The Anthropology faculty in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies offers a Master of Arts. The program is a thesis track which is designed primarily for students who plan to pursue the Ph.D. degree, plan to teach at the junior or community college level, or work as applied anthropologists.
The MA requires the completion of 30 semester hours of graduate level course work with a cumulative standing of 3.0/(B) or better, plus 6 hours of thesis (making a total of 36 semester hours earned), and satisfactory completion of the MA Comprehensive Examination. The 30 hours of course work may include 6 graduate-level hours outside the department, if judged pertinent by the student’s thesis committee chair. Major areas of study are cultural anthropology, archaeology, and physical anthropology, with a program interest in Latin America/the Caribbean and medical anthropology in all subdisciplines.
Cultural anthropologists are committed to learning about cultures/subcultures with a view towards understanding central values, assumptions and patterned behaviors; comparative cultural analysis is encouraged. Current interests within the department include Mayan identity and tourism in Central America, and youth culture, the life course and verbal performance art in West Africa gender relations, diaspora and religious history, as well as sexuality and citizenship..
For medical anthropology, there is research on diabetes in the Hispanic population of Houston and inquiry into associations linking race/ethnicity with health, chronic diseases, and opportunities for medical treatment.
Archaeological investigations focus on U.S. and Mesoamerican populations. There are numerous opportunities to study historical archaeology as it relates to the reconstruction of both rural and urban lives in the 19th century in and around the Houston area. Active research also includes examination of coastal shell middens, plantation archaeology, foraging adaptations and use of microcomputer application in Archaeology, such as, database, mapping, GIS, and CAD.
Physical anthropology emphasizes human osteology and biomedical research. Investigations in these areas have far-ranging interests from analysis of Mayan skeletal remains in Copan, Honduras, to the social-cultural and nutritional factors implicit in the AIDS epidemic in Africa.