Anthropology M.A.

Master of Arts in Anthropology

In most circumstances, it is recommended that you work towards a doctoral degree if you are contemplating a professional career in academic anthropology. It is not required that you have a M.A. degree before beginning work toward the Ph.D.

Some students wish to pursue a M.A. in Anthropology because it will be useful in tandem with an advanced degree in another field, such as the Juris Doctor degree (J.D.), Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), or the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). Talk with advisors in both our department and your other field of study to determine whether this path makes sense for you.

M.A. requirements

The M.A. in Anthropology requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and no more than 6 credit hours of thesis credit. At least 20 credit hours must be in anthropology, including:

  1. Three courses (excluding the thesis) that are numbered 500 or above
  2. At least one course that carries graduate credit in three of the four fields: archaeology, bioanthropology, linguistic anthropology, and social-cultural anthropology
  3. At least one semester or two summer sessions of full-time study while in residence on the Bloomington campus;
  4. Either a thesis or a four-hour written examination

Grading for the examination uses this scale: (a) pass with distinction, (b) pass (both of these include the award of the M.A. degree), or (c) failure. The examination may be taken twice, but two failures result in automatic dismissal.

You must decide between a thesis or a written exam, and no change will be allowed once the selection is made. The thesis does not require an oral examination or defense. The thesis must be read and approved by all members of your advisory committee.

A master’s thesis in anthropology may be based on library, laboratory, or field research. The department does not require, but does recommend, the completion of study in one foreign language, particularly if you are thinking of continuing for the Ph.D.