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School of Liberal Arts

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(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.)



Degrees Offered
  • M.A. in Applied Anthropology
  • Ph.D. minor in Applied Anthropology
Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology

Program Overview

The M.A. in Applied Anthropology at 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 mentored research projects and internships with community stakeholders. 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 50th percentile in verbal reasoning, 30th percentile in quantitative reasoning, and a 4.0 for the analytical writing score; 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 the 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. 


A532 The African Diaspora (3 cr.) This course examines the cultural formation of the African Diaspora in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. The course focuses specifically on the theorization of the African Diaspora within the discipline of Anthropology.

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.

A594 Independent Learning in Applied Anthropology (2-4 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 s/he will be located.

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.

E681 Seminar in Urban Anthropology (3 cr.) Seminar in cross-cultural urban social organization, emphasizing recruitment manifestations of urbanism in various cultural contexts and techniques of investigation. Practical work required.

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.

Capstone: To earn the M.A., students are required to complete either an internship, which involves writing a report for the organization or agency, submit an article for peer review to a reputable academic journal, or complete a more traditional M.A. thesis.

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 student’s committee in 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 or archaeology and heritage management in the Midwest, 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 student’s committee.

Other Courses:

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

Ph.D. Minor in Anthropology

Students who are candidates for the Ph.D. degree in other programs or departments may obtain a minor in Anthropology at IUPUI. The intent of the minor is to develop interdisciplinary skills, exposing students to theories and methods outside of their major department. The Ph.D. minor in Anthropology has a semi-structured curriculum that can provide students with a foundation in basic areas in Anthropology and the opportunity to study advanced anthropological theory and research methods.

Requirements for the Ph.D. minor in Anthropology consists of completing 12 credits including:

  • Anthropology 501, Fundamentals of Applied Anthropology.
  • An additional three courses at the 500 level or above.
  • An average grade of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or above in all 4 courses.
  • All of these courses must be taken in the Anthropology Department on the IUPUI campus.

Students wanting to minor in Anthropology should initially meet with an advisor in their home department and should then contact the Director of Graduate Studies in Anthropology. For more information, please contact our departmental Web page at:

Academic Bulletins

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