MA Concentrations


Many students choose to specialize in a particular anthropological field as a direct path to a professional career, a PhD in Anthropology or another professional field such as law or medicine. Students who choose a concentration complete a set of required courses as part of the 36-credit hours required for the MA program.

Questions? Contact the appropriate concentration advisor.

student working in lab



International Development

The 15-credit international development concentration provides perspective on the causes and consequences of world problems like hunger, health, economic globalization and forced migration, and prepares students for careers in development work or PhD training. Students with no prior professional experience are especially encouraged to find internships at local and international organizations. Note: It is possible to double-concentrate in International Development and Health, Science, Society.

Students in the International Development concentration gain skills including:

  • 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 report

Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

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

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 three 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. Various courses have different expectations for previous quantitative analysis knowledge, so students are advised to ask the professor for the syllabus and advice.

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

  • Popular options include courses in international affairs, law, public health, education, public administration and women's, gender and sexuality studies.

Culminating Project (no credits)


Health, Science, and Society

Health, Science, and Society focuses on cross-cultural patterns of health, illness and healing within the context of cultural change. This 15 credit hour concentration, within the overall MA program of 36 credit hours, offers two focus areas: Medical Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies. Each focus area requires a cornerstone seminar.

Required course work:

The HSS concentration requires 15 credits hours of coursework, including learning about theory, methods, and ethnography. Students in the concentration must take a required graduate seminar as a cornerstone class in the first year of their program. The concentration offers two options to fulfill the required cornerstone course:

ANTH 6505 Medical Anthropology (3 cr.) (Miller)


ANTH 6504: Social Study of Science and Technology (3 cr.) (Wagner)

Beyond the 15 credit hours for the concentration:

In addition to basic MA requirements and the concentration requirements, students will have several credit hours of elective coursework that may be used to broaden or deepen their program of study. Possible directions include: a more theoretical path, leading to a PhD or a more skills-based/professional directions, leading to a non-academic career.


Museum Training

The museum training concentration prepares students for the scholarly and curatorial side of museum work. Students complete 12-15 of the required 36 master’s credits through courses offered by the GW Museum Studies Program. Students in this concentration usually complete an internship at a local museum in lieu of a thesis. 

  • 12–15 of the student's 36 hours must derive from museum-related courses offered by the Anthropology Department or Museum Studies Program.
  • Of these 12–15 hours, up to six may come from internship credits; most Museum Training concentrators arrange for one or more internships at local museums.

Eligible Graduate Courses With a Museum Focus

  • ANTH 6200  Museum Anthropology
  • ANTH 6201  Methods in Museum Anthropology
  • ANTH 6202  Museums and the Public: Exhibiting Culture
  • ANTH 6203  Museum Preventive Conservation I
  • ANTH 6204  Museum Preventive Conservation II
  • ANTH 6205  Problems in Conservation
  • ANTH 6230  Internship in Museum Anthropology
  • ANTH 6291  Topics in Museum Anthropology (new course)
  • ANTH 6508  Ethics and Cultural Property