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Department of Anthropology


Master of Arts Degree in Anthropology

The Master of Arts program in Anthropology supports the four-field ideal of Americanist anthropology and is dedicated to training graduate students in both method and theory. Students, in conjunction with faculty, may design their programs with a focus on the subdisciplines of archaeology or cultural anthropology. Faculty expertise includes the archaeology of the Maya and Andean regions; the archaeology of Texas, the American Southwest, and northern Mexico; the cultural anthropology of Texas and the Plains; ethnography and applied anthropology of Mexico and the United States; medical anthropology of the Border region; conservation ecology in the Americas, Africa, and Island Pacific; and indigenous and environmental politics in Africa, Island Pacific, and lowland and Andean South America.

Application Procedures. The Anthropology Department admits Master’s students once a year in the Fall. The departmental deadline for applications is April 1.

In addition to satisfying the University-wide graduate admission requirements, applicants should have a 3.3 grade point average in the last 60 hours of coursework and have successfully taken 12–18 hours of coursework in anthropology. This coursework should include courses across the subdisciplines of anthropology.

Applicants for admission to the M.A. program in Anthropology must complete an online application for admission through the UTSA Graduate School (http://graduateschool.utsa.edu/). For all applicants, including graduate degree-seeking, non-degree-seeking, and special graduate students (see Chapter 1, Admission, of this catalog for definitions), the application to the Master’s of Arts program in Anthropology consists of an application form, official academic transcripts, an essay (statement of purpose), writing sample, and three letters of recommendation. For graduate degree-seeking applicants, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores must also be submitted to the Graduate School.

Essay: Please write a statement telling us about your intentions for entering UTSA’s M.A. program in Anthropology. This letter should be approximately 500–750 words in length (approximately two to three double-spaced pages). This statement should include information on:

  • undergraduate coursework and other relevant experiences (how did these prepare you for graduate work in Anthropology),
  • area of subdisciplinary and regional specialization, as well as particular research interests,
  • how your academic interests match with faculty, departmental and university resources,
  • at least two faculty who would be suitable advisors; and
  • how a graduate degree in Anthropology will further your career goals.

Writing Sample: It is preferred that the writing sample be a 10–25 page term or research paper.

Letters of Recommendation: At least two of the three required recommendation letters will preferably be from faculty who have worked closely with the applicant in either the classroom, laboratory, or other research site.

GRE: For graduate degree-seeking applicants, GRE scores must also be submitted to the Graduate School. These scores will be considered as only one element in the evaluation of applicants.

Other Test Scores: Applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The English Language Assessment Procedure is a mandatory assessment for incoming international students whose TOEFL scores are between 550 and 600 (paper version) or 79 and 100 (Internet version). See Chapter 1, Admission, of this catalog for details.

Applications will not be reviewed until complete.

Applicants can request graduate degree-seeking, non-degree-seeking, or special graduate student status. A graduate degree-seeking applicant admitted to the program may receive unconditional, conditional, or probationary admission status. Non-degree-seeking students and special graduate students may be limited in the courses they are permitted to take. Admission with non-degree-seeking or special graduate student status does not ensure subsequent admission as a degree-seeking student.

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of demonstrated potential for success in graduate study in Anthropology as indicated by a combination of prior undergraduate academic performance, the application essay, research interests, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and, if applicable, GRE test scores. Admission is competitive. Satisfying minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree is 33 (with thesis). In addition to the University’s general requirements for graduate study and any coursework or other study required as a condition of admission, the Master of Arts degree in Anthropology requires the following:

  1. 9 semester credit hours of required basic courses:

    ANT 5023   History, Method, and Theory of Archaeology
    ANT 5033   Theory in Cultural Anthropology
    ANT 5073   Advanced Biological Anthropology

  2. 3 semester credit hours from one of the following methods courses, depending on the student’s area of interest:

    ANT 6353   Field Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
    ANT 6623   Seminar in Analytical Methods in Archaeology

  3. 15 semester credit hours of elective courses chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor and subject to the following conditions:

    1. Students will normally take a minimum of 9 semester credit hours of electives in regular, organized graduate anthropology courses (this excludes ANT 6443 Supervised Field Research, ANT 6933 Internship in Anthropology, and ANT 6953 Independent Study).
    2. Students are expected to develop a primary regional or topical expertise. Knowledge of this region or topic will be evaluated as part of the comprehensive examination (see below).
  4. Although there is no program-wide language proficiency requirement, certain programs of study require students to demonstrate proficiency in a second language or in statistics. Students should consult their advisors regarding this matter.

