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Graduate Program in Anthropology

Master's Program Description:

The Master’s Program in anthropology at Kent State University was established in 1970 and is based on a holistic approach to anthropology. Students receive training in three fields of anthropology:

cultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology.

Training in cultural anthropology emphasizes the study of culture, specifically kinship, religion, and symbolic meaning in a variety of ecological and economic settings. Students interested in archaeology receive training in both theory and field methods. The focus of archaeological research in the department traditionally has been on the Americas. Students in biological anthropology receive training in evolutionary theory, structural and functional primate anatomy, including human anatomy and primate behavior and ecology.

The M.A. program is strongly research-oriented and encourages students to develop their own projects or participate in existing projects by their second semester. The aim of the program is to provide students with the best possible training to either continue study in a Ph.D. program or obtain employment after completing the M.A. program. Over 80% of the graduates from our M.A. program either go on for the Ph.D. or find employment in an area directly related to their training. Applications are due February 1 and are reviewed only once each academic year. A statement of goals, three letters of recommendation, official transcript, and GRE scores are required.

Ph.D. Program Description:

As a result of emergence of the vast new advances in modern biology, the Kent State faculty regard the human family tree now as merely the framework upon which the evolutionary events that led to human self-realization can be judiciously stationed and reconstructed. We believe that only such an innovative, inter-disciplinary approach can ultimately lead to a highly detailed account of our own origins. We therefore encourage each Ph.D. student to acquire a broad background and understanding of those disciplines that, when weaved together, holistically account for human evolution. These include neurobiology, primate behavior, biodemography and evolutionary theory, developmental biology, human gross structure, and genetics. We offer classes and mentoring in these areas as well as encouraging students to take advantage of classes in other departments at KSU (biology, psychology, geology, chemistry, geography.)

Click here to apply online.


Ricki Lewis reports on biological anthropologists’ branching out into crime forensics and science policy as seen in Nature, February 2009

Spotlight on Alumni:

Linda Spurlock (Ph.D., 2005)   

  • Director of Human Health, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
  • Linda has organized two interesting exhibits at CMNH recently, one on race in America and another on forensic anthropology and criminal investigation.  She is also a talented forensic artist and has worked closely with a number of law enforcement agencies.

Jeffery Hudson (Ph.D., 2005)

  • Human Factors Group, Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
  • Jeff works in the area of airplane cockpit, flight suit, and helmet design.  The unique requirements of modern military craft require highly engineered designs that fit and protect human beings.  Many of the technical advantages of these considerations eventually reach a wider audience.

William Kimbel (Ph.D., 1986)

  • Institute for Human Origins and Arizona State University.
  • Bill is the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment in the Department of Anthropology at ASU and Science Director of the IHO. He conducts field, laboratory, and theoretical research in paleoanthropology, with primary foci on Plio-Pleistocene hominid evolution in Africa and the late Pleistocene of the Middle East.  He has done work bearing directly on our common humanity at the Hadar hominid site in Ethiopia and more recently with Israeli colleagues on Middle Paleolithic cave deposits in that country.

Robert Tague Ph.D., 1986)

  • James J. Parsons Professor, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University.
  • Bob’s work is mainly in comparative anatomy and physiology, and it is important as we seek to place ourselves in the context of our evolutionary history.  He has focused particularly on examining the differences between men and women, particular pertaining to the pelvis. 

Robert Walker (Ph.D., 1986)

  • Dean of Clinical Anatomy, and Professor in the Department of Basic Sciences, at New York Chiropractic College.
  • Much of Rob’s research focuses on the affects of aging on the maintenance and condition of the human skeleton, with particular attention to variation related to race and gender.

Scott Simpson (Ph.D., 1993)

  • Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University.
  • Scott is a member of the international, multidisciplinary Gona Paleoanthropological project working in Ethiopia on paleontological and archaeological sites ranging in age from latest Miocene to the middle Pleistocene.  This period spans the earliest stages of the human lineage from Ardipithicus ramidus through Homo erectus.  It also records the adoption of the first stone tools by humankind.    Overall, these archaeologically and faunally rich deposits have much to tell us about the biological and behavioral evolution of our ancestors during the past 5 million years.

Shaune Skinner (MA, 1982)

  • President, ASC Group, Inc. of Columbus Ohio.
  • Shaune began her company with a lot of confidence and a small business loan for women and minorities.  Today she owns one of the largest environmental consulting companies in the region with offices in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and surrounding states. ASC focuses on assessing the effects of construction and renewal on both cultural and environmental resources, including water, biology, architecture, and archaeology.

Ann C. Cramer (MA, 1989)

  • Forest Archaeologist, Wayne National Forest.
  • Anne’s work focuses on historic preservation in southeastern Ohio.  To that end, she has worked to develop policy on the competing effects of clear-cutting, mining, and other economic and recreational interests in the nation’s forests.  She has worked actively to preserve a variety of resource classes—from early 19th century blast furnaces to historic African American cemeteries.  Ann sites on the board of several regional preservation groups.

William Kennedy (MA, 2000)

  • Curator of Archaeology, Booneshoft Museum.
  • Bill has worked to develop an educational program in Dayton, Ohio that reaches both school children and adults in order to engage them with archaeological work going on in their own community, both in terms of appreciating the results and in actively participating in regional excavations.  The Booneshoft Museum has a unique resource, the Sunwatch Indian Village, which is a recreation of a portion of a Native American community dating from the 12th Century, with active demonstrations, tours, and reenactments.

Jeanne Harold (MA, 1985)

  • Curator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Museum.
  • Jeanne was for many years a senior conservator at the National Park Service’s national facility at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  Here she worked to conserve objects in NPS museum collections and also conducted research to improve both preservation and interpretation.  She recently has assumed her new job with Fish and Wildlife.

Cheri Botic (MA, 2001)

  • Consultant, MorganAngel & Associates.
  • Immediately after graduation, Cheri earned a position at the Smithsonian Institution where she worked on matters pertaining to the implementation of Federal policy regarding Indian tribal claims to objects and property.  She has recently moved to MorganAngel where she continues this work regarding the resolution of completing claims pertaining to Native Americans. 

Franco Ruffini (MA, 1977)

  • Deputy Historic Preservation Officer, State of Ohio.
  • Franco oversees the day-to-day activities of the Ohio Office of Historic Preservation and is a liaison with government officials and agencies at all levels, County, State and Federal, regarding matters relating to the preservation of Ohio’s cultural resources—architecture, archaeology, culture, and history.  Franco has worked tirelessly in the area of historic preservation and must sign-off on all nominations from our state for National Register of Historic Places nominations.