Programs by Campus


School of Liberal Arts

Departmental E-mail: anth [at] iupui [dot] edu

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin. Requirements may or may not be reflected identically in departmental URLs.)



Degrees Offered
  • M.A. in Applied Anthropology
  • Graduate Minor in Anthropology and Health
Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology

Program Overview

The M.A. in Applied Anthropology, IUPUI, offers students the opportunity to use anthropological theories and methods toward the goals of solving real world problems.  The program is constructed around a set of core courses together with independent research and internships. The degree takes advantage of our long-standing departmental strengths in Public Archaeology, Urban Anthropology, International Development, Globalization, Medical Anthropology and Museum Studies.  Students may choose to follow a targeted curriculum, focusing on a particular aspect of the discipline; all students will also be well-trained in a broad range of anthropological approaches. 


In line with the criteria established by the Indiana University Graduate School, students wishing to be admitted to the MA program in Anthropology must – at a minimum – have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0). We use as a guideline for admissions GRE scores averaging at least 500 in each area; students who demonstrate other strengths and good preparation for the program may be accepted at the discretion of the Anthropology Department Graduate Committee and with the approval of the Graduate School. Appropriate work experience and undergraduate coursework will also be taken into account in making decisions about admission. For applicants whose native language is not English, or who have not received a degree from a certified American university, a minimum TOEFL score of 79 on the current IBT examination (equivalent to scores of 550 and 213 on prior versions of the examination) would be required. An IELTS score of 6.0 or above may substitute for the TOEFL.

Applicants are required to submit a statement of interest, three letters of recommendation, an undergraduate transcript, and GRE scores. Admission decisions will be made by a three-member Anthropology Department Graduate Committee, and approved by the Graduate Office at IUPUI on behalf of the Graduate School.

Course Requirements:

A total of 36 credit hours, including a core curriculum consisting of 6 credits of required core courses (E501; A565); 3 credits of a methods course in the student’s sub-disciplinary area; 21 credits of elective courses; and 6 internship or thesis credits. Course electives may be chosen both from within and outside of Anthropology including appropriate cognate courses from programs that are already well-developed at IUPUI including Museum Studies, Urban Policy (SPEA), Urban Education, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Community Nursing, and Public History. 


A560 Graduate Topics in Anthropology (3 cr.) This seminar course provides a conceptual examination of selected topics in the field of anthropology. May be repeated for up to 9 credits.

A565 Anthropological Thought (3 cr.) This course traces the development of anthropological theory from the early 20th century up to the present. Students will examine what is distinctive about an anthropological perspective and will analyze how anthropological ideas have shifted over the last century in accordance with the emergence of new social and political imperatives.

B526 Human Osteology (3 cr.) Descriptive and functional morphology of the human skeleton with emphasis on the identification of fragmentary remains. Determination of age, sex, and stature; craniology; and research methods in skeletal biology. Guided research project in the identification of skeletal material required. 

E501 Fundamentals of Applied Anthropology (3 cr.) This is a graduate-level introduction to the history and underlying principles of Applied Anthropology. We will examine how understanding a specifically anthropological perspective can provide new insights into the workings of contemporary social policies and programs.

E507 Popular Culture (3 cr.) This course studies how traditional anthropological insight can analyze social and political complex­ities of contemporary popular cultural phenomena.  Focuses on how anthropological subjects such as class, racism, and region­alism lurk within popular cultural phenomena including post-1950 music subcultures, civil religion, and consumer culture.

E509 Modern Material Culture (3 cr.) This course examines how contemporary social experience is impacted by material culture ranging from toys to theme parks.  Focuses on how con­sumers perceive themselves and others in modern consumer culture through the medium of commodities and examines sys­tems of inequality that are reproduced and subverted through consumption.

E521 Indians of North America (3 cr.) Assesses the complexi­ties of the academic study of the Indigenous peoples of North America, emphasizing the diversity of Native cultures, repre­sentations of them by the public and by scholars, and examin­ing cultural adaptations from Pre-Contact to Contemporary.

E606 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology (3 cr.) This course provides an introduction to the use of ethnographic field work methods, including participant-observation, semi-structured interviewing, and use of mapping, among others. Every year this course will focus on a community-based research project.

