College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2013-2014

Department of Anthropology

Anthropology - Research, 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

This graduate plan allows students to pursue independently designed research goals that culminate in the writing and successful defense of a thesis. Our program has been highly success in providing students with opportunities to further their professional and academic development in anthropology at the Ph.D. level.


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

As one of the top three applied (practitioner-oriented) master's degrees in Anthropology, we offer two options for study. Both the independent research and internship-based emphases give opportunities to conduct original anthropological master's thesis research in the fields of archaeology, sociocultural anthropology, or linguistic anthropology. NAU Anthropology provides students with archaeological and cultural research possibilities among the many Native American tribes and nations of the Colorado Plateau and the American Southwest. Students can also work internationally with opportunities in North America, Mesoamerica, South America, and Europe.

The Sociocultural Anthropology Track trains students in ethnographic methods, collaborative research approaches and working with indigenous communities at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Particular 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

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:

  • Core Coursework (4 units)
  • Research Emphasis Coursework (33-34 units)

Minimum Units for Completion 37 - 38
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Emphasis, Minor, Certificate

Emphasis, minor, and/or certificate are required.

Thesis Thesis is required.
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Research Individualized research is required.


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 - 38 units:

    Core Coursework (4 units)

    Research Emphasis Coursework (33-34 units)
    • ANT 605
    • 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)
    • Complete a focus area, as further described below (24-25 units):

      • Archaeology Focus (24 units)
        • ANT 635, ANT 636 (6 units)
        • 18 units of archaeology electives, of which 12 units must be organized around a theme or emphasis. You may not count more than 6 units of individualized studies. (18 units)
      • Sociocultural Focus (25 units)
        • ANT 568, ANT 569 (6 units)
        • Additional formal coursework, of which 12 units must be organized around a theme, NOT to include: ANT 608, ANT 685, ANT 697, or ANT 699 (15 units)
        • ANT 698 (1 unit)
        • Select one additional course, with your advisor's guidance (3 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.

Campus Availability

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