- What are applied and practicing anthropology?
- What is applied anthropology at San Jose State University?
- How do I apply to the program?
- What if my background is not in anthropology?
- What are the requirements for the graduate degree in applied anthropology?
- How do I know what courses to take in order to make good progress in completing the requirements?
- What graduate courses in anthropology are offered?
- What is the internship/supervised research requirement (ANTH 280)?
- How do I choose between thesis or project?
- How do I enroll for the Project course (ANTH 298) or the Thesis course (ANTH 299)?
- What goes into a proposal for either a thesis or project?
- How do I form a graduate committee?
- Who are the regular graduate faculty?
- What is the First Year Review?
- What is admission to candidacy?
- How do I apply for graduation?
- What is the Anthropology Graduate Student Passport?
- Who is the Graduate Coordinator and what they do?
- How can I best work with the faculty?
- What is the Graduate Studies and Research Office and how do I work with it?
- What funding or assistantships are available for graduate students?
- How do I work with Human Subjects and the Institutional Review Board?
- Whom to contact?
What are applied and practicing anthropology?
Applied anthropology generally refers to the application of anthropological knowledge
and methods by academically-employed anthropologists apart from their teaching and
scholarly activities and in partnership with non-academic organizations, communities,
or groups. Practicing anthropology refers to a different role, one in which the anthropologist’s
primary employment is nonacademic and where they may be practicing anthropology within
and in service of the very organization that employs them, which could be a business,
a nonprofit, or a government agency. The basic anthropological skills of each are
similar. To learn more about applied and practicing anthropology and what you can
do with the training provided in our graduate program, please see:
Our Graduate Alumni Profiles
Our Anthropology Department Blog
What is applied anthropology at San Jose State University?
The SJSU graduate program in applied anthropology is designed to help you develop skills in applying or using anthropology and not linked to preparing you for specific job titles. Specifically, its mission is to enable students to build on their knowledge in cultural anthropology, physical anthropology and archaeology, and to develop skills that will allow them address real world problems and issues. The program is not a “cookie cutter” one in which all students develop similar expertise. Rather, it seeks to provide a structure through which students can develop as distinct practitioners by working closely with faculty. The program is organized around a set of common skills in the analysis of social systems and their environments; evaluation; and planning, policy and design.
This program produces skilled practitioners at the MA level who can move into positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors as researchers, administrators and program developers. They do so by applying anthropological knowledge and skills to local, regional, and global problems and issues. Students will work in a variety of relationships with the people they serve, including advocacy, public anthropology, and consutlation. Students will be conversant with the ethical and political implications of each relationship, and the personal and professional skills needed to be efffective. Students in the program can master a variety of models of application, such as:
- Ethnographic methods and their application
- Needs assessment, program evaluation, social impact assessment, and risk assessment
- Organizational analysis
- Physical anthropology, especially in bio-archaeology and forensic anthropology
- Archaeology, cultural resource management and museum studies
- Visual anthropology
- Network and spatial analyses
- Community-based participatory research
Students who successfully complete this program will:
- understand a range of anthropological research methods and be able to conduct research relevant to problem solving in various settings and for different clients/partners;
- know basic models of applying anthropology in different settings and have the skills to be able to function as practitioners of several;
- be knowledgeable about (a) the discipline of anthropology in general and how it contributes to understanding and improving contemporary society, and (b) a particular field of anthropology in greater depth;
- be able to function effectively in at least one content area;
- understand personal, political and ethical issues inherent in research and application;
- develop professionally as practitioners with skills in contracting, project management, and budgeting, as well as the ability to communicate about project goals and findings and the discipline of anthropology to diverse audiences; and
- be knowledgeable about the region as a social and cultural system with complex state, national and global interconnections.
How do I apply to the program?
Students apply for admission to both the University and the department. The program
admits students every fall semester and both the University and department applications
must be submitted by the deadline for fall applications.
For complete information on applying to the program, click here.
What if my background is not in anthropology?
Minimum departmental requirements for the program are a bachelor’s degree in anthropology; or, alternatively: (1) a core of introductory cultural and physical or archaeological anthropology; (2) an upper division methods course in either ethnography, archaeology, or osteology; (3) an upper division anthropological theory course; and (4) six elective units in upper division anthropology. These courses should total at least 18 units. Additionally, the Anthropology Department normally requires a 3.0 grade point average (B or better) in the last 60 semester units of undergraduate work and a 3.0 grade point average in anthropology coursework. Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in anthropology and do not have the prescribed 18 units of anthropological coursework may be admitted conditionally to the M.A. Program in Applied Anthropology under certain circumstances. Students admitted conditionally must fulfill specific conditions before being classified.
