discipline may serve on the student's committee. Unanimous approval of the proposed topic and thesis outline, and advancement to candidacy, are required before thesis research begins. During the period of research, progress reports are to be made to the committee. If a student is unable to select or maintain a committee, the student will be asked to withdraw from the graduate program. Upon completion of the thesis, it will be read and approved by each member of the student's graduate committee before submission to the Division of Graduate Studies.


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