Masters Program – How to Apply

Before applying to our MA or MS program, click here for more information and consult the Masters Student Handbook to answer many of your questions about the program. You should also look into the research and backgrounds of faculty in the Anthropology program, to see if our program is a good fit for your interests. You are highly encouraged to contact faculty to discuss how your interests may intersect, prior to applying. More guidance on this important part of applying to our program is provided below.

Other Graduate Student Resources:

Required Documents for Admission

Note that the Applied Anthropology Graduate Program strives to practice holistic admissions processes, guided by the Oregon State University Holistic Admissions Working Group.

  1. OSU Application form
  2. Official transcripts. (Note: The OSU Graduate School cannot accept web generated printouts of grades. Make sure you provide official transcripts.)
  3. Three letters of reference written on letterhead (at least two should be from university professors closely associated with the student's work. One can be from a professional in the field of your career interest.) The electronic reference letter system, located on the Graduate Admissions site, will send requests to three reference writers indicated by you on your admission application. Recommendation letters should be cut-and-paste into text box on form, or uploaded as an attachment.
  4. Statement of interest of no more than 1000 words as it relates to an area of concentration.
  5. A recent writing sample (term paper, chapter of a thesis, book review, published article, blog, etc.)
  6. A CV or resume of academic and applied accomplishments. Please limit to 2 pages total.
  7. TOEFL exam scores (for international students only)

As of June 2020, the GRE is no longer a requirement for admission to the Applied Anthropology Graduate Program (Masters or PhD) at Oregon State University.

Application materials must arrive at the OSU Graduate School by January 20.


Choosing Potential Major Professors

Your major professor (sometimes referred to as a graduate advisor, or simply advisor) will be a vital part of your application and program. Applicants cannot be accepted into the Applied Anthropology Masters or PhD degree program until a member of the Applied Anthropology graduate faculty commits to serving as their major professor.

Before you apply, it is crucial that you learn about the Applied Anthropology Graduate Faculty, investigate the work they are doing, determine who would be the best major professor for you and reach out to these potential major professors with serious inquiries about working with them. Applicants typically contact potential major professors in order to discuss mutual interests.

Some major professors may not be accepting students during your application period. It is your responsibility as an applicant to reach out and ask a potential major professor if they are accepting students during your application period.

Steps for identifying a major professor are described below.

First, visit the webpages of faculty designated as eligible graduate student major professors (listed below). Review their research areas and determine which best connect with your interests.  There may be more than one.

Dr. Molly Carney – Archaeology Dr. Melissa Cheyney - Biocultural Anthropology Dr. Loren Davis - Archaeology Dr. Drew Gerkey - Cultural, Environmental, Ecological Anthropology
Dr. David Lewis - Cultural Anthropology, Indigenous Anthropology Dr. Kenny Maes - Biocultural Anthropology Dr. Leah Minc - Archaeology Dr. Lisa Price - Food Security, Ethnobiology, & Ethnoecology
Dr. Bryan Tilt - Cultural, Environmental, Ecological Anthropology Dr. Emily Yates-Doerr - Cultural Anthropology, Food Security Dr. Shaozeng Zhang - Cultural, Environmental, Ecological Anthropology (on medical leave and not accepting grad students for fall 2024)  


Second, create a shortlist of potential major professors.

Third, conduct a review of the research, publications and accomplishments attributed to the potential major professors on your shortlist. Use this information to help you determine if this major professor would be a good fit for you and to help you in your communication with them.


Contacting Potential Major Professors

Different major professors look for different qualities in potential students. In general, when contacting a potential major professor:

  • Write in a concise, professional and respectful manner.
  • Discuss your academic and professional qualifications.
  • Demonstrate that you are contacting that faculty member because you are knowledgeable of and interested in their work and expertise.
  • Include your goals and motivations for your graduate education.
  • Address any responses from your potential major professor in a timely and professional manner.

If you do not receive any interest from the potential major professors you contacted, you can still submit your application. Most graduate faculty select their advisees from the applicants who have taken the initiative to review their work and contact them in advance. However, graduate faculty have the opportunity to review applications that mention them and contact any applicants they are interested in working with in the future.


If you are admitted

Before you accept an admission offer, it is important to have a detailed conversation about whether you are a good fit for each other. These conversations should include:

  • Whether their continued research and projects fit in with your long-term goals
  • The expectations you have for each other while working together
  • How your education will be funded and who is responsible for which aspects of your funding

For more information on the role your major professor will play in your graduate program, please see the Applied Anthropology Masters Handbook.

Required Coursework

Learning Outcomes