Entering students must demonstrate skills and knowledge of anthropology. They may do so by having completed an undergraduate degree in anthropology or by completing an 18-unit preparatory track for the Applied Anthropology Program. The total units and courses in this preparatory track are determined in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator
Courses generally recommended as part of a preparatory track include:
- One or more of the following: ANTH 11 Cultural Anthropology, ANTH 12 Human Evolution, or ANTH 13 Archaeology;
- One of the following: ANTH 149 Ethnographic Methods, ANTh 155 Human Osteology, ANTH 168 Archaeological Methodology, or equivalent experience;
- ANTH 131 Theories of Culture; and
- 6 units of upper division anthropology coursework.
Equivalent courses from other universities may be accepted. Contact the graduate coordinator
for assistance in determining how best to prepare for the program.
Students conditionally admitted to the program must complete a preparatory track of anthropology courses prior to enrolling in or concurrently with core graduate courses.
What are the requirements for the graduate degree in applied anthropology?
A total of 36 units are needed to complete the MA in Applied Anthropology. These 36 units are made up of the following course requirements:
- 18 units of Applied Anthropology Core courses
- ANTH 230 Advanced Theory, 3 units
- ANTH 231 Applications Core, 3 units
- ANTH 232 Applications Core, 3 units
- ANTH 233 Fields of Application, 3 units
- ANTH 234 Advanced Research Methods, 3 units
- ANTH 235* Quantitative Methods, 3 units
* Advisor approved elective may be substituted for ANTH 235
Students admitted unconditionally to the program are only eligible to enroll in core graduate courses until they submit their first First Year Review proposal.
- 6 units of Anthropology Depth
- Two 3-unit upper division anthropology courses approved by faculty advisors**
- 6 units of Field of Application
- Two 3-unit upper division SJSU courses approved by faculty advisors**
- 6 units of Thesis or Project Requirement
- ANTH 280
- ANTH 298 (Project), or ANTH 299 (Thesis)
* Anthropology Depth and Field of Application Courses may NOT include SJSU Studies
courses, ANTH 191, or ANTH 193. These courses may also NOT include transfers from
community colleges. Field of Application course may be taken outside of the Department
How do I know what courses to take in order to make good progress in completing the requirements?
The program can be completed in two years, if courses are taken as follows.
- ANTH 230 Advanced Theory.
- ANTH 231 Applications Core.
- ANTH 233 Fields of Application.
- ANTH 234 Advanced Research Methods.
- ANTH 232 Applications Core.
- ANTH 235 Quantitative Methods (or SCWK242, GEOG 195 or 279, SOCI 200B or HS 267, per
- One upper-division or graduate-level anthropology courses (Anthropology Depth Requirement) and one upper-division or graduate-level SJSU course (Fields of Application Requirement)
- ANTH 280 Structured Research Experience
- One upper-division or graduate-level anthropology course (Anthropology Depth Requirement) and one upper-division or graduate-level SJSU course (Fields of Application Requirement)
- ANTH 298 Project or ANTH 299 Thesis
What graduate courses in anthropology are offered?
Students admitted unconditionally to the program are only eligible to enroll in core graduate courses until they submit their first First Year Review proposal.
- ANTH 230 Advanced Theory. In-depth analysis of anthropological theory and accompanying methodology, including
recent innovations in theory and method. Research design. 3 units.
- Prerequisite: ANTH 131 or instructor consent.
- ANTH 231 Applications Core. Methods for the analysis of sociocultural systems, ethnographic evaluation, and
program/design development. Emphasis on professionalism, project management, budgeting,
ethics, and contracts. 3 units.
- Prerequisite: ANTH 105 or instructor consent.
- ANTH 232 Applications Core. Methods for the analysis of sociocultural systems, ethnographic evaluation, and
program/design development. Emphasis on professionalism, project management, budgeting,
ethics, and contracts. 3 units.
- Prerequisite: ANTH 231 or instructor consent.
- ANTH 233 Fields of Application. Survey of domains in which anthropological skills and knowledge are applied. Topics include health, business and industry, sustainable regions, and immigration. Emphasis is on opportunities for anthropological contributions. 3 units.
- ANTH 234 Advanced Research Methods. Advanced research methods including individual and group interviewing, structured
observation, and formal analytical methods. Emphasis on data management, ethnographic
writing, and presentation of data through different media. 3 units.
- Prerequisite: ANTH 149 or equivalent.
- ANTH 235 Quantitative Methods. Understanding of quantitative methods for the analysis of various data sets. Emphasis
on determining appropriate statistics, interpreting statistics in reports and scholarly
literature, creating databases, and using statistical software packages (e.g., SYSTAT,
SPSS), and comprehension of statistical results. Quantitative approaches in anthropology
and their relevance to regional issues. 3 units.
- Prerequisite: STAT 095 or equivalent.
- ANTH 280 Structured Research Experience 3 units.
- ANTH 298 Project or ANTH 299 Thesis 3 units.
What is the structured research experience requirement (ANTH 280)?
ANTH 280 is an internship developed by the student in coordination with their faculty advisor and an outside organization. The internship allows students to gain practical experience in conducting research or applying anthropology. ANTH 280 is required of all students, regardless of whether they are working towards a thesis or a project report (see below). The internship entails working in a stuctured research or professional setting on behalf of an organization and being supervised by one of its staff and a faculty member. Alternatively, a student may conduct research under supervision by a member of the graduate faculty as part of one of their ongoing project. How you fulfill the ANTH 280 requirement should support your thesis or project and be undertaken in consulation with appropriate faculty members. You will enroll in this 3-unit course (C/NC) with your primary advisor, often by the end of your second semester.
How do I choose between thesis or project?
Students must complete either a thesis or project in order to graduate. In both cases, you determine which route you will take when preparing your proposal as part of the First Year Review. Students complete a thesis under supervision of a department committee (and enroll in ANTH 299) and then it is submitted to the University Graduate Studies & Research Office for final approval (consult your advisor on developing a timeline for graduate committee review and Graduate Studies deadlines). Students completing projects undertake a project in applied anthropology and prepare a report documenting the process and results (and enroll in ANTH 298 instead of 299). The report is submitted to the anthropology graduate faculty, but not Graduate Studies. All research or professional activity must conform to the ethical standards of the discipline of anthropology as outlined by the American Anthropological Association, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the requirements of the university’s Institutional Review Board (see "What goes into a proposal for either a thesis or project?" and "How do I work with Human Subjects and the Institutional Review Board?" below).
Whether you complete a thesis or project, your graduate work will be guided by a committee and you will probably work most closely with your committee chair. There are important differences between thesis and projects, and understanding them is critical to making the right decision for you: what is best for one student or topic might not be best for another.
A thesis is a scholarly contribution to general knowledge. It follows a fairly standard, traditional form across disciplines and fields, and your thesis must conform to the format required by Graduate Studies & Research. Typically, a thesis has an introductory chapter that includes a problem statement, a literature review chapter followed by one on methodology, one or more chapters of data and findings, a discussion chapter, and a concluding chapter. This basic template can be modified to best meet your needs, but it must be done in consultation with your committee chair to ensure it meets university requirements.
A project report documents some activity that you undertook to apply anthropological skills and knowledge. Specifically, its length and organization are more variable and must be negotiated with your committee chair and the graduate faculty of the department. Project reports may be as brief as 50 pages and as long as several hundred. The report will typically document the problem, question or issue that stimulated the application; a literature review that includes both the history of the specific problem and its context, as well as comparable problems elsewhere is included. It will document in detail the application (i.e., what you did), its rationale (i.e., why you took the steps you did), and the outcomes (i.e., what happened). Although the emphasis will be on solving or addressing a particular problem, the report will also include systematic reflection on what happened and why, the larger lessons you learned, and how they might inform practice in the future.
There are several things to keep in mind as you consider which plan to pursue. With a thesis, the emphasis is on the final product of your labor, the thesis. With a project, the emphasis is more on the activity you are documenting. Not everything need “work” for you to be successful; it is only necessary that what you did reflects professional standards of practice and that you learned from what happened. If you plan to subsequently pursue a doctorate, the thesis may provide better preparation. If you are plannning a career as a practitioner who solves particular problems in communities and organizations, then a project may be best. There are no differences in the effort that students will expend on a thesis versus a project; the effort just takes different forms. Likewise, both the thesis and project report must meet the same standard of quality.
