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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Master of Arts in Anthropology

University requirements for the terminal M.A. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

The Department of Anthropology offers the terminal master's degree to the following:

  1. Stanford graduate students, taking advanced degrees in other departments or schools at Stanford, who are admitted to the terminal M.A. program in Anthropology.
  2. Anthropology Ph.D. students at Stanford University who fulfill the terminal M.A. requirements on the way to the Ph.D. degree.
  3. Graduate applicants who apply from outside the University for admission to the terminal M.A. program in Anthropology.

Applicants whose ultimate goal is the Ph.D. degree should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Students accepted for the terminal M.A. degree program cannot transfer to the Ph.D. program; they must reapply on the same basis as other Ph.D. applicants and in competition with the Ph.D. applicants. Ph.D. students who decide to take the M.A. on the way to the Ph.D. are governed by separate requirements described in the department's handbook for the Ph.D. Program.

Graduate enrollment at Stanford University for three consecutive quarters of full tuition for at least 45 units is required of all candidates for the terminal master's degree. M.A. students in Anthropology must take a minimum of 45 units of Anthropology course work beyond the undergraduate degree with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher. 45 units constitute the University minimum for the M.A. degree, and courses must be at or above the 100 level.

The M.A. program usually requires more than one year of study. However, full-time students entering the program with appropriate background should complete the M.A. degree program within three consecutive calendar quarters after the student's first quarter of master's-level enrollment. The University allows no transfer units into the master's program. To provide a meaningful master's program within one year, advance planning of course work with an adviser is required. Requirements for the terminal master's program must be completed within three years.

For further information about the department's master's degree program requirements, see


The deadline for graduate applications to the M.A. degree program in Anthropology is March 2, 2010. Successful applicants to the M.A. program may enter only in the following Autumn Quarter. Master's degree applicants must file a report of their Graduate Record Examination score electronically. Prospective applicants should see for further information about the department's requirements to the terminal master's program.

No financial support is available to students enrolled for the M.A. degree.

Degree Options—Students may pursue three different tracks in the Anthropology M.A. degree program. The tracks are 1) Archaeology, 2) Culture and Society, or 3) Ecology and Environment. The tracks are not declarable in Axess.


Requirements for the coterminal and terminal master's degree program include the following:

  1. A faculty adviser appointed in the Department of Anthropology.
  2. A program of 45 units, taken at the 100 level or higher with a minimum grade of 'B' or higher:
    1. of the 45 units, no more than 15 units may be approved from related areas of study or overseas studies.
    2. of the 45 units, no more than 10 units of directed reading-style course work may be counted towards the degree.
    3. of the 45 units, no more than 5 units may be taken for a satisfactory/no credit grade.
  3. A grade of 'B' or higher in an ANTHRO theory course from the chosen track.
  4. A grade of 'B' or higher in an ANTHRO methods course from the chosen track.
  5. A grade of 'B' or higher in four ANTHRO review courses from the chosen track that are listed at the 200 level or higher and taught by Anthropology faculty.
  6. Choose a self-designed course of study from the Anthropology tracks listed below:
    1. Archaeology
    2. Culture and Society
    3. Ecology and Environment
  7. Submit a Graduate Research Proposal approved by the faculty adviser by the end of the first quarter of the master's degree program.
  8. Submit a Master's Degree Program Proposal form approved by the faculty adviser by the end of the first quarter of the master's degree program.
  9. Present the master's research project at the department's master's (honors) presentation event in Spring Quarter.
  10. Submit the master's thesis reviewed by two faculty members. For the Culture and Society track the thesis can be a field research or library research paper. For the Archaeology and the Ecology and Environment tracks, the thesis can also be a laboratory research paper.

Required Courses—

  1. Archaeology Track—Four departmental review courses which must include ANTHRO 303, Introduction to Archaeology Theory and one additional theory course. Students must also take ANTHRO 307, Archaeology Methods and Research Design.
  2. Culture and Society Track—Four departmental review courses which must include ANTHRO 301, History of Anthropological Theory, and ANTHRO 300, Reading Theory through Ethnography. Students must also take ANTHRO 306, Anthropological Research Methods.
  3. Ecology and Environment Track—Four departmental review courses which must include ANTHRO 302, History and Theory in Evolution and Ecology (or comparable, approved 200 level course), plus ANTHRO 305, Research Methods in Ecological Anthropology (or comparable, approved 200 level course).

Recommended Courses—For all tracks, attendance at the departmental colloquium each quarter is recommended for all master's students. Students can enroll in ANTHRO 444, Anthropology Colloquium. For the Ecology and Environment track, students may also take ANTHRO 312G, Problems in Ecology, Evolution and Environment, for one quarter, in place of attendance at one quarter of the departmental colloquium.

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