Anthropology - Applied, Master of Arts

Department of Anthropology

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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.

This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2020

  • 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.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

Minimum Units for Completion 37
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
Thesis Thesis is required.
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study

Purpose Statement

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.

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.
Student Learning Outcomes  

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
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Two 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 520 or ANT 521 or ANT 522) (1 unit)
    • ANT 603, ANT 607, and ANT 609 (9 units)
    • Fieldwork/Internship: ANT 608 (3 units)
    • ANT 698 (3 units) (Students will write and successfully defend an internship paper in their final term.)  OR,
    • Thesis: ANT 699 (3 units) (Students will write and successfully defend an internship thesis in their final term.)
    • Additional electives, which must be organized around a theme or emphasis, chosen in consultation with your advisor (6-9 units*).
    • Complete a concentration as further described below (9-12 units):
    • Applied Linguistic Anthropology Concentration (12 units)

      • Methods: ANT 569 (3 units)
      • Lab: ANT 514 (3 units, 1 per semester for three semesters)
      • ANT 582, ANT 639 (6 units)
      • Complete 6 units of electives
    • Applied Socio-cultural Anthropology Concentration (9 units)
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.