The master's program provides students with a comprehensive grounding in the four fields of the discipline: biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Students may choose concentrations in the following:
- International Development
- Medical Anthropology
- Museum Training
Summary of Requirements
- The standard program consists of 36 hours of course credits, including 3-6 hours of thesis credits, although a thesis is not required for some program concentrations.
- Students must take at least three of four proseminars (Anth 6101-6104), but those with significant background in a field, as determined by evaluation of a student petition to the proseminar instructor, may waive one proseminar. Students who do waive a proseminar must, however, take one proseminar from Group A (6101 and 6103) and one from Group B (6102 and 6104), and must receive grades of B or better in order to continue in the program.
- All students must also take a methods course.
- Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.
- All students must demonstrate competency in an approved foreign language.
- Students must write a culminating project that can be a thesis or a journal paper.
- For details, consult the graduate student manual on mapping out a program.
Financial Aid from the Department
The Columbian College preferentially provides teaching assistant packages to Ph.D. students rather than M.A. students. Few GTAships are available for master’s candidates.
The Anthropology Department provides other support for M.A. students:
- The Shirley H. and Robert L. Richards Endowment Scholarships are sometimes available for anthropology students who would otherwise qualify for teaching assistantships.
- Two work-study positions are available for students who are eligible for this form of federal financial aid. The positions usually involve laboratory work.
- There are administrative jobs in the offices of Anthropological Quarterly and the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology.
- Jobs may also be available from faculty who have research grants, although these jobs generally have highly specific requirements.
- The Ann Gordon Webster Endowment supports the education of those who are returning to college after years spent raising a family and/or pursuing a career in anthropology.
Also – check GW's Office of Fellowship and Graduate Student Support for more information on funding.
International Development Concentration
The International Development concentration (ID) provides the 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.
Medical Anthropology Concentration
The Medical Anthropology concentration, created in 2011, is a 15-credit hour concentration within the 36-hour M.A. degree program in Anthropology. Medical anthropology focuses on cross-cultural patterns of health, illness, and healing within the context of cultural change. It includes both theoretical inquiry and applied or clinical approaches. Our concentration is a distinct offering within the world of anthropology graduate study, since few schools have medical anthropology focuses.
Core courses are the seminar in medical anthropology, ANTH 6505 (required), and Topics in Medical Anthropology, ANTH 6506. Topics in ANTH 6506 have included Global Mental Health, Health and Development, and Health, Culture, and HIV/AIDS. Courses in Public Health are options for fulfilling the methods requirement in the concentration.
Museum Training Concentration
In addition to providing a foundation in anthropology, the museum training concentration prepares students for research and careers in the scholarly and curatorial aspects of museum work. In addition to the overall requirements for the M.A. program:
- 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 6 may come from internship credits; most Museum Training concentrators arrange for one or more internships at local museums.
Basic Requirements for M.A. Applicants
- Applicants must meet the entrance requirements of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
- An undergraduate degree in anthropology is preferred, but not required.
- Candidates should have at least four courses beyond the introductory level, including exposure to at least three subfields and anthropological theory.
- Those without such a background can still be admitted to the program provided they take appropriate courses as prerequisites during the first year of their enrollment; such courses do not have to be taken at GW, and do not count toward degree requirements.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated January 18, 2018