  5. A written comprehensive examination, tailored to the student’s program and area of concentration, is required. The comprehensive examination will be taken no later than nine months after the completion of the required coursework. Satisfactory performance on the comprehensive examination is required for advancement to thesis research and writing.

  6. 6 semester credit hours of ANT 6983 Master’s Thesis.

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Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Anthropology

UTSA’s Ph.D. program in Anthropology offers training in anthropology’s traditional subdisciplines to further basic and applied research into ecological and environmental concerns. Students will develop empirical understandings of how humans culturally construct and organize past and present environments; how power relations are embedded in these activities; and the impact social and physical environments have upon human and nonhuman primates. Theoretical and applied emphases include political and cultural ecology; landscape perspectives; agrarian economy and ecology; the archaeology of complexity; indigenous and environmental politics; primate and evolutionary ecology; medical anthropology; perspectives on sociocultural change; myth, ritual and language; and conservation, biology and practice. Geographic research areas include: American Southwest, Texas, Northwest Mexico, Andean South America, Mesoamerica and Maya Lowlands (archaeology); Southeast Asia, Africa, and Neotropics (biological anthropology); and United States, Mexico, U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Lowland South America, Africa, and Island Pacific (cultural anthropology).

The regulations for this degree comply with the general University regulations (refer to Chapter 2, General Academic Regulations, and Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations).

Application Procedures. Applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program in Anthropology must satisfy all University-wide graduate admission requirements. Applicants must submit a complete Graduate School Application. Complete applications include the application form, summary sheet, official academic transcripts, an essay (750–900 word statement of purpose), and three letters of recommendation. Applicants must also submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores with their application. These scores will be considered as only one element in the evaluation of applicants. Only completed applications will be reviewed.

Applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The English Language Assessment Procedure is a mandatory assessment for incoming international students whose TOEFL scores are between 550 and 600 (paper version) or 79 and 100 (Internet version). See Chapter 1, Admission, of this catalog for details.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must request degree-seeking status. Applicants admitted to the Ph.D. program may receive unconditional, conditional, or probationary admission status.

Admission is competitive. Satisfying the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. In any given application cycle, Ph.D. applicants will be evaluated on the strength of their application materials and also against other applicants in the same pool.

Degree Requirements. This degree requires a minimum of 78 semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree (exclusive of organized coursework required to remove conditions of admission).

Program of Study for Students Admitted Without a Master’s Degree

All students who are accepted into the Doctoral program without a Master’s degree (or its coursework equivalent) must successfully complete the program of study below. Students transferring to the Doctoral program from accredited graduate programs but lacking a Master’s degree may receive approval to transfer some coursework to UTSA, pending review by the Graduate Program Committee. Each student’s transcript will be evaluated by the Graduate Program Committee, and credit will be determined on a course-by-course basis to satisfy the requirements of the degree. For credit to be accepted from an outside institution, a student must have earned course grades of “B” (“B-” is not acceptable) or better.

  1. 6 semester credit hours of Doctoral Core Courses:

    ANT 6603   Ecological Anthropology
    ANT 6703   Human Population Ecology

  2. 18 semester credit hours of Foundational Courses:

    ANT 5023   History, Method, and Theory of Archaeology
    ANT 5033   Theory in Cultural Anthropology
    ANT 5073   Advanced Biological Anthropology
    ANT 5583   Teaching Anthropology
    ANT 6303   Seminar in Research Design and Proposal Writing


    ANT 6353   Field Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
    or
    ANT 6623   Seminar in Analytical Methods in Archaeology
    or
    Approved coursework in other analytical techniques


  3. 18 semester credit hours of Designated Elective courses, distributed as follows:

    1. 6 semester credit hours of Theory Electives selected from the following:

