Anthropology Graduate Handbook

Welcome to our MA program in Anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage! Our program is recognized nationally as a leader in training applied anthropologists and archaeologists, and provides students with a rigorous background in the contemporary theory and practice of holistic anthropology through a combination of coursework, internships/practicums, and a research-based thesis.

  • Introduction

    Welcome to our MA program in Anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage! Our program is recognized nationally as a leader in training applied anthropologists and archaeologists, and provides students with a rigorous background in the contemporary theory and practice of holistic anthropology through a combination of coursework, internships/practicums, and a research-based thesis.

    Our program offers three concentrations in applied anthropology for students to choose from. Applied Cultural Anthropology employs socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories and methods for identifying, understanding, and working to address contemporary problems or issues in response to the expressed needs of community groups. Applied Biocultural Anthropology encompasses forensic anthropology, bioarchaeology, and other practical applications of biological anthropology for community groups, from a biocultural perspective. Cultural Resource Management involves the inventory, assessment, and conservation of archaeological sites, and human and cultural remains, working in cooperation with descendant communities and other stakeholders. Students are free to develop MA thesis research projects within any area of anthropology. For example, Cultural Resource Management students may do research in historical archaeology, Indigenous archaeology, prehistory, or public archaeology (just to name a few ideas), and students interested in medical anthropology may choose either the Applied Cultural or the Applied Biocultural concentration.

    Anthropology MA Program Objectives

    Our program Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) guide the development and implementation of our curriculum, to ensure that students graduating with a Master of Arts in Anthropology from UAA will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate graduate-level knowledge of core concepts and research methods in the selected applied program concentration: Applied Cultural Anthropology, Applied Biocultural Anthropology, or Cultural Resource
    2. Articulate key ethical considerations and responsibilities in applied anthropological research.
    3. Design, conduct, analyze, and present applied anthropological research within the conventions of the selected program concentration and acceptable to the faculty of the Anthropology

    This handbook provides a detailed explanation of our MA program, from the courses offered and campus facilities and resources available, to outlining the degree process from start to finish. The policies stipulated in the handbook in the year you enter the program will apply to you throughout the program, regardless of whether policies change in future years.

    Therefore, it is important to be familiar with them.

    Program History

    The UAA Anthropology MA program was developed in response to growing needs for archaeological and cultural anthropological expertise in Alaska and the strong interest of UAA Anthropology undergraduate students at that time in having a Master’s program locally available to expand their training and obtain the credentials needed for employment in local agencies (which often require an MA). The primary emphasis of the MA program from the beginning was in Applied Anthropology. Our program also emphasizes education in and service to Alaska and other communities in the circumpolar North, and prioritizes community-engaged scholarship. The MA program matriculated its first class of students in the Fall Semester of 1999.

    Since 1999, the UAA Anthropology Department has graduated 65 MA students in anthropology and archaeology. The vast majority of our MA students (over 80%) find work in their field during as well as after completion of the degree, and many find work in Alaska across numerous Federal, State, Tribal, non-profit, and private agencies, while others have found work Outside or gone onto PhD programs nationally and internationally. Several of our MA alumni continue to have strong relationships with our Department, often serving on our Graduate Advisory Board or sometimes coming back to teach and do research with us. The fact that our Department has fostered deep, meaningful ties to agencies across Alaska and maintained positive working relationships with alumni means that our faculty are able to keep a pulse on the evolving job and research needs of Alaska, which purposefully feeds back into how we implement our curriculum.

    Our Graduate Advisory Board (GAB), established in the early 2000s, consists of volunteer representatives of various local agencies as well as private sector firms who give advice and guidance on the Anthropology MA program policies at UAA, as well as provide several internship/practicum, employment, and thesis research opportunities for students enrolled in our program. Graduate students are welcome to attend meetings of the GAB, which are announced on the UAA MA e-mail list- serv. 

    Program Administration

    The Anthropology Department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Alaska Anchorage. The department is located in Beatrice McDonald Hall (BMH), on the western end of the campus, with faculty offices on the second floor, and associated labs and teaching space on both floors.

    All Anthropology faculty are involved in the MA program, but two positions are especially key for graduate students: the Graduate Program Coordinator, and your Graduate Advisor.

    Role of the Graduate Program Coordinator

    The Graduate Program Coordinator is your first stop for any questions about the program and thesis research process. The coordinator oversees the admissions process for graduate students, keeps department student files, assigns graduate teaching assistantships, and corresponds with graduate students concerning issues of general importance to them. Newly-admitted students should communicate with the Graduate Program Coordinator concerning the formation of committees and the fulfillment of requirements if conditionally accepted into the program (see Admissions section). Official forms relating to the Graduate Committee, Graduate Study Plan, Temporary Leave of Absence, Practicum/Internship, and other documents need to be provided to the Graduate Program Coordinator as well to the department secretary for placement in the student’s file.

    The Graduate Program Coordinator will use e-mail as a primary means of communication with graduate students.

    Role of Your Graduate Advisor

    Your advisor is your mentor through the MA program. Your Graduate Advisor assists you in attaining your personal goals consistent with the academic standards and requirements of the degree program. This includes working closely with you in designing and revising your thesis research plans, and charting your progress through the degree. Each student entering the Anthropology MA program is assigned a Graduate Advisor automatically. You are, however, able to change advisors if you desire, as long as the new faculty member accepts the role (more information is provided in the Committee section of this handbook).

    Administrative personnel, 2019-2020

    Graduate Program Coordinator: Ryan Harrod, BMH 221, 907 786 4989,

    Department Chair: Clare Dannenberg, BMH 201, 907 786 4386,

    Notice of Non-Discrimination

    The University of Alaska is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution.  The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, physical or mental disability, status as a protected veteran, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, parenthood, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, or other legally protected status. The University's commitment to nondiscrimination, including against sex discrimination, applies to students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment. Contact information, applicable laws, and complaint procedures are included on UA's statement of nondiscrimination available at

  • Anthropology Faculty

    Our anthropology faculty includes practitioners in all four fields of anthropology. Anthropology faculty interests focus on the circumpolar region and especially the heritage, culture, and contemporary issues related to the Indigenous peoples and cultures of Alaska. Current faculty research projects include work locally in Anchorage, and in Hawaii, Northwest Territories and Yukon, southwestern U.S., southern California, and throughout Alaska.

    Current Faculty

    Sally Carraher

    Assistant Professor

    PhD, McMaster University, 2013 E-mail:

    Interests: ethnography, applied anthropology, medical anthropology, epidemiology, Circumpolar north, Indigenous health, decolonizing methodologies, community wellness

    Dr. Carraher’s research focuses on working directly with community members and Indigenous leadership on projects for improving community wellness as it is envisioned by residents for themselves. Dr. Carraher received her BA in anthropology from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003; and her MA in anthropology from Louisiana State University in 2006. At LSU, she worked for the Forensic Anthropology Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) lab on forensic anthropology cases, while completing a thesis on gender inequities in medical education and practice at an eighteenth-century American hospital. In 2006, she returned to Anchorage to take a job as an adjunct instructor in the Human Anatomy and Physiology Labs for the Biology Department. During this time, she also worked at Providence Hospital as an autopsy assistant in the morgue.

    Dr. Carraher is the Ethnographic Fieldwork Lead for the Canadian North Helicobacter pylori (CANHelp) Working Group, primarily on their Aklavik H. pylori Project. This is a community-driven project examining Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection and its association to abnormally high rates of stomach cancer, conducted by the CANHelp Working Group. Dr. Carraher’s primary contribution to this team include community-based ethnography, kinship research, and socially-just knowledge exchange between (primarily non-Indigenous) health researchers and Indigenous communities involved in research.

    Dr. Carraher’s more recent interests have turned toward community-engaged research on homelessness in the circumpolar north. She previously volunteered and conducted research in service to Bean’s Cafe, a day shelter in downtown Anchorage (2014-2016), and currently volunteers on the UAA Hunger and Homelessness Support Network, to work as an ally in service to university students living with income-, food-, and housing insecurity. She is currently co-editing a book Housing and Homelessness in the Urban North: Alaska, Canada’s North, and Greenland, with Drs. Julia Christensen, Steven Arnfjord, and Travis Hedwig (forthcoming). 

    Diane K. Hanson

    Associate Professor

    PhD, Simon Fraser University, 1991 E-mail:

    Interests: Cultural Resource Management, Archaeology, Coastal Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Zooarchaeology.

    Dr. Hanson received her AA degree from Anchorage Community College, now University of Alaska Anchorage in 1975. She received a BA from Western Washington University (1977), MA from University of Alaska Fairbanks (1981), and a PhD in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University (1991). In her dissertation, Dr. Hanson compared late pre-contact subsistence on the southern Northwest coast to ethnographic accounts of subsistence. She has worked throughout Alaska, in south coastal British Columbia and northwestern Washington, and analyzed faunal collections while working in Puerto Rico and New Mexico.

    Dr. Hanson has extensive experience in Cultural Resource Management and moved to full-time faculty status at UAA in 2005 after leaving her position as the Senior District Archaeologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District. Her courses emphasize cultural resource management laws, ethics, procedures, and the practical aspects of working as an applied archaeologist. Her research interests concentrate on late pre-contact people of coastal Alaska. Dr. Hanson is currently working on land use patterns in the Aleutian Islands and is working specifically on Adak Island.

    Kristen A. Ogilvie

    Assistant Professor

    PhD, Arizona State University, 2008 E-mail:

    Interests: Sociocultural anthropology, applied medical anthropology, socio-ecological approaches to prevention, behavioral health and wellness, alcohol and other substance use, rural health disparities.

    Dr. Ogilvie has collaborated for over 10 years with Alaskan communities in researching culturally and contextually appropriate and effective ways to improve behavioral health in rural communities and advocated for more meaningful community participation in behavioral health research. From 2002 to 2015, she managed three National Institutes of Health- funded studies in Alaska focused on substance misuse and risky behavior prevention and also served as a qualitative co- investigator in this research. Now at UAA, she teaches courses in general, applied, and cultural anthropology. Raised in rural Arizona, she earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Arizona and an MA and PhD in Anthropology from Arizona State University.

    Dr. Ogilvie conducts applied research that engages in a critical dialogue with the expanding public health discourse on health disparities and social determinants of health. Her research explores the specific social determinants of behavioral health and the translation of research to practice in rural and underserved communities. Much of her work has sought to develop and test community-based approaches to the prevention of substance misuse, including inhalants and over-the- counter and prescription drugs. Recently, Dr. Ogilvie has been examining the history, effectiveness, and unintended consequences of community local options restrictions on alcohol and now has these policies are being applied to marijuana post legalization. Her work is premised on the understanding that the location of individuals in nested systems (families, peer-groups, communities, regions, states, nation-states, world-system) and in particular historical and ecological settings necessitates holistic inquiry that attends to the contextual, environmental, and cultural factors that influence health. Tantamount to this perspective, she promotes the centrality of community voices and participation in all phases of research.

