BA/MA in Anthropology

Student working on computer

The dual Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Anthropology program allows students to complete the graduate degree on an accelerated timeline by completing 12 graduate credits as part of the undergraduate program. Full-time students are generally able to complete both degrees within five years.



    Application Requirements

    Students in the BA in Anthropology degree program may apply to the MA in Anthropology once they have accumulated 75 credits at GW and have consulted with anthropology advisors. Applicants must be declared anthropology, archaeology or biological anthropology majors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major. Students must also fill out a Combined Degree Credit Form (PDF) specifying the double-counted courses they plan to take and submit it to the director of graduate studies. GRE scores are not required.

    Eligible students will apply for formal admission into the BS/MS program, through the CCAS Combined Degree Application process. Students will be recommended for admission to the MS program on the same basis as other applicants for the MS degree, with the final decision being made by the CCAS graduate dean.

    Combined Degree Programs


    Degree Timeline

    Combined degree students are admitted to the master's program with the understanding that during their undergraduate program, they will complete 12 credits of master's coursework, which also count toward the bachelor's degree. 

    This leaves 24 credits left to finish out their 36-credit master's degree. Most students complete six credits over the summer, nine credits in the fall semester and nine credits in the final spring semester, totaling one calendar year beyond the bachelor's degree. During that year, they are officially graduate students and eligible for consideration as teaching assistants or graders.

    Sample BA/MA in Anthropology Schedule

    • ANTH 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004 (13 hours)
    • Language requirement, if needed (12 hours)
    • General Education Curriculum (GPAC) courses

    Fall (15 hours)

    • Upper-level linguistics
    • Upper-level biological anthropology
    • Upper-level topics in sociocultural anthropology
    • Two electives or GPAC courses

    Spring (15 hours)

    • Upper-level cultures (3700s). Can be earned in a study abroad program.
    • Upper-level archaeology. Can be earned in a study abroad program.
    • Two electives or GPAC courses
    • ANTH 2008
    • Apply to the BA/MA

    Fall (15 hours)

    • Graduate seminar
    • Four electives, which may include a second graduate-level course or an upper-level undergraduate course taken for graduate credit

    Spring (15 hours)

    • Methods course
    • Proseminar
    • Three electives, which may include a graduate-level course or upper-level undergraduate course for graduate credit

    Summer After Senior Year (three–six hours)

    • Anth 6995, Research

    Fall (nine hours)

    • Proseminar — involving supervised fieldwork or reading and research in consultation with anthropology advisors
    • Master’s exams
    • Three electives (could include thesis research or internship)

    Spring (nine–12 hours)

    • Three electives (could include thesis research or internship)
    • Hand in thesis or other culminating exercise


    Course Requirements

    Students take 12 graduate credits as part of their undergraduate program. All requirements for both the BA in Anthropology and the MA in Anthropology must be fulfilled.


    BA Requirements

    The following requirements must be fulfilled:

    The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

    The following curriculum requirements:

    Prerequisite courses:
    ANTH 1001Biological Anthropology
    ANTH 1002Sociocultural Anthropology
    ANTH 1003Archaeology
    ANTH 1004Language in Culture and Society
    Required courses in other areas:
    Two-year proficiency in a single foreign language, as demonstrated by completion of four semesters of college-level language study or the equivalent
    6–12 credits of coursework in related departments approved by the advisor. Recommended for sociocultural emphasis are courses in economics, history, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology; for archaeological emphasis, courses in American studies, art history, geography, geological sciences, and history; for emphasis in biological anthropology, courses in anatomy, biological sciences, chemistry, and physical geography; for emphasis in linguistic anthropology, courses in linguistics and in speech and hearing science. Courses in statistics are strongly recommended for all anthropology majors
    Requirements for the major:
    In addition to the four prerequisite courses, 24–36 credits in anthropology courses, including:
    ANTH 2008Foundations of Anthropological Thought
    At least one course from three of the following four categories:
    Sociocultural anthropology (ANTH 2500s, 2700s, 3500s, and 3700s)
    Linguistics (ANTH/LING 3600s)
    Biological anthropology (ANTH 2400s and 3400s)
    Archaeology (ANTH 2800s and 3800s)
    An approved methods course in any category, including but not limited to the courses listed below. (Methods courses can be double-counted as courses in their subject categories.)
    ANTH 3406Advanced Human Osteology
    ANTH 3531Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology
    ANTH 3602Ethnographic Analysis of Speech
    ANTH 3832Paleoanthropological Field Program
    ANTH 3833Field Research: New World
    ANTH 3834Field Research: Old World
    ANTH 3835Historical Archaeology Field Program
    ANTH 3839Lab Research Methods in Archaeology
    ANTH 6806Technology
    In addition, a senior capstone experience is required; it may be met by taking ANTH 4008, ANTH 3995 (for 3 credits), or an approved 6000-level course. Qualified seniors may enroll in graduate-level courses with the permission of the instructor.

    MA in Anthropology Requirements

    The following requirements must be fulfilled:

    The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

    A minimum of 36 credits in graduate coursework, including 9 credits in proseminars and 3 credits in an approved methods course. Students must also complete either a thesis (for which they must register for 3 to 6 credits of ANTH 6999 Thesis Research) or a culminating journal article. The remaining credits are fulfilled with electives and, if a concentration was selected, concentration courses. Students are encouraged to plan their programs with an advisor.

    Foreign language—There is no language requirement for the MA degree. However, thesis projects that require language skills will only be approved by department advisors provided students show evidence of having language skills that are required.

