Graduate Programs

Degree Programs


The Master’s of Arts in Applied Anthropology 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. This integration of three of the four sub-fields in Anthropology (Archaeology, Biological Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology) makes this program distinctive among graduate programs in Applied Anthropology. Another notable feature of the program is its emphasis on civic engagement and community collaboration in student and faculty research.

Specifically, the program will:

  1. Offer residents of central Indiana the opportunity to undertake graduate work in applied anthropology at an urban, public university;
  2. Provide additional skills and expertise to those employed in such areas as social work, urban planning, community organizing, public health, community nursing and cultural resource management;
  3. Provide a foundation for students who wish to pursue a PhD in Anthropology from another institution.
Program Requirements

The MA in Applied Anthropology will require 36 hours, including a core curriculum consisting of 6 credits of Required Core Courses (Fundamentals of Applied Anthropology; Anthropological Thought); 3 credits of a Methods Course in the students’ sub-disciplinary area; 21 credits of Elective Courses and 6 internship or thesis credits. Course electives many 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.

Required Core Courses (6 cr.)
  • Fundamentals of Applied Anthropology
  • Anthropological Thought
Methods Courses (3 cr. choose at least one of the following)
  • Field Methods in Ethnography
  • Theory and Method in Biological Anthropology
  • Archaeological Method and Theory or participation in a summer archaeological field school
Electives (21 cr. select seven of the following)*

Archaeology Courses

  • Community Archaeology (3 credits)
  • Prehistory of North America (3 credits)
  • Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica (3 credits)
  • The Rise of Civilization (3 credits)
  • Historical Archaeology (3 credits)
  • Modern Material Culture (3 credits)

Biological Anthropology Courses

  • Human Variation (3 credits)
  • The Anthropology of Human Nature (3 credits)
  • Osteology (3 credits)
  • Human Growth and Development (3 credits)
  • Medical Anthropology (3 credits)
  • Paleoanthropology (3 credits)

Cultural Anthropology Courses

  • Cultural Areas and Ethnic Groups (variable title) (3 credits)
  • Indians of North America (3 credits)
  • Modern Greece: Images and Realities (3 credits)
  • Cultures of the Pacific (3 credits)
  • Urban Anthropology (3 credits)
  • African Diaspora (3 credits)
  • Women in Developing Countries (3 credits)
  • Wealth, Exchange, and Power in Anthropological Perspective (3 credits)
  • The Anthropology of Aging (3 credits)
  • Ethnic Identity (3 credits)

*Two cognate classes can be also taken outside the department with the advisor's approval, as long as they are at the 500 level or above.

Thesis or Internship (6 cr.)

For completion of the MA, the student will be required to complete either an internship, which involves writing a report for the organization or agency, or completing a more traditional MA thesis (see below). 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 MA degree.

Internship Option

For this option, 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 an applied project that will be mutually agreed upon by the Graduate Committee of the Anthropology Department and by 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

For this option, a student will develop and write a thesis supervised by a three-member committee of full-time faculty. This thesis will explore a research question related to some aspect of the urban setting of Indianapolis or the regional setting of Central Indiana, and will 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

Rather than producing a traditional MA 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 contributes significantly to a policy issue in Indianapolis or Central Indiana.