    Professors Emeriti

    Kerry D. Feldman

    Professor Emeritus

    PhD, University of Colorado, 1973 E-mail:

    Interests: Theory, Applied Anthropology; Southeast Asia, Alaska.

    Dr. Feldman received his PhD in 1973 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, based on a study of urban squatter settlements in Davao City, Philippines, funded by a dissertation award from the National Science Foundation. He has taught at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 1973 until retirement in 2010. Dr. Feldman co-originated, with Jack Lobdell, the first anthropology conference in Alaska (1974, Anchorage), from which was developed the Alaska Anthropological Association (aaa) and its annual meeting. He served on the first aaa Board of Directors, and from 2013-2015 as the Association’s President.

    His research and applied work includes: the sociocultural impact of proposed oil leasing in SE Alaska (1975); local human rights projects for the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights (1976); needs assessment of Alaska Native elderly persons residing in Anchorage (1977-78); Alaska children living away from home, with an emphasis on enumerating Alaska Native youth (1989-90); subsistence beluga whale hunting by Inupiaq Eskimo in Eschscholtz Bay, Northwest Alaska (1981- 82); cultural awareness training for the Jesse Lee Home counseling staff of Alaska Children's Services, Anchorage (1980s); culturally appropriate rehabilitation for Alaska Natives, Providence Hospital, Rehabilitation Center, Anchorage (1991-93); elementary school ethnography for the National Head Start/Public School Early Childhood Transition Project, Anchorage School District (1991-93, 1995-96); expert witness for Naknek Village regarding water rights on land obtained through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (1978-79); Inupiaq Life Form classification (1995); ethnography for the Needle Exchange Program, funded by NIDA, Anchorage (1997); IRA tribal status of King Salmon area Alaska Natives (1998 – 2000); and, the history of applied cultural anthropology in Alaska (2003).

    After retirement, Dr. Feldman served as an invited co-chair of the Program Planning committee of the international conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) (2016, Vancouver B.C.).

    Stephen J. Langdon

    Professor Emeritus

    PhD, Stanford University, 1977 E-mail:

    Interests: Ecological anthropology, economic anthropology, ethnohistory, maritime anthropology, Alaska, Northwest Coast, North America.

    Dr. Langdon was raised in Anchorage, Alaska and attended Stanford University where he obtained his PhD in anthropology in 1977. His dissertation was based on three years of fieldwork on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska where he fished with Tlingit and Haida captains of the area. His dissertation traces the transformations of the fishing systems of the area through various pre- and post-contact periods of change.

    Dr. Langdon has focused his research on Alaska Native peoples and cultures since 1972. His interests include the archeological evidence concerning changes in Alaska Native societies before the coming of Europeans and Americans, the historical record of changes in Alaska Native societies since 1741, and the contemporary conditions and policies that affect Alaska Native life. He has conducted research on Alaska Native subsistence, fisheries, ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act), self-determination (or sovereignty) and has served as an expert witness for a number of court cases.

    While Dr. Langdon has engaged in a wide variety of research projects in various parts of Alaska, he has maintained and continues a primary research interest in the west coast area of the Prince of Wales archipelago. A major and continuing focus of his archeological investigations are the distribution and characteristics of ancient fish traps remains on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. He has published on the Spanish exploration in the central area in 1775, 1779, and 1792 and continues ethnohistoric research on the early contact period. Dr. Langdon has worked with the Klawock Cooperative Association to develop cultural materials concerning the past of the area recently assisting in the preparation of the Klawock- Henya Tlingit Place Names Map. At the present time Prof. Langdon is acting as a consultant to the Klawock Cooperative Association (local Tlingit tribe) in the preparation of a tribal sites map.

    Dr. Langdon is the author of The Native People of Alaska, editor of and contributor to Contemporary Alaska Native Economies and has published numerous professional articles and agency reports. He has twice (1991 and 1997) served on prestigious panels of scientists established by the National Academy of Sciences to prepare major reviews of significant issues concerning contemporary policy-making in Alaska. In 2012, he won the University of Alaska's Edith R Bullock Prize for Excellence.

    Douglas W. Veltre

    Professor Emeritus

    PhD, University of Connecticut, 1980 E-mail:

    Interests: Archaeology, ethnohistory; Arctic, Subarctic, Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.

    Dr. Veltre received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Brown University and his MA and PhD degrees from the University of Connecticut. While his primary specialty within anthropology is archaeology, his research and teaching have often worked to bridge the gap between cultures of the past and those of today.

    Since 1971, Dr. Veltre has traveled often to the Aleutian and Pribilof islands to conduct archaeological and ethnohistorical research on Aleut (Unangan) culture. His largest projects have been on Umnak, Atka, Unalaska, and St. Paul islands. He most recently directed the St. Paul History and Archaeology Project, focused on investigating – through oral traditions, historical sources, and archaeology – the Aleut and Russian fur seal hunting settlements of the late 1700s and early 1800s in the Pribilof Islands.

    Publications stemming from Dr. Veltre’s research include “Russian Exploitation of Aleuts and Fur Seals: The Archaeology of Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century Settlements in the Pribilof Islands, Alaska” (in Historical Archaeology, with Allen McCartney), “Environmental Perspectives on Historical Period Cultural Change Among the Aleuts of Southwestern

    Alaska” (Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples, Japan), “Aleutian Island Prehistory: Living in Insular Extremes” (in World Archaeology, with Allen McCartney), “Prehistoric Maritime Adaptations in the Western and Central Aleutian Islands, Alaska” (in Arctic Anthropology), and “Historical Overview of Archaeological Research in the Aleut Region of Alaska” (in Human Biology, with Melvin Smith).

    Dr. Veltre has served as both President and a member of the Board of Directors of the Alaska Anthropological Association. He also was Chair of the Anthropology Department at UAA, served on a wide range of university committees, and was advisor to the student Anthropology Club. Dr. Veltre has been a consultant on matters relating to anthropology, archaeology, cultural heritage, and repatriation to a number of local and regional Aleut groups in Alaska, including The Aleut Corporation and the Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association. He is a current appointee of the Governor of Alaska to serve on the Alaska Historical Commission. 

    William B. Workman

    Professor Emeritus

    PhD, University of Wisconsin, 1974 E-mail:

    Interests: Archaeology and traditional cultures of northwest North America; Arctic, Subarctic.

    Dr. Workman received his training in anthropology with a specialization in archaeology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison (B.A. 1963, MA 1969, Ph.D 1974).

    Dr. Workman began his northern work in 1962 as a crew member on the University of Wisconsin’s Aleut-Konyag Prehistory and Ecology project excavation at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island. He joined the faculty of Alaska Methodist (now Alaska Pacific) University in 1969. In 1977 he accepted a position at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Since 1962, Dr.

    Workman has participated in, and directed or co-directed, archaeological field projects in the Cook Inlet region, on Kodiak Island, in the Copper River Basin and in the southern Yukon Territory of Canada. He has authored or co-authored some thirty scientific papers and one published monograph on the culture history of Southern Alaska and the Aishihik-Kluane area, southwest Yukon Territory of Canada, and a number of popular articles and reports.

    Dr. Workman’s academic honors include membership in Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi as well as two National Science Foundation graduate fellowships. He has also held an exchange fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and has been a visiting scientist with the Archaeological Survey of Canada and a visiting professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon. Other professional activities include service as contributing editor (Far North) for the Review of Archaeology, editor for current research (Far North) for American Antiquity and associate editorships for Arctic Anthropology , the Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska and the Alaska Journal of Anthropology. Dr.

    Workman has served several terms on the board of directors of the Alaska Anthropological Association and was president of that organization in 1976-77.

    Dr. Workman’s major research interests concern the prehistory and traditional cultures of arctic and subarctic North America and Eurasia, especially those of northwestern North America and northeastern Asia, with a particular interest in the origins and development of the sea mammal hunting cultures of the North Pacific region.

    Current and Recent Adjunct Faculty

    Margan Grover               

    Owner, Bold Peak Archaeological Services

    MA, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2004

    Interests: Southeast Alaska and the Aleutians, Russian-Alaska

    Tamara Holman

    MA, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016

    Interests: Industrial and historic archaeology, Alaska

    Rachel Mason                

    PhD, University of Virginia, 1993

    Interests: Commercial and subsistence fisheries, applied anthropology, Alaska

    Roy Mitchell      

    MA, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1981

    Interests: Linguistics, Alaska Native Languages, Cultural Anthropology

    Gerad Smith                  

    MA, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2012; PhD Candidate, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Interests: Subarctic and Arctic archaeology, spatial analysis and GIS, CRM, photo-modeling, hunter-gatherer ecology

    Affiliate Faculty

    Aron L. Crowell             

    Director, Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution

    PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1995

    Interests: Prehistoric/historic archaeology, museum anthropology, maritime adaptations, Arctic Alaska

    Clare Dannenberg

    Associate Professor, Anthropology and English,

    PhD, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 1999

    Interests: Linguistic Anthropology, language boundaries, identity construction and language change, language and policy; North America

    Dr. Dannenberg grew up in East Tennessee with a love of languages and the people who speak them. There was no substitute for her for sitting in a crowded room and listening to conversation--not just what people said, but also how they expressed their lives, their true selves, and their relationship to one another through their talk. Dr. Dannenberg specializes in issues of language use and identity, and she has done done extensive work with Native American, Appalachian, and African American varieties of English in the Southern US, investigating the rates and trajectory of language change in the face of language loss and cultural encroachment. She is interested in researching how human beings orient themselves to others through their language use to construct and maintain a notion of community. Although Dr. Dannenberg is formally trained within the field of sociolinguistics and use elements of variation, discourse, narrative, and rhetorical theories, she is at heart, a true linguistic anthropologist.

    Ryan Harrod

    Associate Professor, and Graduate Program Coordinator PhD, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2013

    Interests: Bioarchaeology, physical anthropology, skeletal biology, trauma, violence, paleopathology, forensic anthropology, NAGPRA repatriation, Southwest, Columbia Plateau, Great Basin.

