applied anthropology in action
Program Overview ← Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology

Program Overview

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Marketable Skills for Your Career

The Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology at Humboldt State University is a rig­or­ous yet flex­i­ble pro­gram focused on build­ing reward­ing, rel­e­vant, com­pet­i­tive, mar­ketable skills. The core courses focus on broadly applicable skills, while the electives, internship and thesis research enable students to gain specialized training in focus areas.

Students are held to high standards, and graduates will be in a posi­tion to con­fi­dently apply anthro­po­log­i­cal per­spec­tives, the­o­ries and meth­ods to a vari­ety of careers in today’s aca­d­e­mic, non-academic and increas­ingly global job mar­ket (e.g., educators, researchers, administrators, program developers, advocates, registered professional archaeologists).

Flexibility around Your Life and Research

The program begins with an intensive 5-unit Summer Institute held on the HSU campus in the midst of the magestic Redwood Empire. During this time, students build camaraderie and receive rigorous training in methods and research skills so they may proceed through the program with confidence. While on campus, students work with resources such as the archaeology and biological anthropology laboratories, cultural, artifact & skeletal collections, and the simulated archaeological site.

After the Summer Institute, students undertake 30 units of additional coursework over three full-time semesters or six part-time semesters. During this part of the program, students gain additional practical experience through an applied internship, and are guided through the thesis process as an integral part of coursework. All core required courses other than the Summer Institute are offered solely via online distance learning, the primary goal of which is to enable students to simultaneously obtain applied experience and/or complete thesis fieldwork/research without being limited by geographical location.

Students are encouraged and expected to take advantage of this freedom by setting and achieving clear, strong goals. This model also trains students to be successful in modern applied/academic workplace environments that expect competence in self-discipline and navigating/communicating across a variety of media. The core online coursework is rigorous, yet primarily asynchronous, meaning that students will have flexibility in planning days and times to view course materials/lectures and complete assignments each week.  

Students who would like to be on campus after the Summer Institute are welcomed and will have access to departmental facilities – many of our students choose to remain on campus to take courses, be involved in labs, and form study groups. Student camaraderie and community is an important aspect of our program, whether students remain on campus or complete fieldwork and internships across the country and world.

See the fulltime or part-time timeline for more information.

This program aims to produce skilled practitioners at the MA level. Some examples of thesis/career areas are:

  • Archaeology: Cultural Resources Management, Heritage Preservation, Museum Studies, Bioarchaeology, Mesoamerican Studies
  • Biological Anthropology: Evolutionary Health & Nutrition, Human/Primate Ecology & Conservation, Forensic Applications
  • Cultural Anthropology: Ethnography, International Development, Education, Advocacy, Media, Public Health, Medical Anthropology

Degree Outcomes

Upon completion of the MA degree in Applied Anthropology, students will demonstrate that they:

  1. Exhibit substantive knowledge of the discipline, and an advanced ability to apply disciplinary principles, theories, methods and approaches.
  2. Possess a wide range of graduate level research and problem-solving skills enabling them to proficiently address complex human and environmental problems within academic and non-academic settings.
  3. Display knowledge and competency in all areas of anthropological ethics, cultural relativism and social responsibility as applied to research, teaching and service.
  4. Model life-long learning, and evince effective multi-modal communication, adaptability, perseverance, and proactive marketing of anthropological skills.