Graduate training at Albany maintains the concept of anthropology as a four-field discipline, and this broad approach is at the core of our program at the Master's level. At the Ph.D. level students specialize in a particular research area, either within a sub-discipline or else between two or more anthropology sub-disciplines or other branches of scholarship. The Department of Anthropology is the setting for numerous research projects, most of which are supported by external grant funding. Many faculty research projects involve graduate student participation, leading to Master's level and dissertation research projects in the U.S. and abroad.
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There are two distinct sequences or programs leading to the Master's degree: the General Sequence and the Cognate Field Sequence. Completion of the General Sequence is intended to indicate competency in the data, methods, and theory of the major subfields, as well as in the concepts that integrate the subfields into a holistic discipline. The Cognate Sequence is a specialized degree program for students who seek specialized training in a relatively narrow area of anthropology, and who do not intend to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology. Typically, the Cognate Master's is chosen by professionals in other areas who want or need a graduate degree in anthropology, and by students who might need only a specialized Master's degree. Examples of cognate fields include historical archaeology, contract archaeology, and medical anthropology.
This program is designed primarily as preparation for a career of teaching and research at the college and university level or research and administration in industry and government. The department has major geographical strengths in Mesoamerica and Northeastern North America. These specialty areas crosscut the traditional sub-disciplines of archaeology, biological anthropology, ethnology, and linguistics. Other specializations can be defined for degree candidates according to the interests and qualifications of faculty supervisors.