Apply for Admission

While we welcome applications from students with a wide range of experiences and a diversity of undergraduate degrees, we recommend that you have a B.A. or B.S. in Anthropology or an allied field. If you do not, then we have a set of pre-requisite classes that you must take after you matriculate.


We suggest that you submit your application for admission as early as possible in the application cycle (i.e., in the preceding academic year and summer), we accept students on a rolling basis and close our admissions process once the cohort is full. Note that the University has institutional deadlines for final submissions by candidates; if you are in doubt about whether or not we are still accepting applications, then please contact the graduate coordinator to confirm.

IMPORTANT: regardless of any "formal" deadlines listed on-line or in press, the Anthropology Department is willing to accept and review applications on a rolling basis, and usually we make final decisions within ten days of having received the complete application package.

If you have a specific problem submitting your application, please contact the Graduate Coordinator in Anthropology as soon as possible. In exceptional circumstances, we will consider applications outside of the fall and spring deadlines. For more information about applying and how to be successful in gaining admission see our FAQs.

If you are interested in receiving more information about the M.A. in Anthropology at SF State, then send us your contact details by filling out this form.

To apply for a place on the M.A., please complete the two-part application:

Part 1: Submitted to the SF State Graduate Division (on-line)

Important note for applicants for Fall 2017 admission: SFSU is currently transitioning to a new on-line admission's application. The new system will not be fully functioning until September 2017. In the meantime, you should contact the Graduate Coordinator in Anthropology (Doug Bailey), who will work with you to complete and submit Part 1 of your application.

Part 2: Submitted to the Department of Anthropology (on-line or by mail)

We require that you submit your Part 2 documents by sending your files directly to Professor Doug Bailey, the Graduate Coordinator in Anthropology ( You can submit individual items of your Part 2 as you have them ready.

If you are submitting your application as hard-copies by snail-mail, then assemble the documents and information listed below and mail them to us as the following address.

Graduate Coordinator
Department of Anthropology
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, California 94132-4155






One-page Curriculum Vitae

Using no more than one-page, please provide the following information: (1) full name; (2) SF State ID number (provided from Cal State Apply); (3) current mailing address; (4) phone number; (5) email address; (6) undergraduate degree (institution, date awarded, degree title, thesis title, if any); (7) postgraduate degree, if any (institution, date awarded, degree title, thesis title, if any); and (8) area of interest within Anthropology (archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical / biological anthropology, or visual anthropology).

Statement of Purpose (500 word max)

Explain your experience, interests, and goals as a student of anthropology, and your plans post-M.A. In particular address the following topics: (1) which of the subfields of Anthropology most interests you as an area of specialism (archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical / biological anthropology, visual anthropology); (2) what parts of your academic (or other experience, including field or lab-based) work has best prepared you to undertake graduate-level work in anthropology; and (3) which department faculty member would you like to work with; include details of any contact you have already had with that faculty member.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Ask two people with knowledge of your abilities, achievements, and character to write letters in support of your application. You will do best to ask former or current teachers, advisors, or others who have supervised your academic or project-based work. Letters should be sent directly to the Department of Anthropology by your recommenders. If you referees are sending their letters by mail, then give your recommenders pre-addressed and stamped envelopes. It is easier for them (and for us) if you are your referees to send their letters directly to the Graduate Coodinator (; remind them of the deadline for the application.

Writing Sample

Provide a graded essay, undergraduate thesis chapter, or other written work (e.g., if you have published professionally) which most clearly shows your ability to communicate in written form. We will use the Writing Sample to assess your technical ability to write as well as your knowledge of anthropological (or other professional) literature. One essay, one thesis chapter, or one piece of published work is sufficient.

Applicants wishing to focus on Visual Anthropology

If you plan to focus on Visual Anthropology, and if you have made films or completed substantial photographic or other graphic work, you should submit copies of this work to the Graduate Coordinator at the address above (note: costs of postage mean that hard copies cannot be returned). The format of submissions should allow easy access and viewing of the work (e.g., a DVD or thumb-drive).

Official transcripts

Please submit transcripts for all undergraduate classes and any previously completed graduate work. In addition to any transcripts required by the Graduate Division (in Part One of your application), all applicants must send this separate set of transcripts directly to the Department. Do not send multiple copies to either location. Stronger applicants will use their Statement of Purpose to explain how the particular classes that they have completed fit into their personal interests and goals.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores

Instruct the Education Testing Service to send official transcripts of your GRE scores directly to the University (Institution Code: 4684). While we cannot make formal offers of admisson without your GRE scores, it maybe possible, in very exceptional cases, to arrange a delay in receipt of test scores; contact the Graduate Coordinator in Anthropology if this is an issue. GRE scores must be of a test taken within the past five years. Applicants must have a minimum combined score of 1000 (old scale) and 450 on either section. For the new scale (i.e., after August 2011), applicants must have a minimum combined score of 300 with no less than 150 on the verbal or quantitative reasoning section. Applicants must have a minimum analytical writing score of 4.0.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Students whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must take the TOEFL test, and obtain a score of 550 (on the written test) or 213 (on the computer test) or 79-80 (on the Internet Based Test) or have an equivalent score (6.0) on the International English Language Test Scheme.


While we understand that there maybe a delay in getting transcripts, GRE scores and letters of recommendations, we request that you send all of Part Two (the application to the Department) in one package.