    Dr. Harrod specializes in bioarchaeology. His research interests include paleopathology, violence and trauma, social inequality, ethics and repatriation, and forensic anthropology. Some of his recent projects include the analysis of trauma data collected from an extant population of Turkana in East Africa, the identification of social inequality and violence among a historical group of immigrant Chinese in Carlin, Nevada, and several regional analyses of signatures of health, nutrition, and conflict among Native American populations throughout the western region of the United States.

    For his dissertation, Dr. Harrod utilized data collected from burials housed in repositories such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian to look at the ways that violence was used as a strategy for social control necessary in marginal environments and shrinking resources in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico in the 1100s. The significance of this research is that it further develops an understanding of bioarchaeological research on social inequality as it is reflected in the presence of non-lethal trauma, activity-related changes to the skeleton, and pathological conditions.

    Dr. Harrod has coauthored of a book that utilizes bioarchaeological methods to explore the relationship between climate change and violence, as well as publishing two books on bioarchaeology: Martin, DL, Harrod, RP, and Pérez, VR. Bioarchaeology: An integrated approach to working with human remains (Springer 2013) and Martin, DL, Harrod, RP, and Pérez, VR (Eds). The Bioarchaeology of Violence (University Press of Florida 2012), and several articles, including, “Centers of Control: Revealing elites among the Ancestral Pueblo during the ‘Chaco Phenomenon.’” International Journal of Paleopathology 2(2-3):123-135 (2012); Ethnobioarchaeology. New Directions in Bioarchaeology, special forum. The SAA Archaeological Record 12(2):32-34 (2012), and Phylogeny of the Southern Plateau: An osteometric evaluation of inter-tribal relations. Journal of Comparative Human Biology HOMO, 62 (3):184-201 (2011).

  • Graduate Admission

    This section details the admission process, stipulating university and department requirements, the different categories of acceptance, as well as information for transfer students and non-degree seeking students.

    Admission Requirements

    Students who have earned or have nearly completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or a foreign equivalent, may apply for admission to graduate study programs at UAA. Admission is granted to applicants who have received their baccalaureate degree and whose credentials indicate their ability to pursue graduate work. Students must have at least a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA. It is also strongly recommended that applicants have completed at the time of admittance a minimum of 18 hours of undergraduate coursework in anthropology, maintaining an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Undergraduate majors in anthropology are preferred, and students are expected to have completed courses in or equivelent to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH A202), Biological Anthropology (ANTH A205), Fundamentals of Archaeology (ANTH A211), and the History of Anthropology (ANTH A410). No more than nine credits may be completed in the student's graduate program before application for admission. Exceptions to admittance requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Application for Graduate Admission

    Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact faculty in the applicant’s area of interest at an early stage of their admission process. The Master’s Program in Anthropology has a single yearly application deadline, February 15.

    Steps for applying to graduate school at UAA

    1. We encourage potential applicants to reach out early in the application process to any anthropology faculty at UAA whose research interests align with your own, to inquire if they are available to take new students, and interested in working with
    2. Prepare the required materials, including the application $75 fee, official transcripts, the Letter of Intent, three letters of recommendation, and a technical writing

    The letter of intent

    This should include a brief statement (1-2 pages) of applicant’s research and career goals and reasons for pursuing graduate study in anthropology at UAA.

    Three letters of recommendation

    Three letters from different people are required. Each letter should be written by someone who knows your educational and work experience well and can speak to your strengths. It is highly recommended that at least two of these letters come from an academic such as a professor you studied under or worked as a teaching assistant or student researcher, or from professionals in a field closely related to the kind of graduate research you wish to do. Letters may also come from previous employers or managers who know you professionally, or community leaders who can speak to your strengths and ability to perform well in graduate studies. Letters should not come from people who are currently undergraduate students, or from family members.

    The technical writing sample

    The technical writing sample is crucial as it allows faculty to assess the likelihood that applicants are able to write, synthesize information, make well-supported arguments, and perform at a graduate level. The technical writing sample may be any paper or report you have previously written for a class, project, or for a previous job. It does not have to be on a subject related to your proposed research interests, and may be any style and format, so long as it showcases your ability to write academically or professionally. Technical writing samples must be solely authored by you. No co-authored works will be accepted, and failure to submit a sole-authored work will result in rejection of your application.

    1. Visit UAA Application Portal to create your UAA Applicant Portal Account, or sign in using your preexisting UAA Portal Account (your UAA username and password). This online application portal will inform you of all required documents and send reminders for anything you still to submit before the February 15 You may save and exit the Portal as many times as needed until your application is complete. 
    2. You must submit official transcript(s) from each accredited institution from which you earned credits toward your Bachelor’s deg Paper transcripts are to be requested by the student and must be submitted in an officially sealed envelope to the UAA Office of Admissions. Increasingly, institutions are now sending secure online official transcripts, and UAA does accept these as well. Instructions are provided in the Application Portal.

    Paper transcripts should be mailed to:

    Office of Admissions
    University of Alaska Anchorage
    P.O. Box 141629
    Anchorage, AK 99514-1629


    The Decision Process

    When all documents have been received by the UAA Office of Admissions through the online Application Portal, Admissions then forwards copies of the materials to the Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Anthropology. These materials become the property of UAA and are only released or copied for use within the University of Alaska system.

    The Anthropology Graduate Admissions Committee meets shortly after February 15. Incomplete files are not considered for admission. Acceptance is determined by the Anthropology faculty and is based on a prospective student’s overall credentials and availability of appropriate faculty for student research interests. Failure to meet the admission requirements listed above may result in rejection or conditional admission (see below) to the MA program. In addition, limitations may be imposed on the number of part-time students admitted to the program.

    Following the decision by the faculty, the Graduate Program Coordinator notifies the Office of Admissions. All applicants will receive e-mail notice from the Graduate Program Coordinator with an offer of admission, conditional admission, or a notice of rejection of admission. Applicants can usually expect notification by the end of March each year. If offered admission or conditional admission, applicants are instructed in the e-mail to accept or withdraw from our offer of admission by the expressed deadline (usually in late April). After the Graduate Program Coordinator receives confirmation of acceptance, or withdrawals, of applicant offers, the student registration process begins. 

    Types of Admission, Student Status

    Full admission

    Fully admitted students have met all prerequisites and requirements necessary for admittance into the graduate program. No additional courses are required beyond the general plan of graduate study. Fully admitted students are eligible to apply for graduate teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and travel/research grants.

    Provisional admission

    Students who show potential for success in graduate studies but do not meet all the admission requirements of a program may be conditionally admitted. The anthropology faculty establishes the conditions, that typically must be met within a year.

    Provisional admission may be conferred on students if important deficiencies are identified in their undergraduate training. Such students are notified of those deficiencies, and required to make up for them at UAA, normally within a period of one year, before admission to regular status in the program is conferred. In some cases, deficiencies can be made up at another academic institution. Provisional acceptance might also be conferred if students at the time of application are still expecting to receive their baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Full acceptance becomes final only after the baccalaureate degree is completed and conferred, and all other requirements for admission are met.

    Provisional students cannot receive graduate teaching, research assistantships, or travel/research grants.

    The Graduate Program Coordinator and Graduate Advisor is responsible for monitoring provisional status of students. If the requirements to remove the terms of provisional admission are not satisfied within the deadline, the student may be removed from graduate degree-seeking status. All terms of provisional admission must be satisfied before Advancement to Candidacy (see Degree Process section).

    International students

    The UAA Office of International Student Services (ISS) is part of the Office of Admissions, located at the University Center. International applicants will need to contact this office regarding admissions and immigration compliance, including visa status, TOEFL exams, and accreditation issues, as well as for general university information and resources. For more information, visit the UAA International Students Services website.

    Transfer students

    Graduate students transferring into the UAA program from another institution will normally have their previous graduate records examined by the Graduate Program Coordinator and their Graduate Advisor. Courses deemed acceptable for meeting the UAA program requirements will be included in the Official Graduate Studies Plan for approval by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. No courses may be transferred that have been used to earn a degree at another institution. In accordance with UAA policy, students who have completed a baccalaureate degree are allowed to include up to 9 credits of UAA 400- and 600-level courses that were taken before formal admission to the program on their Official Graduate Studies Plan, provided those courses were not used to satisfy another degree requirement. Students not admitted to the program are required to obtain instructor signatures in 600-level courses.

    Non-degree seeking students

    Non-degree seeking students who wish to register for graduate courses must have the signature of the Department Chair or Course Instructor. Registration as a non-degree seeking student implies no commitment by the University to accept a student to a degree program at a later date. Non-degree seeking students may not qualify for some financial aid benefits.

  • Degree Requirements

    General University Requirements for Degree Completion

    1. A Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 00 (B) must be earned in courses identified in the Official Graduate Studies Plan.
    2. Only 400- and 600-level courses approved by the graduate student’s Graduate Advisor, Dean or designee, and Graduate Studies Committee, may be counted toward graduate program requirements. Graduate Students enrolled in 400-level courses that they intend to apply to their graduate program will be expected to complete additional course work ANTH A410 cannot be applied to the Graduate Studies Plan.
    3. In 400-level courses, a minimum grade of “B” is required for the course to count toward the program Courses at the 500-level are for professional development and are not applicable toward any degree.
    4. In 600-level courses, a grade of “C” is minimally acceptable, provided the student maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) in all courses applicable to the graduate program.
    5. At least 21 credits must be taken at the graduate level (600) for any master’s degree, including thesis and research credits.
    6. Up to 9 semester credits not used toward any other degree or certificate may be transferred to UAA from an accredited institution and counted toward a degree or certificate.
    7. Individual program Deans may allow credit earned at other universities in the Statewide system (i.e., University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast), excluding thesis credit and credit used toward another degree or certificate, to be transferred to UAA, as long as at least nine credits applicable to the students program are earned at UAA after acceptance into the program.
    8. Courses taken by correspondence, credit by examination, or graded Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) do not count toward graduate program They may, however, be used to satisfy prerequisites or to establish competency in a subject, thus allowing the advisor or committee to waive certain courses in an established program, as long as the total credits in the program remain the same.
    9. All credits counted toward the degree or certificate, including transfer credits, must be earned within the consecutive seven-year period before The College of Arts & Sciences may grant an extension on case-by-case basis, but any extension cannot exceed one year.
    10. Students must be continuously registered throughout their graduate program, unless on an Official Leave of Absence.

