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Grad Program: Anthropology

Basic Information

Do people interest you? Are you fascinated by human development, language, biology, and culture? Anthropology, the study of man, is a field that focuses on people—who they’ve been, who they are today, and who they might be tomorrow.

If you pursue a graduate program in Anthropology, you’ll study ancient cultures—the languages and symbols, the art and literature, the health and ecology of the people from that time. You’ll learn how ancient peoples treated their elders and their children. You’ll learn how race, gender, and religion played out in ancient societies, and how ideas from the past have changed, endured, or disappeared.

Anthropology concerns the entire world, and your studies will take you around the globe—figuratively, at first, and perhaps, eventually, literally. From culture to culture and country to country you’ll study social interaction, language, health, and evolution. You’ll become skilled in unlocking vast amounts of information from the very little that remains from the past, through means such as symbols, artifacts, documents, and oral history. But Anthropology doesn’t concern only the past. Anthropology focuses on modern society as well: our customs and rituals, our problems and our successes.

In a graduate Anthropology program, you may be asked to specialize in a field such as archaeology, linguistics, cultural anthropology, or physical anthropology—various programs offer different concentrations. Your Master’s work will most often lead to a thesis (your Ph.D. definitely will), which will allow you to choose an area of particular interest and do hands-on, in-depth research on your topic.

Degree Information

An M.A. in Anthropology is one option for students. The program takes about one to two years to complete, and is often, though not always, part of a Ph.D. track program. Keep in mind that graduate schools sometimes do not offer financial aid to students seeking only an M.A. Students who choose to pursue the Ph.D. nearly always have their eye on becoming part of academia, while M.A. students may have a more wide-ranging set of career goals.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • What kind of financial aid is available to M.A. students? What sort of financial package is offered to Ph.D.s?
  • Will grad students be required to act as teaching assistants?
  • Do the faculty or graduate students publish regularly? What is the subject of their research?
  • Is there a faculty member whose field of expertise is related to your own field of interest?
  • What is the foreign language requirement?
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