Texas Tech University

Anthropology Graduate Program

EscarpmentBack PlazaSfM Presentation

The graduate degree program in anthropology is designed to provide broad training for students who wish to enter a Ph.D. program, prepare for undergraduate or community college teaching, or pursue a non-teaching career for which M.A.-level training in anthropology is appropriate and useful. The program emphasizes training in basic theory and methods. We follow a three-field approach to anthropology at the graduate level, meaning all students take a "core" class in each subfield (ethnology, physical anthropology, and archaeology), but can then specialize in their area of interest by taking elective courses and conducting thesis research.

If you are interested in applying or learning more about the program, you should contact the professor who best matches your research interest to learn about his/her research and to inquire if he/she is accepting new students. You may also download the latest version of our graduate student handbook.

The anthropology faculty who supervise graduate students are:


Dr. Brett A. Houk: Texas prehistory, Mesoamerica, Maya archaeology, ancient urban planning, Cultural Resource Management (CRM).

Dr. Tamra Walter: Historic archaeology, Spanish Colonial Texas, coastal Ecuador.


Dr. Lauren Miller Griffith: Tourism, pilgrimage, performance, martial arts, capoeira, sustainability, African diaspora, Latin America, Brazil, Belize, and the anthropology of higher education.

Dr. Michael Jordan: Ethnohistory and Expressive Culture of the Plains Indians, Economic Aspects of the Southern Plains Powwow, Historical Consciousness in Indigenous Communities, Digital Heritage Initiatives.

Dr. Jeffrey Williams: descriptive and documentary linguistics, contact linguistics, dialectology, endangered languages, Papuan languages, varieties of English in the West Indies, languages of mainland Southeast Asia.

Physical Anthropology

Dr. Arthur Durband: Paleoanthropology of Indonesia, Europe, and Australia, the origins of modern humans, the biology of early Australians, and virtual anthropology.

Dr. Mari Isa: Human osteology, forensic anthropology, skeletal trauma analysis, bone biomechanics, personal identification.

Dr. Anna Novotny: Human osteology, bioarchaeology, biogeochemistry, biodistance, mortuary analysis, ritual and worldview, Mesoamerica, ancient Maya, Ohio Hopewell.


Decisions on the program of study, specific courses, and thesis topics are made through consultation with the graduate advisor and other faculty members as appropriate on the basis of the student's background, interests, and objectives.

The anthropology curriculum requires 9 hours of core courses in the following three subfields: archaeology, physical anthropology, and ethnology. Students are required to take ANTH 5305 (ethnology core), ANTH 5341 (archaeology core), and ANTH 5312 (physical core). Thirty-six total hours of graduate credit are required, including 21 hours of elective courses. The elective courses may include a 6-hour minor or courses outside of anthropology. Students, in consultation with the graduate advisor, will also elect the thesis or non-thesis option for 6 hours of graduate credit. A grade of B or better is required to receive graduate credit for a course. Coursework is planned in consultation with the graduate advisor or thesis director soon after admission to the graduate program.

Thesis Option. Students in the anthropology program are strongly encouraged to write a thesis, particularly if they plan to continue their studies in a doctoral program. Students choosing this option are required to take 30 hours of coursework (including 9 core hours and 21 elective hours, which may include 6 hours outside of anthropology) plus 6 hours of thesis credit. The thesis is based on original research done in consultation with the thesis advisor. Students must submit a thesis prospectus prior to initiating their research and must defend the completed thesis to the department before the thesis may be submitted to the Graduate School. A student's thesis committee must include a thesis advisor and one other committee member from the anthropology program, and may include a third member from anthropology, another program at TTU, or a program at another university.

Non-Thesis Option. Students choosing the non-thesis option are required to take 36 hours of coursework (including 9 core hours and 27 elective hours, hich may include 6 hours outside of anthropology). In addition to the coursework requirement, students must choose a three-person committee (two of these faculty must be in the anthropology program) to administer a three-day exit examination in their final semester. For information, please follow this link.


General admission requirements are those established by the Graduate School. The best preparation is an undergraduate major in anthropology. Students wishing to pursue a concentration in archaeology are encouraged to complete an archaeological field school prior to applying. Doing so will strengthen your application. More specific information regarding admission procedures or other aspects of the graduate program may be obtained from the anthropology graduate advisor. Applicants without prior coursework in Anthropology may provisionally admitted and required to take leveling courses.

Applying for the Graduate Program in Anthropology


Applications for the fall semester are due January 31.

Applications for the spring semester are due October 15.

Steps to Applying

Applicants should have a clear idea of which subfield of anthropology they wish to pursue and with which faculty member they would like to work prior to applying. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members prior to applying to express their interest, as noted above.

Due to the global pandemic, we are waiving the GRE requirement for Spring and Fall 2021 applicants. For all other semesters, applicants should have a preferred score of at least 300 on the GRE (verbal and quantitative combined), and GRE scores must be reported prior to review for admission.

The Anthropology Graduate Program accepts applications for both fall and spring admissions. Please note that spring admissions are very rare due to our funding cycle. Please follow these procedures when applying to the Anthropology Graduate Program:

1. Contact members of the Anthropology Faculty that share your research interests to discuss the possibility of conducting graduate research under their supervision. This step is extremely important. Faculty generally are unwilling to accept a student unless they have had previous discussions with him or her about the program and possible thesis projects.

2. Complete a graduate school application available on the Graduate School's website.

3. All application materials should be submitted to the Graduate School.

4. If you have not already done so, you will may to take the GRE general exam. Before applying, contact the graduate advisor to determine if we are still waiving the GRE requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrange to have your official scores sent to Texas Tech University. There is no minimum score requirement, although we prefer a score of at least 300 on the GRE (verbal and quantitative combined). If you have taken the GRE exam within the last five years, you may have these scores submitted instead.

5. We will need two letters of recommendation as part of your application. The recommendations should come from individuals familiar with your academic performance and achievements. College professors who know you well make the best letter writers. Friends of the family, TAs, and high-school teachers are not appropriate references for graduate school.

6. Your application must include a statement of purpose that explains your motivations for applying to our program and highlight your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in anthropology. Also, please discuss why you feel our program is a good fit for you and list your long-term academic goals. In your statement of purpose, you should identify the faculty member(s) with whom you wish to work.

7. Finally, we require a writing sample, preferably 10-15 pages in length, which showcases your ability to write. A research paper or chapters from an undergraduate thesis are good examples of writing samples submitted by applicants.

If you have any questions about the application process or the program requirements, please email the graduate advisor at the address below:

Dr. Brett A. Houk
Anthropology Graduate Advisor
Dept. of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
Texas Tech University
Box 41012
Lubbock, TX, 79409-1012