Master of Arts in Anthropology

Admission to the program is temporarily suspended for 2018-2019 academic year only. Admission will reopen for the 2019-2020 academic year and after.

The Master of Arts in Anthropology, with emphases in general or applied anthropology, is designed to provide a rigorous background in contemporary theory and practice in anthropology, particularly through the use of proseminars, internships and independent research. The MA requires a research-based thesis. The applied anthropology emphasis offers specialized tracks designed to train students in applied aspects of anthropology that may be employment related. The applied cultural anthropology track identifies and assists in resolving current social issues in their cultural dimensions. The applied biological anthropology track encompasses forensic anthropology, medical anthropology and other practical applications of physical anthropology. The cultural resource management track involves the inventory, assessment and conservation of archaeological and historical sites and remains, and places of traditional cultural importance, as a part of a larger management framework.

Admission Requirements

The deadline for application is February 15 for admission. Students seeking admission into the Anthropology MA program must:

  • Satisfy the Admissions Requirements for Graduate Degrees.
  • Have completed a minimum of 18 credits of undergraduate coursework in anthropology with a GPA of 3.00. A completed baccalaureate degree in anthropology is preferred. (Provisional admission is possible if this criterion is not met.)
  • Submit the following additional documentation:
    1. Three letters of recommendation from professors or other professionals particularly qualified to attest to the applicant’s qualifications for graduate study.
    2. A letter of intent, including a brief statement of the applicant’s research and career goals and reasons for pursuing graduate study in anthropology at UAA.
    3. An example of a substantial paper or research proposal indicative of the applicant’s potential for graduate study.

Acceptance into the program is determined by the Anthropology Graduate Admissions Committee and is based on the prospective student’s overall credentials and the availability of appropriate faculty for student research interests.

Applicants without the minimum credits of undergraduate coursework in anthropology or who have other important deficiencies identified in their undergraduate training may be provisionally admitted to the MA program. Provisionally-admitted students are notified of identified deficiencies and required to complete leveling coursework at UAA, normally within a period of one year, before admission to regular status in the program is conferred. In some cases, deficiencies can be made up at another academic institution. Provisionally-admitted students cannot receive graduate teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or departmental travel/research grants.

Prospective graduate students are strongly advised to contact potential research/advisor faculty at an early stage of their admission process. An initial advisor is assigned to students based on interests and other academic criteria.

Academic Requirements

A full-time student in the MA program is expected to complete a minimum of 9 credits (or 6 in the final semester of coursework) applicable to the program per semester with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Part-time students must complete at least 3 credits per semester and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Upon completion of all coursework on the Graduate Studies Plan, students must enroll in continuing registration credits in fall and spring semesters. Failure to comply may result in the student being removed from the program. The same is true of students who fail to satisfy provisional-admission conditions. In addition, students must advance to candidacy within five years unless on an approved leave of absence. Such leaves of absence may not total more than four semesters.

Candidacy Requirements

See Advancement to Candidacy requirements. A student advances to candidacy by doing the following:

  1. Select a graduate studies committee by the end of the second semester of graduate study.
  2. Submit an official graduate studies plan (GSP) after no more than three semesters of full-time graduate study.
  3. Complete at least 24 semester credits of non-thesis coursework applicable to the MA program.
  4. Demonstrate research or statistical competence needed to complete the degree program, as approved by a student’s graduate studies committee. This can include statistics, computer skills, photogrammetry, SEM image analysis, or GIS analysis as appropriate. This can have been completed as an undergraduate.
  5. In addition, a student may be required to demonstrate mastery of a foreign language, if deemed necessary by the graduate studies committee.
  6. Pass ANTH A602, ANTH A605 and ANTH A611 proseminars and ANTH A620 with a minimum grade of B. If necessary, a proseminar may be repeated once, but failure to earn a B or higher the second time will result in removal from the program.
  7. Receive from the graduate studies committee approval of a thesis prospectus.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

All graduate students must complete the Core Graduate Courses in Anthropology in addition to either the General Anthropology Emphasis or Applied Anthropology Emphasis requirements.

Core Graduate Courses in Anthropology

All students must complete the following:

ANTH A602Proseminar in Cultural Anthropology 13
ANTH A605Proseminar in Biological Anthropology 13
ANTH A611Proseminar in Archaeology 13
ANTH A620Research Design 13
ANTH A699Thesis Research1-6

Choose one of the following program emphases:

General Anthropology Emphasis
Complete coursework from electives. 2, 512-17
Applied Anthropology Emphasis

Choose from the following three tracks:

Applied Cultural Anthropology Track
Complete the following two courses:
ANTH A615Advanced Applied Anthropology 33
ANTH A630Advanced Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology 33
Complete 3 credits from the following:3
Advanced Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology 4
Anthropology Practicum 5
Complete coursework from electives. 2, 53-8
Applied Biological Anthropology Track 
Complete the following course:
ANTH A652Advanced Studies in Culture and Human Biodiversity 33
Complete 6 credits from the following:6
Advanced Field Methods in Archaeology and Bioanthropology 4
Advanced Analytical Techniques in Archaeology and Bioanthropology
Advanced Studies in Health, Ritual and Science 3
Anthropology Practicum 5
Complete coursework from electives. 2, 53-8
Cultural Resource Management Track
Complete the following course:
ANTH A675Cultural Resource Management3
Complete 6 credits from the following:6
Advanced Field Methods in Archaeology and Bioanthropology 4
Advanced Applied Ethics in Anthropology 3
Advanced Analytical Techniques in Archaeology and Bioanthropology
Anthropology Practicum 5
Complete coursework from electives. 2, 53-8

All proseminar courses and ANTH A620 must be taken in residence at UAA. These courses may not be taken by directed study or by correspondence. Students not admitted to the MA program must seek instructor permission to enroll in the proseminars or ANTH A620 .


Elective courses should be approved by the student's graduate advisor and committee and can include per the committee's discretion courses outside the field of anthropology. No more than 6 credits of 400-level coursework can be applied as elective courses.


If this course was taken as an undergraduate upper-division course with the same title/subtitle (i.e., a stacked 400-level course), another course may be substituted with the approval of the student’s graduate advisory committee.


No more than 3 credits may be applied to this track.


No more than 6 credits combined of ANTH A695 Anthropology Practicum or ANTH A697 Independent Study may be applied to the degree, unless a student is taking more than one track in the applied anthropology emphasis, in which case 3 additional credits can be applied.

A total of 30 credits is required for the MA in Anthropology regardless of emphasis.

Additional requirements:

  1. The student must advance to candidacy within five years based upon fulfillment of the candidacy requirements listed above.
  2. The student must submit a written MA thesis to the graduate studies committee, conforming to UAA specifications.
  3. The student must pass an oral defense of the thesis, open to the university community and the general public.
  4. The student must submit an application for graduation.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Master of Arts in Anthropology will be able to:

  • Demonstrate comprehension at a graduate level in their knowledge of core concepts, research methods and findings in archeology, cultural anthropology and biological anthropology.
  • Demonstrate comprehension of specialized knowledge in the track or subfield they select from program choices.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to design anthropological research, conduct that research, analyze research results and present a thesis concerning that research acceptable by the faculty of the anthropology department.