MA Applied Anthropology Program Requirements

After acceptance into the MA in Applied Anthropology program, the following requirements must be met for eligibility to graduate with the MA degree:

MA Core Course Requirements

For students beginning Fall 2024:
The curriculum listed below includes program changes pending approval and may change

  • ANTH 670 (3 units) Core Concepts in Applied Anthropology
  • ANTH 671 (3 units) Methods in Applied Anthropology
  • ANTH 672 (3 units) Theory in Applied Anthropology
  • ANTH 674 (3 units) Project Design & Management
  • ANTH 676 (3) Anthropological Engagement
  • ANTH 682 (3 units) Internship / Field Placement
  • Culminating experience options
    • ANTH 691 (3 units) Comprehensive Exam (default option)
    • ANTH 690 (6 units) Thesis/Project (requires approval)

See MA Course Descriptions

MA Elective Requirements

  • Students complete at least 12 units of electives if on the comprehensive exam track, or 9 units if on the thesis/project track. 
  • All electives must be advisor-approved as relevant to research/career trajectory.
  • Electives must be graduate level or upper division undergraduate level, within our outside of anthropology, and may be taken at Humboldt or other universities where credits are transferable. A maximum of 4 units may be transferred from another institution.
  • Courses taken prior to the program may count towards required degree electives if the courses were: (1) graduate level, and (2) not counted toward any other degree, and (3) taken within seven years of completion of the MA degree.

For elective options, students are encouraged to peruse the Humboldt course catalog and course schedule and discuss options with their advisor.

Internship/Field Placement Requirement (ANTH 682)
Students are required to complete 180 hours of advisor-approved field placement (internship) that is focused on gaining hands-on applied experience in the concentration area. The field placement may, but is not required to be, directly related to MA thesis research. Field school(s) may fulfill some but not all internship hours, at the discretion of the advisor, but only if such hours are in excess of any hours for which academic credit (units) are earned and applied to meet the focus elective requirement.

Culminating Experience Options
All students enter the program on track to complete a comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam consists of three area chosen in consultation with the advisor, writing of annotated bibliographies in these areas, then taking a written and/or practical exam covering the three areas. Students wishing to complete a thesis or project must submit a proposal, receive approval, and meet the requirements below. To be eligible for the thesis or project option a student must have: completed at least 15 units of coursework toward the MA degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above; and demonstrated proficiency in research and writing skills by earning a grade of A- or above in ANTH 674. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis if the student can otherwise document sufficient preparation to successfully complete a thesis/project. Any exception must be approved by the advisor, committee, graduate coordinator and anthropology department chair.

In addition to other requirements, students are expected to evince a mastery of subject/skills pertinent to their culminating experience and career trajectories prior to graduation. This may include taking specific elective courses, participating in workshops/ trainings/fieldwork, and/or demonstrating practical skills. Any such requirements will set by the advisor with approval from the graduate coordinator.

Advancement to Candidacy & Graduation
Students are to apply for Advancement to Candidacy & Graduation early in the semester prior to expected graduation – for example, at the beginning of the Fall semester for graduation in the following Spring semester. You can file for Advancement to Candidacy & Graduation in the semester you intend to graduate, but this may not leave adequate time to plan and meet all other deadlines. Students wishing to walk in the May graduation ceremony are advised to keep a close eye on Humboldt Activities & Deadlines – deadlines are very early Spring semester for walking in the ceremony.

Requirements to advance to candidacy include: Classified standing (cleared admission deficiencies, if applicable); Completed a minimum of 12 units of coursework for your program; Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in all courses taken as a graduate student; Approval of plan to use humans or animals as subjects for research, if applicable (a copy of the IRB/IACUC approval letter must be attached to candidacy paperwork). Be sure to start the IRB/IACUC process early if applicable (recommended in the semester prior to application). Please see the Graduate Studies website to confirm requirements.

