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Graduate Program Profiles: Anthropology

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Students who pursue a degree in anthropology will find themselves choosing from a plethora of fields and career paths under the larger umbrella of anthropology. The market for anthropologists post-graduation is highly competitive, as the employment for this career was projected to grow 4 percent from 2014-2024 (Bureau of Labor, 2016). Within this competitive field, anthropologists can be found working anywhere from government to business, non-profit organizations, archaeology or in academia to name a few.

The Department of Anthropology at Boise State University offers two distinct graduate degree options to match the versatility of this discipline. Both programs draw focal points around ecological and biosocial perspectives in the study of humans. The Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA) is a research centered degree that requires a thesis and prepares students for further study at the doctoral level. The Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology (MAA) is a professional science program that culminates in a project. Specifically, the MAA is a cultural resource management focused degree that introduces students to a hands-on rigorous combination of skill based coursework in management, policy, verbal communication, GIS, and technical writing. Graduates of the MAA are prepared for careers in cultural resource management.

Students in both graduate programs enjoy comprehensive study of advanced courses, research and writing skills, and fieldwork opportunities that explore modern theory and methods of anthropology. If you would like to learn more about the Master of Arts in Anthropology or the Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology, contact Dr. Mark Plew at


Anthropology graduate students have several funding opportunities available to them:

  • Teaching and research awards that may include a stipend and/or fee waiver. Students must be in good standing academically, maintaining a 3.0 GPA
  • Anthropology Department Scholarships
    • Silver Archaeological Award
    • The John and Florence Shaertl Archaeology Scholarship
    • The Wesley Hurt Scholarship

For more information on funding opportunities through the Department of Anthropology, please click here

Program Testimonials

My studies in anthropology at BSU have given me an integrated understanding of human adaptation over time and to variable conditions. In my next step in the EEB doctoral program I will be using this background to inform research of humans as part of environments at different levels. The anthropology faculty have helped me develop international research and fieldwork partnerships and a balanced scholarly perspective.
Karl Mertens

The smartest professional decisions I ever made was to get both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Anthropology from Boise State University. The academic expectations from the department are incredibly high and therefore the end product of knowledge and experience that you receive are invaluable. You learn vital writing skills, are introduced to the importance of other disciplines, taught critical thinking skills and how to analyze in both quantitative and qualitative manners. There’s not a job out there that wouldn’t benefit from the set of skills you acquire from the Boise State Anthropology Department.
Nicki Schwend

I received my MA in Anthropology from BSU in 2014, and without my experiences in the program I wouldn’t have my current role as a software development coordinator for an educational software company. The research and technical writing skills I gained in the program shaped me into a knowledgeable and competent communicator. My studies in behavioral ecology and evolution allow me to speak with some expertise on the product we develop – a simulated biology lab and textbook software. My experience as a teaching assistant is invaluable to my understanding of our customers, ecology and biology instructors across the country. Looking back at my time in the Anthropology Department, the most critical key to my success was the people. My advisor, my thesis committee, and my instructors were all mentors who drove me to realize my potential. In our small cohort, we held each other accountable, pushed each other to grow, and provided unending support. These connections and friendships have had a lasting impact, and will stay with me forever.
Joellie Rasmussen

Course Curriculum

Master of Arts in Anthropology

Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology