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Degree Programs

The Master 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 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. 

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the Anthropology Master's program will demonstrate the following outcomes:

  • Knowledge Base of Anthropology: All students are required to demonstrate knowledge of the history of the discipline of Anthropology and of the key theoretical models that have informed the field.
  • Research Methods in Anthropology: The student will be required to demonstrate their mastery of basic anthropological research methods.
  • Ability to Design a Research Proposal: Students will identify a key question for investigation, define its anthropological dimensions, link it to anthropological scholarly trends, and design an appropriate methodology with which to execute that research.
  • Ability to Carry Out Applied Research: Students will design and carry out approved research in collaboration with an agency or organization.
  • Diversity: Students will have an understanding of human diversity in culture based on cross-cultural comparison.
  • Civic Engagement: Students will be expected to work collaboratively with a number of community-based organizations in collaborative relationships; students will be expected to produce work that, in addition to its scholarly merit, serves the interests and needs of a range of communities.
  • Writing Skills: Students are expected to write at a scholarly level appropriate for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Speaking Skills: Students are expected to be able to present their work in a range of scholarly settings including academic conferences, symposia and other fora.
  • Technology: Students are expected to be able to use computers for a range of purposes including: statistical calculations (when appropriate), creation of academic posters, use of software for transcription of interviews, qualitative analysis of data.
  • Human Subjects Protection: All students working with human subjects will take and pass the human subjects CITI test for Social/Behavioral Researchers (Stage 1) and have their individual research projects approved by the appropriate IRB body.


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, 30thpercentile 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 (ANTH-E 501; ANTH-A 565); 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. 

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.

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:

  • ANTH-E 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: https://liberalarts.iupui.edu/anthropology/


  • ANTH-A 560 Variable Topics-Anthropology (3 cr.) A conceptual examination of selected topics in the field of anthropology.
  • ANTH-A 565 Anthropological Thought (3 cr.) An overview of the major theoretical developments within anthropology, as the discipline has attempted to produce a universal and unified view of human life based on knowledge of evolution and prehistoric and contemporary cultures.
  • ANTH-A 594 Independent Learning in Applied Anthropology (1-6 cr.) P: Permission 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 a member of the organization where she or he will be located. May not be repeated for more than 6 credit hours.
  • ANTH-A 699 Master's Project in Applied Anthropology (1-6 cr.) P: Permission of Graduate Advisor. The completion of a scholarly applied project is an essential element of the MA in Applied Anthropology. This project will be carried out and completed under the direction of the students graduate advisor.
  • ANTH-B 526 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.
  • ANTH-E 501 Fundamentals of Applied Anthropology (3 cr.) This course is required of all incoming M.A. level students in the Anthropology Department. It will introduce MA students both to the history of applied anthropology as a distinctive sub-discipline as well as the contemporary issues regarding the application of anthropological knowledge to social concerns.
  • ANTH-E 507 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.
  • ANTH-E 509 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.
  • ANTH-E 521 Indians in 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.
  • ANTH-E 606 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.
  • ANTH-E 657 Ethnic Identity (3 cr.) In this course, we will analyze how ethnic groups negotiate their identities both at home and abroad. We will approach the study of ethnic and national identities from a variety of angles, analyzing how it is constructed, by whom, and for what purposes. Case studies will feature ethnic, racial, national, immigrant, and/or refugee groups from different parts of the world. As we draw on case studies from throughout the globe, you will gain a better understanding of the ways identity is communicated through expressive culture (i.e. food, dance, music, art) and the political and economic ramifications of identity association.
  • ANTH-E 681 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.
  • ANTH-P 501 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.