The program consists of 30 credits of graduate course work and a thesis project. Eighteen of the thirty credits must be anthropology courses. The remaining twelve credits may be taken in other relevant departments. Course selection is made in consultation with the student’s advisors. All incoming students meet with the MA Director to help design their individual program. Incoming students are also assigned a senior faculty mentor from the anthropology department. Fieldwork is not required for the thesis project but many students choose to do fieldwork for the MA thesis. The program can be completed in two semesters of full-time coursework and a summer for thesis research/writing. Part-time enrollment is also possible.
Program requires 30 credits in graduate courses plus the thesis
1. Core courses/requirements
GR5201 Principles and Applications of Socio-Cultural Theory, fall term, 3 credits
GR6212 Principles and Applications of Socio-Cultural Theory II, spring term, 3 credits
GR6116, Social Theory and Contemporary Questions., spring term, 3 credits
GR9101 Independent Research (Thesis Research), 6 credits
The thesis is an original piece of writing on a topic of the student’s choice. The topic is typically chosen after consultation with the student’s advisor, mentor and/or other faculty member with whom the student has discussed the project. Fieldwork may be done although it is not a requirement. The thesis does not have a required length, but is generally about 70 pages long. Two faculty members – the MA Director or the MA Post-Doc as well as a faculty member chosen in consultation with the MA Director read each thesis. Students may have a faculty reader from outside the department if the MA Director approves. Students work with the MA advisor to set up timetables for thesis completion and approval. The two assigned readers, while not graded, must approve the thesis.
3. Additional elective courses (from Anthropology or other departments)
The following sample program is for a full-time student over two semesters plus summer for research and writing.
Fall Semester ANTH GR5201, ANTH GR9101 (Thesis Research) plus three additional courses
Spring Semester ANTH GR6212, ANTH GR6018, ANTH GR9101 (Thesis Research) plus 2 additional courses.
Summer Thesis (possibly fieldwork and/or writing)
Degree Awarded: October
Degree/Certificate Application: https://registrar.columbia.edu/content/graduation-and-diplomas
Length of Program
Full time: 1 year (2 Residence Units). An optimal full-time program would include two semesters of coursework and a summer for the MA Thesis. Degree would be awarded in October. Part-time enrollment also available (up to 4 years in length).
Applications and Admissions
The MA program in anthropology accepts a select group of qualified students each year. MA students take classes alongside doctoral students so academic standards are high, and we thus admit only those individuals we believe will benefit most from this environment. We prefer to admit students who have some background in anthropology, but an undergraduate degree in anthropology is not required. Admission standards and selection procedures are identical to those followed by the GSAS and require a writing sample, letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Applications must be submitted by the application deadline. We only admit students for the fall semester.
See the general Graduate Applications and Admissions page for the Department of Anthropology, as well as the GSAS website, for more information.
Fees and Financial Support