Graduate Program

The Anthropology Graduate program provides students with a rigorous background in contemporary theory and practice in anthropology through proseminars, advanced coursework, internships, independent research, and a research-based thesis. The MA degree is offered with a focus in General or Applied Anthropology. The general track is intended to provide a broad based academic background for those who wish gain an anthropological perspective applicable to a wide range of careers including an academic career. The applied track is designed to train students in the application of anthropological concepts, methods, and perspectives to the specific fields in which they are employed.

Our educational outcomes are to produce graduates able to demonstrate:

  • comprehension at a graduate level in their knowledge of core concepts, research methods and findings in archaeology, cultural anthropology, and biological anthropology
  • specialized knowledge in the track or subfield they select from program choices
  • an ability to design, conduct, and analyze anthropological research, and present a thesis concerning that research acceptable by the faculty of the anthropology department
  • an ability to apply the perspective, skills, and knowledge in an employment capacity that requires their utilization

MA students typically take courses during their first and second years. Coursework includes taking pro-seminars in biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology, passing comprehensive exams, and completing a research proposal for thesis work. Most MA students conduct their research in Alaska, and MA topics have included investigations of Holocene adaptations, ethnohistoric and historical archaeological studies, examinations of present day subsistence practices, and community-based medical anthropological studies. Many graduate students find employment during the course of their degree with federal and state agencies either independently or through work-study programs. The department also offers limited funding opportunities through teaching assistantships each semester.

Graduates of our program have a very high placement rate in anthropology and/or their thesis related field. Many currently work for governmental agencies operating in the state, including the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the State Office of History and Archaeology, Corps of Engineers, Minerals Management Service, and National Park Service. Other graduates are employed in private consulting firms, teaching as adjuncts at UAA central and satellite campuses, or have gone on to PhD programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Kentucky, and the University of Nevada Reno.