Graduate Program

The Master of Arts (MA) in Anthropology provides students with a rigorous background in contemporary theory and practice in applied anthropology through advanced coursework, internships, and independent research. Students learn to apply anthropological concepts, methods, ethics and perspectives to the specific subfield of anthropology in which they practice. The cultural anthropology concentration identifies and assists in resolving current social issues in their cultural dimensions. The cultural resource management concentration involves the inventory, assessment, conservation, and interpretation of archaeological and historical sites and remains, and places of traditional cultural importance, as a part of a larger management and legal framework. Students must undertake either a research-based thesis or an applied project to complete the MA.

Admission Requirements

The annual deadline for application to the Master of Arts in Anthropology is February 15. Students seeking admission to the program must:

  • Satisfy the Admissions Requirements for Graduate Degrees.
  • Have completed a minimum of 18 credits of undergraduate coursework in anthropology with a minimum 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:
    • Three letters of recommendation from professors or other professionals particularly qualified to attest to the applicant's qualifications for graduate study.
    • A letter of intent, including a brief statement of the applicant's research interests, career goals, and reasons for pursuing graduate study in anthropology at UAA.
    • A substantial paper or research proposal written by the applicant indicative of 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.

Advising

All graduate students enrolled in the MA in Anthropology program will have a faculty graduate advisor assigned upon acceptance in the program. The graduate advisor, which can be changed to another faculty member, will assist the student through all aspects of the degree process, including:

  • Mentoring the student throughout the graduate degree duration. 
  • Approving core coursework electives and the research capstone option.
  • Overseeing the academic progress of the student.
  • Guiding the student through the development and completion of the graduate thesis research or applied project.
  • Working with the graduate committee to evaluate the final thesis or applied project.
Accelerated MA in Anthropology Option

Students enrolled in either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Anthropology at UAA who are interested in pursuing a Master of Arts in Anthropology are encouraged to discuss the Accelerated MA in Anthropology option with their academic advisor(s) and plan on applying for admission to the MA in Anthropology during their junior year. Students admitted to the Accelerated MA in Anthropology option may apply up to six (6) credits of approved 400-level electives from their BA or BS in Anthropology at UAA toward the graduation requirements of the MA in Anthropology. In addition to the Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees listed above, the Accelerated MA in Anthropology option applicant must:

  • Be admitted to the BA or BS in Anthropology at UAA.
  • Have completed at least 60% of the credits toward the BA or BS in Anthropology requirements.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.00 for all coursework in ANTH.
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 3.00. Part-time students must complete at least 3 credits per semester and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. Upon completion of all required core coursework, 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 within two years of admission. In addition, students must complete all core coursework within five years unless on an approved leave of absence. Such leaves of absence may not total more than four semesters.

Graduation Requirements Program Requirements

All graduate students must complete the core coursework for one of the applied program concentrations, and then, in consultation with their graduate advisor, must choose and complete one of the research capstone options (research-based thesis or applied project).

Core Coursework

Complete the core coursework requirements for an applied program concentration in Cultural Anthropology or Cultural Resource Management:

Cultural Anthropology
ANTH A610Anthropological Theory3
ANTH A615Advanced Applied Anthropology3
ANTH A630Advanced Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology3
ANTH A658Advanced Applied Ethics in Anthropology3
ANTH A687Advanced Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology3
or ANTH A695 Anthropology Practicum
Complete core coursework from electives 19
Total24
Cultural Resource Management
ANTH A611Archaeological Theory3
ANTH A658Advanced Applied Ethics in Anthropology3
ANTH A677Cultural Resource Management3
ANTH A680Advanced Analytical Techniques in Archaeology and Bioanthropology4
ANTH A695Anthropology Practicum2-3
or ANTH A631 Advanced Field Methods in Archaeology and Bioanthropology
Complete core coursework from electives 19
Total24-25
1

Elective courses should be approved by the student's graduate advisor, and students are encouraged to include at least one course from outside the field of anthropology. Students in the Cultural Resource Management concentration, who intend to work in the field, are also encouraged to take GEOG A670 as an elective. No more than 6 credits of 400-level coursework can be applied as elective courses. No more than 6 credits combined of ANTH A695 or ANTH A697 may be applied to the degree.

Research Capstone Options

Complete one of the following capstone options:

Research-Based Thesis
ANTH A620Research Design1
ANTH A698Individual Research2-3
ANTH A699TThesis Research3-6
Total6-10

The thesis research must:

  • Be proposed in a written prospectus, which is presented and defended before the anthropology faculty, that consists of an explicit thesis statement, a literature review, and methodology.
  • Describe how the work is associated with and contributes to the state of knowledge in the student's concentration of applied anthropology.
  • Demonstrate command of the knowledge, skills, and ethical standards associated with the student's concentration in applied anthropology.
  • Demonstrate specific research, statistical, or language competencies as deemed necessary by the student's graduate advisory committee. This could include but is not limited to: statistics, qualitative data analysis (QDA), discourse or other linguistic techniques, computer skills, photogrammetry, SEM image analysis, GIS analysis, a specific technical research skill, and/or non-English language proficiency as appropriate.
  • Be submitted to and approved by the graduate advisory committee as a written thesis, conforming to UAA specifications.
  • Be defended in an oral presentation to the student's graduate committee, open to the university community and the general public.
Applied Project
ANTH A620Research Design1
ANTH A698Individual Research2-3
ANTH A699PApplied Capstone Project3-6
Total6-10

The applied project must:

  • Be proposed in a written prospectus, which is presented and defended before the anthropology faculty, that consists of an explicit problem statement, a literature review, and methodology.
  • Contribute to understanding and/or solving an applied or practical problem in a real-life context.
  • Include techniques and methods consistent with applied anthropological practice, including community engagement and partnership. 
  • Demonstrate specific research, statistical, or language competencies as deemed necessary by the student's graduate advisory committee. This could include but is not limited to: statistics, qualitative data analysis (QDA), discourse or other linguistic techniques, computer skills, photogrammetry, SEM image analysis, GIS analysis, a specific technical research skill, and/or non-English language proficiency as appropriate.
  • Be submitted to and approved by the graduate advisory committee as a project report that demonstrates command of the knowledge, skills, and ethical standards directly associated with the student's concentration in applied anthropology and makes evident the primacy of the student's contributions in the project.
  • Be presented orally to the student's graduate committee in a presentation open to the university community and the general public.

A minimum of 30 credits is required for the degree.

THE DEGREE PROCESS

MA students typically take courses during their first and second years. The program includes taking core courses in theory, methods, and ethics for the chosen concentration as well as specialized electives selected with a faculty graduate advisor, completing a research proposal for thesis work, and then conducting thesis research and writing. Most MA students conduct their research in Alaska, and MA topics have included investigations of archaeological components of culture camps, 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.