Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in our graduate program in Anthropology. Detailed information about The Graduate School at Michigan State University and application procedures can be found on line at

The Anthropology Department application process/checklist can be accessed here: and is also outlined in Appendix 16 of our department Graduate Manual.

More information regarding possible degree specializations within The College of Social Science is located on the College website at programs.

Some of our policies and procedures may be of importance to you as you prepare an application for admission. These include:

Undergraduate Preparation

Students applying for admission to the graduate program in Anthropology should have at least a 3.0 grade point average in their last two years of undergraduate work. Although all applicants will be considered regardless of their previous fields of academic training, students must have earned at least 12 undergraduate credits in anthropology before entering the program, including an undergraduate course equivalent to Language and Culture (ANP 420). Deficiencies in academic training require a student to complete preliminary coursework before being admitted to full graduate status. Students with deficiencies will be informed of their specific make up requirements when they are admitted to the graduate program.

Graduate Program

Students are admitted to the graduate program only in the Fall semester. Applicants to the graduate program need not have an undergraduate degree in anthropology. We recommend, however, that students have some background in anthropological theory, physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. A background that includes at least 12 credits in anthropology is highly recommended. Applicants who do not have these preparatory courses may be directed to complete some undergraduate preparation before they are admitted to full graduate student status.

In general, students are admitted to the Ph.D. program if they already have a Masters degree. If a student does not have a Masters degree, they may still be admitted to the graduate program, and the faculty may recommend completion of the Masters degree before official admission to the PhD program. We rarely admit students who are interested only in the Masters degree, although every student has the opportunity to earn a Plan B (without thesis) Masters degree on their way to earning a PhD degree.

Application Deadline

Graduate students are admitted for the Fall semester only. All necessary materials must be uploaded to your application or arrive at the Department by the December 1 deadline. The Department’s Admissions Committee finalizes decisions on admissions and most of the year’s financial aid by mid-March.

Admissions Criteria

The Graduate Admissions Committee considers not only the student’s past preparation and performance, but also his or her interests and needs, and whether or not these can best be accommodated by the graduate program of this department. The Department does not admit a student unless there are several faculty members who indicate that they are interested in working with the student.

Credit for Prior Work at MSU

Some students may have earned graduate-level credits in anthropology as an undergraduate, graduate student elsewhere, or as a non-degree student before admission to the graduate program. The Department decides which, if any, of these credits can apply to the graduate program. For any courses taken outside MSU, the student must petition to have the courses counted, and must present a copy of the class syllabus and transcript. A student admitted under the MSU Lifelong Education program may petition the Department to apply up to 9 credits to a graduate degree. Students may NOT enroll in ANP 830 or 840 under the Lifelong Education Program. Courses earned under the Undergraduate Lifelong Education status are seen as being preparatory and generally cannot be applied to a graduate degree program.

University information and resources, including funding opportunities, can be accessed from the “Graduate Student Resources” page on the department website at:

If we can be of further assistance, please contact the Department via phone at 517-432-1445, fax 517-432-2363, or e-mail). Our academic program coordinator for the Graduate Office, Joan Reid, can be reached via e-mail at

To apply, go to