Apply NowRequest More Info

International Development Concentration

The International Development concentration (ID) provides understanding of world problems such as hunger, health, and economic change, thus preparing the student for work in organizations involved in the planning, management, and evaluation of development projects.

The M.A. in Anthropology is 36-credit hour program normally completed in two years. We admit students with significant anthropology background as well as students with little or none (the latter may need to take some remedial courses before entering the program or during their first year). The International Development concentration involves 15 credit hours (usually not including thesis credits) within the total of 36 for the degree; this includes one course in quantitative methods.

Some entering students have substantial professional experience, while others have yet to acquire any. Students with no professional experience are encouraged to find a relevant internship in order to gain non-academic skills, and a majority of International Development concentrators include internships at such institutions as the World Bank in their program of studies. (For more on development anthropology internships, read Internships in Development Anthropology).

Some students in the ID concentration see the degree as a direct path to a professional career. Others complement their anthropology degree with further study in professional fields such as law, while others go on for a Ph.D. in anthropology.

All students are required to demonstrate competence in a language other than English and meet the other requirements common to all our master's programs. (For a summary of M.A. requirements, click here).

Each year, the Department of Anthropology admits a total M.A. class of 14-18 students; of these, 5-8 are in the ID concentration.


(* = required)

1. Four-field foundation [3-12 credits; students with advanced undergraduate classes may be waived out of any of the proseminars other than Sociocultural Anthropology]:
     Anth 6101, Biological Anthropology
     * Anth 6102, Sociocultural Anthropology
     Anth 6103, Archaeology
     Anth 6104, Linguistic Anthropology

2. Development concentration [15 credits]:
     * Anth 6301, Anthropology of Development (theory)
     * Anth 6331, Methods in Development Anthropology (mainly qualitative methods)
     * Two additional anthropology courses related to development, as broadly defined (can include 3 credits for Anth 6330, Internship in Development Anthropology)
     * Quantitative Methods (3 credits): Can be a course Economics, Geography, Public Health, or another field, as long as it focuses on quantitative analysis. Among the courses that have been approved in the past are Econ 6250, Survey of Economic Development; Econ 6290, Principles of Demography; Geog 6291, Methods of Demographic Analysis; IAff 6501, Quantitative Analysis for International Affairs Practice; PPPA 6002, Research Methods and Applied Statistics; and PubH 6003, Principles and Practice of Epidemiology. These various courses have different expectations for previous quantitative analysis knowledge, so students are advised to ask the professor for the syllabus and advice.

3. Electives [9-18 credits, depending on the number of proseminars taken]. Popular options include courses in:

  • International Affairs (including the series of 1-credit Skills Courses)
  • Courses in the professional schools: Law School, Public Health, Education, Public Administration
  • Women's Studies

4. The Culminating Project [no credits]
All students, in order to receive the M.A. degree, must write a Culminating Project during their last semester, either a thesis or a journal paper.

Skills built into the MA/ID curriculum

Recipient: Andrew Hurd
February 12, 2015

Year: 1997

Advisors: David Gow and Barbara Miller

Location: Costa Rica (Tortuguero)

Degree Program: M.A. International Development Studies

Costa Rica has received international recognition for its conservation efforts. However, the creation of protected areas can have adverse effects on the people living there in the forms of diminished access to resources and the rapid influx of outsiders. In the village of Tortuguero, I propose to assess the impacts of park creation, increased tourism, and in-migration from outlying areas, and the presence of two non-governmental organizations on the local populace. I will focus on how the local people are defined and operationalized by the outsiders as well as how the local people define themselves and perceive the outsiders in an attempt to assess the extent to which local people are integrated into, benefiting from, and affected by tourism and conservation efforts.


  • Critical thinking, reading and speaking
  • Analytical writing
  • Critical literature review
  • Research methods (especially short-term methods) for data collection
  • Professional experience through a reflective internship and internship report

Alumna Hired by USAID

Alumna Hired by USAID

After months of waiting for her security clearance to be processed, former TA Kaarli Sundsmo, MA '06, started her new job at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Kaarli works as the East Africa Regional Coordinator and Knowledge Management Focal Point for the President's Global Food Security Response. This position helps to coordinate efforts among the different U.S. government offices that deal with food security issues.

Graduate Financial Assistance

The Office of Student Financial Assistance offers financial aid in the form of Federal Direct Stafford, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS, and private alternative loans to students who have been admitted to one of our graduate degree or approved graduate certificate programs. Visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance in the ground floor of the Marvin Center to learn more.