Jun 13, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Curricula by Department

OFFICE: Arts and Letters 448
TELEPHONE: 619-594-5527 / FAX: 619-594-1150
E-MAIL: anthro@sdsu.edu
WEBSITE: http://anthropology.sdsu.edu


ChairBraje, Todd J., Professor of Anthropology (B.A., Beloit College; M.A. University of Florida; Ph.D., University of Oregon)

Undergraduate Adviser: Ullah, Isaac I.T., Associate Professor of Anthropology (B.S., University of California, Davis; M.A., University of Toronto, Canada; Ph.D., Arizona State University)

Graduate AdviserMathwich, Nicole M., Assistant Professor of Anthropology (B.A., Santa Clara University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Arizona)

Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty: 

Braje, Todd J., Professor of Anthropology (B.A., Beloit College; M.A. University of Florida; Ph.D., University of Oregon)

Lauer, Matthew T., Professor of Anthropology (B.A., University of Arizona; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara)

Mallios, Seth W., Professor of Anthropology (B.A., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia)

Pérez, Ramona L., Professor of Anthropology (B.A., San Diego State University; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Riverside)

Riley, Erin P., Professor of Anthropology (B.A., Beloit College; Ph.D., University of Georgia)

Sobo, Elisa J., Professor of Anthropology (B.A., University of California, Los Angeles; Ph.D., University of California, San Diego)

Mayes, Arion T., Associate Professor of Anthropology (B.A., M.A., University of Oklahoma; Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder)

Robb Larkins, Erika M., Associate Professor of Anthropology (B.A., Indiana University; M.A., University of Chicago; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin)

Roulette, Casey J., Associate Professor of Anthropology (B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Washington State University)

Ullah, Isaac I.T., Associate Professor of Anthropology (B.S., University of California, Davis; M.A., University of Toronto, Canada; Ph.D., Arizona State University)

Mathwich, Nicole M., Assistant Professor of Anthropology (B.A., Santa Clara University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Arizona)

Nair, Vijayanka, Assistant Professor of Anthropology (B.A., M.A., Delhi University; Ph.D., New York University)

Paine, Oliver, Assistant Professor of Anthropology (B.A., Pomona College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder)

Emeritus Faculty: 

Ball, Joseph W., Ph.D., 1975-2013, Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Anthropology

Conway, Frederick J., 2007-2018, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Gamble, Lynn H., Ph.D., 1997-2009, Professor of Anthropology

Greenfeld, Philip J., Ph.D., 1969-2005, Professor of Anthropology

Henry, Edward O., Ph.D., 1974-2004, Professor of Anthropology

Himes, Ronald S., Ph.D., 1969-2002, Professor of Anthropology

Leach, Larry L., Ph.D., 1968-2003, Professor of Anthropology

Lippold, Lois K., Ph.D., 1968-2003, Professor of Anthropology

Moore, Mary Jane, Ph.D., 1972-2002, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Pendleton, Wade C., Ph.D., 1969-2002, Professor of Anthropology

Rohrl, Vivian J., Ph.D., 1965-2001, Professor of Anthropology

Rollefson, Gary O., Ph.D., 1984-1992, Professor of Anthropology

Watson, Lawrence C., Ph.D., 1967-1992, Professor of Anthropology

Whitney, Dan, Ph.D., J.D., 1966-2000, Professor of Anthropology

Undergraduate Information

The Major

Anthropologists study the biological characteristics, evolutionary history, geographic distribution, environmental adaptations, linguistic practices, social relationships, institutions, customs, knowledge, myths, and cultural processes of human populations.

The anthropology major provides a broad background for the various specialized areas in the field: (a) archaeology, the analysis of past cultures through a focus on material remains or artifacts; (b) socio-cultural anthropology, the study of socio-cultural processes and diversity; (c) linguistic anthropology, the analysis of cultural differences in communication; and (d) biological anthropology, the study of past and present human and primate populations.

Employment opportunities for anthropology graduates include academic research and teaching as well as nonacademic or applied careers, for example in nonprofit associations, federal, state, local government, and international agencies; in health care, business, and manufacturing organizations; at research institutes; at zoos or wildlife preserves; on environmental projects, doing human-impact assessment or resource management; and in museums.


All College of Arts and Letters majors are urged to consult with their department adviser as soon as possible; they are required to meet with their department adviser during the first semester after declaration or change of major.

Graduate Information


The department offers three competitive, internal scholarship programs, the Norton Allen Scholarship, the Al Sonek Biological Anthropology Scholarship, and the Pitt Warner Endowed Anthropology Scholarship. The department also hires graduate students for a variety of graduate assistant (GA) and instructional student assistant (ISA) positions. Applications and additional information can be found on the department website at http://anthropology.sdsu.edu/.

General Information

The department offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts degree in anthropology. The department  embraces an integrative anthropology approach with a strong emphasis in both theoretical and applied dimensions of the discipline, thereby preparing M.A. students for: teaching positions in Anthropology; doctoral training in Anthropology and allied fields (e.g., Geography, Public Health, Primate Conservation Biology, etc.); and, professional careers in public and private sectors and non-profit organizations (e.g., cultural resource management, urban planning, program evaluation, administration, healthcare, marketing, and sustainable resource management and economic development).

