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Anthropology - Master's

Availability: Hattiesburg Options

Why Study Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of the human condition, both biological and cultural, across space and time. All societies are confronted with the same issues, from how to adapt to their environment to deciding whom they may marry to understanding the afterlife, but there are myriad ways that these issues are solved. Anthropologists gain an understanding and appreciation of these approaches as they explore the alternative ways of being human.

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3Dual Degree Programs
2Thesis Format Options
9Graduate Assistantships

What Will I Learn?

Students will gain a range of skill sets that can be applied in many settings. Cultural anthropologists will be introduced to ethnographic methods, including surveys and participant observation, as they immerse themselves in the community under study. Those specializing in archaeology and bioarchaeology will learn excavation methods as well as laboratory analysis of artifacts and human remains to reconstruct past lifeways, particularly in the Southeast and Mesoamerica.  

Admission requirements include:

  • 1. A completed application
  • 2. Transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended
  • 3. (3) letters of recommendation
  • 4.  A Statement of Purpose (SOP): An essay of 2-3 pages that discusses the following::

    1. What topics or questions interest you and how those are related to anthropology?

    2. How your background and experiences have prepared you for graduate school?

    3. Why the USM Anthropology program is well-designed to help you achieve your goals for graduate school?

Additional notes on the SOP: Your statement lets us lets us get to know you beyond grades and previous coursework. This is your opportunity to tell us a bit more about yourself, your research interests, what your professional and personal goals are, and importantly, how our program will help you attain them. Most students spend more time on their Statement of Purpose than anything else in the application despite its short length. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors, classmates, family or friends for feedback, and give yourself plenty of time and space for writing this critical component of your graduate application. A great Statement of Purpose is one that is focused, well-written, and makes it clear that USM is a good fit for you—and that you’re a good fit for us!

  • 5. CV or Resume
  • 6. A Writing Sample: An academic paper on a topic in anthropology of interest to you; it should be about 10 pages in length, written in English, and use a standard citation style.

Additional notes on the Writing Sample:  The writing sample helps us to evaluate your ability to demonstrate your research skills and present your findings, as you will be asked to do in your graduate career.  The sample should be academic in nature (usually something you have written for a class as an undergraduate), and show that you can write clearly and professionally.  Ideally the paper should display how you can synthesize ideas and concepts concerning a research question and then critically evaluate them.

Application Deadline

March 15 for fall applicants

We have an annual assistantship sponsored by the Department of Defense in which a student works closely with the staff archaeologist at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. Other internships are available in the program laboratories as well as in off campus settings.

Our program has four laboratories where students can gain hands-on experience as they work closely with faculty members. The most unique facility is the center for primate behavioral studies which houses a colony of bushbabies. We also have a bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology lab which curates a large colonial Maya population from western Belize. Our archaeological facility is home to a variety of research collections from Mississippi and the greater Southeast. The biological anthropology lab is also equipped for hormonal analysis and preparing nutritional samples for further analysis and has equipment that allows analysis of tissues for many hormonal indicators.

What Are The Faculty Research Specializations?

Dr. Marie Danforth, a bioarchaeologist, has worked with Maya and Southeastern populations looking at impacts of colonialism on health. Dr. Bridget Hayden is a cultural anthropologist interested in globalization and political-economic change, working in Central America and Mississippi. Dr. Daniel LaDu is an archaeologist who specializes in the prehistory of the Lower Mississippi Valley, especially focusing the rise of complex societies as well as ceramic analysis. Dr. Allison Formanack is an applied anthropologist who focuses on housing and critical race studies in the United States.



Degree Plan Availability
Anthropology MAHattiesburg

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School of Social Science and Global Studies

Liberal Arts Building, LAB 411
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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  • Field Archaeologist
  • Medical Anthropologist
  • Laboratory Manager
  • College Instructor
  • Museum Curator
  • Business Consultant
  • Heather Guzik (2016)
     Anatomy Laboratory Instructor, Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • H. Denise Saucier (2018) 
    Director, Long Beach Public Library
  • Nic Glass (2018)
    Archaeologist, Alabama National Guard
  • Dawn Klos (2017) 
    Doctoral Student, History and Humanities, Trinity University, Dublin
  • C. Brady Davis (2015)
    Director, Homeland Affairs, Division of Heritage Preservation, Department of Culture and Humanities, The Chickasaw Nation