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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’s 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, all undergraduate transcripts, and GRE scores. Admission decisions will be made by the Anthropology Department’s Graduate Committee, and approved by the Graduate Office at IUPUI on behalf of the IU Graduate School.

Course Requirements:

A total of 36 credit hours, including a core curriculum consisting of six credits of required core courses (ANTH-E 501; ANTH-A 565); three credits of a methods course in the student’s sub-disciplinary area; 21 credits of elective courses; and six internship or thesis credits (ANTH-A 699). 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, such as 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 1) an internship involving the submission of a report for the organization or agency, 2) an article for peer review to a reputable academic journal, or 3) a 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 over one or two semesters, utilizing ANTH-A 699: Master's Project in Applied Anthropology, for six credit hours in total. Depending on the amount of contact hours, a student should anticipate 50 hours of interning 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, enrolling in ANTH-A 699: Master's Project in Applied Anthropology for six credit hours over one or two semesters. 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 the intellectual merit of the manuscript will be assessed by the student’s committee. Note: The research paper option may be taken for variable credits over one or two semesters, utilizing ANTH-A 699: Master's Project in Applied Anthropology, for six credit hours in total.

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 four 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/