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Anthropology: Graduate Programs


The School of Anthropology (SOA) provides graduate students with tools for successful professional careers, including a broad knowledge of method and theory in the different subfields of anthropology, expertise in grant writing and project management, and pedagogical skills. Through graduate student training the School seeks to produce professionals who are successful in academic and applied working environments, in academia, government, NGOs, and in the private sector. The SOA Academic Program Review (spring semester 2011) provides more information.

Student outcomes assessment is result-based. Because the majority of graduate students will go on to professional careers in academia, the public, or private sectors, learning outcomes are best tracked in terms of both progress through the program and by professional career trajectories after degrees are achieved. Assessment activities emphasize: 1) scholarly achievements as graduate students (evaluations by faculty and peer mentors combined with self-evaluations and completion of academic “milestones”); and 2) professional contributions after earning advanced degrees (monitoring professional career trajectories and one-on-one interactions).

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Scholarly Achievement Outcomes: General

Scholarly achievement outcomes require graduate students to demonstrate advanced proficiency with conceptual integration across academic fields within and beyond anthropology.

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the principles and sources of primary data in two or more subfields of anthropology and clearly understand the historical connections between the major ideas that drive research in the field with conversance in and ability to teach multiple themes in anthropology, including issues in human biological and cultural diversity ranging from our species' origin to issues pertinent to the modern world.
  • Demonstrate abilities to engage in independent learning and skills that include intelligent evaluation of available information, creative problem-solving, effective application of logic in research design, quantitative skills, mastery of several laboratory skills, and refined levels of verbal and written communication.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the political and cultural roles of science and scholarship
  • Demonstrate preparation to deal with the ethical challenges of an increasingly complex

Scholarly Achievement Outcomes: MA Degree Graduate Students

Primary criteria of scholarly achievement at the MA level are effective acquisition of specialized knowledge of a selected area(s) of interest, development of a coherent, original research design for the thesis project, and execution of the research as well as completion of course requirements, submission of the MA paper or thesis, and passing of an associated oral examination.

Scholarly Achievement Outcomes: PhD Degree Graduate Students

Criteria of scholarly achievement are more diverse and more challenging. They include clear demonstration of specialized knowledge in the history and theoretical underpinnings of the dissertation topic, along with demonstration of technical and research design skills needed to bring a substantive, original study to fruition and, in addition, breadth of anthropological knowledge necessary to teach within and beyond particular area(s) of interest as well as completion of course requirements, comprehensive examinations, PhD dissertation, and oral defense of dissertation. Graduate student progress includes development in areas of professional ethics and meaningful communication within the profession in the form of publication and public and professional presentations as well as through ‘local’ participation in seminars and other forums within the university. Students are encouraged and trained to begin publishing early and to attend and present research findings regularly at annual meetings. Departmental scholarship funds often provide support for travel to professional meetings that are contingent upon the student will be giving a paper. Students are also provided with diverse opportunities to interact with faculty members and peers in academic and social settings, both within and between university units, including diverse lecture series and special events. With the added incentive of employment, students are encouraged to pursue opportunities for research and other professional training in the Arizona State Museum, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, and larger Southern Arizona community, in addition to research assistantships within the Department of Anthropology. Students also are encouraged to become involved in research programs and instruction outside of anthropology as relevant to diversifying their training. Teaching experience is crucial for graduate students who are training for careers in academic and public education and, if possible, these graduate students are provided with at least four to six semesters of experience as a teaching assistant and/or instructor (the latter especially in presession, summer, and winter session courses).

Academic Enrichment Outcomes

Academic enrichment outcomes for graduate students require participation in the anthropological community and encourage a sense of belonging in the profession that promotes long-term commitment to anthropology as a discipline. Graduate students also are expected to function as informed citizens in multicultural, local, national, and global societies as well as to continue to engage in learning throughout their life times.

  • Develop and use individualized anthropological perspectives through class work and problem-oriented research that is informed by one or more theoretical perspectives.
  • Apply knowledge of sociocultural, linguistic, and biological diversity in research into the past or in the present that also is relevant to diverse activities and attitudes in everyday life, including those related to families, responsible citizenship, and professional behavior.
Updated date: Fri, 02/04/2011 - 15:55