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Minimum Admission Requirements

Except under special circumstances, prospective applicants must meet the following minimum admission requirements:

  1. Hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or equivalent as determined by the Division of Graduate Affairs;
  2. Have attained at least a 3.0 GPA on all work leading to the bachelor’s degree and subsequent post-baccalaureate coursework;
  3. Have been in good standing in the last institution attended; and
  4. Have a combined verbal and quantitative GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score of at least 950 on the old test (prior to August 1, 2011) or 294 on the new test and a minimum of 4.0 on the analytic essay.

Applicants who meet the minimum admission requirements but who do not have a strong background in anthropology may be admitted conditionally. See Graduate Bulletin for further information.

Graduate Admissions Process

To be considered for graduate admission at San Diego State University, you must follow the 3-step process outlined below. For more detailed information regarding the admissions process, please visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Step 1:  Complete the Cal State Apply Application

Deadline to submit is December 15, 2018.

Each applicant must submit the California State University common application electronically to at Cal State Apply along with the $55 nonrefundable application fee. The Cal State Apply site will begin to accept applications on October 1, 2018. Once you have submitted the Cal State Apply application, you will be assigned a Red ID number, which will be e-mailed to you within 1-15 business days. We recommend submitting your Cal State Apply application as soon as possible to ensure you receive your Red ID on time. Your Red ID number will allow you to track the status of your application through the SDSU Webportal.

Step 2: Submit Official Transcripts & Test Scores to the Graduate Admissions Office

Deadline to submit is January 12, 2019.

After you have submitted the Cal State Apply application and received your Red ID number, you will need to send official transcripts and test scores to the Graduate Admissions Office.  Sending transcripts before submitting the Cal State Apply application will result in processing delays.

You must provide the following:

  1. Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) issued within the last year, from all U.S. colleges and universities attended.  Students who previously attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for coursework completed since last attendance.  Hard copy SDSU transcripts are not required. 

    Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree.  If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified literal English translation.  For country specific requirements, please see the Graduate Admissions website.

  2. GRE scores sent directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS) using SDSU’s Institution Code 4682.  Please note the university requires that all sections (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) of the GRE be completed.  

  3. TOEFL scores are required of all applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English.  A minimum score of 80 is required.  Scores should be sent directly from ETS using SDSU’s Institution Code 4682.

The above listed materials should be sent to:

Graduate Admissions 
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7416

If you have questions regarding Steps 1 and 2, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at (619) 594-6336 or e-mail [email protected]. International applicants may contact the International Recruitment Office at (619)594-1847 or e-mail [email protected].

Step 3: Complete Anthropology M.A. Program Application

Deadline to submit is January 12, 2019. Submit through Interfolio (link coming soon).

The Anthropology M.A. Program application requires the following items:

  1. A statement of purpose. The statement of purpose is a very important part of the application, as it allows the faculty to assess your intellectual sophistication, writing skills, clarity of purpose, and potential for success in the M.A. program. The statement of purpose should be limited to 2-3 single-spaced pages and clearly articulate your intended research interests, including geographical interests (if appropriate). If your research plans are not yet fully developed, you should clarify what topics and issues in anthropology you are most interested in pursuing and propose possible contexts in which to study them. Your statement should not be an extended narrative about personal history, except as relevant to your research plans. Elements that would make for a strong statement include, but are not limited to, the following: the intellectual and/or applied importance of your area of interest; a discussion of your preparedness to undertake graduate level study (e.g., previous research experience, coursework, field schools, etc.); the name of at least one SDSU anthropology faculty member who would be a suitable thesis adviser and an explanation of why you selected them; and, a discussion of the compatibility of your interests with the SDSU Anthropology program/faculty research areas.
  2. Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (these do not need to be sent directly from the colleges - photocopies are acceptable)
  3. Copies of GRE (and if applicable, TOEFL) test scores.
  4. Three letters of recommendation. You must provide names and email addresses for three individuals who can write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. The best letter writers are those who know you well and can evaluate your ability to perform and succeed at the graduate level. Recommenders will be invited to complete the recommendation electronically.
  5. sample of written work representative of your research and writing skills.
  6. Your curriculum vitae (CV).

If you have questions regarding Step 3, please contact the Anthropology Department at (619) 594-5527 or e-mail [email protected].

Selection Process

Prospective applicants who meet the minimum admission requirements and submit a complete application are reviewed and ranked by all department faculty. Each faculty member weighs admission criteria differently. In general, admission decisions are based on a combination of factors that include (but not necessarily in this order): a strong statement of purpose outlining a clear research focus; letters of recommendation from qualified recommenders that describe the applicant’s specific achievements; overall undergraduate academic performance; and significant professional experience.


Important Links

Important Links

Graduate Advisor

Dr. Erin Riley
Office: AL-457
Phone: (619) 594-8628
Email: [email protected]