The Anthropology faculty in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies offers a Master of Arts. The general track (thesis option) 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.
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 gender relations, aging, therapeutic and ritual performance, medical anthropology, and tourism/development. Ongoing research includes the politics of disease (AIDS) in Houston, Texas, which considers the social, psychological, and cultural influences of the AIDS epidemic on the lives of gay individuals and IV drug users, especially on the lives of persons with AIDS (PWA’s), diabetes in the Hispanic population of Houston, Mayan identity and tourism in Central America, and childhood illness and its treatment in West Africa.
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, to inquiry into associations linking race/ethnicity with health, chronic diseases, and opportunities for medical treatment.