Talk over your plans and ideas with the faculty and, in particular, your committee chair. Try to find the best fit between your goals and interests, and the constraints of thesis or project. Do not try to figure out what is easiest, but look for what is most appropriate.
How do I enroll for the Project course (ANTH 298) or the Thesis course (ANTH 299)?
When you are ready to write up your project or thesis, and you have shared some rough drafts with your committee chair, you should consult with your committee chair to enroll in the appropriate course. If you are completing a thesis, you should ask your chair to set up a section of ANTH 299 and add you to it; if you are completing a project you should ask your chair to set up a section of ANTH 298. We encourage you to discuss the timing of your ANTH 298 or ANTH 299 with your chair. Sections of either course are easily set up at the start of the semester and you add them like any other course by using a permission number provided by your chair.
What goes into a proposal for either a thesis or project?
Thesis and project proposals are formal documents that are submitted to the faculty
in a student's second semester (the date is announced by the Graduate Coordinator
in the Fall semester; see "First Year Review" above). Whether a student elects to
do a thesis or project, the general outline of the proposal is the same. Where there
are differences in content, they are noted in the outline below.
A proposal should be a maximum of 20 double-spaced pages, in Times New Roman font, with one inch margins and numbered pages. Page count does not include abstract, references, or attachments (e.g., MOUs, IRB applications, supporting doucments).
1. Abstract (approximately 250 words)
- This section should comprehensively and clearly summarize your proposal. It should succinctly state the problem or objective, the significance of the thesis or project, and the methods to be used. Because it is comprehensive, this section should be written after completing the other sections.
2. Introduction and Problem Statement (approximately 900-1000 words)
- This section should include a detailed statement of the problem that is to be studied (in the case of a thesis) or addressed and even solved (in the case of a project). Thesis problems can in principle be addressed through research leading to the generation of knowledge, while project problems are typically addressed through an intervention that is informed by applying the skills and knowledge of anthropology. This section should also elaborate in detail the goals or objectives of the thesis or project. Here is a helpful outline for this section:
- (a) introduce your research topic and objectives in a succint paragraph (e.g., "In this study, I will examine how crowdwork strategies in A and B companies affect trust among workers within the organization and how this affects productivity"). For a project, this also entails introducing your partner or client organization and their stated needs.
- (b) the problem statement -- tell us what the problem is in your case(s) (e.g., homelessness camps in a city park), then situate it within broader trends in the issue area (e.g., homelessness or poverty) and applied anthropology (succinctly introduce an anthropological frame for thinking about the problem).
- (c) For a thesis, introduce a research question or two that is appropriate to the problem statement. While some projects are also driven by research questions, project proposals should go specify the intended "deliverable," or product to be delivered to the partner or client organization (e.g., report, course or workshop, program design, exhibit).
- (d) Roadmap of the proposal - In one short paragraph, please preview the sections of the proposal, including the literature you review, proposed methodology, and project timeline.
3. Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts (approximately 500 words)
- This section should succinctly describe how the proposed thesis or project is significant in terms of the National Science Foundation Criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts.
- For a thesis, this section should detail the potential for the proposed activity to both: (a) advance knowledge and understanding within anthropology and (in some cases) across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and (b) how this knowledge could contribute to the benefit of society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts).
- For a project, this section should succinctly describe the types of anthropological knowledge and/or concepts that are being applied to the project (Intellectual Merit); and (b) how the project will produce benefits for a specific community, organization, and/or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts).
4. Review of Relevant Literature (approximately 1500-1800 words)
- This section should include a comprehensive review of the literature pertinent to the problem. This review should demonstrate that the student has thoroughly studied the relevant literature in the field, for problem solving is cumulative: it builds on the efforts of other people. The scope of pertinent literature will vary according to the nature of the problem being addressed, and the student should discuss it carefully with the faculty as they prepare the proposal.
5. Methodological Approaches (approximately 1000 words)
- This section should state the design of the proposed study or intervention. It should be supported by references to the appropriate methodological literature to explain and justify your methodological decisions.
(A) For a thesis, this includes:
- Your general methodological strategy. What are the components in your methodology, meaning both data collection (e.g., a combination of interviews and participant observation) and analysis (e.g., content analysis, statistics) and how do they work together to collect data that can answer your research question(s) in a way informed by your engagement with the literature you reviewed?
