Some Notes about the Anthropology M.A. Program

Author: Peter Bialla
August 16, 2021

Thank you for your interest in the Anthropology M.A. program at San Francisco State University. If you are considering admission in Fall 2022, this letter is for you. We are not accepting new applications for Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. Beginning October 1, we will begin evaluating applicants for Fall 2022; our deadline for first-pass consideration of applicants is February 15, 2022.

Anthropology at San Francisco State

The Masters Program in has emphases in Archaeology, Cultural, Medical, Biologial and Visual Anthropology. We begin to reviewing M.A. applicants on October 1st. After that date, please contact faculty members in the emphasis you would like to pursue. Details are below.

The Pandemic:

By Fall, 2022, we expect that the COVID pandemic will be under control and that the vast majority of courses offered at San Francisco State University will meet on campus in normal faceto-face classes.


If you are a US citizen but not a resident of California, it may be helpful to know that students from 16 other western states and territories * are eligible for California-resident tuition.

International Students:

In order for you to get the most current information about applying to San Francisco State, you should send an email of enquiry concerning your interest to

Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology

When admitted, applicants without an Anthropology B.A. are required to take three prerequisite courses, Introduction to Archaeology, Introduction to Biological Anthropology, and an Introduction to Anthropological Theory. Taking these classes in advance is a good idea. The archaeology and bio introductions are available at most junior colleges. The anthropology theory course will be easiest to find in a four-year college, including SF State.

Application facts:

Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your application:

  1. Before you begin the application process after October, you should review the section on Cal State Apply Application Tips section provided by the Division of Graduate studies for help in submitting an application. The Anthropology Department requests that you submit the specific materials listed below:

    • In Supporting Materials: Enter work experience, awards or other relevant achievements, if any. For the Statement of Purpose write: “Uploaded to Program Materials Section”.
    • In Program Materials: Upload all documents including the statement of purpose, transcripts and your writing sample. You also need to enter contact information for your recommenders. They will automatically be sent directions for uploading their letters of recommendation. 
  2. Keep in mind that a complete application requires that you submit two letters of recommendation. Those usually can’t be requested at the last moment.
  3. Beginning in October, 2021, you should contact potential thesis/creative works advisors who share your interests before you submit an application. As part of your Statement of Interest, you are required to identify the faculty member you would like to work with and present ideas for potential projects. Discussions with faculty members before application submission are necessary for you to craft an appropriate statement regarding potential topics for research.

In order to be sure that you will speak with the proper faculty member, review the faculty profiles and find the right one(s) to contact regarding your specialty and your application. Our recent video with portraits of faculty members will also be useful. Please note that although Drs. Quesada and Schonberg are faculty members in our Department, neither can act as an official first advisor for graduate students.

After October 1, please feel free to contact me with questions about the process of admission for Fall 2022.

Peter Biella, professor
Graduate Coordinator for Prospective Students Director,
Visual Anthropology emphasis or

* Students from the following states and territories pay the same tuition as California residents: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, the CNMI. Guam, Hawai'i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. For more information, see Western Regional Graduate Programs.