Research and special instructional facilities provided by the Department of Anthropology include laboratories for archaeology, biological anthropology/primatology, and environmental anthropology. Additional facilities available in the community include the Museum of Man, the San Diego Zoo, and various internship sites for applied research.

Admission to Graduate Study

To be considered for graduate admission at San Diego State University, applicants must follow the three step process outlined below. For more detailed information regarding the admissions process, visit http://anthropology.sdsu.edu/graduate.html.

Step 1: Complete the Cal State Apply application by the SDSU deadline (see http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/admissions/grad/index.html for dates).

Applicants must submit the California State University application available at http://www.calstate.edu/apply along with the nonrefundable application fee. Cal State Apply will begin to accept applications October 1. Once applicants have submitted the Cal State Apply application, a RedID number will be assigned and e-mailed within 3-5 business days. The RedID number will allow applicants to track the status of their application through the SDSU WebPortal at http://www.sdsu.edu/portal.

Step 2: Submit official transcripts and any applicable test scores to Graduate Admissions by the SDSU priority cycle deadline (see http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/admissions/grad/index.html for dates).

After applicants have submitted the Cal State Apply application and received their RedID number, applicants must send official transcripts and test scores to Graduate Admissions. Sending transcripts before submitting the Cal State Apply application will result in processing delays.

Applicants must provide the following:

  1. Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) issued within the last year, from all U.S. colleges and universities attended. Students who previously attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for coursework completed since last attendance. Hard copies of SDSU transcripts are not required;

    Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree. If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified literal English translation. For country specific requirements, visit http://anthropology.sdsu.edu/graduate.html;
  2. TOEFL scores are required of all applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English. A minimum score of 80 is required. Scores should be sent directly from ETS using SDSU Institution Code 4682.

A note about GRE test scores: GRE test scores are NOT required for the Fall 2022 application cycle. If you choose to, you can send GRE scores directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS) using SDSU Institution Code 4682. The University requires that all sections (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) of the GRE are completed.

The above listed materials should be sent to:

Graduate Admissions
Enrollment Services
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7416

For further questions regarding Steps 1 and 2, contact Graduate Admissions at 619-594-6336 or email admissions@sdsu.edu. International applicants may contact the international recruitment office at 619-594-1847 or e-mail intladmission@sdsu.edu.

Step 3: Complete anthropology Master of Arts online application on Interfolio by the SDSU priority cycle deadline. For information regarding the admissions process, visit the department website at http://anthropology.sdsu.edu.

The anthropology Master of Arts application requires the following items:

  1. Statement of purpose. The statement of purpose is a very important part of the application, as it allows the faculty to assess intellectual sophistication, writing skills, clarity of purpose, and potential for success in the Master of Arts program. The statement of purpose should be limited to two to three single-spaced pages and clearly articulate intended research interests, including geographical interests (if appropriate). If research plans are not yet fully developed, clarify what topics and issues in anthropology the applicant is most interested in pursuing and propose possible contexts in which to study them. Statements should not be an extended narrative about personal history, except as relevant to research plans. Elements that would make for a strong statement include, but are not limited to: the intellectual and/or applied importance of the area of interest; a discussion of preparedness to undertake graduate level study (e.g., coursework, field schools, previous research experience, etc.); the name of at least one SDSU anthropology faculty member who would be a suitable thesis adviser and an explanation of her/his selection; and, a discussion of the compatibility of interests with the SDSU anthropology program/faculty research areas;
  2. Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (these do not need to be sent directly from the colleges - photocopies are acceptable);
  3. Copies of test scores. The GRE requirement has been waived for Fall 2022 applications. If applicable, TOEFL test scores are still required;
  4. Three letters of recommendation. Applicants must provide names and e-mail of three individuals who can write a letter of recommendation on the applicant’s behalf, who know the applicant well, and can evaluate the applicant’s ability to perform and succeed at the graduate level. Requests for letters of recommendation will be emailed to the recommenders via email address provided by applicant. Letters are due by the Interfolio application deadline;
  5. Sample of written work representative of the applicant’s research and writing skills;
  6. Curriculum vitae or resume.

For further questions regarding Step 3, contact the Department of Anthropology at 619-594-5527, or e-mail anthro@sdsu.edu.

Admission to the Degree Curriculum

All students must satisfy the general requirements for admission to the university with classified graduate standing, as described in Requirements for Master’s Degrees . Except under special circumstances, prospective applicants must meet the following minimum admission requirements:

  1. Hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or equivalent as determined by the College of Graduate Studies;
  2. Have attained at least a 3.0 GPA on all work leading to the bachelor’s degree and subsequent post-baccalaureate coursework;
  3. Have been in good standing in the last institution attended.

Applicants who meet the minimum admission requirements but who do not have a strong background in anthropology may be admitted conditionally. Conditionally admitted students will be required to complete specified courses in addition to the minimum 30 units required for the Master of Arts degree.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Curricula by Department