The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has authorized Texas State University to offer a doctorate of philosophy in applied anthropology.

The program—focusing on practical applications for anthropology in non-academic settings—will be the first of its kind in the state of Texas and one of only three such programs in the nation, according to Texas State.

Approved by the University System Board of Regents in May 2017, and pending final review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the degree program is expected to begin enrolling students in the fall.

"The global economy has created a tremendous need for research-based information and pragmatic uses of anthropological knowledge and skills," said Beth Erhart, chairwoman of the Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts. "This has created exciting and extensive career opportunities for applied anthropologists in non-academic settings."

Texas State's applied anthropology Ph.D. program incorporates intercultural communication, interdisciplinary understanding, research design, grant writing, project management, ethics and professional conduct, methods of data collection and the use of theory in the interpretation of data toward the solution of real-world problems.

"The program is strengthened by the expertise of faculty whose teaching and scholarly activities are focused in forensic anthropology and cultural resource management, and by two applied anthropology research centers: the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State and the Center for Archaeological Studies, or CAS," Erhart said. "These centers will provide unique, hands-on educational opportunities and training for Ph.D. students, ensuring they have the marketable skills needed for employment. These opportunities for practical learning in forensic anthropology and CRM archaeology are not commonly found in a university setting."

CAS provides training and research opportunities to promote archaeological and anthropological research around the world; cultural resource management; and the conducting of archaeological investigations for federal, state and local governments as well as private entities as required by law. It is one of the few university-based CRM facilities in the state and nation, typically conducting eight to 15 archaeological investigations per year, according to Texas State.

"National demand for applied anthropology Ph.D. graduates has grown in recent years," Texas State President Denise Trauth said. "Graduates of the program will address a workforce need for social science analysts; behavioral scientists; and state, military, law-enforcement, and government contractors. Not only will this program help meet workforce demand; this is also an important step that moves us closer to achieving our goal of becoming a national research university."