    University Requirements for Graduate Degrees

    In addition to the Graduate General University Requirements, all graduate students must meet the following requirements:

    1. The student must complete at least 30 approved semester credits beyond the baccalaureate degree.
      • At least 24 credits must consist of courses other than thesis research.
      • 21 credits must be at the graduate level (600), including thesis and research credits.
      • No more than 6 credits of internship, practicum, directed study and/or independent study courses may normally be applied to the degree, unless a student is taking more than one applied track, in which case an additional three credits are available.
      • Courses outside the field of anthropology may be taken as electives if approved by the student’s Graduate Advisor/committee and included on the Graduate Studies Plan (see Degree Planning section).
    2. The student must advance to candidacy within five years of being admitted, through submission of the Official Graduate Studies Plan and Thesis Prospectus, and by passing Research Design Course. 
    3. The student must submit a written MA Thesis to their graduate committee, conforming to specifications of the UAA Consortium Library.
    4. During the final semester (the semester of the oral defense) the student must be registered for continuing registration or thesis credits.
    5. The student must pass an oral defense of the thesis, open to the university community and the If desired, the student may select an outside reviewer approved by the Dean or designee of the program to participate to assure that the examination or defense is fair and appropriate. The outside reviewer is a faculty member from another department in the university or other qualified individual in the area in which the student is seeking their degree.
    6. The student must submit an Application for Graduation. 

    Requirements for Anthropology MA Program Concentrations

    Anthropology MA students must complete coursework in their chosen program concentration: Applied Cultural Anthropology, Applied Biocultural Anthropology, or Cultural Resource Management. Electives are to chosen in consultation with your Graduate Advisor, and may include 400- or 600- level coursework in other disciplines or departments, so long as it will compliment your chosen area of study or research. Only a total of 6 credits may come from 400-level coursework, and all remaining credits for the MA degree must be taken at the 600-level. The coursework required for each program concentration varies. In a case where a student has declared one program concentration, but desires to substitute a course from another concentration, they must first consult with their Graduate Advisor and get permission to petition for a substitution. The need to do this should be quite rare, as students may take a course listed in another program concentration as one of their elective courses. Students interested in medical anthropology may choose to complete either the Applied Cultural Anthropology or the Applied Biocultural Anthropology program concentration.

    Applied Cultural Anthropology

    Core Course Requirements


    Course Title


    ANTH A610

    Anthropological Theory


    ANTH A615

    Advanced Applied Anthropology


    ANTH A630

    Advanced Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology


    ANTH A658

    Advanced Ethics in Applied Anthropology


    ANTH A687

    or ANTH A695

    Advanced Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology or Anthropology Practicum



    Course electives decided in consultation with your Graduate Advisor


    Thesis Research Requirements

    ANTH A620

    Research Design


    ANTH A698

    Individual Research


    ANTH A699

    Thesis Research






    Applied Biocultural Anthropology

    Core Course Requirements


    Course Title


    ANTH A610

    Anthropological Theory


    ANTH A652

    Advanced Studies in Culture and Human Biodiversity


    ANTH A655

    or ANTH A690a

    Advanced Studies in Culture and Health

    Or Advanced Studies in Health, Ritual, and Science


    ANTH A658

    Advanced Ethics in Applied Anthropology


    ANTH A680

    Advanced Analytical Techniques in Archaeology and Bioanthropology



    Course electives decided in consultation with your Graduate Advisor


    Thesis Research Requirements

    ANTH A620

    Research Design


    ANTH A698

    Individual Research


    ANTH A699

    Thesis Research






    Cultural Resource Management

    Core Course Requirements


    Course Title


    ANTH A611

    Archaeological Theory


    ANTH A658

    Advanced Ethics in Applied Anthropology


    ANTH A677

    Cultural Resource Management


    ANTH A680

    Advanced Analytical Techniques in Archaeology and Bioanthropology



    Course electives decided in consultation with your Graduate Advisor


    Thesis Research Requirements

    ANTH A620

    Research Design


    ANTH A698

    Individual Research


    ANTH A699

    Thesis Research





  • Student Rights and Responsibilities 

    Know Your Student Rights

    Graduate students in anthropology at UAA have rights of access to materials concerning their positions in the department, particularly as reflected in student files. Those files are secured in the Anthropology Department office, but the student has a right to examine their file at any time. In addition, graduate students have a right to be represented at all faculty meeting through an elected representative, who will communicate the results of those meetings to fellow students. Normally, such students will serve on a semester or annual basis.

    Information about student freedoms, rights, responsibilities, and the process for filing a dispute or complaint against a faculty member, employer, advisor, or other student is available through UAA Academic Policies & Procedures.

    Know Your Student Responsibilities

    Read UAA’s policies and regulations

    Each student is responsible for knowing UAA policies, procedures, and deadlines. Policies and regulations may be found in the UAA Catalog, the Fact Finder/Student Handbook and in the Dean of Students Office, located in the Student Union, Room 204. The Office of Academic Integrity provides information on the Student Code of Conduct, which includes UAA’s specific policies regarding cheating, plagiarism, and academic dishonesty.

    Complete required student “UA Safe” Title IX training on sex and gender based discrimination prevention

    All students, staff, and faculty at UAA are required by Federal law to complete and maintain updated training in Title IX policies and procedures. UAA provides “Sex and Gender Based Discrimination Prevention” training online on  UAA Blackboard.

    Maintain your university e-mail account and personal information

    Students are responsible for maintaining your current e-mail and residential address with their Graduate Advisor and officially with the University. It is UAA policy that all correspondence to students (including faculty advisors) go through the official university e-mail. If you do not check this account regularly, than you should ensure that the university e-mail is routed to your preferred account. To manage your personal information records for the University, log-in to  UAOnline and make sure your e-mail, phone number, mailing address, and other information is up to date.

    Students can also log-in to the ELMO portal to managed your personal information across all of UAA’s record-keeping systems at one time.

    It is your responsibility to stay up to date with department and university news

    Important information about departmental programs, deadlines, and activities are announced periodically. The department will disseminate program information and directed information through a variety of channels, mail, e-mail, the web site, and departmental Facebook page. However, it is the student’s responsibility to maintain contact with department sources to meet programmatic deadlines.

    The Anthropology Department uses several channels to communicate with students. All students are provided with a mail  slot in the Anthropology Office in BMH 231. Other forms of communication are the placement of announcement flyers in student boxes. Announcement and flyers will be posted in the BMH building and particularly in Department office and on the Anthropology Club board on the first floor.

    Sign up for the anthropology MA list-serv

    The Anthropology Department maintains an e-mail list-serv to send important information to currently-enrolled MA students. The list-serv is used to remind students and faculty of important deadlines, to announce upcoming talks, to share ideas about anthropology-related matters, post job notices, and for similar purposes. Messages sent by faculty and students to the Anthropology-MA list address will automatically and immediately be distributed to all other list members. All graduate students are required to subscribe to the “Anthropology-MA” e-mail list.

    Once you create an account and password, the Graduate Program Coordinator will approve your subscription request and you will begin receiving Anthropology-MA e-mails. Subscribers will be removed from the list-serv by the Graduate Program Coordinator within one year of graduating or withdrawing from the MA program.

  • Planning Your Degree

    The MA degree involves taking core and elective coursework, a research design course, independent and thesis research credits, and completing a research-based thesis project from initial prospectus to final thesis and oral defense, all with the guidance and support of your Graduate Advisory Committee. All of these requirements must be listed on your Graduate Studies Plan (GSP), which is electronically tracked by the University via DegreeWorks. This chapter provides an explanation of all these basic components except for the formation of committees and the design of thesis research, discussed respectively in chapters 6 and 7. 


    Core courses

    These courses are required within your chosen program concentration (see the Degree Requirements section), and are taken in the first year by full-time students. Part-time students may take longer to complete all course requirements, but both full- time and part-time students must take ANTH A620 “Research Design” and have an approved Thesis Prospectus completed before advancing to Candidacy. Ideally, even part-time students have taken core theory and method courses prior to taking Research Design, as this can only help you with deciding what research you will do, and which methods you will use to do it.

    Elective courses

    Elective course work may be taken at the 400- and 600-levels, although only a maximum of 6 credits in 400-level courses is allowable to meet MA degree requirements. Elective coursework is intended to provide students with specialized education and training theory, methods, or contemporary topical issues related to the student’s research interests. It is allowable, if a student desires, to take the Core Theory course not required in their chosen program concentration as an elective. For example, an Applied Biocultural student is required take ANTH A610 “Anthropological Theory” but might also choose to take ANTH A611 “Archaeological Theory” as an elective, if it would serve their particular research and professional interests. Likewise, an Applied Biocultural student is required to take ANTH A680 “Analytical Techniques in Archaeology and Bioanthropology” but may opt to also take either ANTH 630 “Advanced Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology” or ANTH A687 “Advanced Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology” if either would be useful for their particular thesis project or research and professional interests. Other electives might include coursework on contemporary topical, theoretical, or methodological issues across anthropological subdisciplines. Students may take elective credits in courses offered outside of the UAA Anthropology Department, in consultation with your Graduate Advisor.

    Research design course

    This course, taken in the Spring semester of the first year, is designed as both a seminar and workshop in which students review each other’s writing on sections of the thesis prospectus (or thesis chapters, if the proposal has already been approved). The course has three primary foci: I) forming the research question, II) conducting a literature review, and III) writing the research proposal. Students receive a pass when their proposal is accepted by their committee. Approval of the thesis prospectus and completion of the comprehensive exams are key steps in advancing a student to Candidacy.

    Independent studies, practicums, and internships

    A maximum of 6 credits of practicum or internship (ANTH A695), independent study (ANTH A697), or directed study courses, or a combination of these may be applied to the 24-credit non-thesis requirement. Students wishing to take either ANTH A695 or ANTH A697 must speak with their advisor and initiate planning for the practicum or independent study near the end of the preceding semester, so that there is enough time to set up these customized courses.

    Individual Research and Thesis Research Credits

    Graduate students will take 2 credits of Individual Research (ANTH A698) during the same semester or shortly after the semester in which they take Research Design (ANTH A620). Individual Research credits are for graduate students to complete their literature reviews for their thesis research, as well as to work on field-research or data collection for the thesis research.

    1 to 6 credits of Thesis Research (ANTH A699) will be applied to the Official Graduate Studies Plan, following advancement to candidacy. This course will carry a deferred grade (DF) until the MA Thesis has been successfully defended. Thesis Research credits are for writing the thesis, and are not to be taken for any other purpose, such as conducting research which should be done while a student is taking Individual Research credits.

    Internship/practicum policy

    Internships are an integral part of the MA Program in Anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, particularly for the Applied Anthropology tracks. The Anthropology Practicum is designed for initial training of students in practical applications of anthropological method and theory in a workplace setting. It is not designed for giving credit for previously established or ongoing training. Although it is designed for application to the Applied Anthropology tracks, its use is encouraged for all MA students, particularly considering the six credit-hour limitation placed on taking independent study courses (which may thus be retained for purposes such as directed readings courses). Independent study courses may also be used for obtaining credit for ongoing training, with the approval of the graduate student’s advisor.

