MA Applied Anthropology Application Process

We are pleased to announce that our perment MA Applied Anthropology program has received final approval from the CSU Board of Trustees to enroll students beginning Fall 2024! Applications will open in Fall 2023 for Fall 2024. 

Applications for Fall are typically open starting the previous October and remain open through May 1. Applications that are completed, with all materials received by February 1, will be given priority consideration for admission to the program starting that Fall. Applications completed after February 1 will subsequently be considered in the order received – May 1 is the final deadline. Applicants wishing to apply after this deadline may contact the graduate coordinator to inquire if application is possible. Application to the Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology is a four-step process.

Step 1: Confirm Eligibility to Apply

The MA in Applied Anthropology at Humboldt is applicable to students with a variety of interests and background experiences. Students are encouraged to contact the graduate coordinator and Anthropology Faculty to discuss their interests prior to applying to the program.

The following prerequisites have been set for eligibility to apply to the MA in Applied Anthropology program:

  • Eligibility for Humboldt Graduate Admissions as described in the Loading....
  • Bachelor’s degree completed prior to beginning the program. Bachelor’s or minor in Anthropology or Archaeology, or coursework/experience that demonstrates familiarity with the discipline and sufficient preparation to pursue the intended area of study in the MA program.
  • GPA: Minimum 2.5 required by Cal Poly Humboldt. In addition, this program requires a minimum 3.0 overall, or in undergraduate major, or in last 60 attempted units of bachelor’s degree. Exceptions may be possible on a case-by-case basis if an applicant can demonstrate potential for maintaining the minimum 3.0 GPA required for graduate students, for example through excellent performance in postgraduate coursework.
  • GRE scores are not required, but applicants may submit them if they desire.
  • Relevant field/research/applied experience in focus area preferred but not required.

Step 2: Apply for Graduate Admissions to Cal Poly Humboldt through Cal State Apply

Complete the California State University Graduate Application online at Cal State Apply, as detailed on the Humboldt Graduate Studies website. Please note the following:

  • On the Cal State Apply Graduate Application main page, click the box that says "Apply For Fall 20XX".
  • An application fee is required at time of application.
  • As part of the application process on Cal State Apply, be prepared to submit the following:
    • Letters of recommendation –you will be asked to provide contact information for two or three persons who can evaluate your ability and potential for graduate education – at least two should be faculty at the institution where BA/BS or other advanced degree was received. These individuals will receive an email with a link to electronically submit their letter of recommendation through Cal State Apply. Electronic submission of letters is strongly preferred, but letter writers may submit letters by email or paper mail if necessary (address below). Please contact Graduate Studies with questions regarding the submission of letters of recommendation, and the Anthropology Department with questions regarding the suitability of your letter writers.
    • Statement of Purpose (2 page maximum, single-to-double spaced) discussing all of the following:
      • Preparation and rationale for pursuing graduate study in anthropology in this program.
      • Intended focus during the MA program - subdiscipline(s) of primary interest (archaeology/bioanth/cultural/linguistics) and any specific interests.
      • Most likely culminating experience preference - exam (default) or thesis/project. If applicable, describe potential thesis/project topic interests, generally or specifically.
      • Professional goals during and after completing the MA.
      • Plans to obtain any specific skills needed to complete the intended area of focus in this program and prepare for career goals.
      • Commitment to maintaining professional conduct and abiding by ethical standards in all aspects of and activities related to anthropological research and activities.
      • Commitment to cultivating a diverse and equitable learning community.
    • Curriculum Vitae (make sure it indicates overall and major GPA)
    • Writing Sample  (6 to 12 pages, single-to-double spaced). Your writing sample should demonstrate your ability to think critically, write clearly, and appropriately utilize and reference scholarly work. It does not need to be, but can be, in your intended focus area. One complete paper is preferred, but the writing sample can include more than one paper to reach the minimum page limit or can be truncated to fit within the maximum. In addition to the traditional writing sample, applicants can choose to submit a sample of relevant work from an alternative medium, such as a website, video presentation, zine, or photo essay. Alternative media should be submitted as a PDF along with an explanation - in the case of a video or a website, please include a URL to the website or the video on a platform such as YouTube.

Step 3: Send Official Copies of all Transcripts to Cal Poly Humboldt

Please provide one official transcript from each college or university you have ever attended. You must include a separate transcript for each institution, even if transfer credits from one institution are included on the transcript for another. These must be official transcripts, either sent electronically by the institution, or paper copies in their original sealed envelopes, mailed directly to Humboldt (address below). Please request your transcripts early so that we receive them by the application deadline, preferably several weeks in advance. Delayed transcripts are the #1 reason for application delays. Note: If you have been an Humboldt degree-seeking student within the past five years, it is possible that you may not need to submit transcripts if you transferred all other coursework to Humboldt previously – please check to confirm. Please contact Graduate Studies with questions regarding the submission of official transcripts.

Electronic copies are often faster – email to

Official paper transcripts must be in their original sealed envelopes and mailed to:

Cal Poly Humboldt
Office of Graduate Admissions
1 Harpst Street
Arcata, CA 95521

Step 4: Submit GRE Scores (Optional)

If submitting GRE scores (optional), please use the ETS-GRE score sending service. The Anthropology Department address is:

Cal Poly Humboldt
Department of Anthropology
1 Harpst Street
Arcata, CA 95521

Admission Procedures

  • Make sure all application materials are submitted online through CSU Mentor (Step 2), transcripts are postmarked to Humboldt (Step 3), and (optional) GRE scores are submitted to Cal Poly Humboldt (Step 4) by the deadline (earlier is better). Be sure your letter writers submit their letters of recommendation by the deadline. It is also a good idea to also email the graduate coordinator when your application is complete.
  • If you plan to apply (or submit any last materials) close to the application deadline, it is advisable to email the graduate coordinator so that we will be expecting your materials.
  • Once you submit your Cal State Apply application, you should receive a paper letter in the mail that acknowledges your application and provides instructions on how to log in to the Humboldt Student Center. Once you have log-in access, you can find the log in link at the top of the Humboldt homepage. Once you log in, you can navigate to the Student Center where you will be able to see a list of any outstanding application materials you might need. Be sure to promptly complete any items on the “To Do” list. Please contact Graduate Studies if you have questions about this material, or if you do not receive your log in information.
  • For applicants that applied by the priority deadline of February 1, admissions decisions will be made by approximately March 1 and relayed to applicants via email and then via paper mail.
  • For applicants that apply on a rolling basis between February 1 – April 1, preliminary decisions will generally be made within 2 weeks of all materials being received, with final decisions by April. Letters of recommendation and other materials not received by the application deadline may not be considered – please contact the Graduate Coordinator if you are expecting late letters of recommendation.
  • If you are offered admission and all application materials are received, you will receive a paper letter in the mail with an official offer of admission as well as information on how to complete other pre-term requirements. Around this time you will also be able to log in to the Student Center and officially accept admissions.
  • Be sure to also apply for financial aid, scholarships, and TA’ships, if desired. Some deadlines come early. See Finances & Awards for more information.

Apply Now at Cal State Apply
MA Program Overview

Contact Us

Gordon Ulmer, Ph.D.
Anthropology Graduate Coordinator

Marissa Ramsier, Ph.D.
Anthropology Department Program Leader

Graduate Admissions
Phone: 707.826.6250

Humboldt Graduate Studies
Phone: 707.826.3949