MA in Applied Anthropology

The applied anthropology Master of Arts program (MAAA) is designed for non-anthropologists who are already engaged in, or plan to enter, such fields as medicine, business, public health, education, journalism, law, environmental management, social services to refugee or immigrant populations, rural development, or public policy evaluation. It is designed to provide the student with a basic anthropological training and an appreciation of the significance of a cross-cultural perspective in professional practice. The master’s degree is neither required nor encouraged as a stepping-stone to the PhD. Those persons intending to become professional anthropologists should apply directly to the PhD program.

Course Requirements

Students enrolled in the program must successfully complete a minimum of eight semester courses (32 credits), two of which may be taken outside of the Department of Anthropology. During the first semester, the program coordinator assists students in choosing appropriate courses, which normally include the following:

  • GRS AN 703 Proseminar: Ethnography and the History of Social Theory in Anthropology
  • GRS AN 704 Proseminar: Contemporary Anthropological Theory or GRS AN 705 Proseminar: The Biological and Historical Past
  • During their last semester, students may enroll in a directed study course (GRS AN 902) under the guidance of their major advisor and begin developing a topic for the required research paper.

Students are required to achieve an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) in their coursework. While it is possible for a full-time student to fulfill all of the program’s requirements in two semesters, many students often need an extra semester of residency to complete their studies.

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA in Applied Anthropology are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language approved by the student’s advisor or the department’s Graduate Committee prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination, successful completion of a non-credit graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University. Students wishing to take the examination in a language for which the department has no examiner among the regular faculty must obtain approval for the examiner from the Graduate Committee.

Research Paper

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