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Anthropology: MS


The Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology offers an MS degree in anthropology with a required specialization in archaeology and cultural resource management. Cultural resource management (CRM) archaeology provides industry and government agencies with an evaluation of heritage resources that, by law, have to be taken into account prior to the alteration of public landscapes. CRM is now an institutionalized element of the environmental management industry in the United States and many other countries. The program at USU was created in response to an expressed need for graduates qualified for management in cultural resource management, so students receive specific training for this career industry.

Anthropology at USU is specifically designed to provide the training and degree qualifications sought after by employers in both public and private sectors. The graduate program in anthropology at Utah State University responds to the changing needs of archaeology and to recommendations of archaeologists in the CRM industry. The master's degree will also prepare students intending to pursue a doctoral degree at other institutions.

A museum studies certificate is also available and is a popular choice for those interested in developing the skills needed for various careers in museums.


  • Archeology and Cultural Resource Management:

Nationwide the CRM industry is valued at several billion dollars per year. Graduates may find careers in the following fields:

  • Private contract firms
  • Federal, state, and local contracts
  • Land management agencies for all public land, such as park services
  • Museums
  • Academia

Admission Requirements

The department will consider applications from students with undergraduate degrees in subjects other than anthropology. Acceptance in these cases may require fulfilling certain course prequisites.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admission Deadlines

The department has the following deadline:

  • Fall Semester – February 1

Program Requirements

Students must complete at least one of the following requirements:

  • An internship of three credits. Students are placed with internships through the department's contacts; usually local agencies.
  • Field experience in archaeology. Students may use previous field experiences, or participate in the department's optional field school, which is offered every summer and typically lasts six to eight weeks, full time. It is offered in different locations each year.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Assistance

Some financial assistance is available in the form of graduate assistantships. These funds are distributed through a competitive process, based on student qualifications, performance, and interests. Contact the department to see what is currently available.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

Molly Boeka Cannon, PhD, University of Nebraska
Professional Practice Assistant Professor, Director and Curator USU Museum of Anthropology & Spatial Data Collection, Analysis, and Visualization Lab
Area: Human-Environment Interactions, Geoscience and Archaeology, Material Culture, Museology, Museum Studies Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences, Geophysical Applications in Archaeology
Office: MAIN 252 A
Phone: (435) 797-7545

Kenneth Cannon, PhD, University of Nebraska
Research Assistant Professor, Archaeology Director, USU Archaeological Services
Area: Intermountain mammalian biogeography, intermountain hunter-gatherers, effects of climate change on human systems, human influence on ecosystems, applied paleozoology, volcanic glass used by hunter-gatherers
Phone: (435) 213-9258

David Byers, PhD, University of Utah
Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director
Area: Zooarchaeology, site formation, stable isotope analysis, upland/alpine archaeology of Western U.S., coastal foragers of Jamaica, Paleoecology, Paleoindian studies, and Human/Proboscidean interaction
Office: MAIN 245C
Phone: (435) 797-1178

Anna Cohen, PhD, University of Washington
Research Assistant Professor
Area: Political economy and political incorporation, consumption, comparative urbanism, material culture; survey methods and remote sensing, intra-site analysis, ceramic studies, archaeometry; museum anthropology, big data in anthropology; politics and ethics of archaeology, history of anthropology and the sciences; Latin America, Mesoamerica
Office: MAIN 215
Phone: (435)797-0270

Judson Finley, PhD, Washington State University
Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director, Program Coordinator of Native American Studies Minor
Area: Geoarchaeology; Archaeometry; Paleoecology; Environmental Change; Human-Environmental Interactions; Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology; Cultural Resources Management; High Plains and Rocky Mountains. Quaternary Paleoecology of western North America; rockshelter and cave sedimentary records; obsidian and ceramic artifact geochemistry; ceramic petrography
Office: MAIN 245 A
Phone: (435) 797-9621

Jacob Freeman, PhD, Arizona State University
Assistant Professor
Area: North American Archaeology, Anthropological Inquiry, Cross-cultural Approaches to Diversity and Change; Graduate Seminar in Southwest Archaeology and Adjacent Regions
Office: MAIN 245 B
Phone: (435) 797-5744

Patricia Lambert, PhD, University of California - Santa Barbara
Area: Prehistoric warfare, North American prehistory, paleopathology, bioarchaeology, Peruvian prehistory
Office: MAIN 245 E
Phone: (435) 797-2603

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

The Society for American Archaeology: SAA is an international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas. With more than 7,000 members, the society represents professionals, students, and archaeologists working in a variety of settings including government agencies, colleges and universities, museums, and the private sector.

Students are also encouraged to become members of local anthropological or archaeological organizations depending on where they live and work once they have graduated.

Labs, Centers, Research

Archaeological Laboratory: This laboratory provides a professional context for university students to acquire experience with archaeological documentation, testing, and evaluation of cultural resources. The archaeology research program teaches students how to interpret research and preserve artifacts of all kinds for the public and create an enduring record of cultural heritage from around the world.

Museum of Anthropology: USU houses the Museum of Anthropology, which provides a professional context for university students to acquire experience in museum operation and management. The museum collects artifacts of all kinds, from prehistoric stone tools to Roman coins to Middle Eastern Rugs, to preserve for the public an enduring record of cultural heritage from around the world.

Osteology Laboratory: This laboratory provides a learning environment for university students to study human bones. In the lab, students learn to identify human bones from animal bones, conduct quantitative, statistical research, and learn about the laws and ethics pertaining to human remains.

Spatial Analysis and Visualization Laboratory: This lab provides cutting-edge spatial data acquisition and analysis tools for archaeologists. These include state-of-the-art GPS, GIS, remote sensing, scanning, photographic and microscopy hardware, and the software necessary for performing quantitative, statistical, and geospatial interpretation of collected data.

USU Archeological Services: USUAS is a private company that was launched by USU archaeologists. It specializes in the documentation, testing, and evaluation of cultural resources. The organization works with a number of agencies to provide consultation and deliverables in the cultural resource field. Undergrads and graduate students often work in paid positions at USUAS.



Academic Advising

David Byers
Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director
Office: MAIN 245C
Phone: (435) 797-1178

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