The MA program includes coursework and a thesis. All MA students take a two-semester theory class as well as a thesis workshop. Each MA student is assigned a faculty mentor. The program as designed includes required courses and electives, and students in the MA program take classes in the anthropology department as well as other departments throughout the university.

Students in the MA program are encouraged to develop their particular interests through this combination of coursework from within the department as well as from other related disciplines. Students develop the thesis through consultation with faculty. Although fieldwork is not required, many MA students conduct fieldwork for the thesis.

MA students may also study a language as part of their program and apply for funding through Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) for summer language study. MA students present thesis projects at the annual MA Thesis Presentation Day in the department. Each year, one thesis is chosen to receive the Best Thesis Award.

The program consists of 30 points of graduate course work and a thesis project. Eighteen of the thirty credits must be anthropology courses. The remaining twelve credits may be taken in other relevant departments.

Core courses:

  • G4201 Principles and Applications of Socio-Cultural Theory
  • G6212 Principles and Applications of Socio-Cultural Theory II
  • G6018 Anthropology in Theory, spring term
  • G9101 Independent Research (Thesis Research)

The thesis is an original piece of writing on a topic of the student’s choice. The topic is typically chosen after consultation with the student’s advisor, mentor and/or other faculty member with whom the student has discussed the project. Fieldwork may be done although it is not a requirement. The thesis does not have a required length, but is generally about 70 pages long.


Program requirements

The MA program in anthropology accepts a select group of qualified students each year. MA students take classes alongside doctoral students so academic standards are high, and we thus admit only those individuals we believe will benefit most from this environment. We prefer to admit students who have some background in anthropology, but an undergraduate degree in anthropology is not required. Admission standards and selection procedures are identical to those followed by the GSAS and require a writing sample, letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 7.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 600 TOEFL iBT® test: 100

Scholarship funding opportunities for M.A. students are limited. M.A. students often finance their education through a combination of the following:

  • Loans (from federal and private lenders)
  • Work-Study
  • External fellowships
  • Fulbright opportunities (for international students)
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