Anthropology MA


Learn more about the Master of Arts in Anthropology.

About the Program

The MA program in Anthropology provides students with training that integrates the four traditional subfields of the discipline and organizes their engagement with anthropology around two thematic areas:

  • The first thematic area, Mobility and Global Inequality, emphasizes social processes and institutions that underlie the impact of peoples’ movement and the experiences they encounter in terms of social inequalities, resource distribution and power inequities. It is marked by emphasis on ethnographic, linguistic, and visual data and analytical methods grounded in contemporary theory in the social sciences.
  • The second thematic area, Evolution and Human Environments, emphasizes the origins and development of all forms of human adaptations in the bio-social realm. It is marked by emphasis on ecological, geographic and spatial-historical data, as well as quantitative analyses grounded in evolutionary theory.

All students in the program complete a set of core courses, which includes foundational courses in the thematic areas and history of the discipline. Additional core courses provide professional training in ethics and grant writing in the discipline. Students choose from a set of elective courses allowing them to specialize in the literature, theory and unique subdisciplinary perspectives or to expand their training in anthropological methods. Faculty from the subfields of Anthropological Linguistics, Biological Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology, Sociocultural Anthropology, and Visual Anthropology contribute to the program.

The MA is a terminal degree.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Full-time status is strongly encouraged, although some students may be able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: Anthropology is an inherently interdisciplinary field of study.

Areas of Specialization: Faculty members specialize in such areas as anthropology of visual communication, archaeology of the eastern United States and tropical Americas, historical archaeology, human evolutionary biology, human genetic and physiological variation, language socialization, political economy of language, politics of cultural identity and difference, and sociocultural dynamics of globalization.

Job Prospects: The MA program supports student preparation for entry into doctoral programs, as well as careers in business, cultural resource management, government, museums, nonprofits and other sectors.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students are generally restricted to the following five courses:

History of Anthropological Theory
Mobility and Global Inequality
Evolution, Human Environments, and the Culture Niche
Ethical Considerations in Anthropology Research
Funding and Grant Writing in Anthropology

Taking coursework as a non-matriculated student does not ensure acceptance into the master's program if the student later applies for admission. If a non-matriculated student is later admitted into the master's program, a maximum of 9 credits of non-matriculated coursework may be applied toward the degree.

Financing Opportunities: Typically, the Department does not provide financial assistance to students at the master's level. Teaching and Research Assistantships are reserved for PhD students.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 15

After the deadline, prospective applicants should contact the Director of Graduate Studies at for consideration. It is recommended that before an applicant prepares and submits an application for admission, they should establish personal contact with the Director of Graduate Studies.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be requested from individuals who are well positioned to evaluate the applicant's academic abilities and accomplishments as well as their potential for graduate study. Letters must be on official letterhead and be signed by the recommender.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree (BA/BS) is required, but it need not be a degree in Anthropology.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 750 words, address your main area(s) of scholarly interest, the experiences that have led you to graduate studies in Anthropology, the specific reasons for your interest in Temple's MA in Anthropology, and your career goals.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Not required.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Resume: Current resume required.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Core Courses
ANTH 5396History of Anthropological Theory3
ANTH 8001Mobility and Global Inequality3
ANTH 8002Evolution, Human Environments, and the Culture Niche3
ANTH 8012Ethical Considerations in Anthropology Research3
ANTH 8330Funding and Grant Writing in Anthropology3
Methods Course
Select one from the following:3
Quantitative Analysis of Anthropological Data
Methods in Archaeology
Field Session in Archaeology
Fieldwork in Ethnography
Anthropological Problems in Visual Production
Anthropology of Public Culture
Language as Social Action
Language Socialization and Cultural Reproduction
Methods in Linguistic Anthropology
Methods in Physical Anthropology
Teaching of Anthropology
Electives 112
Total Credit Hours30

Culminating Event:
Comprehensive Examination:
At the end of the fourth academic term, students in the MA in Anthropology program take a comprehensive exam. This exam assesses the integrated knowledge gained in the five core courses. A committee of faculty who teach the five courses write the exam, and all members of a cohort take the same exam. There is no thesis option for this terminal master's program.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Department of Anthropology

210 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6089


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Jenise Ly


Director of Graduate Studies:

L. Christie Rockwell, PhD


Chairperson, Associate Professor:

Kimberly D. Williams, PhD

Director, Center for the Humanities at Temple (CHAT)