Graduate Program Application Process/Checklist

The following must be completed/received by the DECEMBER 1 deadline:

Online Application for Admission

  • Apply to the Anthropology Graduate Program here: The application fee is payable online with a credit card. Major code for the MA program is 4307; PhD program code is 4308. Make sure you check the area of interest and list faculty members with whom you wish to work.
  • You are only considered an applicant to the Anthropology graduate program when we receive all required application materials and your application fee has been paid. It is your responsibility to check the status of your application and e‐messages by logging into the online application portal with your applicant ID and password. All application materials must be received/uploaded by the deadline.
  • PRIOR to submitting your application, you may save and revise it as often as you wish.
  • After you pay your fee and submit the application, the application is locked and you do not have the ability to change any information you have entered.

Documentation that MUST be uploaded to your application via the student portal

  • Personal Statement. The personal statement focuses on your ability and preparation to do graduate level scholarly work, as well as personal and professional experiences that may have led to your interest in anthropology. Therefore, in this essay you should emphasize your academic and personal preparation for graduate study, including undergraduate coursework and professional experiences, awards, and undergraduate research experience. Other relevant information might include volunteer experiences, experiences in living or working abroad, or competency in a foreign language.
  • Academic Statement. The Academic Statement should be a 1-2 pp, double-spaced essay. This is a forward-looking statement that should focus on why you are interested in graduate study in anthropology, and your interest in pursuing graduate education here. Some questions to consider: Why do you think that MSU would be a good fit for your graduate education? What topics and geographic areas are you particularly interested in? Do you have any ideas about which faculty members you might want to work with? What do you anticipate doing after graduate school? How do you anticipate that your graduate studies in anthropology at MSU will prepare you for your career?
  • Writing samples. One or two writing samples: undergraduate or graduate research papers, published paper or copy of presented conference paper or poster.
  • Letters of recommendation. Three letters of recommendation from persons of high credibility who are in a position to judge the applicant’s academic ability and accomplishments. Letters of recommendation can only be submitted online via the Grad Portal, unless there are unusual circumstances that prevent a recommender from doing so. To request a letter of recommendation:
  1. Go to the Grad Portal at
  2. Sign in (upper right hand corner of the screen)
    Your Applicant ID is the six digit number sent to your e-mail when you started your application. Your password is the one you generated when creating your application
  3. Once in the Grad Portal, click on “Letters of Recommendation” (right hand side of the screen)
  4. Click on “Register Recommender” (bottom left hand side of screen)
  5. Type in your letter writer’s first name, last name, and e-mail address
  6. Check whether or not you waive your rights of access to the letter
  7. Click “Add Recommender.” An e-mail will automatically be generated and sent to your recommender, letting them know that you are requesting a letter from them. They will be given a link to the Grad Portal, where they will first fill out information about themselves and their relationship to you. Your recommender will then be prompted to upload their letter of recommendation (valid file types include pdf, jpg/jpeg, tif/tiff, bmp, gif, png). To check if your recommender has uploaded their letter, go to the “File Uploads” portion of the Grad Portal.
  • Curriculum vitae. The CV outlines your professional training and accomplishments. The Department appreciates that incoming students with extensive experience or prior graduate education will have a lengthier CV than students who are apply for graduate school directly after obtaining the bachelor’s degree. Although the format of a CV can vary, the following topics are usually included (as appropriate):
  • Your name, email address, contact information
  • Education (list of institutions, your major field of study, graduation dates)
  • Honors and awards (honorary society memberships, graduation honors)
  • Fellowships and grants received (for example: for undergraduate or graduate study, for travel)
  • Research interests (for example: possible geographic area of interest, possible general topics of interest)
  • Relevant experience (for example: intensive travel, fieldwork (including field schools), research experience, relevant professional experience, relevant volunteer experience)
  • Any publications (or unpublished manuscripts, including the title of your bachelor’s thesis, or master’s thesis, as appropriate; fieldwork reports, research reports, papers or posters presented to a professional audience or at a public event)

Other Required Documents

In addition to the online admissions application, a complete application file must include the following:

  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate study. Transcripts for coursework completed at MSU are not required. Transcripts should be mailed directly to the department for uploading to your application.
  • For international applicants Michigan State University (MSU), requires these documents in the original (native) language as well as an official English translation. International applicants must also submit an official copy of their diploma (in both English and the native language). Mail transcripts to:

Department of Anthropology
655 Auditorium Road,
Room #350
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

  • Official GRE Scores. The student must ensure that his/her official report of GRE scores is sent to Michigan State University directly from the testing agency ( The university code for MSU is: 1465. You should have your GRE scores sent to MSU at least 6 weeks in advance of the application deadline of December 1. Department codes are: Anthropology- 1701; Archaeology-1702. The GRE must have been taken within five years prior to application for graduate study. You will enter your scores on the application if they are available, but you must also have the official report sent to the university. We do not have a required minimum GRE score. In general, a more recent score is most helpful in the admissions process. No one is turned down for admission based solely on GRE scores.
  • For International students, if English is not your first language, TOEFL scores are required in addition to the GRE scores. University code: 1465. The Graduate School website provides additional information for international applicants at

Additional information related to admissions can be found on the prospective graduate student link on the department website at and Appendix 16 of the Graduate Manual.

Contact information for the Graduate Program is listed below:

Department of Anthropology
Graduate Programs Office
Michigan State University
655 Auditorium Road, Room 350
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 432-1445
Academic Program Coordinator: Joan Reid e-mail:
Graduate Program Director: Mindy Morgan e-mail:

Feel free to contact faculty and graduate students directly. Bio statements and e-mail addresses are available from the “People” link on the department website.