applied anthropology in action
MA Program Overview ← Department of Anthropology

MA Program Overview

Anthropology is a holistic science dedicated to the study of human cultural and biological diversity and evolution. Anthropology is unique in that integrates fields of study that traditionally span multiple disciplines in the sciences, arts, and professional studies.

The Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology at HSU is a rigorous yet flexible degree program focused on building relevant and competitive skills for the application of anthropological perspectives, methods, and theories to real-world issues and a diverse array of careers in today’s academic, non-academic, and increasingly global job market.

Students in the program form a cohesive thesis and career plan while they focus in one of the modern or traditional areas of anthropology or utilize the freedom intrinsic within the discipline to bridge disciplines as relevant to research and career interests.

This innovative hybrid program begins with an intensive on-campus Summer Institute followed by distance learning core courses to enable freedom in location of residence and research.

The program is career-oriented and academically rigorous. The core courses focus on broadly applicable skills/strategies and the application of theory to applied career/research interests, while the electives, internship and thesis research enable students to specialize in focus areas.

The applied design of the program emphasizes that students consider the real-world relevance and applicability of their interests, experiences, and research.

MA Program Highlights

  • Rigorous curriculum focused on building relevant, competitive, rewarding, marketable skills.
  • Intensive development of broadly applicable research and professional skills.
  • Specializations in cultural anthropology, archaeology, bioarch/forensics, and bioanth, with room to connect to other disciplines.
  • Hands-on methods training and team building during on-campus Summer Institute.
  • Flexible distance learning core courses to enable freedom in residence and research locations.
  • Resume’ and skill-building internship experience.
  • Thesis development and exploration of career interests integrated into core courses.
  • Student and faculty 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.
Student working in lab

Example Thesis/Career Areas

  • Archaeology: Cultural Resources Management, Heritage Preservation, Museum Studies, Curation, Mesoamerican Studies, Registered Professional Archaeologist
  • Bioarchaeology: Forensic Applications, Mortuary Archaeology, Zooarchaeology
  • Biological Anthropology: Evolutionary Health & Nutrition, Human/Primate Ecology & Conservation, Skeletal Biology
  • Cultural Anthropology: Ethnography, International Development, Program Development, Administration, Education, Advocacy, Social Justice, Media, Public Health, Medical Anthropology


MA Degree Outcomes

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

  1. Exhibit substantive knowledge of the discipline of applied anthropology, and an advanced ability to apply disciplinary principles, theories, methods and approaches to address complex issues within academic and non-academic settings.
  2. Possess professional-level expertise in a concentration area, and an advanced ability to comprehend, conceive, design, and execute meaningful research in that area.
  3. Possess a wide range of graduate level practical and professional skills, including skills in research and problem-solving, effective multi-modal communication, initiative, adaptability, perseverance, and proactive marketing of skills, enabling one to function efficiently in academic and non-academic settings.
  4. Display knowledge and competency in all areas of anthropological ethics, cultural relativism and social responsibility as applied to research, teaching and service.

MA Student Resources


Marissa Ramsier, Ph.D.
Applied Anth Graduate Coordinator

Llyn Smith, Ph.D.
Anthropology Department Chair

Graduate Admissions
Phone: 707.826.6250

HSU Graduate Studies
Phone: 707.826.3949