    Internship/practicum responsibilities

    Oversight for the Anthropology Practicum (ANTH A695) is maintained jointly by the Department of Anthropology at UAA and the institution at which the student is serving the internship. The responsibility of the Department of Anthropology is to maintain records of the student’s progress in the course and to submit official grades. Normally, there will be a single instructor of record at UAA for all students taking the Anthropology Practicum, but there may be multiple instructors for internships taken as independent study courses. Besides submitting grades, the instructor of record should submit progress reports on the internship to the student’s Graduate Advisor at regular intervals.

    The responsibility of the institution at which the student is undertaking the internships/practicums is for a supervisor to document practicum activities of the student, and to insure that the internship experience is of rigorous academic quality, in which the student receives practical training directly related to normal workplace activities. Internships/practicums, whether taken as courses or not, may be paid or unpaid, at the discretion of the institution. We encourage institutions and organizations providing internship/practicum opportunities to students to pay them a fair wage and other forms of appropriate compensation or benefits, and we encourage students to look for opportunities to complete internships/practicums at places that are capable of providing fair compensation to students. We do realize that sometimes non-profit organizations can provide excellent training and experience related to a student’s research interests in applied anthropology but cannot always provide paid internships, thus it is ultimately the student’s choice and responsibility to decide whether to enlist in an unpaid internship or practicum.

    The responsibility of the Instructor of Record and the Internship/Practicum Supervisor is to meet at regular intervals with the student, to exchange information concerning the student’s progress: At the very least at the beginning and the end of the internship. All parties should work together to develop specific course requirements, particularly for independent study courses. These requirements should clearly specify the goals and objectives of the internship experience, the numbers of hours to be worked on a daily/weekly basis, the place and nature of the work, and the products expected at the conclusion of the work.

    Examples of past agency partners for student internships/practicums

    • Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Subsistence Division Alaska Department of Health and Human Services
    • Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Office of History and Archaeology Alaska Native Heritage Center
    • Alaska Native Medical Center Cultural Resource Consultants
    • Fish and Wildlife Service, Togiak Refuge Hope Community Resources
    • Identity, Inc. (LGBTQAI+ non-profit)
    • Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) Alaska UAA Environmental and Natural Resource Institute
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • U.S. Bureau of Land Management
    • U.S. Forest Service (Chugach and Seward Ranger Districts)
    • U.S. National Park Service
    • Western Arctic National Parklands, National Park Service

    The Graduate Studies Plan

    Over the course of the MA, you will be many forms pertaining to different stages of the degree process. The most critical of these is the Graduate Studies Plan (GSP). The GSP formally establishes the specific program requirements for the student, which will, upon satisfactory completion, entitle the student to receive the graduate degree or certificate. The plan is based upon the catalog requirements for the graduate degree or certificate program to which the student has been accepted. The GSP becomes official once it is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School, Graduate Coordinator and/or faculty of the program on DegreeWorks. Students are expected to complete all requirements listed on their Official Graduate Studies Plan, and all Graduate General University Requirements and University Requirements for Graduate Degrees. The GSP must be completed by the end of the spring semester of the first year in the program. The GSP is entered by your Graduate Advisor directly into DegreeWorks. Any changes to any part of the GSP must be approved by your Graduate Advisor, and updated on DegreeWorks or these changes are not official.

  • The Graduate Studies committee

    Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee

    The Graduate Program Coordinator, with the approval of the Dean or designee of the College of Arts and Sciences, appoints a Graduate Advisor for each student accepted to the MA program. In addition, the Graduate Advisor and the student select a Graduate Studies Committee as one of several conditions for advancement to Candidacy. The committee must consist of at least three UAA faculty members including the Graduate Advisor, who chairs the committee. The Graduate Advisor must be a full-time faculty member or emeritus faculty in the UAA Anthropology Department. One committee member may be a faculty member from a discipline outside the Department. Additional members who are not UAA faculty, but have appropriate professional credentials, may be included with the approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Gradaute Advisor, and the student. The committee members and Graduate Advisor must agree to serve and must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator. Any changes to the committee structure require the approval of the Graduate Advisor, the Graduate Program Coordinator, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

    Full-time students in the MA program should form their Graduate Studies Committees by the end of the second semester in Year One of the program. Committees should plan to meet at least once each semester before pre-registration so that input can be obtained on the following semester’s course schedule, until the Graduate Studies Plan is filed in DegreeWorks (by the end of the first year). Toward the end of completion of graduate coursework, students should meet with their committees at least once a semester to gain advice concerning their bibliography, thesis prospectus, and comprehensive examinations.

    Committee membership eligibility criteria

    In order to serve in the various roles of the Graduate Studies Committee, the following criteria are required:

    1. Graduate Advisor: Tenure Track, Tenured, or Emeritus faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at UAA.
    2. Second member of Graduate Studies Committee: Tenure Track, Tenured, Emeritus, or Affiliate Faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at UAA (not an adjunct faculty member).
    3. Third member of Graduate Studies Committee: Tenure Track, Tenured, Emeritus, or Affiliate Faculty member of any department at UAA (not an adjunct faculty member).

    Additional committee members can include faculty or professionals within the University of Alaska or outside, provided they hold an MA degree or equivalent.

    Responsibilities of Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee

    The division of responsibility between the Graduate Advisor and Committee is determined at the program level. The Graduate Advisor will:

    1. Review the graduate student’s Official Graduate Studies Plan, insuring that it includes: the Graduate General University Requirements; University Requirements for Graduate Degrees; all courses required for the graduate degree; a thesis or major research project; any special program requirements; and arrangements to remove any deficiencies in the student’s academic background.
    2. Review and approve any changes to the Official Graduate Studies Plan, directing timely updates of the revised plan in DegreeWorks.
    3. Be available to meet with the advisee regularly throughout the student’s program, unless on Sabbatical or approved Leave of Absence from the University, in which case all student advisees shall be provided timely notice of leave and be advised on who will be made available to mentor and support them during their Graduate Advisor’s leave.
    4. Provide mentorship to the student and work in cooperation between the student and the Graduate Program Coordinator to ensure all program requirements are being met in a timely manner.
    5. Follow professional ethics and university policies to ensure a safe, fair, and accessible learning environment for the student.

    The Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate Advisor will work together to:

    1. Approve the Official Graduate Studies Plan and application for Candidacy at the time of advancement to Candidacy.
    2. Contribute to any required reports on the graduate student’s progress, as may be required by the Graduate School.
    3. Review and approve the thesis and/or research project, including the thesis prospectus, in a timely manner.
    4. Review and approve requests for temporary leaves of absence that, if approved, will result in the student being placed on inactive
    5. Approve of thesis content, readability, and thesis format prior to the student’s oral thesis defense.
    6. Provide input on any necessary revisions to the thesis before defense, as well as after defense and before graduation in a timely manner.
    7. Complete paperwork required for graduation.

    Changing committee members

    Students may change the membership of their Graduate Studies Committee at any time by completing an “Appointment or Change of Graduate Advisory Committee” Form (available on the Graduate School web page), with the appropriate signatures. However, change of Graduate Advisor should only be undertaken after consultation with affected faculty members, including the current-appointed Graduate Advisor and the faculty member the student wishes to take over as their Graduate Advisor. Students may change committee members, including their Graduate Advisor, in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator and/or the Department Chair. The Anthropology Department and the Dean of the Graduate School must approve the committee membership. If a student for any reason does not feel comfortable approaching their Graduate Advisor, they may seek out consultation and assistance from the Graduate Program Coordinator, or the Department Chair, or if needs be, from the Dean of Students (See Student Rights and Responsibilities Section).

  • The Thesis

    Thesis Prospectus

    In addition to completing the coursework and research design course, students will supply a thesis prospectus to their Graduate Studies Committee. The thesis prospectus describes the prospective MA thesis research project and will be used by the student’s Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee to judge the viability of the topic and rigor of analytical methods proposed as the basis for the thesis. The thesis prospectus is written as a part of the assignments required in the ANTH A620 “Research Design” course. Students in that course are expected to orally present their proposed research to the faculty at the end of the semester. After that, the student must submit their prospectus to their Graduate Advisor for approval, and then arrange to meet with all members of their Graduate Studies Committee to discuss the proposed research. At that time, committee members may pose questions or require amendments to the prospectus.

    Components of the thesis prospectus

    1. Running title of thesis project (may change over time)
    2. Topical explanation of the thesis (major topics to be addressed, major theoretical underpinnings)
    3. Geographical area and/or population of focus
    4. Brief review of major previous research relevant to the topic (initial literature and background review)
    5. Central research question/focus
    6. Research methods and data collection protocols
    7. Modes of data analysis
    8. Permits and/or consent forms obtained or to be obtained, and (if human subjects are involved) methods for the protection of anonymity; Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval will be required if human subjects are involved.
    9. Timeline for research, analysis, writing, and completion of first thesis draft

    After the successful completion of the requirements outlined in the GSP and obtaining approval for the thesis prospectus, the student may apply for advancement to Candidacy. At that point, students will normally turn to field-work, the writing of their MA thesis, taking individual research and thesis research credit, or maintaining continuing registration. 

    Advancement to Candidacy

    A student may apply for advancement to Candidacy once the following requirements are completed:

    1. Submit an Official Graduate Studies Plan by the end of the second semester of study, as described in the UAA catalog.
    2. Select a Graduate Studies Committee by the end of the first semester of study.
    3. Complete at least 24 semester credits of non-thesis course work applicable to the MA program.
    4. Thesis prospectus approved by the Graduate Advisor/committee (see section on Thesis Prospectus).

    All full-time and part-time students must advance to Candidacy within five years of formal acceptance into the graduate program to be considered in good standing in the program. Full-time students are expected to do this by the end of Year One. Students that do not advance to Candidacy within five years of admission are considered to be making unsatisfactory progress toward completing the program requirements, and will be placed on academic probation.

    Thesis Research

    To complete the MA program in Anthropology and earn your MA degree, students must complete independent research and submit a written thesis and oral defense of that thesis that is open to the public. Research conducted for the thesis may take a number of different forms depending on student interests. In some cases, students may be using data obtained from archaeological excavations or anthropological research projects in which they have served as research assistants.

    When student research is independently conducted for thesis with the student as principal investigator, a number of factors and provisions must be taken into consideration. Specific but different procedures are required for archaeological, biological, or cultural/socio-linguistic research.

    Archaeological research

    In conducting archaeological research, students as principal investigators must consider at a minimum acquisition of appropriate permits from State, Federal, or Tribal land-managing agencies, permission from private land owners, NAGPRA requirements should they encounter Native American burials on Federal lands or plan to curate Native American or Alaska Native human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony at UAA. In addition, plans must be made for post-field analysis of archaeological materials and curation agreements and fees with appropriate museums if assemblages are brought to UAA from the field. Federally-funded research must also comply with the regulations for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Archaeological research that includes interviewing people for information for ethnohistorical information, archaeological data, etc. must also have their research design reviewed by the UAA Institutional Review Board (IRB) for human subjects research. Please visit UAA Office of Research Integrety Review Board for more information regarding the IRB approval process. Consult with your Graduate Advisor to ensure you are fully aware any of licenses or permits you may need to obtain prior to beginning research.

    Cultural research

    Cultural anthropological research with human subjects requires that students submit materials for approval by the UAA Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to conducting any research activities. Students undertaking such research must complete a certification program in human subjects research (CITI certification) from the UAA Office of Institutional Research. 

    Additionally, depending on the nature of research and the community/ies involved or potentially affected by research, students may be required to obtain research licenses or permits, or in some cases, additional IRB review and approval by the Alaska Area IRB (AAIRB). Consult with your Graduate Advisor to ensure you are fully aware any of licenses or permits you may need to obtain prior to beginning research.

    Biocultural research

    Biocultural anthropological research with living human subjects requires that students submit materials for approval by the UAA Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to conducting any research activities. Students undertaking such research must complete a certification program in human subjects research (CITI certification) from the UAA Office of Institutional Research. 

    Additionally, some biocultural research, especially if it involves human or funerary remains, is subject to various laws, including NAGPRA if research is conducted in the United States, or using remains of Indigenous populations that were initially collected from U.S. Federal or Tribal lands. Some biocultural research (especially bioarchaeological research conducted in Alaska) may also require that students follow regulations for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Consult with your Graduate Advisor to ensure you are fully aware any of licenses or permits you may need to obtain prior to beginning research. 

    Writing the Thesis

    Students should have extensive discussions with the Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee before embarking on writing their theses. Every advisor follows a different procedure depending upon the project undertaken and capabilities of the student. Theses should be written in a style equivalent to that of a professional journal. Recent theses can be guides, but they may be of variable quality. All theses at UAA also follow a standard formatting style (see Thesis Format section). We recommend that students submit a copy of their thesis to Elisa Mattison in the UAA Graduate School for review well before the final draft.

    When you begin writing your thesis, it is also important to develop a timeline for producing a full draft. Set out a schedule for writing, and test it out to see if you are able to write to it. The timeline is critical because your thesis is read not only by your graduate committee, but by an Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, and by the UAA Graduate School. These additional readings need to occur well before the end of the semester that one wishes to graduate. For this reason, it is important to keep a close check on the timing of your submission. There are two deadlines to meet, the first is for submissions to the Associate Dean; the second concerns submittal to the graduate school. Check early with the UAA Graduate School (or call 907 786 1480) for their deadline requirements.

    Deadlines for thesis submission to the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

    Like any formal piece of writing, the thesis manuscript undergoes several revisions before its final submission. A thesis typically sees several revisions before submitting a complete “first draft” to your graduate committee, as well as another round of revisions before it is finally submitted to the university. This process takes time. A completed first draft of your full thesis, including text, figures, and maps should be submitted to the student’s Graduate Advisor no later than September 15 for Fall graduation, February 1 for Spring graduation, and May 1 for an August graduation. Students must be prepared to make revisions in a timely manner and keep submitting revisions to their Graduate Advisor until they have achieved a draft that the Graduate Advisor deems acceptable to be distributed to the Graduate Studies Committee. It is expected to allow a minimum of two weeks for the Graduate Advisor to review each draft of the thesis, in part or in full, that you submit. Depending upon the feedback of the Graduate Advisor, students may wish to set a tentative defense date with all members of the Graduate Studies Committee in order to see if everyone is going to available for the defense, otherwise a defense may need to be delayed. Once your Graduate Studies Committee has read your thesis, which should include nearly final figures, maps, and text, they may suggest major revisions and wish to see revised drafts before they move to approve it as defendable. If not completed prior, thesis drafts should go through a formatting check at the Graduate School.

    Once the Graduate Studies Committee has deemed a thesis draft defendable, the student must provide a hard copy of the draft for public viewing in the Anthropology Department Office at least one full week before the oral thesis defense. After the defense, the student must satisfy all revision requests by the Graduate Studies Committee, and submit the revised thesis first to the Associate Dean of the UAA College of Arts and Sciences, who may approve the thesis or request additional revisions. After that, the final revised copy of the thesis is submitted to the UAA Graduate School. It is imperative that students plan ahead to have their thesis ready for each stage of review, allowing enough time for review and any necessary revisions to be made before moving on to the next stage of submission, and to adhere to all officially-posted deadlines by CAS and the Graduate School.

    Deadlines for Thesis Submission


    Deadline to submit post-defense revised thesis for approval by the Associate Dean of CAS

    Deadline to submit final thesis to the Graduate School

    Fall term graduation

    November 19

    December 1

    Spring term graduation

    March 23

    April 10

    Summer term graduation

    June 22

    July 10

    Thesis Format

    The MA thesis itself must be written in the format specified by the UAA Graduate School – no exceptions. Sometimes these guidelines are updated to reflect current practice in academia or to meet specific publishing needs of the Graduate School.

    Therefore, students are advised to check the UAA Graduate School web page early in the academic year they plan to graduate to access the current UAA Graduate School thesis formatting guidelines. It is advisable to adjust the settings on your word- processing software (most people use Microsoft Word) to the specific margin, font, heading, and subheading guidelines outlined in the UAA Graduate School thesis formatting guidelines and type all of your thesis into document files saved with these specific settings. Pay particular attention to rules about the Title Page, document margins, spacing, the Table of Contents, and table and figure formatting. UAA will reject a thesis that is not properly formatted, and if it has been submitted too near the deadline, you may not have enough time to make necessary changes to graduate in the semester you wish to graduate.

    Oh my goodness, I’m scared now…how will I know if my thesis is ready for submission?

    Start by meeting with your Graduate Advisor. Meet with them as you begin writing the first chapters of your thesis, whether you start with the Literature Review and Background, or the Methods, or a first attempt at the Introduction chapter. Take a look at the current Graduate School thesis formatting guidelines when you begin and update the settings of your document files according to the style guidelines. As you prepare more of your chapters and are getting closer to a full first draft, you may make an appointment with the Graduate School to provide review of your thesis formatting. The Graduate School will provide feedback on style and formatting, but not on content as that is the purview of your Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee members.

    Thesis formatting assistance

    The Graduate School offers thesis formatting workshops each semester. The Graduate School also holds walk-in appointments for thesis formatting review on Fridays from 3-5 pm, or by emailing Elisa Mattison at the Graduate School.

    Application for Graduation

    The graduate student must submit an Application for Graduation with the application $50 fee in the semester in which they intend to graduate. Check the Graduate School Catalog website for the application for graduation and deadlines and other important information.

    Applications received after the deadline will be processed for the following semester. Students who apply for graduation on time, but do not complete degree requirements by deadlines listed, must re-apply for graduation in the next semester. The application fee must be paid with each Application for Graduation.

    Thesis Defense

    When a student’s Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee are satisfied with the content of the thesis, it may be formally submitted to the University for approval. At that time, a public defense of the thesis is scheduled, leaving sufficient time for publication of notice of the defense. The Graduate School web page also has space for advertising the thesis defense (including title and abstract) and will list your defense on the Graduate School calendar.

    To prepare for the defense, students are advised to review all details of the thesis, current literature relevant to the thesis topic, and appropriate graduate course work. The defense is open to the university community and interested public.

    The Thesis defense process

    1. The student makes a formal oral presentation of their thesis research, summarizing the major conclusions of the The presentation, which may include the use of audio-visual media, normally lasts from 30-45 minutes.
    2. The Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee asks questions to the student based on the content of the presentation and the written thesis.
    3. Audience members may ask questions to the student based on the content of the presentation, or based upon the written thesis which was made publically available at least one week prior to the defense.
    4. The student and the public are excused from the defense for a period during which the Graduate Studies Committee deliberates the success of the Normally, this period ranges from 10-30 minutes.
    5. The student is readmitted to the room to hear the verdict, after which appropriate congratulations are offered by the Graduate Advisor and Graduate Studies Committee, as well as the general public.
    6. After passing the defense, the Graduate Studies Committee may ask the student to meet with them to consider additional minor changes to the thesis.

    After the Defense

    Submitting your thesis to the Graduate School

    At this stage, you’re nearly through, but all paperwork must be filed through appropriate channels by the applicable deadlines before your MA degree is actually conferred. First, you must make any recommended changes to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Graduate Studies Committee, as overseen by the Graduate Advisor. The final approved revised thesis is then presented to the Graduate Studies Committee with a cover signature page for committee members’ approval. If all meets approval, the document is then forwarded up the administrative chain. Keep in mind that a thesis accepted by the Graduate Studies Committee has not yet been accepted by the College of Arts and Sciences, nor by the UAA Graduate School. Both approvals may involve additional changes to the thesis document. The stages are as follows:

    1. The Department Chair has to review and sign the thesis after the committee is done. One copy is sent to chair. After these comments are addressed, the thesis goes to the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
    2. One copy of the thesis is sent to the Associate Dean for review after your Graduate Studies Committee approves of any changes made to the document after the defense. The Associate Dean may prefer the thesis in electronic format, so send an e-mail to check before you send a copy.
      • The MA Candidate makes changes to the document in compliance with Associate Dean’s review.
    3. Following the Associate Dean’s review, one copy of the thesis is sent to the Graduate School for a format check.
      • The MA Candidate makes any necessary formatting changes to the document in compliance with Graduate School review.
    4. The MA Candidate submits one final copy with one original signed signature page to the Graduate School.
    5. The MA Candidate submits a PDF of the final thesis to the Anthropology Department.

    Checklist for thesis submittal to the Associate Dean and Graduate School

    1. Is your thesis abstract a concise statement of the nature and content of the thesis?
    2. Are all charts, graphs, and other special illustrative materials legible?
    3. Are all the pages in your thesis numbered consecutively?
    4. Do all the pages in your thesis conform to the margin requirements? Do your page numbers, headers, charts, graphs, and appendices conform?
    5. If you have colored charts, graphs, or photographs, have you made an extra set of originals or color photographs to submit with your thesis?
    6. If applicable, do you have permission letters for previously copyrighted materials? A copy of those letters must accompany your
    7. Do you have all the approval signatures from your committee, department chair, and the Dean/Director of your school or college?
    8. If you received IRB approval, have you mentioned this in the body of the thesis or appended necessary documents?
    9. Have you set up your electronic account on UMI ProQuest?