P501 Community Archaeology (3 cr.) Community archaeol­ogy implies direct collaboration between a community and archaeologists. Collaboration implies substantial adjustment in archaeological methods and epistemologies incorporating community members in setting research agendas, working on excavations, and interpreting results. This course examines a wide range of issues and looks at both successful and unsuc­cessful projects to arrive at an assessment of best practices.


For completion of the M.A., students are required to complete either an internship, which involves writing a report for the organization or agency, or completing a more traditional M.A. thesis. A third option, consisting of writing an article eligible for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, can also be completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.A. degree.

Internship Option (6 cr.) A student will be placed with a non-governmental organization, a city or county agency, a museum or other Cultural Resource Management organization, or a community-based organization and will arrange with the sponsoring organization to complete a project that will be mutually agreed upon by the Graduate Committee of the Anthropology Department and the organization. Note: The internship may be taken for variable credits depending on the amount of contact hours with the equivalence of 50 hours per credit hour unless constructed as a graduate assistantship in accordance with Anthropology department policy in which case the contact hours may be greater.

Thesis Option (6 cr.) A student would develop and write a thesis supervised by a three-member committee of full-time faculty. In most cases, the thesis would explore a research question related to some aspect of the urban setting of greater Indianapolis and Central Indiana, and would demonstrate the ability of a student to work independently on that topic, and to apply both theoretical insight and methodological skills to a substantive issue. A student would be required to successfully defend the thesis before his/her committee.

Evidence of Publishable and Professional Research Option (6 cr.) Rather than producing a traditional M.A. thesis, in accordance with the student’s advisor, students will be allowed to write a research paper that is assessed to be publishable in a refereed journal. Alternatively, for students primarily interested in a focus on Museums or in Cultural Resource Management, the advisor might suggest that the student develop and produce a public exhibit in Indianapolis or Central Indiana. Lastly, students may be permitted to produce a report that contributed significantly to a policy issue in Indianapolis or Central Indiana. Student articles may be submitted for publication to a variety of peer-reviewed journals and scientific merit will also be assessed by the Graduate Committee.

Other Courses:

For a complete description and list of other graduate courses, consult the departmental webpage.

Graduate Minor

The graduate minor in Anthropology and Health is an integrated field of 12 credit hours of study designed to supplement the graduate training of students with an interest in careers in the health field. The program has three goals: to provide students with a holistic perspective on the anthropology of health, which integrates human biology, ecology, and culture in a systems model of health; to develop students' anthropological inquiry skills in understanding health in human groups; and to develop students' abilities to apply anthropological concepts and skills to health interventions in the areas of their career focus. The graduate minor in anthropology and health will provide stu­dents with training that will add greater depth and breadth to their qualifications in their major field. They will be able to use the cross-cultural and biocultural perspectives of anthropology to supplement their primary graduate training to better pre­pare them for a career in the health fields. This focused training will enable students to use anthropological concepts and skills to identify biocultural factors in the occurrence of disease, to understand ethnic behavior related to illness, and to identify where health programs across social and ethnic lines can be made more effective.

Course Requirements

Twelve hours of credit approved for the minor in anthropology and health with a grade point average of at least 3.25, including E445; A594; one course selected from B521, B523, B525, E404, E606, and L605; and one elective.


A594 Independent Learning in Applied Anthropology (3 cr.) P: Authorization of instructor. Independent research/training using anthropological perspectives/methods in addressing social issues. The project must be a discrete activity with a concrete product, conducted in conjunction with the student’s anthropology advisor and the member of the organization where he or she will be located. (May be repeated for no more than 6 credit hours total.)

E445 Medical Anthropology (3 cr.) A cross-cultural examination of human biocultural adaptation in health and disease, includ­ing biocultural epidemiology; ethnomedical systems in the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of disease; and socio­cultural change and health.

Research Methods in the Anthropology of Health
B521 Bioanthropology Research Methods (3 cr.)
B523 Anthropometry (3 cr.)
B525 Genetic Methods in Anthropology (3 cr.)
E404 Field Methods in Ethnography (3 cr.)
E606 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology (3 cr.)
L605 Field Methods in Anthropological Linguistics (3 cr.)

Electives in the anthropology of health (3 cr.). Electives will be selected from approved anthropology courses offered at Indianapolis and Bloomington, in consultation with the minor advisor.

Academic Bulletins

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