Mar 29, 2023  
2022-2023 General Catalog 
2022-2023 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Cultural Resources Management, M.A.

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The master of arts in Cultural Resources Management (CRM) involves the identification, evaluation, and preservation of cultural resources, as mandated by cultural resources legislation and guided by scientific standards within the planning process. A key goal of the master’s program in CRM is to produce graduates who excel in the methods and techniques employed by heritage professionals, and who have the theoretical background necessary for research design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Persons with an M.A. in CRM will be qualified to hold management and supervisory positions within all sectors of the heritage industry. Graduates meet the qualifications for professional certification in the United States, but are also well grounded in international heritage legislation and practice.

The CRM program emphasizes:

  1. Experience in all aspects of regulatory CRM, from project development to execution, consultation, and community engagement.
  2. Experience in conducting identification and analyses of archaeological, historical, osteological, geoarchaeoalogical, linguistic, and sociocultural data to implement environmental protection and historic preservation legislation in both the public and private sectors.
  3. Training in the professional traditions of inquiry within anthropology, history, geography, and environmental planning to identify heritage resources, assess their research and preservation significance, and determine appropriate courses of action.
  4. Experience with the techniques, regulations, and guidelines for field and laboratory data collection, analysis, reporting, and management. 
  5. Experience with archival preparation, data and artifact storage, curation facilities, and public interpretation.

Students in the program, under the supervision of a primary faculty advisor, develop a plan of study and thesis project that reflects their particuular interest in CRM. In addition, students are encouraged to present the results of their work and research in professional meetings, research publications, and public documents.

Facilities and Faculty

CRM faculty teach, advise and serve as thesis committee members and chairs in the CRM program. Our core faculty are professors in the departments of Anthropology and Geography, Environment, and Planning. Their expertise is in heritage legislation and policy, prehistoric and historical archeology, material culture, environmental and landscape history, geoarchaeology, bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology, ethnography, oral history, spatial analysis, remote sensing and other digital technologies, and paleogeography . Affiliated CRM faculty, serving in other departments on campus, regularly teach supporting courses, and can also serve as thesis committee members.

The Anthropological Studies Center (ASC), an affiliated CRM organization within SSU, provides students with the opportunity to gain real world experience in contract and grant-based prehistoric and historical archaeology, geoarchaeology, tribal consultation, community engagement, oral history, and collections management. The ASC has more than 5,000 square feet of office, laboratory, and curation facilities and is supported by a full-time professional staff, many of whom are past graduates of the M.A. in CRM program. Internships for graduate and undergraduate students at the ASC are offered regularly.

The Northwest Information Center (NWIC), an adjunct of the State Office of Historic Preservation, manages historical records, resources, reports, and maps; supplies historical resources information to the private and public sectors; and compiles and provides a referral list of qualified historical resources consultants. Internships for graduate and undergraduate students at the NWIC are also offered regularly.

Requirements for the Degree

All students in the cohort-based program complete a set of courses totaling 30 academic units, including a required core of 24 units, and an additional 6 units of supporting coursework. Each student, under the supervision of a primary faculty advisor, develops a plan of study and thesis project that reflects their interests or desired areas of specialization. The program is typically completed in six to seven semesters, although faster completion is possible. Ideally, coursework proceeds in conjunction with a student’s developing interests and expertise, so that by the time they are ready to write a thesis prospectus, the completed courses help focus the upcoming research project.

Admission to the Program

Applications must be submitted separately by January 31 to the Graduate Coordinator and to the Office of Admissions and Records (via Cal State Apply) for possible acceptance into the program the following academic year. Consult with the program’s Graduate Coordinator and website for departmental requirements and submissions. While archaeology is a focus, the program emphasizes CRM as an interdisciplinary profession. Students with degrees in history, geography, and planning, as well as anthropology, are frequently accepted.

Program Learning Outcomes

The CRM Program sets the following learning objectives for its graduate students:

  1.  Writing and Speaking Proficiency: To achieve and demonstrate proficiency in speech and in writing in the various venues appropriate to scholarship, cultural resources management, and relevant applications in the field.
  2. Competence in Relevant Data Analysis: Competence in conducting analyses of relevant cultural resources data for purposes of assisting public and private sectors in the implementation of environmental protection and historic preservation legislation.
  3. Capability in Field and Lab Techniques: Training, experience, and capability in utilizing techniques in field and laboratory analysis, in collection, archive or museum preparations, in osteological methods, in ethnographic and oral historical methodologies, and in geographical information systems, as are appropriate to an individual student’s thesis research, applications, and future career objectives.
  4. Mastering the Regulatory Context and its Application to Cultural Resources: Ability to keep abreast of the laws, regulations, and values mandating the proper management of cultural resources and to apply them correctly.
  5. Identifying and Assessing the Significance of Cultural Resources: Training in the identification and assessment of cultural resources in the context of current and on-going research, scholarship, and heritage preservation and interpretation developments. 
  6. Competence in Resource and Data Management: Ability to design and ethically implement projects and programs in cultural resources management, and to insure responsible preservation of and public access to resulting data.
  7. Internalizing the Scholarly Canons for Professional Work: Learning the professional canons, ethics, and copyright laws for conducting scholarly research utilizing up-to-date information technologies in bibliographic research, archiving, protection and dissemination of information, etc.
  8. Gaining the Technical Skills, Knowledge and Ethics Requisite for Thesis Research:  Training in the bodies of substantive knowledge, theory, and investigative technology appropriate to the chosen thesis topic and long term career objectives, as well as exposure to the principles of ethical professional practice.
  9. Proficiency in Research Design and Theory: Gaining proficiency in the traditions of inquiry and research appropriate to designing a Master’s level thesis project.
  10. Demonstrating of Scholarly and Professional Competence: Demonstrating through the design, research, writing, presentation and defense of CRM projects, conference presentations, reports, articles, and ultimately through the completion of a thesis that one has achieved competence and commitment as a CRM professional.
  11. Demonstrating Commitment to Stewardship of Cultural Resources: Developing an attitude of stewardship and conservation ethics toward cultural resources as components of our national heritage. 

Requirements for the Degree

The coursework required for the CRM M.A. totals 30 academic units and is typically completed in six to seven semesters. This design presumes that students are enrolled full-time and not working more than part-time. Students are admitted to the program with Conditionally Classified graduate status. They must fulfill certain requirements before being fully accepted into the program and able to enroll in Thesis Prospectus units. These requirements include successful completion of ANTH 500, maintenance of a minimum 3.6 GPA, and timely resolution of any incomplete grades. Departmental policy stipulates that no more than 10 units of the 30 unit program may be revalidated beyond the 7-year limit defined by the CSU.

* Internships are decided upon by discussion between the student and his or her advisor. Students will normally take both on-campus and off-campus internships. On-campus internships are available at the Cultural Resources Facility, the Interpretive and Outreach Services Office, the Northwest Information Center, and the Archaeological Collections Facility. Off-campus agencies include the State Office of Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, the Museums of Sonoma County, and many others.


Total units in the CRM degree: 30

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