    Finish all paperwork required by the Graduate School

    A range of paperwork is also important to file following the defense. Some documents are completed and filed by your advisor and graduate committee, but check with your Graduate Advisor after the defense, since some steps can occasionally be left out.

    1. Thesis Signature Page
      • Although one original is required, make a few extra in case you want originals inserted in additional copies of the thesis.
    2. Completion of Graduate Studies Plan
      • This makes sure that all degree requirements have been met according to department Check to see that this is up to date at the time of your defense. It becomes supplanted by the Graduation Requirement Report (but it is important for both documents to be in alignment).
    3. Submittal of thesis grade by the Graduate Advisor, or submittal of a change of grade form, signed by the thesis advisor, changing ANTH A699 from a deferred grade (DF) to a pass.
      • This step completes your academic transcript, allowing the degree to be Be sure to remind your thesis advisor of this step—it can be forgotten!
    4. Report of Thesis/Dissertation Defense form, to be signed by the committee and filed at Degree Services.
      • This states that you have met all the requirements for graduation: again an essential document allowing the degree to be
    5. UMI ProQuest Electronic Thesis Submission
      1. This is the electronic system the University uses for all MA and PhD Thesis. To begin the process, visit ProQuest ETD and follow the instructions.

    If you have questions regarding thesis requirements, please contact Elisa Mattison, Director of the Graduate School, in the Administration Building (ADM) 220 at or call 907 786 1096.

  • Funding Opportunities

    This section describes various funding opportunities to assist students with paying for school, research activities, or living expenses. It is the student’s responsibility to seek out, apply for, and maintain eligibility for any merit- or needs-based financial assistance. The Anthropology Department faculty do not recommend taking out student loans, if at all avoidable, and encourage students to apply for opportunities such as grants, scholarships, stipends, or paid-internships and practicums to support you in your studies.

    Teaching Assistantships

    Teaching Assistantships are sometimes available in the Anthropology Department. As of fall 2012, teaching assistantships at UAA require two teaching-related components, each generally involving 10 hours per week. Regarding the first component, each TA is generally assigned to assist a professor with a lower division anthropology class. Duties may include providing instructional support, and classroom support including the ordering and setup of audiovisual equipment, student tutorials, leading discussion sections where applicable, and occasional class instruction, and grading examinations and assignments.

    For the second component, a TA may be assigned to a second class, or sometimes is assigned to a broader task in support of teaching, such as preparation of lab materials for other lab-based Anthropology courses, providing writing assistance for undergraduate anthropology students, assisting faculty in the development of teaching collections, and other education- related tasks.

    Teaching assistantships carry a stipend, health insurance, and a tuition remission for courses listed on students’ Graduate Studies Plans for that semester. Stipends are set by the College of Arts and Sciences. As with other financial aid, students must retain full-time status (a minimum of nine credit hours per semester with a minimum GPA of 3.0) to obtain or retain teaching assistantships. Although potential interest in teaching assistantships will be sought from incoming students, all students should notify the anthropology Graduate Program Coordinator of their interest in a teaching assistant position shortly after admission to the program, or by the end of Spring Term for returning graduate students. Normally, teaching assistantships will be available only to first or second-year full-time students within the program, providing up to four semesters of funding.

    Priority for assigning Teaching Assistantships

    1. Second-year graduate students in good standing.
    2. Second-year graduate students not in good standing, but who have performed satisfactory.
    3. First-year students without conditions, ranked by grade point average.
    4. Other graduate students who have already worked as a TA for four semesters, who are in good standing, and have performed satisfactory.

    Additional eligibility criteria

    1. Student must be enrolled full-time (9 credits) and in courses that are approved on the GSP, unless it is the fourth semester, in which case the student may be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits.
    2. Student does not have an Incomplete grade, or the Incomplete will be rectified before the start of the semester in which the student will work as a TA.

    Process for accepting an offer of a Teaching Assistantship

    1. First, be sure to have enrolled in 9 credits.
    2. Second, you will need to apply online at UA Jobs for the Teaching Assistantship The Graduate Coordinator sends details to TAs when the job pool is posted. The application requires attaching a resume, letter of interest, and three references.
    3. Third, an appointment letter will be e-mailed to you via This is your official assistantship award letter and should electronically signed per the instructions in the e-mail.
    4. Fourth, complete FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) training online through your UAOnline account. FERPA Certificates should be e-mailed to the administrative support for Anthropology, BMH FERPA training is good for one year; please keep a copy of your certificate on hand. 
    5. Fifth, the student may e-mail a copy of the signed appointment letter along with the Graduate Assistant Health Insurance Enrollment form to Elisa Mattison at the Graduate School (ADM 218A), or the student may submit the materials directly to the Graduate School office at 1901 Bragraw , Suite 368. It is UAA policy that all students on university payroll must sign up for insurance through the University. This comes at no extra charge to the student and is a benefit especially for students with graduate assistantships. The teaching assistantship (including tuition remission) will not be processed until the student's enrollment in the health insurance plan is complete. Students are responsible for paying all tuition and fees regardless of tuition remission processing. The sooner the student is enrolled in the health insurance benefit, the sooner the tuition remission can be processed.
    6. TAs must have enrolled in classes they plan to take at least two weeks prior to the commencement of semester classes for the semester that they will be working as a Teaching
    7. If the TA is intending to take an Independent Study (ANTH A697) or Practicum (ANTH A695), the associated forms must be filed by the end of the previous semester, but the student must register in this course (together with the approvals).
    8. If the TA has an Incomplete grade, this must be rectified two weeks before the start of the semester in which the TA is Failure to do so may result in a reassignment of the teaching assistantship to another student.

    Research Assistantships

    In addition to teaching assistantships, a number of other forms of financial aid are available to graduate students in the UAA anthropology program. Research assistantships are sometimes available through grants given to individual faculty members. There are also a limited number of small grants and scholarships available directly to full-time graduate students through the Financial Aid Office at UAA (see below). Work-study funds are available to students who meet the needs qualification test, but these require matching funds that are limited in the Anthropology MA budget.

    External sources of funding may not require that the recipients be full-time graduate students, but all require that they be students in good standing. These would include funds for interns in the programs of various municipal, state, and federal agencies based in Anchorage that employ anthropologists. Not all internships are paid, and those that are vary greatly in remuneration, although the Department of Anthropology has requested that official UAA graduate student pay guidelines be followed.

    Research assistantships during summer do not require enrollment in courses, but will still include a stipend and health insurance.

    Grants, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

    Several MA students are successful in securing funding of various kinds to support them during their program. Internal funding is not automatically provided for UAA graduate students, and so it is ultimately the responsibility of the student to seek out and apply for internal and external funding, and other sources of financial support, during your program. Your Graduate Advisor can assist you with this process, but be sure to speak with them to let them know what your specific financial situation and needs are.

    The following table lists funding opportunities available to UAA graduate students, although it is your responsibility to check what the individual eligibility criteria are for each source, and be aware of deadlines and application requirements. In addition to this list, faculty will send information about any new or changing funding opportunities out on the UAA MA Anthropology list-serv, as we learn about them.


    UAA Resources



    UAA Office of Financial Aid
    • Lists numerous Resources
    • Pay attention to eligibility criteria and deadlines

    UAA & UA Scholarships

    • Needs- and merit-based scholarships
    • Various Foundations give out different scholarships for certain programs or types of students
    • Pay attention to eligibility criteria and deadlines

    Government Resources

    Federal Financial Aid

    • Information about the Federal Pell Grant and Work Study Program

    Veteran student resources

    • Information on Montgomery GI Bill, Veteran Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), Survivor’s Benefits, and other programs

    External Grants

    Arctic Institute of North American

    • $1,000 Grant-in-Aid

    External Scholarships

    Alaska Anthropological Association

    • Information on different student scholarships
    • Must be a member of the organization to apply

    Alaska Consortium of Zooarchaeologists

    • Christina Jensen Scholarship


    • Information on scholarships for CIRI shareholders

    The Aleut Foundation

    • Information on scholarships for Aleut/Unangax students

    Rhodes Scholarship Trust

    • Rhodes Scholar program

    Hispanic Scholarship Fund

    • Information on scholarships for Hispanic students
  • Resources On Campus

    This section describes facilities and resources on campus that UAA Anthropology MA students are entitled access to, as well as opportunities for accessing resources off campus.

    Anthropology Department Resources

    Accessing Anthropology Department facilities

    All laboratories are located in Beatrice McDonald Hall. All anthropology graduate students are entitled to access all anthropology facilities except for human remains storage and the TA office. Only currently-active TAs have access to the TA office. Graduate students will have access to most of these facilities by using your WOLFCard, which is programmed by UAA Laboratory Director Krystal Haase. Graduate students also have access to BMH when it is locked through the east facing door which has a WOLFCard swipe access point. The TA office, however, is accessible by key rather than WOLFCard, and keys will be given to currently-active TAs by the Graduate Program Coordinator. After TA service is over, failure to return the key to the Graduate Program Coordinator will result in a fine.

    At the beginning of each academic year, the Anthropology Department coordinates a mandatory Lab and Safety Training with Krystal Haase. All faculty and graduate students, and any visiting scholars or undergraduates who need access to department facilities, are required to take this training every year. Failure to attend the mandatory training will result in one’s WOLFCard access being suspended by Mrs. Haase until the training is made up. Individuals with suspended access must arrange a private training with Mrs. Haase on their own time.

    Anthropology Department facilities and locations

    • BMH 120: Biological Anthropology Lab. Includes 3-D scanner, and computer stations with 3-D modeling software.
    • BMH 123: Cultural Resource Management Lab. Includes the Alaska Consortium of Zooarchaeology Collection.
    • BMH 124: Wet Processing Lab. Includes flotation unit, electrolysis, necropsy table, and reference library.
    • BMH 125: Dry Processing Lab. Includes additional zooarchaeology collections.
    • BMH 213: Teaching Assistant (TA) Office. Contains computers, and textbooks associated with anthropology classes.
    • BMH 227: Anthropology Laboratory for Cultural and Environmental Scanning (ALCES). Includes 3-D scanning, modeling, and photogrammetry equipment as well as a private space for conducting interviews and small focus groups for research purposes. To schedule a private meeting in ALCES, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator. Unless reserved in advance, ALCES is open-access to anthropology graduate students, with priority for those using the equipment in the room.
    • BMH 230: GIS Long-Term Projects Lab and Graduate Student Lounge. Includes GIS computers, flatbed scanner, plotter, recording equipment, video equipment, and transcribing software, as well as a lounge area for graduate students with lockers. See the Graduate Program Coordinator to be assigned a key to a locker. All keys must be returned to the Graduate Program Coordinator upon graduating or withdrawing from the program. Failure to return keys will result in a fine.
    • BMH 232: GIS lab (shared with Geography and Environmental Studies Dept.). Includes 18 computers and plotter. Used as a classroom, but also with open times for student use.