      ANT 5283   Hunters and Gatherers
      ANT 5483   Landscape and Settlement
      ANT 5573   Anthropology and Science
      ANT 5613   Seminar in Resource Frontiers
      ANT 5643   Primates in Ecological Communities
      ANT 6133   Seminar in Medical Anthropology
      ANT 6233   Topics in the Anthropology of Complex Societies
      ANT 6643   Seminar in Culture and Economy
      ANT 6713   Topics in Primatological Research
      ANT 6853   Topics in Human Evolution
      ANT 6903   Anthropology of Gender

    2. 9 semester credit hours of Applied and Area Electives selected from the following:

      ANT 5043   Seminar in Laboratory Methods in Anthropology
      ANT 5413   Seminar in the Prehistory of Texas and Adjacent Areas
      ANT 5453   Seminar on the Archaeology of the American Southwest and Adjacent Regions
      ANT 5553   Field Course in Archaeology
      ANT 5563   Seminar in Andean Archaeology and Ethnography
      ANT 5603   Ancient Civilizations
      ANT 5623   Archaeology of Mexico
      ANT 5633   Peoples of Mexico and Central America since 1492
      ANT 6213   Topics in the Anthropology of Native North America
      ANT 6223   The Archaeology of Household and Residence
      ANT 6443   Supervised Field Research
      ANT 6503   Seminar in Cultural Resource Management
      ANT 6513   Maya Civilization
      ANT 6653   Spatial Techniques in Anthropology
      ANT 6663   Research Methods in Ecological Anthropology
      ANT 6723   Seminar in Culture, Environment, and Conservation
      ANT 6803   Medical Ecology
      ANT 6823   Human-Animal Relations
      ANT 6863   Evolution of Human Diet
      ANT 6873   Energy, the Brain and the Gut in Primate and Human Evolution
      ANT 6923   Conservation of Primates and Other Threatened Species
      ANT 6973   Special Problems
      ANT 6993   Pre-Doctoral Research

    3. 3 semester credit hours of coursework outside the student’s area of concentration

  4. 9 semester credit hours of free elective courses chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor. If students wish to take free elective courses outside the Department, they must first seek approval from the Graduate Program Committee.

  5. 3 semester credit hours of ANT 7003 Dissertation Proposal (after successful completion of the qualifying examination and nearing the completion of organized coursework)

  6. Doctoral Research and Dissertation (minimum 24 semester credit hours):

    ANT 7011-3   Directed Doctoral Research (12 hours minimum)
    ANT 7021-3   Doctoral Dissertation (12 hours minimum)

Qualifying Examination. Students may take the qualifying examination upon successful completion of 30 hours of coursework; this coursework must include all required Doctoral Core and Foundation courses. At least two months prior to taking the qualifying examination, the student and the Supervising Professor will select an Advisory Committee, which needs to be approved by the Ph.D. Graduate Advisor of Record, and schedule dates for the qualifying examination. The examination consists of three written literature reviews in areas most relevant to the student’s research and will cover issues of geographical/topical, methodological, and theoretical relevance. It is intended that the qualifying examination will lay the groundwork for subsequent dissertation research.

Earning a Master’s Degree. Students who pass their qualifying examinations will be awarded the M.A. degree, and will be given permission to work toward completion of doctoral requirements. Students who fail their qualifying examinations may be given one of two options by their Advisory Committees. Those options are: permission to retake all or portions of the examination; or, permission to pursue a terminal M.A. degree according to the requirements of that degree program.

Proficiency in Foreign Language, Statistics, or Computer Programming. Doctoral students are required to have proficiency in a foreign language, statistics, or computer programming as deemed necessary by the Graduate Program Committee. This requirement must be fulfilled prior to the oral defense of the dissertation proposal. Should coursework be necessary, students may apply their credit hours to the free electives requirement of the Doctoral degree.

Doctoral Dissertation Proposal. Students are required to produce a dissertation proposal that will be submitted to their Advisory Committee for review. This will occur following successful completion of the qualifying examination, and as students near completion of required coursework (51 semester credit hours). Students will enroll in 3 credit hours of ANT 7003 (Dissertation Proposal), in order to conduct preliminary research and write a successful proposal. Students must orally defend the proposal in order to qualify for doctoral degree candidacy.

