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 the electronic application process can be accessed here:

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

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 a minimum 3.0 grade point average in their last two years of undergraduate work (the mean GPA of each entering cohort is significantly higher). Although all applicants will be considered regardless of their previous fields of academic training, students will usually have earned at least 12 undergraduate credits in anthropology before entering the program. An undergraduate course equivalent to ANP 206 (Intro to Physical Anthropology) is required. Students lacking this background will consult with members of the physical faculty to develop a plan of action for fulfilling this requirement.

In the absence of the recommended course credits and/or coursework, applicants should demonstrate in their application that they have a suitable background to succeed in the program. At departmental discretion, applicants, if accepted into the program, may be required to complete additional coursework as necessary, which will be described in their letter of acceptance.

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.

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

Application Deadline

Graduate students are admitted for the Fall semester only. All required materials, including test scores, must arrive or be uploaded to your application or arrive at the Department/University by the December 1 deadline. The Department’s Admissions Committee finalizes decisions on admissions and most of the year’s student financial support decisions by mid-March. It is the responsibility of the applicant to insure that their applications are complete and to verify their status to meet the December 1 deadline.

Admissions Criteria

You should have a clear statement of what you want to pursue for your research and how that fits with particular faculty presently in our department. 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 at least two faculty members who indicate that they are interested in working with the student. You are strongly encouraged to research faculty interest areas and communicate directly with the faculty you are interested in working with PRIOR to submitting an application for graduate study.

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 e-mail at, or phone at 517-432-1445. Our academic program coordinator for the Graduate Office, Catherine Pierce, can be reached via e-mail at The graduate program director, Dr. Stacey Camp, can be contacted via e-mail at