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Anthropology | Master's Program

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Public Anthropology (MA)

Offered by the Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for admission to graduate study. Admission is based on academic record, two academic letters of reference, and an example of the applicant's work, e.g., a term paper. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required.

Degree Requirements

  • 30 credit hours of approved graduate work.
    • Students focus their studies in either cultural/social anthropology or archaeology.
    • No more than 12 credit hours earned in a graduate certificate program may be transferred to the MA in Anthropology program.
  • Capstone experience: completion of substantial research project or thesis.
    • A substantial research project must be approved by a committee of two members, one of whom must be a member of the American University faculty.
    • A thesis must be approved by a committee including at least two members from the American University faculty. Students choosing the thesis option complete 3-6 credit hours of ANTH-797 Master's Thesis Seminar.
  • Tracks: Cultural/Social Anthropology, or Archaeology

Course Requirements

Core Requirements (12 credit hours)


Complete one of the following:

Cultural/Social Anthropology (18 credit hours)

  • 18 credit hours of Anthropology (ANTH) courses at the 500-level or above, as approved by the student's advisor. Students choosing the thesis option complete 3-6 credit hours of ANTH-797 Master's Thesis Seminar. Students may receive credit for no more than 6 credit hours of ANTH-691 and ANTH-797; and no more than 9 credit hours of ANTH-590 and ANTH-690.

Archaeology (18 credit hours)

Personal Statement

The personal statement is a very important component of applying to the program. See suggestions on how to make the statement effective.

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