Dissertation Committee. Following successful defense of the dissertation proposal, the student and the Supervising Professor will select a Dissertation Committee, which needs to be approved by the Dean of the College and the Dean of the Graduate School (see Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations, for further information on requirements of committee composition).

Advancement to Candidacy. Doctoral students can apply for admission to candidacy once they have met all requirements for the Doctoral degree other than dissertation research and write-up. The requirements include successfully completing all coursework, passing the qualifying examination, passing a foreign language examination or demonstrating statistical or computer competency, as applicable, submitting and successfully defending the dissertation proposal, and forming a Dissertation Committee approved by the University.

Dissertation. Candidates must demonstrate their ability to conduct independent research by completing and defending an original dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the field. The student, in consultation with his or her Supervising Professor, determines the research topic. The student’s Dissertation Committee will guide and critique the candidate’s research. The Dissertation Committee must unanimously approve the completed dissertation. The dissertation shall then be defended publicly before the Dissertation Committee. Students should be continually registered in Directed Doctoral Research (ANT 7011-3) and Doctoral Dissertation (ANT 7021-3) each semester the dissertation is in progress.

Final Oral Examination. Students must orally defend their dissertation as the final degree requirement. The Supervising Professor must notify the Graduate School in writing at least two weeks prior to the final scheduled oral defense. Awarding of the degree is based on the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the acceptance of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School certifies the completion of all University-wide requirements (see Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations, for further information).

Program of Study for Students Admitted With a Master’s Degree

Students who are admitted into the Doctoral program with acceptable Master’s degrees from accredited institutions may receive approval to transfer up to 30 hours of their Master’s-level coursework. Outside coursework must be approved by the Anthropology’s Graduate Program Committee. Each student’s transcript will be evaluated by the Graduate Program Committee, and credit will be determined on a course-by-course basis to satisfy the requirements of the degree. The Committee has the option of requiring or recommending additional courses if it is deemed that the student has not obtained a background equivalent to training at UTSA. For credit to be accepted from an outside institution, a student must have earned course grades of “B” (“B-” is not acceptable) or better.

To complete their Ph.D. program of study, students entering the program with an acceptable Master’s degree and 30 hours of transfer credit must complete the following minimum requirements:

  1. 6 semester credit hours of Doctoral Core Courses:

    ANT 6603   Ecological Anthropology
    ANT 6703   Human Population Ecology

  2. A minimum of 15 semester credit hours of coursework chosen in consultation with the Graduate Program Committee from the following domains:

    1. Foundational Courses (students may be exempted from some foundational courses, with approval of the Graduate Program Committee, if they have taken equivalent coursework at their M.A.-conferring institutions):

      ANT 5023   History, Method, and Theory of Archaeology
      ANT 5033   Theory in Cultural Anthropology
      ANT 5073   Advanced Biological Anthropology
      ANT 5583   Teaching Anthropology
      ANT 6303   Seminar in Research Design and Proposal Writing


      ANT 6353   Field Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
      or
      ANT 6623   Seminar in Analytical Methods in Archaeology
      or
      Approved coursework in other analytical techniques


    2. Elective courses, distributed among the following three categories:

      Theory Electives
      ANT 5283   Hunters and Gatherers
      ANT 5483   Landscape and Settlement
      ANT 5573   Anthropology and Science
      ANT 5613   Seminar in Resource Frontiers
      ANT 5643   Primates in Ecological Communities
      ANT 6133   Seminar in Medical Anthropology
      ANT 6233   Topics in the Anthropology of Complex Societies
      ANT 6643   Seminar in Culture and Economy
      ANT 6713   Topics in Primatological Research
      ANT 6853   Topics in Human Evolution
      ANT 6903   Anthropology of Gender


