MA Applied Anthropology Program Overview

The Masters in Anthropology at Humboldt State University

The MA Applied Anthropology program is currently undergoing consideration for transition from a pilot to a permanent program. This process could take multiple years, and as such applications will not be accepted until future notice. Potential students are advised to cultivate alternative options. Please contact the graduate coordinator with any questions.

Anthropology is a holistic science dedicated to the study of human cultural and biological diversity and evolution. Anthropology is unique in that it integrates fields of study that traditionally span multiple disciplines in the sciences, arts, and professional studies.

The Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology at HSU is a rigorous yet flexible degree program focused on building competitive, marketable skills for the application of anthropological perspectives, methods, and theories, and practices in a diverse array of careers in academic, professional, and global contexts.

Students in the program form a cohesive educational and career plan while they focus on one of the modern or traditional areas of anthropology or utilize the freedom that is intrinsic within the discipline to bridge disciplines as relevant to research and career interests.

This innovative hybrid program begins with a brief but intensive Late Summer/Early Fall Institute held on the HSU campus. During this time, students build camaraderie and are introduced to the many facets of the discipline and program.

After the Institute, students undertake remaining requirements (courses, internship, thesis) via full-time or part-time online distance learning to enable freedom in location of residence and research. The online coursework is primarily asynchronous to enable flexibility in planning days and times to complete assignments each week. Students are generally not required to be present on campus after the Institute, but many choose to remain on campus to take elective courses, be involved in labs, and form study groups.

The program is career-oriented and academically rigorous. The core courses focus on broadly applicable skills/strategies and the application of theory to applied career/research interests, while the electives, internship and culminating experience enable students to specialize in focus areas.

The applied design of the program emphasizes that students consider the real-world relevance and applicability of their interests, experiences, and research.

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MA Program Highlights

  • Rigorous curriculum focused on building relevant, competitive, rewarding, marketable skills.
  • Intensive development of broadly applicable research and professional skills.
  • Emphases and resources in Cultural Anthropology, Archaeology, and Biological Anthropology / Bioarchaeology, with room to connect to other disciplines.
  • Hands-on training available on campus or in the field.
  • Flexible distance learning core courses to enable freedom in residence and research locations.
  • Resume’ and skill-building internship experience.
  • Thesis/exam development and exploration of career interests integrated into core courses.
  • Student and faculty camaraderie and community is an important aspect of our program, whether students remain on campus or complete fieldwork and internships across the country and world.

Example Thesis/Career Areas

  • Cultural Anthropology: Community Health, Public Health, Medical Anthropology, Community Development, Gender & Development, Program Development & Analysis, Administration, Education, Natural Resource Conservation & Development, Environmental Justice, Advocacy, Social Justice, Political Semantics & Rhetoric, Media, Narrative Analysis, Speech Communities, Linguistic Pragmatics, Ethnographic & Qualitative Research
  • Archaeology: Cultural Resources Management, Heritage Preservation, Museum Studies, Curation, Mesoamerican Studies, Zooarchaeology, Registered Professional Archaeologist
  • Biological Anthropology: Evolutionary Health & Nutrition, Bioarchaeology, Skeletal Biology/Forensics, Human/Primate Ecology & Conservation, Advocacy & Social Justice See additional career options

MA Degree Outcomes

Upon completion of the MA degree in Applied Anthropology, students will demonstrate:

  • Substantive knowledge of the field of applied anthropology, and an advanced ability to apply disciplinary principles, theories, methods and approaches to address complex issues within academic and non-academic settings.
  • Professional-level expertise in a concentration area, and an advanced ability to comprehend, conceive, design, and execute meaningful research in that area.
  • A wide range of graduate level practical and professional skills enabling one to function efficiently in academic and nonacademic settings, including skills in research and problem-solving, effective multi-modal communication, initiative, adaptability, perseverance, and capacity to proactively market skills and experience.
  • Knowledge and competency in anthropological ethics, and embrace social responsibility in research, teaching, and service.

Contact Us

Marissa Ramsier, Ph.D.
Anthropology Graduate Coordinator
Email: mas70 (at)

Mary Scoggin, Ph.D.
Anthropology Department Chair
Email: ms34 (at) 

Graduate Admissions
Phone: 707.826.6250
Email: apply (at)

HSU Graduate Studies
Phone: 707.826.3949
Email: tef21 (at)