College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2014-2015

Department of Anthropology

Anthropology - Applied, Master of Arts

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Archaeology - Emphasis (ending Summer 2015)
  • Sociocultural - Emphasis (ending Summer 2015)
  • Linguistics - Emphasis (ending Summer 2015)
This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2020

The coursework required for this graduate degree focuses on a practitioner-oriented internship plan devoted to preparing students to enter the expanding job market in applied anthropology. The required coursework includes completion of an internship (requiring registration for 3 credits in the summer prior to the first year) that involves research, intervention, management, teaching, and advocacy in service to agencies, groups and organizations. It culminates in the writing and successful defense of a thesis. This action-oriented plan prepares students for professional employment within their specialty area or continued opportunities at the Ph.D. level.


What Can I Do with a Master of Arts in Anthropology - Applied Emphasis?

The requirement of an internship that involves research, intervention, management, teaching, and advocacy in service to groups and organizations presents opportunities to the graduate student to gain experience in practical application in the fields of archaeology, sociocultural anthropology, or linguistic anthropology. Archaeological and cultural research possibilities among the many Native American tribes and nations of the Colorado Plateau and the American Southwest informs the graduate student in their chosen field. International opportunities are available in North America, Mesoamerica, South America, and Europe.

Sociocultural Anthropology coursework trains students in ethnographic methods, collaborative research approaches and working with indigenous communities at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Opportunities exist in the areas of medical, development, educational and pedagogical anthropology.

Archaeology 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.

Linguistic Anthropology 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
  • University faculty
  • Documentary film producer


University Requirements

  • 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.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

Minimum Units for Completion 37
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
Emphasis, Minor, Certificate

Emphasis, minor, and/or certificate are required.

Thesis Thesis is required.
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Some online/blended coursework Required
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Student Learning Outcomes

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:

  1. 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
  2. to promote an engaged anthropology that addresses the contemporary challenges of our local and global communities.
The purpose of the Applied Master’s in Anthropology program 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 applied 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 an internship, in which a student applies a core body of methodological and theoretical knowledge to a real world problem reflecting the student’s area of career interest.
Through our guidance-based approach, our program’s learning experiences prepare students for careers in a variety of organizations and professions, as well as for post-graduate and professional programs at other institutions.  Upon completion of the Anthropology-Applied 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 (archaeology, linguistic anthropology, or sociocultural anthropology
  • Synthesize and evaluate anthropological theories and methods, and apply them appropriately within their internship project, and in the analysis of their internship experience
  • Reflect upon the use of theory and practice to explore their internship project and experience, and through these reflections, identify how to apply analytical skills to approach and resolve a variety of existing and emerging social problems
  • Identify the cultural assumptions, including their own, that influence  the design, conduct, and interpretation of their internship 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 a plan for the internship that contributes to, expands, evaluates or refines aspects of the internship’s organization, or a common problem within the organization’s industry:
    • Develop an internship plan outlining the intended activities you will undertake and the specific “products” or “deliverables” you will develop for your organization
    • Apply your anthropological research methods to complete tasks and contribute new thinking and perspectives to the organization
  • Develop professional relationships and networks with a variety of colleagues
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your work the project and the implications of their work to the organization, industry, etc.
  • Identify the key anthropological issues that arose in the course of conducting the internship:
    • Write a professional paper reflecting on the “anthropological difference:” how integrating perspectives of anthropology can create change in the organization and across other emerging social issues
    • Present the results of your professional paper to professional and non-professional audiences
  • Create a personal career development plan based on your strengths and goals and incorporate the new perspectives gained through your internship project 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


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.
    • Transcripts
    • 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 
Master's Requirements
  • Take the following 37 units:

    • Theory: ANT 600 (3 units)
    • Ethics: ANT 521 or ANT 522 (1 unit)
    • ANT 603, ANT 607, and ANT 609 (9 units)
    • Fieldwork/Internship: ANT 608 (3 units)
    • Thesis: ANT 699 (3 units) Students will write and successfully defend an internship thesis in their final term.
    • Complete an emphasis area, as further described below (18 units):
    • Applied Archaeology Emphasis (18 units)
      • ANT 524, ANT 635, ANT 636, ANT 599 (Data Graphics)  (12 units)
      • Electives chosen in consultation with your advisor and selected from departmental offerings and appropriate level courses outside the department. (6 units)
    • Applied Linguistic Anthropology Emphasis (18 units)

      One elective course, selected from the following (3 units):

    • Applied Sociocultural Anthropology Emphasis (18 units)
      • Methods: ANT 568, ANT 569 (6 units)
      • One topics course, approved by your advisor (3 units)
      • ANT 639 (3 units)
      • Six elective units of related coursework approved by your advisor
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability

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