    Core requirements
    At least three proseminars selected from the following:
    ANTH 6101Proseminar in Biological Anthropology
    ANTH 6102Proseminar in Sociocultural Anthropology
    ANTH 6103Proseminar in Archaeology
    ANTH 6104Proseminar in Linguistic Anthropology
    Students with significant background in a field, as determined by evaluation of a petition to the proseminar instructor, may waive one proseminar. Those who are permitted to waive a proseminar must take one course from group A and one from Group B.
    Group A
    ANTH 6101Proseminar in Biological Anthropology
    or ANTH 6103 Proseminar in Archaeology
    Group B
    ANTH 6102Proseminar in Sociocultural Anthropology
    or ANTH 6104 Proseminar in Linguistic Anthropology
    One approved 3-credit methods course.
    Thesis or other culminating project
    Students must write either a thesis or a culminating journal article. Students who choose to write a thesis must register for 3 to 6 credits of ANTH 6999 Thesis Research..
    18 to 24 credits in elective courses, depending on the number of credits taken in core course requirements. Students may choose to pursue a concentration (below), in which case any credits remaining after core and concentration requirements have been met are taken in elective courses.
    In addition, students can enrich their degree through courses in programs at GW's other research centers or through the DC- schools consortium.
    Optional concentrations
    In addition to completing all core requirements for the degree, students may choose to pursue a concentration as part of their program of study. All requirements for the concentration must be fulfilled.
    Museum training concentration (12 credits) 1
    12 credits in courses selected from the following. 6 of these credits may be in an internship.
    ANTH 6200Museum Anthropology
    ANTH 6201Methods in Museum Anthropology
    ANTH 6203Preventive Conservation Concepts
    ANTH 6204Preventive Conservation Techniques
    ANTH 6205Problems in Conservation
    ANTH 6230Internship in Museum Anthropology
    ANTH 6291Special Topics in Museum Anthropology
    ANTH 6508Ethics and Cultural Property
    International development concentration (12 credits)
    ANTH 6301The Anthropology of Development
    Two courses selected from the following:
    ANTH 6302Issues in Development
    ANTH 6330Internship in Development Anthropology
    ANTH 6391Anthropology and Contemporary Problems
    ANTH 6501Gender and Sexuality
    ANTH 6507Nationalism and Ethnicity
    One approved graduate-level course in quantitative analysis.
    Health, science, and society (HSS) concentration focus options (12 or 15 credits)
    The HSS concentration offers a choice of two focus areas: medical anthropology (15 credits) and science and technology studies (12 credits). Please consult with the advisor for each focus area.
    HSS concentration—Science and technology studies focus (12 credits):
    ANTH 6504Social Study of Science and Technology (This cornerstone course should be taken in the first year of the program.)
    One approved 3-credit methods course
    6 credits in sociocultural anthropology coursework selected from the list below. For courses not directly focused on health, students should direct their learning toward health issues to the extent possible, e.g., by selecting a health-related term paper topic. With the concentration advisor's permission, other anthropology courses, including courses offered through the Consortium of University of the Washington Metropolitan Area, may be taken to fulfill this concentration requirement.
    ANTH 3503Psychological Anthropology (for graduate credit)
    ANTH 3991Special Topics (Race and Policing (taken for graduate credit))
    ANTH 6506Topics in Medical Anthropology (Culture and Psychiatry)
    ANTH 6591Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology (Either Materiality: The Anthropology of Things AND/OR Anthropology of Environmental Politics)
    AMST 2620Human Mind and Artificial Intelligence (taken for graduate credit)
    AMST 6610Constructing the Natural, Unnatural, and Artifactual
    HSS concentration—medical anthropology focus (15 credits):
    ANTH 6505Medical Anthropology (This graduate seminar is the required cornerstone class and should be taken in the fall of first year)
    6 credits in research methods courses, which must include one course in qualitative methods and one course in quantitative methods, selected from the following:
    Qualitative methods course options:
    ANTH 6331Research Methods in Development Anthropology
    ANTH 6531Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology
    SOC 6232Qualitative Methods
    Quantitative methods course options:
    PUBH 6003Principles and Practices of Epidemiology
    6 credits in sociocultural anthropology coursework selected from the following courses. For courses not directly focused on health, students should direct their learning, as much as possible, toward health issues, for example, by selecting a health-related term paper topic. (With the concentration advisor's permission, other anthropology courses, including courses offered through the Consortium of University of the Washington Metropolitan Area, may be taken to fulfill this concentration requirement.)
    ANTH 6301The Anthropology of Development
    ANTH 6302Issues in Development (Anthropology of Intervention)
    ANTH 6391Anthropology and Contemporary Problems (Anthropology of Security)
    ANTH 6501Gender and Sexuality
    ANTH 6504Social Study of Science and Technology
    ANTH 6505Medical Anthropology
    ANTH 6506Topics in Medical Anthropology
    ANTH 6591Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology (Displacement and Diaspora)
    ANTH 6707Issues in Middle East Anthropology (Anthropology of State and Government AND/ OR Anthropology of Citizenship and Displacement)
    IAFF 6138Special Topics in International Development Studies (Gender and Development or Indigenous People)
    Undergraduate courses and graduate internships may be taken for credit toward the HSS concentration—medical anthropology focus with the permission of the concentration advisor. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
    ANTH 3503Psychological Anthropology
    ANTH 6330Internship in Development Anthropology

    1Students whose primary interest is in museum techniques, rather than anthropology, are advised to apply to the MA in museum studies program. (Note that an MA in teaching in the field of museum education is also available through the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.)