Folk Studies and Anthropology
Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology
Thank you for your interest in Folk Studies and Anthropology! Our department offers
an undergraduate major in Anthropology, undergraduate minors in Folklore and in Anthropology,
a Master of Arts in Folk Studies, a Folk Studies JUMP (Joint Undergraduate-Master's Program), and a number of General Education and Colonnade
courses. We also are the home of two award-winning public outreach programs, the Kentucky Folklife Program and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey.
Issued November 2022, Updated August 2023
The Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology is saddened to report the suspension of the Master of Arts Program in Folk Studies, approved by the WKU Board of Regents and the university’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The college cannot provide replacement faculty lines sufficient to support continuation of the program in a manner consistent with its 50-year history of excellence.
The department is committed to working with the college to meet the needs of students currently enrolled in the Master of Arts program to complete their degrees.
The suspension applies only to the graduate program, not the undergraduate folklore minor or the anthropology major/minor.
We are grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to make the Master of Arts program in Folk Studies successful for a half-century. We all should take pride in what we have accomplished.
Issued June 2020
In accordance with Western Kentucky University’s dedication to social justice, as outlined recently in We Are One WKU, the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. We condemn police brutality, racially motivated violence, and the slow violence of systemic racism that have oppressed African Americans and other people of color for centuries. And we condemn the ongoing violent acts of law enforcement and vigilantes towards peaceful protesters seeking justice and reform. We value human life, dignity, and justice. As anthropologists and folklorists, it is our ethical responsibility to both recognize how our disciplines have been complicit in systemic racism and white supremacy, and to actively work to dismantle it.
For those interested in supporting in the current moment and the ongoing struggle for social justice, we offer a list of organizations that are leading the movement and taking immediate action to aid protesters who have been arrested:
Black Lives Matter / blacklivesmatter.com
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People / www.naacp.org
American Civil Liberties Union / www.aclu.org
Southern Poverty Law Center / www.splcenter.org
List of Community Bail Funds / bailfunds.github.io
We also encourage supporters to educate themselves about local, state, and national issues related to social justice; to contact your government representatives and demand action for social justice; and to register to vote by contacting your secretary of state or using voter registration organizations listed at www.headcount.org/organizations.
Finally, as educators, we welcome questions about or requests for recommendations of anti-racist teaching and learning resources, and we will continue to work to foreground such resources in our own work and to share them with the communities we are privileged to serve.
What do I do with a degree in Folklore or Anthropology?
According to a survey of recent graduates:
- 88% of graduates of our Masters of Arts in Folk Studies program are employed in a job related to our field or were accepted into doctoral programs after graduating
- 73% of our undergraduate Folklore Minors were employed after graduation
- 17% of our Minors went on to a graduate program after graduation
- Graduates of our programs are public folklorists, museum curators, educators, preservationists, film producers, professors, and even intelligence analysts.
According to a recent survey of our undergraduate Anthropology graduates:
- 74% are employed following graduation
- 21% progressed on to graduate school
- Our former students are working in related fields including contract archaeology, cultural resource management, museums, medical anthropology, visual media, international education, the non-profit sector, and other exciting areas.
Please come visit us in our departmental office in Room 237 of the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center, or contact us for more information.
Sep 27th, 2023
The Kentucky Folklife Program in partnership with the WKU Folk Studies & Anthropology Department, will host the folk artist Willie Rascoe, Kentucky...
Sep 11th, 2023
This past week, four students in the Folk Studies MA and Folklore Minor programs presented their reflections on their internship experiences in three...