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Considering switching from Ecology to Anthropology


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I'm planning on applying for fall 2018, that being said I've started to research programs over the past months. I am interested in how humans have used the land in the past, and how we can use that information to inform the way we conserve ecosystems. Initially I was just looking at ecology programs, however I keep finding anthropology programs that seem to fit very closely with what I'm interested in. However, I'm nervous to apply to these programs since I don't have a lot of direct experience with Anthropology (besides an introductory cultural anthropology class I took as an undergrad). As an undergrad I double majored in Biology(with a focus in Ecology) and History. This year I have been working as a field technician on a project looking at how the warming climate will impact grass communities in the upper midwest. While this isn't directly related to anthropology, it has given me experience on proposing research questions, making a plans, and carrying out that research in the field (and also trouble shooting because nothing goes right when you're doing field work). 

So, questions:

1. Is there anything I could do to specifically make my application seem more appealing to Anthropology programs?
2. What should I keep in mind when applying to an Anthropology program? 
3. Should I contact professors directly that I am interested in working with, or should I contact the departments? In ecology you contact the professors, but I've gotten mixed signals from social sciences and liberal arts.
4. If a school asks for a writing sample, what should I provide? I have some fairly long papers from my history degree. I did do a senior project in ecology, but that was presented in poster form so there is not written component to submit.


Edited by Halek
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Given your interests, you may want to look into conservation biology, conservation psychology, and geography, in addition to anthropology. It may be difficult to get into an anthro PhD experience without any direct coursework in anthro, though you can definitely spin your background in biology, ecology, and history to fit into anthro programs. Have you read the key texts in ecological anthropology (google for a grad syllabus; there are dozens online)? If so, start thinking about how your interests fit into this field so that you can write a compelling statement of purpose.

Re #3: I would contact professors to see if they're taking on students. 

Re #4: Have you worked on any papers as a field tech? 

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Thanks for your advice! I have also been looking at conservation biology and geography programs, but I wasn't aware conservation psychology was a topic of study so I will also look into that. I'll start looking into the key texts. Also, I'm going to be involved with writing a paper this fall, but nothing will be published by the time that I apply to grad school. 

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