applied anthropology in action
Program Overview ← Master's in Applied Anthropology

Program Overview

Group of students touring Eureka

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 area of residence, employment, internship opportunities, and thesis research. The program is career-oriented, in that it the core courses focus on applied skills/strategies and the application of theory to applied career/research interests, an internship to build career-relevant experience, and thesis topics that consider real-world implications.


  • Rigorous curriculum focused on building relevant, competitive, rewarding, marketable skills.
  • Intensive development of broadly applicable research and professional skills.
  • Specialization in archaeology, biological, and cultural anthropology, with room to connect to other disciplines.
  • Application of anthropology to issues across a variety of multiple disciplines.
  • Hands-on methods training and team building during on-campus Summer Institute.
  • Flexible distance learning core courses to enable freedom in residence, work, 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.
Students looking at imaging

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, Mesoamerican Studies
  • Bioarchaeology: Forensic Applications, Mortuary Archaeology, Zooarchaeology
  • Biological Anthropology: Evolutionary Health & Nutrition, Human/Primate Ecology & Conservation, Skeletal Biology
  • 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 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.