When applying for Advancement to Candidacy & Graduation, the student names all members of the thesis committee and outlines how program requirements will be fulfilled by the intended graduation date. Changes to the thesis committee or thesis topic made after filing for Advancement to Candidacy may be made using the Request for Program Variation or Waiver form. Changes to graduation date made after filing for Advancement to Candidacy may be made using the Graduation Date Change Request form through the Office of the Registrar.

Code of Ethics

Students are required to maintain professional conduct and abide by ethical standards, in all aspects of and activities related to the program, in anthropological research and activities, and in all situations where they represent the program and discipline. Please contact the Humboldt Institutional Review Board (IRB) for policies and procedures for all projects/research involving human subjects, and the Humboldt IACUC for projects/research involving nonhuman animal subjects. Data collected before obtaining IRB/IACUC approval may not be used for the thesis, and may violate ethical guidelines.

Emphasis & Specialization (For students that began Fall 2018 or before - not applicable to new students)

Students shall select one of the following emphases, in consultation with the advisor, and complete all requirements listed below. The emphasis is internal to the program and will not be noted on transcripts, but it is documented by the program and should be included on the graduate’s resume/CV.

Cultural Anthropology Emphasis

At least one of the following courses as part of the elective requirements:

  • ANTH 610, History of Anthropological Theory, or
  • ANTH 618, Qualitative Methods & Analysis, or
  • ANTH 680, Graduate Seminar (on a concentration-focused topic)

Archaeology Emphasis

At least one of the following courses as part of the elective requirements:

  • ANTH 654, Cultural Resources Management, or
  • ANTH 680, Graduate Seminar (on a concentration-focused topic)

Skills Demonstration: Excavation unit set up, compass and clinometer use, tape and compass mapping, plan and profile mapping of a unit, ability to read topographical maps and point out areas of interest or features, and basic GPS mapping/use.

Biological Anthropology Emphasis

At least one of the following courses as part of the elective requirements:

  • ANTH 637, Applied Biological Anthropology, or
  • ANTH 680, Graduate Seminar (on a concentration-focused topic)

Bioarchaeology/Forensics Emphasis

At least one of the following courses as part of the elective requirements (read more here):

  • ANTH 637, Applied Biological Anthropology, or
  • ANTH 654, Cultural Resources Management, or
  • ANTH 680, Graduate Seminar (on a concentration-focused topic)

Skills Demonstration: Intensive osteology lab practical; mock case study including data collection (in four hours) followed by a case report submitted within one week; use of relevant software such as FORDISC.

Additional Requirements

  • A maximum of 4 of the required units may be taken from outside Humboldt and counted toward the degree.
  • Oral Defense of Thesis: In-person or online using live video media.
  • All degree requirements must be completed within specified timeframes unless extended by successful petition:
  • Each semester students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA (B average) to remain in the program. All classes must be passed with a B- or better to count towards the degree. For more information on academic standing requirements, please see the Humboldt Graduate Studies Handbook
  • Students are also expected to have or gain sufficient knowledge in their emphasis area to complete a quality thesis and become prepared to pursue a career or further graduate research in that area. In some cases, this may require additional advisor-approved/requested elective courses, training, time spent on-campus, access to materials/resources off campus, demonstration of skills mastery to advisor/thesis committee, or other requirements.
  • Prior to graduation, application for advancement to candidacy and graduation must be on file with Graduate Studies.
  • The above requirements are in addition to any other requirements established by the program during courses, communicated by faculty, on this website, and general requirements established by Humboldt Graduate Studies, or as specified in the Universitty Catalog under Master’s Degree Requirements or Applied Anthropology MA.

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Contact Us

Gordon Ulmer, Ph.D.
Anthropology Graduate Coordinator

Marissa Ramsier, Ph.D.
Anthropology Department Program Leader

Graduate Admissions
Phone: 707.826.6250

Humboldt Graduate Studies
Phone: 707.826.3949