University of Massachusetts Amherst


Umass Logo image 6 image 4 image5







MA Program Description and Requirements

The master's degree is the first stage in the development of a professional career in anthropology. The MA degree may lead to admission to a PhD program, to a teaching career at the secondary or junior college level, or to other specialized employment, such as cultural resource management in archaeology or applied work in cultural anthropology in the public interest. Most students should complete the MA program within two years of full-time study.

The goal of the MA program is to enable the student to acquire the intellectual foundation and the skills to pursue a career as a professional anthropologist. To do that the student needs to demonstrate the capabilities to complete an MA thesis. This includes the ability to formulate anthropologically interesting problems, the critical ability to apply an appropriate methodology in linking empirical observations with a theoretically informed generalization, a working familiarity with a body of data (e.g. population, cultural area or period), and the ability to demonstrate these competencies in writing.

  1. Must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits
    1. For those writing a MA thesis, a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 9 credits of Anthropology 699 must be completed.
    2. At least 21 credits must be earned in graduate course work in the department: of these at least 12 must be earned in courses 600-800 series if the student is not writing a thesis; otherwise, at least 6 credits beyond thesis credits must be from the 600-800 series of courses.
    3. The balance of credits may be earned in the 500-800 series of courses, whether in anthropology or in another department. With the specific permission of the advisor, courses in the 400 series outside the department may be included.
    4. Not more than 6 credits may be transferred into a student's degree program from non-degree programs (e.g. Continuing Education graduate credits, non-degree graduate status and credits earned at other universities.) Such transfers take place only after a recommendation from the advisor to the Graduate Program Director, GPD.


Journalism Program, 108 Bartlett Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 01003 phone: 413.545.1376 fax: 413.545.3349 email: