MA in Anthropology


Students digging at an excavation in ireland


The 36-credit Master of Arts in Anthropology program provides a grounding in the foundational concepts of the discipline: biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology and archaeology. MA graduates learn to synthesize diverse data about human beings, an increasingly valued skill in a variety of professions and academic settings.

Students may earn their degree in general anthropology or in one of three concentrations: international development, museum training, or health, science, and society. Of the 14–18 students admitted to the program each year, about one-third choose to pursue a concentration.



"My master’s in anthropology from GW has been essential to my professional success."

Christina Samuels

MA ’13
Education Policy Manager, The New York Immigration Coalition

Culminating Project

Master’s students complete a culminating project that can take the form of a thesis or a journal paper. Students in the Development and Museum Training concentrations are not required to complete a thesis, but students in those fields may substitute six credit hours of thesis work for coursework. Learn more about culminating projects in the Anthropology Graduate Student Guide (PDF)


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

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

The minimum requirement consists of:
36 credits of approved graduate coursework including the following:
At least three of the following four proseminars:
ANTH 6101Proseminar in Biological Anthropology
ANTH 6102Proseminar in Sociocultural Anthropology
ANTH 6103Proseminar in Archaeology
ANTH 6104Proseminar in Linguistic Anthropology
Those with significant background in a field, as determined by evaluation of a student petition to the proseminar instructor, may waive one proseminar. Those who are permitted to waive a proseminar must, however, take two courses from the following:
ANTH 6101Proseminar in Biological Anthropology
or ANTH 6103 Proseminar in Archaeology
ANTH 6102Proseminar in Sociocultural Anthropology
or ANTH 6104 Proseminar in Linguistic Anthropology
An approved methods course
In addition to 30-33 credits of approved graduate coursework, 3-6 credits of research for a thesis or other culminating project.
Students with fewer than four undergraduate semesters of a major foreign language must demonstrate a reading knowledge of an approved language before beginning the third semester of graduate work.