The anthropology M.A. program is designed for students who are interested in the traditional subdisciplines of anthropology, as well as such fields as cultural resource management, medical anthropology, social impact assessment, and museology. The program is directed both toward students who intend to take a terminal M.A. degree and students who intend, after finishing at NMSU, to enter a Ph.D. program. An undergraduate anthropology degree is not required for entry into the program. Students who lack the equivalent of ANTH301, 315, 320, and 355 may be required to take these courses, or approved readings courses. ANTH 350 or the equivalent is recommended.
Specific emphases available at NMSU include the following:
- Biological Anthropology
- Cultural Anthropology
- Medical Anthropology
- Museum Studies
- Mesoamerican Anthropology and Archaeology
- Southwestern Archaeology
In addition, we offer several minors through the Anthropology program. Please see the Additional Minors link.
MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology
The Department of Anthropology offers a Master of Arts Degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology. Students may choose to work in the American Southwest or Mesoamerica and gain practical and technical training that fosters professional development. Students specializing in archaeology are encouraged to acquire the necessary skills and academic background required for licensure to work in public land management, cultural resources management, and applied environmental science. Our curriculum emphasizes archaeological theory, methodology, research design, fieldwork, laboratory work, quantitative analysis, ceramic and fauna analysis, writing and communication, ethics and professionalism, and cultural and historic preservation.
Four faculty supervise studies in archaeology: Dr. Rani Alexander (Mesoamerica, agrarian ecology, quantitative methods, fauna analysis ), Dr. William Walker (US Southwest, archaeology of religion and ritual), Dr. Fumi Arakawa (US Southwest, lithic analysis, exchange systems), and Dr. Beth O’Leary (cultural resource management, space heritage, ethnoarchaeology, Canadian Athapaskan cultures). Instruction includes seminars in archaeological method and theory, archaeological field schools emphasizing survey, mapping, and excavation, fauna analysis, ceramic analysis, quantitative methods, archaeology of the Southwest, topics in Mesoamerican archaeology, archaeological laboratory methods, and cultural resource management. Students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary training, especially through graduate minors offered in related programs such as GIS, soil science, public history, and geology.
MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Biological Anthropology
Research in biological anthropology at NMSU is oriented primarily towards evolutionary primatology with an emphasis on the study of the fossil record of primate and human evolution
Two anthropology faculty members contribute to this specialization: Dr. Brenda Benefit and Dr. Monte McCrossin focus on the evolution of Old World monkeys and apes from the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene. Opportunities exist for students to become involved with research projects related to these topics.
Courses in Biological Anthropology include human osteology, advanced studies in physical anthropology, primate ecology, biological anthropology seminar, human evolution, nutritional anthropology, and applied medical anthropology.
MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Cultural Anthropology
Students can engage in fieldwork that enhances their cross-cultural awareness and develops skills in ethnographic research and applied anthropology. Cultural anthropology students are encouraged to address the specific components of cultural systems, examining the religious, linguistic, socioeconomic, health, and development aspects of cultures.
Studies in cultural anthropology at NMSU are under the direction of Dr. Lois Stanford (mestizo and Purhépecha communities in Michoacán, and Latino rural communities in New Mexico); Dr. Don Pepion (culture and ethnohistory of Indigenous peoples of North America); Dr. Miriam Chaiken (applied anthropology in Africa and Southeast Asia, development, and rural health and nutrition), Dr. Mary Alice Scott (medical anthropology in Latin America and the border region); and Dr. W. Thomas Conelly (agriculture and ecological anthropology, applied/development anthropology, Southeast Asia, East Africa).
Instruction includes seminars in cultural anthropological theory, ethnographic field methods, ethics, applied anthropology, gender, and medical anthropology. Ethnographic courses available include Latin America, Native American Peoples, and Cultures of Africa. Students are encouraged to explore inter-disciplinary training in related programs in Latin American studies, linguistics, religious studies, women’s studies, and food systems.
MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Medical Anthropology
Students may explore the biocultural subfield of Medical Anthropology through courses that examine contemporary medical systems, human variation and health, nutritional anthropology, or traditional knowledge systems perspectives on health and healing. Dr. Mary Alice Scott teaches courses on critical medical anthropology and health systems cross culturally, Dr. Brenda Benefit explores the biological variation among humans and how this affects health and sickness. Dr. Miriam Chaiken teaches nutritional anthropology and applied anthropology, both of which examine the evolution of contemporary health problems and examine culturally sensitive strategies to improve well being. Dr. Donald Pepion’s courses, especially Indigenous Ways of Knowing provide opportunities to learn about alternative paradigms of health systems and the relationship between individuals and community in Native American cultures.
MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Museum Studies
Students can focus their studies on museology. The NMSU Museum is affiliated with the Department of Anthropology. Courses in museum studies and practical experience as interns, volunteers, and researchers are also available. The Department is currently developing a graduate certificate program in Museum Studies.
MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Mesoamerican Anthropology and Archaeology
Students can focus on the pre-Columbian period, the Colonial period, or modern Mesoamerican peoples. Three anthropology faculty contribute to this specialization. Dr. Rani Alexander is an archaeologist who works in the Postclassic, Colonial and Postcolonial periods and specializes in Mesoamerican complex societies, colonialism and ethnohistory, archaeological households and site structure, and agrarian ecology. Dr. Lois Stanford and Dr. Mary Alice Scott specialize in ethnography, gender issues, medical anthropology, and applied anthropology in the Mesoamerican region. These faculty involve students in projects in Yucatan, Michoacan, Mexico and with Latino populations in the U.S./Mexico borderlands. Related campus resources include the Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for International Programs, as well as the NMSU Museum.
Course offerings in Mesoamerican Anthropology include: Advanced Studies in Mesoamerican Archaeology, Conquest of the New World, Advanced Issues in Gender and Culture, Peoples of Mexico and Guatemala, and Fieldwork in Latin America.
MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Southwestern Archaeology
The Department offers a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in prehistoric archaeology of the Greater Southwest. Anthropology faculty who contribute to this specialization include Drs. Bill Walker and Fumi Arakawa. Students are encouraged to explore the full range of issues related to human history in a desert environment.
Particular strengths of the program include the archaeology of religion, as well as prehistoric and contemporary economic and sociopolitical systems. Archaeological research through one of NMSU’s field schools focus on the relationship between southern New Mexico and the Paquime regional system in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Summer archaeological field schools are a regular part of the graduate program that allows students to gain first-hand experience in archaeolgical research. Instruction includes teaching in theory, methods, and techniques of analysis.
Other facilities that can be used by MA anthropology students include the Center for Latin American Studies, the Rio Grande Archives, and the New Mexico Heritage Center.