Grad Degree

MA in Applied Anthropology

The MA  in Applied Anthropology is designed to help students develop skills in applying or using anthropological knowledge which can be used across a wide range of careers. Specifically, its mission is to enable students to build on their knowledge of cultural anthropology, physical anthropology and archaeology to address real world problems and issues. The program seeks to provide a structure through which students can develop as practitioners by working closely with faculty on projects that are often done in collaboration with regional organizations. Graduates of our program have secured positions in public, private, and non-profit organizations as researchers, designers, administrators, and program developers.

The MA program is built around three broad sets of research skills: (1) ethnographic methods for understanding how social systems, including organizations and communities, function in the regional environment; (2) assessment and evaluation skills, especially those based on qualitative methods that complement quantitative methods; and (3) the planning and design of programs, organizations, services, and artifacts.

Program Objectives

Students graduating from this program should:

  1. Understand a range of anthropological research methods and be able to conduct research relevant to problem solving in various settings and for different clients or partners
  2. Know basic models of applying anthropology in different settings and have the skills to be able to function as practitioners in several
  3. Be knowledgeable about (a) the discipline of anthropology in general and how it contributes to understanding and improving contemporary society; and (b) a particular field of anthropology in greater depth
  4. Be able to function effectively in at least one content area or domain of application
  5. Understand personal, political, and ethical issues inherent in research and application
  6. Develop professionally as practitioners with skills in contracting, project management, and budgeting, as well as the ability to communicate about project goals and findings and the discipline of anthropology to diverse audiences
  7. To be knowledgeable about the region as a social and cultural system with complex state, national, and global interconnections

Degree Requirements

Core Courses (18 units)

Students must successfully complete:

  • ANTH 230 Advanced Theory
  • ANTH 231 Applications Core I
  • ANTH 232 Applications Core II
  • ANTH 233 Domains of Application
  • ANTH 234 Advanced Research Methods
  • ANTH 235 Quantitative Methods.*

Anthropology Depth Requirement (6 units)

Students must successfully complete two 3-unit upper-division anthropology courses approved by a faculty advisor.**

Fields of Application Requirement (6 units)

Students must successfully complete two 3-unit upper-division anthropology courses approved by a faculty advisor.**

Thesis or Project Requirement (6 units)

ANTH 280 (3 units)
ANTH 298 (Project), or ANTH 299 (Thesis)  (3 units)

Total Units: 36 units


*Course approved by graduate coordinator may be substituted for ANTH 235.

**SJSU Studies Courses or ANTH 191 or ANTH/PSYC/SOCI 193 may not be used for Anthropology Depth or Fields of Application Requirements.