MA in Public Anthropology

The Master’s in Public Anthropology (MAPA) is designed to provide students with a basic anthropological training and an appreciation of the significance of a cross-cultural perspective in professional practice. It is intended for individuals who are already engaged in, or plan to enter, such fields as medicine, public health, education, journalism, law, environmental management, social services to refugee or immigrant populations, rural development, or public policy evaluation. The program will add an area of application to students’ undergraduate training either to enhance their standing in their existing place of employment or to make them more desirable candidates for employment in a variety of areas including: nonprofit organizations and NGOs; government advisory positions; and consultancy positions in business, medicine, and education, among others.

Prospective students should explain in the Personal Statement of their application how they expect anthropology to enhance their capability or improve their effectiveness in their chosen career. Prior work or research experience in a relevant field is a plus. This is important because students who enter the program with well-defined goals derive the most benefit from the resources the department and the University have to offer. The application deadline is March 1, although under exceptional circumstances, late applications for this program may be considered. Note that the MAPA program does not require GRE scores nor does it require foreign language study.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the MAPA will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the fundamentals of social/cultural anthropology and/or biological anthropology.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conceive, plan, propose, carry out, and write up a major piece of anthropological research, related to current theoretical discourse in their chosen subfield and showing its relevance to their profession.
  • Be able to make compelling and interesting presentations of their ideas and findings in several forms—oral, written, and graphic.
  • Carry out all these tasks in a manner consonant with the highest prevailing standards of ethical and professional conduct in research and teaching.

Course Requirements

Students enrolled in the program are expected to complete a minimum of eight semester courses (32 credits) at the 500 level or higher and must achieve an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) in their coursework.

All students are required to take GRS AN 701 Anthropology across Sub-Disciplines (4 cr) and to choose one of among four core graduate courses in anthropology:

  • GRS AN 703 Anthropological Theory: History and Practice (4 cr)
  • GRS AN 704 Sociocultural Theory: Contemporary Currents (4 cr)
  • GRS AN 705 Theory in Evolutionary Anthropology: The Biological and Historical Past (4 cr)
  • GRS AN 751 Seminar in Linguistic Anthropology (4 cr)

They are also required to take one course in research design/methods:

  • GRS AN 510 Proposal Writing for Social Science Research (4 cr)
  • GRS AN 557 Anthropology of Mental Health (4 cr)
  • GRS AN 590 Theory, Method, and Techniques in Fieldwork (4 cr)
  • GRS AN 595 Methods in Biological Anthropology (4 cr)

Additional courses will be chosen under the guidance of the student’s major advisor; two electives may be taken outside of the Department of Anthropology, for example in the Medical School or in the Pardee School of Global Affairs.

During their final term, students will enroll in a directed study course (GRS AN 902) to be supervised by their major advisor and will prepare a required research paper. While it is possible to fulfill the program’s requirements in two semesters, students may need an extra semester to complete their studies.

Research Paper

Each student must write a special research paper under the direction of the major advisor and consulting with other faculty members as appropriate. One of the latter may be from another department. The project should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to integrate anthropology with their own area of specialization or profession. It should be well-conceived but modest in scope and can be based on either library or field research.