- A description of the specific site(s) in your study and your rationale for selecting them
- Sample, participant selection, and recruitment, and population(s) that will be the subject(s) of your study: describe the relevant characteristics of the population(s), organization(s), and place(s) that will be the subject of your study
- Strategies for collecting data. Here, you specify the methods you previewed in the methodology. What are your planned data collection activities, why are they appropriate, and how will you carry them out? It is not sufficient to say that you will conduct interviews, participant observation, or an excavation. You have to explain how you will do this and how this will yield data that speak to your research question.
- Strategies for analysis. What are your planned data analysis activites, why are they appropriate, and how will you carry them out? This should include definitions of variables and/or how you will identify patterns in your data. You must not only identify how you will detect patterns within variables (e.g., themes in people's attitudes toward plastic waste), but also relationships between variables (e.g., how attitudes toward plastic waste may be related to race, class, gender, or ethnicity).
(B) For a project report, this includes:
- a description of the specific organization, agency, company, or site in which the project will occur
- a detailed description of the proposed intervention or application, including methods of data collection and/or data analysis, when relevant (see thesis outline above for methods)
- an explanation of why this intervention was chosen and why it is a reasonable approach to addressing the real-world problem (with reference to appropriate literature)
- a step-by-step plan for implementing and adjusting the planned intervention
- a description of how sponsorship and intellectual property issues will be addressed (each student should carefully work this out with his or her graduate committee chair)
If data collection and/or data analysis is part of the intervention, then it must be explained and justified, just as it would in the case of a thesis. Remember that conducting a project is not enough. You must document the intervention and your role in it to prepare the project report.
6. Time Line of Activities (approximately 300 words)
- This section should include all the activities required to complete your thesis or project. There are different ways to structure this, but you must provide a month-by-month calendar (table or bullet list) by which you can determine the sequence of activities, their interdependencies, and when it is reasonable for you to graduate. Remember to include sufficient time for writing and revising the thesis or report. You should meet with your faculty to discuss reasonable expectations for turn aroundtime on drafts. Remember that the faculty may not be available to read your work during summers.
7. Reference List
- The reference list should conform to the Chicago Manual Style author/date guidelines.
8. Ethical Considerations and Human Subjects Review
- This is not part of the main body of the research proposal, but an attachment that is required in many cases.
- All proposals should include an attachment of a completed SJSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) Exclusion Worksheet. Completing the worksheet will indicate whether the proposed study or project is eligible for expedited or full IRB review, or if it is exempted.
- Students whose exclusion worksheets indicate that full or expedited reviews are required must complete a request for approval of research with human subjects and attach it as the final portion of the thesis or project proposal. If and when a student's thesis or project proposal is approved by the Graduate Faculty, the student will submit the IRB proposal with their graduate committee chair.
- Students are advised to begin by familiarizing themselves with SJSU IRB requirements and discussing their research or intervention with their committee members as early as possible.
How do I form a graduate committee?
You can start by discussing your interests with the graduate coordinators or with
any of the graduate faculty members. As part of your proposal as part of the First Year Review, you will submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that indicates the faculty you request as committee chair and members. As part of
the First Year Review process, the graduate faculty will decide on final committee
chair assignments based on students requests, faculty expertise, and the distribution
of faculty workloads.
A graduate committee plays a critical role in a student’s education by assisting them in preparing a program of study that will help them achieve their educational goals. It is specifically charged with guiding the student through the thesis or project process, and the committee’s approval of the thesis or project report is required in order to complete the degree requirements. Individual graduate committees will differ in how they operate, depending upon the preferences of their chair and the other members, the student’s needs, and the nature of the thesis or project. The main goals of the program’s graduate committee system are to (1) help maintain the quality and integrity of the program and (2) help the student become a practicing applied anthropologist.
Graduate committees in the program must conform to the following policies:
- Both thesis committees and project committees are types of graduate committees (depending on which Graduate Studies plan the student is following) and the Applied Anthropology Graduate Program policies governing their composition are the same.
- A graduate committee must have at least three members, one of whom is its chair. The graduate committee chair is also known as the student’s graduate advisor. The committee may include additional members if requested by the student and approved by the committee chair.
- The committee chair and at least one additional member of the committee must be tenured or tenure track faculty members in the Anthropology Department.
- Part-time or full-time temporary faculty, faculty in the early retirement program (FERP), and non-faculty with expertise related to the thesis topic may serve as committee members, if approved by the graduate committee chair and if acceptable to the Anthropology Department’s other permanent faculty members.