    The UAA Anthropology Club

    The UAA Anthropology Club also offers an informal setting for both graduate and undergraduate students to meet and share ideas, participate in student government, listen to invited speakers, and promote activities relevant to the field of anthropology. The current faculty advisor to the Anthropology Club is Dr. Ryan Harrod.

    Check out the UAA Anthropology Club on Facebook!

    UAA Facilities and Resources

    In addition to department resources and facilities, UAA graduate students have access to numerous spaces and services on campus. Here we list those most commonly of interest to anthropology and archaeology students.

    Environment and Natural Resources Institute (ENRI )

    ENRI traces its history to 1972, when the Alaska legislature established the Arctic Environmental Information and Data Center (AEIDC) within the University of Alaska as a referral and applied research center for Alaska's natural resources. Today, ENRI incorporates AEIDC, the Alaska State Climate Center, the Alaska Natural Heritage Program, and Resource Solutions. It provides hands-on educational opportunities and such services as applied science investigations; environmental and natural resource policy analyses; and the collection, interpretation, and communication of scientific knowledge.

    ENRI's chief goal is to provide sound scientific data and analyses without advocacy for use in natural resource and environmental decision making. It also fosters the use of consensus-building techniques to help build agreement on public policy issues related to Alaska's resources. ENRI’s offices are in the EBL building on the west side of campus.

    Computer labs

    There are currently 39 computer labs on the UAA Campus. While many of the labs are restricted to use by department- affiliated individuals, there are at least seven unrestricted labs located across campus available for use by any UAA student. Detailed information on locations and hours of operation on UAA IT's Computer Lab website.

    UAA Consortium Library

    The Consortium Library provides informational resources and services to UAA and APU students, staff, and faculty. The Consortium Library is the designated research library for south-central Alaska and serves as the health sciences library for the entire state. 

    Special Collections in the library

    • Alaskana: contains books, maps, microforms, videos, and other materials relating to Alaska, and other arctic
    • Archives and Manuscripts: collects, preserves, and makes available for research use records which document the social, political, cultural, and economic development of Alaska, especially Anchorage and Southcentral 
    • Foundation Center: The Consortium Library is a Cooperating Collection of the Foundation Center, New This site provides information on collections and services offered by the Foundation Center, databases on funding resources and provides links to web resources on grants.
    • Government Documents: a select depository for about 38% of the publications available for the S. Government Printing Office. A depository for all State of Alaska publications. Contains many documents from the Municipality of Anchorage.
    • Health Sciences Information Service: the major medical library in Provides fee-based library services to health professionals throughout the state.

    The Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS)

    ARLIS, housed at the Consortium Library, contains collections of books, journals, reports, and government documents from all of the federal agencies based in Anchorage. Its collections are available for use by all UAA students.

    Graduate student study carrels

    The library has 18 study carrels available to graduate students who are working on their theses. Students will need to bring proof of registration in a graduate level thesis credits. Carrels can be reserved for one semester, on a first-come first-served basis, and there is usually a waiting list. No one may use a study carrel for two consecutive semesters. A $25.00 key deposit is required and will be refunded when the key is returned. Contact the Library Income Manager’s Office at 786-1374 (or e- mail if you wish to reserve a carrel.

    Students can also book regular study rooms online for a two hour block.

    The Learning Commons

    The Learning Commons (LC) is in the Sally Monserud Building (SMB), offering a friendly and relaxed place to study, read, or to get extra help for a class. The LC also serves as a testing site for correspondence courses. Other services offered include a hot drink service area, copy machines, English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) tutoring, group and quite study areas, instructor reserved materials, language lab, computer lab, math lab, computer-assisted writing lab, tutoring, tape and film library, video stations, and Women’s Studies resources.

    UAA Bookstore

    The bookstore stocks required and recommended course textbooks in the exact editions specified by professors and as well as a wide variety of reference and technical books, study aids, fiction and non-fiction, and general reading books. When buying textbooks one should bring your registration receipts to reference the department name, course number, instructor, and section number. Refunds will be given for unmarked and undamaged textbooks returned with an original cash register receipt within ten school days from the start of class. The Campus Bookstore cannot refund books purchased in the prior semester; however, at the end of each semester, the Campus Bookstore buys back textbooks that are in good condition and scheduled for future use. The UAA Bookstore website which offers on-line ordering, textbook reservations, student inquiry options, and more.


    The University’s student and faculty ID cards are called WOLF Cards. The WOLF Card not only serves as ID card, but it can also be used as a convenient method to pay for many on-campus services. To obtain a WOLFCard visit the WOLFCard office located at the University Center Campus.

    Use your UAA Wolfcard for the following purposes:

    • As your official UAA ID
    • As your UAA Library card
    • To ride the Anchorage People Mover bus system for free
    • Access to movies, concerts and all venues in the Physical Education Facility
    • To pay for many services on campus that access WOLFBucks
    • To access to BMH when the building is closed
    • To access to department facilities
  • Resources Off Campus

    The Department of Anthropology at UAA holds working relationships with several state and federal agencies in the Anchorage/Mat-Su Valley area.

    The Graduate Advisory Board

    The Graduate Advisory Board meets at least once a year to consult with the UAA Anthropology faculty about issues related to the graduate program. Many of these volunteer members are former UAA students in anthropology, and as such they have invaluable insight into both the UAA graduate program in anthropology and the current employment and research needs of Alaska. It is advised that if a graduate student wishes to reach out to any of these GAB agencies, first speak with their Graduate Advisor, as they will be able to tell the student which of these agencies is best to contact, and likely also has other contacts to refer to the student.

    UAA Anthropology Graduate Advisory Board


     Point of Contact

    Additional Contact Information

    Alaska Air National Guard

    Cultural Resource Manager and Tribal Liaison Tom Wolforth

    (907) 428-7184

    Alaska Department of Fish and Game

    Research Director, Subsistence Division, Jim Fall


    Alaska Native Heritage Center

    Interim Curator Eleanor Hadden

    (907) 299-1131

    Anchorage Museum

    Cultural anthropologist Alex Taitt, Collections Manager Shina Duvall


    Bureau of Indian Affairs

    Sean Mack, Pat Petriveli

    (907) 271-3695

    Bureau of Land Management

    Archaeologist Jenny Blanchard

    (907) 267-1341

    Chickaloon Village Tribal Council

    Historical Technical Advisor Fran Seager-Boss

    (907) 745-0737

    Cultural Resource Consultants

    Owners, anthropologists Michael Yarbrough and Deborah Yarbrough


    National Park Service

    Cultural anthropologist Rachel Mason, Archaeologist Rhea Hood

    (907) 644-3472

    Office of History and Archaeology

    Archaeologist Richard Vanderhoek, State Heritage Resources Surveyor Jeffrey Weinberger


    Smithsonian Institution Arctic Studies Center

    Director Aron Crowell


    Southcentral Foundation

    Medical anthropologist Jennifer Shaw


    Steve Braund Associates

    Owner and Archaeologist Monty RogersArchaeologist Jake Anders

    (907) 748-1889

    State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)

    Judy Bittner

    (907) 269-8715

    US Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson

    Archaeologist Karlene Leeper

    (907) 552-5057

    US Army Corps of Engineers

    Archaeologist Kelly Eldridge


    US Fish and Wildlife Service

    Archaeologist Ed Decleva

    (907) 786-3399

    US Forest Service

    Archaeologist and Tribal Relations, Heather Hall

    (907) 754-2327

    Arctic Studies Center

    The Arctic Studies Center (ASC) is an extension of the Smithsonian Institution and the only ASC field lab outside of Washington, D.C. Working with Native Alaskans, scholars, and museum associates, Dr. Aron Crowell directs the Center. Dr. Crowell is the principal investigator for a large, interdisciplinary study of prehistoric maritime adaptations, population growth, and environmental change, sponsored by the National Park Service for the Gulf of Alaska.

    Dr. Crowell is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UAA, where he offers classes on Museum Studies in Anthropology and Ethnohistoric Archaeology.

    The Alaska Anthropological Association

    The Alaska Anthropological Association is a regional professional organization for anthropology and archaeology in the circumpolar north, although several members also do research in other parts of the world. Our department highly encourages students to join this organization, which offers affordable student rates for membership. Members of the “little triple a” (as it’s commonly called in contrast to the American Anthropological Association, or “big triple a”) enjoy a wide range of benefits for their membership, including discounted registration fees for attending the annual conference each spring, access to the Alaska Journal of Anthropology, and access to numerous student and professional awards, including scholarships for students at the BA/BSc, MA, and PhD levels. The aaa also provides opportunities for student members to serve on the Board in a variety of positions, as well as one paid student internship position that is usually available once a year. Simply put, if you’re at all interested in northern anthropology or archaeology, this is a critically important and valuable organization for you to become a member of.

    The annual conference of the Alaska Anthropological Association

    Each year in the spring (usually March), the Alaska Anthropological Association holds their annual conference. The conference is always organized by a volunteer agency in the community hosting for that year. Usually, the conference is held on a rotational basis in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and then a smaller community in Alaska (although the conference has much more rarely been hosted Outside in other cities, such as Seattle). The rotation of the conference location is intended to help members from smaller and more rural communities in the North be able to access it without always having to travel to large, far away cities with expensive hotels.

    We encourage all UAA anthropology students at the undergraduate and graduate levels to attend this conference. The Association does have discounted student membership fees and student registration fees, as well as a volunteer service program that provides free registration for students who volunteer a certain number of hours during the conference. In addition to being able to meet students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Southeast (in Juneau), you can meet and network with hundreds of professionals working in northern anthropology and archaeology, some of whom may be your future employers, co-workers, or colleagues.

    Finally, the Alaska Anthropological Association’s conference is very student-friendly and a great conference for students to gain experience in professionally presenting your work to your academic peers. Even if you just attend to see everyone else’s presentations, participation in the annual conference is a great way to learn about and stay on top of contemporary anthropological research and practice in the circumpolar north.