Graduate Programs

The Anthropology Department offers MA and PhD degrees

Graduate programs in anthropology at the University of Albany are designed for students seeking either a Doctor of Philosophy or a Master of Arts degree. Specializations are offered in the traditional subdisciplines of archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. 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 MA level. At the PhD level students specialize in a particular research area, either within a subdiscipline or else between two or more anthropology subdisciplines or other branches of scholarship.

Research Strengths

Albany faculty in all four subdisciplines enjoy high profiles in scholarship and professional acticities. As shown on individual faculty web pages, the rate of professional publication by faculty is high. Our faculty are leaders in national professional activities such as membership on the editorial boards of journals and governing bodies of professional associations. 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 MA-level and dissertation research projects in the U.S. and abroad.

The Department of Anthropology has chosen to concentrate resources and research on a number of geographical and thematic topics, and we have achieved international prominence in these areas. Our specialized programs at the Ph.D. level complement the four-field anthropology approach at the M.A. level.

Here are some of the research themes that link together the activities of groups of faculty members. We welcome graduate applicants in any of these fields.

Mesoamerican Studies. Albany has the largest group of Mesoamericanist anthropologists as full-time faculty north of Mexico. The Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (IMS) coordinates Mesoamerican resesarch, publishes books, and organizes speakers and occasional conferences. IMS has grants for student fieldwork in Mesoamerica. The Northeast Mesoamerican Epigraphy Workshop, based in the Department, organizes speakers, workshops, conferences, and other events on Mesoamerican writing and allied fields.

Archaeology of the Northeast. Albany has a long history of research and teaching on Northeastern archaeology. We offer a regular summer archaeological field school in the Albany area's Schoharie Valley, and the Department maintains collections of materials from a variety of prehistoric sites in the Northeast.

Globalization and Development. We have a number of faculty and graduate students working on the interactions between local societies and the global economy, emphasizing the processes of global flows of people, commodities, and capital.

Historical Anthropology. Ethnologists and archaeologists at Albany use an anthropological focus to examine the ways past societies and cultures operated and changed through time. Documents and artifacts join ethnographic observations as sources of understanding and interpretation of the human condition.

Biological Diversity and Health.The relationship of human biology and health to the environment, construed broadly to include the social environment, the built environment, and the physical environment, is a unifying theme for the department's faculty in biological anthropology and medical anthropology. Current research includes the investigations toxicant affects on growth and development by the Children's Environmental Health Studies (CEHS) group. Similarly, the Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities (CEMHD) is an interdepartmental organization that organizes research to eliminate health disparities produced by cultural practices.

Archaeological Political Economy. Albany archaeologists are engaged in a political economy approach to ancient societies. Among the topics of research are economic change, social classes, urbanization, political structure, ideology, and the correlation of archaeology and ethnohistory.