- Students are encouraged to discuss their interests and goals with the graduate faculty, and to work with a committee chair/advisor of their choosing.
- Other members of the committee should be mutually agreeable to the student and the committee chair, and, of course, be willing to serve on the committee. The department reserves the right to intervene in assigning the third member of a committee in order to help balance faculty workload.
- Once a graduate committee is formed, its composition should be described in a Memorandum of Understanding to be completed by the student, signed by the members of the student's committee, and submitted to the graduate coordinator who will verify that it meets program policies before placing a copy in the student’s file. Any proposed changes in committee membership must be similarly documented and submitted to the graduate coordinator. Prior to approving any committee or changes in committee composition, the graduate coordinator with confirm them with the affected faculty members.
- A new or modified thesis or project proposal must be approved by the committee chair if the thesis or project work deviates significantly from the original proposal. Committee chairs determine the need for a new proposal, based on open communication from the student.
Who are the regular graduate faculty?
- Dr. Jan English-Lueck, Professor
- Dr. A.J. Faas, Assistant Professor
- Dr. Roberto Gonzalez, Professor
- Dr. Marco Meniketti, Professor
- Dr. Elizabeth Weiss, Professor
- Dr. Charlotte Sunseri, Associate Professor
What is the First Year Review?
Every spring semester the first-year cohort's progress and project/thesis proposals will be reviewed by a faculty panel (comprised of the department's graduate committee). Prior to this panel review, students will be asked to finalize and submit their thesis/project proposals attached to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) listing potential committee members. The faculty panel will review student proposals, confer on student progress, and discuss any concerns with the student. Students may change the MOU later in consultation with their committee, but the goal is for every student to have a working MOU/proposal by the end of first year. The committee will provide written evaluations, including ratings and feedback on content, to students 3-5 weeks after the submission deadline, typically mid-semester. Within 2-4 weeks of notification to the student, the First Year Review panel will be held to allow private meetings between each student and the committee. At the panel review, students have opportunity to provide a written response to the faculty evaluation for their file, discuss matters of concern or questions, and finalize which faculty will serve on the three-person thesis/project committee. Students are expected to speak directly to how they will improve their proposals in the areas identified by faculty reviewers as being in need of improvement. All students in the first year of the MA are advised to carefully read and follow the procedures in the First Year Review Policy.
What is admission to First Year Review?
General university requirements for admission to candidacy for the MA degree include satisfactory completion of the First Year Review process and the satisfactory completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirements (fulfilled by successful completion of ANTH 230). Once a student meets these criteria, it is their responsibility to complete the appropriate Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluation (GAPE) form and submit it to the graduate coordinator. The deadlines for this form each semester are posted to the GAPE website (http://www.sjsu.edu/gape/current_students/deadlines/). If the performance of the student is satisfactory and the student is considered to be a potentially competent and mature practitioner, he or she will be advanced to candidacy. Students who fail to meet the expected standards will be terminated from the program.
How do I apply for graduation?
Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations controls the process for graduation and
you should consult its website in order to learn current policies and procedures. Visit their website for up-to-date information on deadlines, applications, and procedures.
What is the Anthropology Graduate Student Passport?
If you have read this far from the top, you may be getting the sense that there are
many things to keep track of as an Applied Anthropology Graduate student at SJSU.
With this in mind, we have created a tool to help students keep track of their responsibilities
and the appropriate procedures at each stage of their progress through the program.
At the mandatory graduate student orientation at the beginning of the Fall semester,
each student will be granted a personalized Graduate Student Passport. Inside the
passport, there are areas marked with program requirements in the order in which students
will progress through them. Each time you complete a requirement, just visit the Anthropology
Department Office Staff or the Graduate Coordinator for a stamp and then set your
sites on the next box to get stamped. It's really much easier than it may seem at
Who is the Graduate Coordinator and what do they do?
Graduate Coordinator is A.J. Faas (408-924-5732), firstname.lastname@example.org. The graduate coordinator is responsible for facilitating the discussions that result in a high quality program that meets student needs, while conforming to the faculty’s beliefs about what is good practice. The graduate faculty members are committed to working collaboratively on developing and teaching the curriculum; the coordinator facilitates those discussions. The Graduate Coordinator is also responsible for making sure that practices in the department are consistent with those of the university so students can graduate in a timely manner. They are also responsible for handling the nuts and bolts of admitting students and helping students work effectively with Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations and Graduate Studies & Research. The Graduate Coordinator is here to help students understand the program requirements and to make sure individual students are following them, but your interests may not be the same as the coordinator’s and you are encouraged to seek out those faculty members who can best help you meet your educational objectives.
