Graduate Scholarships

WMU student Jamie Gomez.

Jamie Gomez, graduate student, presenting at a conference.

The Department of Anthropology at Western Michigan University offers the following scholarships to graduate students.

Alan H. Jacobs Memorial Award

Alan H. Jacobs Memorial Awards are made in the memory of Dr. Alan Jacobs, a faculty member in the department for 22 years, and chair from 1974 to 1978. Jacobs was a scholar who produced important works on the Maasai, and did research in Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania. Jacobs was a supportive colleague and passionate teacher dedicated to educating students at WMU by exposing them to the benefits of a global perspective and international experiences. His service as the resident director of WMU’s twinning program in Malaysia is just one example of this commitment.

  • Honoring Jacobs’ commitment to students and international experiences, this award recognizes students who pursue innovative international research or other experiences to enhance their anthropological education.  
  • The award will be used to reimburse students for international travel expenses occurring any time from June through May of the year of the award (e.g., 2015-16).
  • Both undergraduate and graduate anthropology students, including minors as well as majors, are eligible to apply for the award.
  • To apply, submit a one-page description of your proposed activity including:
    • Where you intend to travel.
    • What you plan to do there.
    • How it enhances your anthropological education.
  • This statement must be submitted to the Department of Anthropology or via email to by Feb. 15.
  • Award winners will be announced at the Department of Anthropology Awards Ceremony.
  • If awarded, you must submit a travel authorization prior to your travel and save receipts for reimbursement for the amount of the award. You will be expected to present an informal, brown bag talk to the department on your travel experience.

Robert F. Maher Scholarship

Robert F. Maher Scholarships are awarded annually to one or more graduating seniors or graduate students studying anthropology who demonstrate outstanding ability and promise for the future. The award was established in honor of Maher, who taught at the University for 30 years and who was the founder and first chair of the Department of Anthropology.

  • Winners of the award are determined by the faculty of the Department of Anthropology and announced at a department ceremony in April.

Maher Conference Travel Grant

Maher Conference Travel Grants are available through the Robert F. Maher Fund to support undergraduate and graduate anthropology students traveling to conferences to present professional papers or posters. You may apply for a grant once a year and can apply each academic year in which you present at a conference. All eligible student presenters who submit complete applications by the appropriate deadline will receive some amount of funding.

Graduate aid


The Department of Anthropology offers both teaching and research assistantships.

  • The number of positions varies in any given year. Awards are based upon an analysis of applicant’s academic record and suitability for available positions and are offered for a maximum of two years. There is no separate application for assistantships.
  • All graduate assistantships require graduate status in good standing, with fewer than two years in our master's program. Selections and assignments will be made by a vote of departmental faculty based on academic excellence and, where applicable, strong previous performance as a teaching assistant.
  • Returning students must submit the Graduate Student Annual Self-Reflection form and a C.V. to the department office by Feb. 15 in order to be considered for a teaching assistantship.

Graduate College Fellowships

Graduate College Fellowships are available for two semesters to outstanding students entering master's programs. For non-residents of Michigan, the fellowship will also pay the out-of-state portion of tuition. The application deadline is Feb. 15.

Thurgood Marshall Fellowships

The Thurgood Marshall Fellowship is available to beginning master's students who are U.S. citizens from historically underrepresented groups with regular admission to a degree program.

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