Contact Information


Master’s in Anthropology Program
Coordinator: Dr. Kathryn Sampeck ----Department telephone: 309.438.8668
Department fax: 309.438.5378


Illinois State University
Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Schroeder Hall 341
Normal, IL 61790-4660

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Note: Graduate students who present papers at professional meetings are eligible for the Scott Elliot Award.


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MA/MS in Anthropology

   Since the Fall of 2014, we offer a four-field Master’s Degree (cultural anthropology [including linguistic anthropology], Japanese Studies, archaeology [prehistoric, historical], and biological anthropology [bioarchaeology, paleoanthropology]). The curriculum is core-light, flexible and individualized to meet the diverse and changing needs of our graduates who want to enter the job market after completing the MA/MS or continue their training at the PhD level.

  • Students seeking to continue their studies at the PhD level work closely with our internationally known faculty to design a program and MA thesis topic that will best suite their needs at the next level. 
  • Thesis progression and completion for all anthropology students are outlined on the Thesis Requirements page.
  • Most of the archaeology jobs at the MA level will be in contract archaeology. Marketability at this level may include a more diverse background in prehistory and history as well as specialized skills in mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), or computer applications.

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Program Graduates and Thesis Titles:

Our Faculty:

Nobuko Adachi specializes in linguistics, diaspora studies, and ethnohistory. Among her special interests are Asian American studies, Japanese diaspora, Japanese culture and identity, and Japanese communicative strategies.

Gina Hunter is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in Brazil. Her interests include the ISU Old Main Project, women's reproductive health, food systems and foodways, higher education, research methodology, and pedagogy. She is affiliated with the Latin American Studies Program and the Women and Gender studies Program at ISU. She routinely conducts field schools to Brazil. (field schools)

Kathryn Sampeck is an historical archaeologist who specializes in the ethnohistory and archaeology of Spanish colonization. Her current work examines the Spanish contact period in southern Mesoamerica (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras) and focuses on how American products, such as cacao (chocolate) were part of the beginnings of the world market. Dr. Sampeck's archaeological field school in eastern Tennessee will investigate early Spanish interaction with the Cherokee. Her other interests include landscape archaeology, ceramic analysis, and urbanism. (field schools)

James M. Skibo is a prehistoric archaeologist and current Director of the Grand Island Archaeological Program.  Dr. Skibo’s interests include the archaeology of the Great Lakes, American Southwest, the ISU Old Main archeological project, as well as archaeological theory and ethnoarchaeology. (field schools)

Fred H. Smith is a paleoanthropologist with long-term interests in European Neandertals and the origin of modern humans.  He participates in collaborative research with colleagues in Croatia and Germany, including Paleolithic excavations conducted by the Universities of Zagreb (Croatia) and Tübingen (Germany).

Maria Ostendorf Smith is a biological anthropologist who specializes in paleopathology (the study of ancient diseases). Her methodology is bioarchaeology, that is, the employment of pathology, nutritional status, and traumatic injury to reconstruct ancient quality of life, socio-cultural patterns (e.g., gender, social status), and political histories.  Dr. Smith’s area of interest is the pre-Columbian southeastern United States and her ongoing research expertise is Tennessee River Valley bioarchaeology. (field schools)

James Stanlaw is a linguistic anthropologist whose research interests include cognitive anthropology, language and culture contact, pop culture, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

Livia Stone is a new faculty member (Fall 2013) who is a cultural anthropologist with a primary research focus in Mexico. Her interests include transnational social movements, globalilzation, media, and gender. She has experience teaching political and economic anthropology, feminist theory, sociocultural theory, and ethnography of Latin America.

Please see Faculty Profiles for further information.