How can I best work with the faculty?
Once a faculty member has agreed to work with you as a committee chair or member, you will work closely to develop your project proposal and final report/thesis. Please respect facutly time by submitting well-edited and carefully constructed papers, and providing drafts well in advance of department or university deadlines. Be aware that the standard time to expect full feedback from faculty on proposals may be three weeks, and on final report/thesis drafts may be up to six weeks.
Successful graduate students generally communicate well with the faculty, especially those with whom they work closely. Communication does not have to be elaborate, but brief, frequent updates are useful. If anything outside of school is affecting your capacity to complete coursework and projects at a high standard then you should discuss the situation with the Graduate Coordinator, an advisor/mentor, and/or your committee chair.
Remember, too, that being in a graduate program is different than being in many undergraduate ones. Attendance and participation in classes is expected and few classes will be lecture format. As students, you will be playing a large role in leading and participating in class discussions. Obviously, the faculty expects that you will be prepared for class.
In undergraduate classes, the professor typically frames the questions and the students provide answers. You probably did that quite well, or you would not be admitted to the graduate program. In graduate school you are expected to become the producer of the questions and to further develop skills in answering them. In other words, the faculty will not simply tell you what to do, for being a professional means learning how to apply your skills and knowledge to new situations.
What is the Graduate Studies & Research Office and how do I work with it?
“Grad Studies” (GS&R) is the university office that is responsible for all graduate programs at San Jose State. In order to graduate, you must meet both the department requirements and those of Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations and Graduate Studies & Research. In particular, Grad Studies controls the deadlines that affect when you will graduate, especially if you are following Plan A and writing a thesis. This office also administers the campus human subjects protections that guide research conducted with people. It is your responsibility to be familiar with Grad Studies requirements and operations. Visit their websites (http://www.sjsu.edu/gape/ and http://www.sjsu.edu/gradstudies/), click on “Current Students” and explore!
What funding or assistantships are available for graduate students?
There are multiple funding opportunities for graduate students, particularly for use in research or professional development purposes. The department
has a series of "GRAD (Graduate Research and Development) Grants" for graduate research
projects. These grants include Seed Grants (maximum award: $250) for costs of an exploratory project in its early stages, Research and Development Grants (maximum award: $500) to support an M.A. project or thesis (including work on a faculty-led
project), and Travel Grants (maximum award: $750) to support travel to an academic conference for the purpose
of presenting a professional paper. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis
(throughout the academic year), and students should consult with a faculty sponsor
regarding the application. Additionally, some faculty projects may be able to offer
internships with paid positions. Besides these department funds the College of Social
Science offers some research grants for faculty and students (typically announced
each September, and sometimes again in January)-see the college website for more information.
How do I work with Human Subjects and the Institutional Review Board?
Currently, every student whose M.A. work involves human beings is expected to file a protocol to the HS-IRB (Human Subjects Institutional Review Board). Any student who does not have approval from the HS-IRB will not receive a degree from San Jose State University. Some projects will be exempt, but that determination is made by the IRB coordinator and an application-protocol must still be filed. Most of anthropology projects do not involved protected classes of people, such as children, patients with mental illness, pregnant women or prisoners, and so can be expedited, or given a relatively rapid review. Projects involving protected classes of people must have a full review by the IRB. Filling out the forms correctly and taking thoughtful appropriate precautions is essential to having a successful experience with the IRB. Carefully consult the forms, instructions, and tutorials provided through the IRB website. Templates for completing the protocol that are adapted to ethnographic research are available through the Anthropology Department.
Whom to contact?
Most of your questions will likely be about planning your courses and project/thesis, and will be answered by your committee chair or another faculty member. Most questions about the Applied Anthropology Graduate Program should be addressed to the graduate coordinator(s). The office staff will also be able to answer many questions and do not forget the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) and Graduate Studies & Research (GS&R) website as a source of information. Finally, the department chair is ultimately responsible for both the graduate and undergraduate programs in anthropology.
Graduate Coordinator is A.J. Faas (408-924-5732), email@example.com