Department of Anthropology
Anthropology - Research, Master of Arts
This graduate degree coursework allows students to pursue independently designed research goals with the guidance of faculty mentors that culminate in the writing and successful defense of a thesis. Our department has been highly successful in mentoring graduate students with opportunities to further their professional and academic development in anthropology at the Ph.D. level.
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What Can I Do with a Master of Arts in Anthropology - Research Emphasis?
The opportunity for graduate students to develop independent research and to conduct original research twoward the development of a final anthropological master's thesis grounds graduate students in a strong foundation in the discipline. Research is encouraged in the fields of archaeology, sociocultural anthropology, or linguistic anthropology with archaeological and cultural research possibilities among the many Native American tribes and nations of the Colorado Plateau and the American Southwest. International opportunities in North America, Mesoamerica, South America, and Europe are also available.
The Sociocultural Track trains students in ethnographic methods, collaborative research approaches provides graduate students with opportunities to work with indigenous communities at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Opportunities exist in the areas of medical, development, educational and pedagogical anthropology.
The Archaeology Track trains students in theory, methods, advanced archaeological computing applications, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), lithic, ceramic, rock art, and a number of other materials specialties, as well as cultural resource management.
The Linguistic Anthropology Track trains students to analyze forms of communication and their relation to cultural values and social relations.
With further education, one of these paths is possible:
- Forensic anthropologist
- Medical anthropologist
- Museum curator or educator
- Public land agency archaeologist
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To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
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In addition to University Requirements:
|Minimum Units for Completion||37 - 38|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
|Thesis||Thesis is required.|
|Oral Defense||Oral Defense is required.|
|Research||Individualized research is required.|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
The purpose of the Master’s in Anthropology program in Research at Northern Arizona University is to provide a student-centered program that couples a strong core set of theory and methods courses with an individualized program of study designed by the student and his/her advisor, geared specifically for the student’s career plan.
Our program emphasizes strong professional and presentational skills that enable our students to communicate effectively to diverse academic, professional and public audiences, and supports interdisciplinary and innovative applications of anthropology to research problems. We value and support inquiry that connects theory and practice and that uses each domain to explore and refine the other.
Students work closely with their research advisor to develop a personal plan of study and research, in which the student applies a core body of methodological and theoretical knowledge to a thesis in the student's individual area of research interest.
Through our guidance-based approach, our program’s learning experiences prepare students for careers in a variety of professions, teaching, as well as for post-graduate and professional programs at other institutions.
Our departmental mission integrates scientific and humanistic approaches to the study of people and culture. We enlist past, present, and future perspectives on the human condition to inform our two goals:
- to support global citizenship through information, skills, and perspectives that build cross-cultural awareness and increase the ability to identify our own cultural assumptions, and
- to promote an engaged anthropology that addresses the contemporary challenges of our local and global communities.
Upon completion of the Anthropology—Research M.A. program, all students will be able to:
- Examine and elucidate the major theories, research methods and approaches to inquiry in their selected track of anthropology. (archaeology, linguistic anthropology, or sociocultural anthropology)
- Synthesize and evaluate anthropological theories and methods, and apply them appropriately within their original research project
- Reflect upon the use of theory and practice to explore their research area, and through these reflections, identify how to apply analytical skills to approach and resolve a variety of existing and emerging theoretical and social problems
- Identify the cultural assumptions, including their own, that influence the design, conduct, and interpretation of their research results
- Summarize and discuss ethics and the ethical codes employed in anthropology, and identify and reason through real-world examples of ethical dilemmas
- Articulate the ways in which the anthropological perspective can be applied to current issues in society
- Pursue, design, and complete an original research project that contributes to, expands, or evaluates the field of Anthropology and write a professional thesis:
- Articulate a theoretical framework for the project (including conducting a literature review to assess the theoretical and methodological contributions previously made to this area)
- Identify and define appropriate variables and methods of data collection, select and apply quantitative and qualitative research methods appropriate to the research design, and analyze, interpret and explain your findings
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the project and its implications to the field of Anthropology.
- Present your original research to professional and non-professional audiences, articulating sustained, coherent explanations summarizing your work
- Conduct a thesis defense to a community of anthropology faculty and peers
- Create a personal career development plan based on your strengths and goals and incorporate the new perspectives gained through your original research experience
- Effectively represent their experience, skills and competencies through written (resume, cover letter, grant writing, application materials, social media, etc.) and verbal (interview skills, presentation skills, etc.) communication
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Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- 2 letters of recommendation
- Prerequisites (may be completed concurrently with the program)
- Classes in archaeology, cultural, linguistics, biological and statistics
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae
- Personal statement or essay
Take the following 37 - 38 units:
- Theory: ANT 600 (3 units)
- Ethics: ANT 520, ANT 521, or ANT 522 (1 unit)
- ANT 605 (3 units)
- Thesis: ANT 699 for the research, writing, and oral defense of an approved thesis. Please note: you may count only 6 units of thesis credit toward your degree, however you may end up taking more than 6 thesis units, since you must register for it each semester while you are working on your thesis. (6 units)
- Additional electives of which 12 units must be organized around a theme or emphasis, chosen in consultation with your advisor (15-18 units*).
- Complete a concentration, as further described below (6-10 units):
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.