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Department of Anthropology

Graduate Advisement


The Anthropology Department approaches graduate advising through a number of different practices that serve to reinforce each other and to strengthen the quality of graduate education that we are providing. Our advisement practices help the faculty to manage our growing graduate student body, and help faculty mentor our graduate students. Our practices help graduate students to maintain a clear sense of their responsibilities and faculty expectations, maintain a sense and practice of progress toward the degree, and improve student scholarly and professional development.

Mandatory Fall and Spring Meetings

During the third week of Fall and Spring quarters, the faculty hold a mandatory meeting for all graduate students. At the Fall meeting, graduate students meet and reconnect with their faculty and with each other. Faculty members discuss their expectations and requirements for graduate students, and offer advice on how to successfully tackle and complete a graduate degree in Anthropology. Students are apprised of thesis and comprehensive exam guidelines available in our department office, and of other resources that the department has created to help graduate students succeed. Students are encouraged to form study groups and to join our active departmental graduate student organizations.

The Spring Quarter meeting is mainly directed at explaining and formally initiating the annual Graduate Student Self-Evaluation, which is described below.

Advisors and Programs

Graduate students are encouraged to select their own advisors from the graduate faculty by the end of the first quarter of enrollment. When this proves difficult, an initial advisor is assigned to the student. Students are allowed to change advisors when another faculty member is better fitted to the studentís developing program of study. Graduate students develop and update their degree programs in consultation with their chosen advisors.†

Graduate students may choose from the following MA option in Anthropology: Sociocultural, Archaeology, Forensics, and General Anthropology. These university-approved tracks specify the required and elective courses for each option. Hand-outs for these are on file in the department office. Graduate students must select a specific track to follow. However, students are permitted to change tracks, provided that they then fulfill the requirements of the new track.

Graduate students are required to meet with their advisors at least once a year and encouraged to do so more frequently to review their program and progress toward the degree. Students are also strongly encouraged to form mentor and recommender relationships with more than one faculty member in the department.

Thesis and Comprehensive Exams

The department has developed written guidelines for a thesis proposal and thesis, and for comprehensive exams. These are available in the department office. Graduate students are required to form committees for the thesis or comprehensive exams. A formal thesis proposal must be approved by the faculty. Guidelines for the proposal, thesis, and comprehensive exams are in the department office.

Graduate Student Self-Evaluation

The graduate faculty has developed and installed an annual procedure of graduate student self-evaluation. In early Spring Quarter, graduate students are given a departmental form which they are to complete and return to the department office in mid-May of that year. First year students are provided with a form geared specifically to their level in the program. Second year and beyond students are given a form with additional questions. The form queries students about their courses and grades, their choice of thesis or comprehensive exam option and committee members, research interests, professional engagement including conference attendance, paper presentations, publications, and awards during the previous year, and future plans. After the completed forms are collected in late Spring Quarter, the graduate faculty holds an all day meeting during which faculty members review the progress of all enrolled graduate students, including those who have failed to submit a self-evaluation form. During the early summer months, the department chair sends a written letter to each enrolled graduate student, informing that student of the faculty evaluation of his or her progress toward the degree. Participation in the self-evaluation process is not required, but is strongly advised, as well as encouraged as a form of collegial participation in the departmental community.

Department of Anthropology

Undergraduate Advisement


Undergraduate students in Anthropology begin their career at CSULA or transfer from community colleges. In both cases, the department has an advisement form in which all the requirements are clearly stated and grouped into categories.

Meeting with an undergraduate anthropology advisor is encouraged early in the program, upon declaring anthropology as their major. Another meeting is required to verify eligibility for graduation. In addition, students are encouraged to meet with an advisor for consultation on their program and the choices that are made during their undergraduate years.

The BA in Anthropology has three components:† lower division required courses, upper division required courses, and electives.

The program for anthropology has core courses that are required: 12 units of lower division introductory courses and 12 units of upper division courses. The program also requires students to complete a foreign language requirement by transferring 3 years of high school language courses, completing three quarters of a college language, taking three courses in linguistics and linguistic anthropology at CSULA, or by receiving a score indicating at least 2nd year proficiency on the college level foreign language placement test.

The BA in Anthropology requires students to complete 72 units in the program, of which 48 units are electives. Students are advised to select their electives according to different categories, and they are guided during advisement sessions to define their areas of interest and to explore the content of the different courses before enrolling. They are also advised to look at the entire course offering of the university.

In addition to advising students about the requirements for the anthropology department, advisement often covers general education (G.E.) information, G.E. upper division theme requirements, and overall goals in the studentís academic careers. Students are generally directed to the Natural and Social Sciences advisement center for questions pertaining to general education requirements.




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Last Update: 10/4/2010