      Applied and Area Electives
      ANT 5043   Seminar in Laboratory Methods in Anthropology
      ANT 5413   Seminar in the Prehistory of Texas and Adjacent Areas
      ANT 5453   Seminar on the Archaeology of the American Southwest and Adjacent Regions
      ANT 5553   Field Course in Archaeology
      ANT 5563   Seminar in Andean Archaeology and Ethnography
      ANT 5603   Ancient Civilizations
      ANT 5623   Archaeology of Mexico
      ANT 5633   Peoples of Mexico and Central America since 1492
      ANT 6213   Topics in the Anthropology of Native North America
      ANT 6223   The Archaeology of Household and Residence
      ANT 6443   Supervised Field Research
      ANT 6503   Seminar in Cultural Resource Management
      ANT 6513   Maya Civilization
      ANT 6653   Spatial Techniques in Anthropology
      ANT 6663   Research Methods in Ecological Anthropology
      ANT 6723   Seminar in Culture, Environment, and Conservation
      ANT 6803   Medical Ecology
      ANT 6823   Human-Animal Relations
      ANT 6863   Evolution of Human Diet
      ANT 6873   Energy, the Brain and the Gut in Primate and Human Evolution
      ANT 6923   Conservation of Primates and Other Threatened Species
      ANT 6973   Special Problems
      ANT 6993   Pre-Doctoral Research


      Free Electives
      If students wish to take free elective courses outside the Department (not to exceed 9 semester credit hours), they must first seek approval of the Graduate Program Committee.

  3. 3 semester credit hours of ANT 7003 Dissertation Proposal (after successful completion of the qualifying examination and nearing the completion of organized coursework)

  4. Doctoral Research and Dissertation (minimum 24 semester credit hours):

    ANT 7011-3   Directed Doctoral Research (12 hours minimum)
    ANT 7021-3   Doctoral Dissertation (12 hours minimum)

Qualifying Examination. Students may take the qualifying examination upon successful completion of 30 hours of coursework; this coursework must include required Doctoral Core and Foundation courses. At least two months prior to taking the qualifying examination, the student and the Supervising Professor will select an Advisory Committee, which needs to be approved by the Ph.D. Graduate Advisor of Record, and schedule dates for the qualifying examination. The examination consists of three written literature reviews in areas most relevant to the student’s research and will cover issues of geographical/topical, methodological, and theoretical relevance. It is intended that the qualifying examination will help lay the groundwork for subsequent dissertation research.

Proficiency in Foreign Language, Statistics, or Computer Programming. Doctoral students are required to have proficiency in a foreign language, statistics, or computer programming as deemed necessary by the Graduate Program Committee. This requirement must be fulfilled prior to the oral defense of the dissertation proposal. Should coursework be necessary, students may apply their credit hours to the free electives requirement of the Doctoral degree.

Doctoral Dissertation Proposal. Students are required to produce a dissertation proposal that will be submitted to their Advisory Committee for review. This will occur following successful completion of the qualifying examination, and as students near completion of required coursework (51 semester credit hours). Students will enroll in 3 credit hours of ANT 7003 (Dissertation Proposal), in order to conduct preliminary research and write a successful proposal. Students must orally defend the proposal in order to qualify for doctoral degree candidacy.

Dissertation Committee. Following successful defense of the dissertation proposal, the student and the Supervising Professor will select a Dissertation Committee, which needs to be approved by the Dean of the College and the Dean of the Graduate School (see Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations, for further information on requirements of committee composition).

Advancement to Candidacy. Doctoral students can apply for admission to candidacy once they have met all requirements for the Doctoral degree other than dissertation research and write-up. The requirements include successfully completing all coursework, passing the qualifying examination, passing a foreign language examination or demonstrating statistical or computer competency, as applicable, submitting and successfully defending the dissertation proposal, and forming a Dissertation Committee approved by the University.

Dissertation. Candidates must demonstrate their ability to conduct independent research by completing and defending an original dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the field. The student, in consultation with his or her Supervising Professor, determines the research topic. The student’s Dissertation Committee will guide and critique the candidate’s research. The Dissertation Committee must unanimously approve the completed dissertation. The dissertation shall then be defended publicly before the Dissertation Committee. Students should be continually registered in Directed Doctoral Research (ANT 7011-3) and Doctoral Dissertation (ANT 7021-3) each semester the dissertation is in progress.

Final Oral Examination. Students must orally defend their dissertation as the final degree requirement. The Supervising Professor must notify the Graduate School in writing at least two weeks prior to the final scheduled oral defense. Awarding of the degree is based on the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the acceptance of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School certifies the completion of all University-wide requirements (see Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations, for further information).

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