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Master's Degree Programs in Anthropology in California

Many universities in California offer master's degree programs in anthropology. This article explores courses offered in various schools, as well as subfields that are available for students to specialize in.

California Institute of Integral Studies

Social movements and activism lie at the heart of the MA in Anthropology and Social Change program of the California Institute of Integral Studies, where the curriculum is shaped by radical theory and community engagement. Courses on ethnography, global social movements, the climate, capitalism, and activist media help students complete their research portfolio and prepare them for an integrative seminar that takes place during the last semester of the program.

Humboldt State University

The MA in Applied Anthropology program of Humboldt State University begins with a week-long summer institute, where students are introduced to the discipline and the program through laboratory rotations and field trips to nearby sites. For the program, students are required to complete courses on applied anthropology theory and methods, an internship, and a thesis.

San Diego State University

Students enrolled in the MA in Anthropology program of San Diego State University have the option to specialize in either general anthropology for a career in academia or applied anthropology for a career in business or government. Both specializations require the completion of a thesis, but some of the mandatory courses differ.

San Francisco State University

The MA in Anthropology program of San Francisco State University encourages students to participate in one of these four areas of emphasis: archaeology, social/cultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, and visual anthropology. Through this multidisciplinary program, students learn about methods in analyzing archaeological samples, how to deliver anthropological concepts through different types of media, and how to conduct anthropological and community research.

San Jose State University

San Jose State University's goal for its students is to help them develop expertise in ethnographic methods, qualitative and quantitative research methods, artifact curation, and program design/organization through its MA Applied Anthropology program. Students are required to finish two courses of their choice under upper-division anthropology, in addition to core courses on advanced anthropology theory, applications of anthropology, and advanced research methods, to prepare them for their thesis.

Stanford University

Stanford University offers a coterminal MA in Anthropology program for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a master's program. For this anthropology program, students can choose from the culture and society track or the archaeology track, under which they need to produce either a field-/library-based research paper or a laboratory research paper, respectively.

California State University - Los Angeles

California State University - Los Angeles offers three tracks (archaeology, sociocultural anthropology, and biological anthropology) for students in the MA in Anthropology program, providing adequate training for students who want careers in cultural resource management, forensic anthropology, or ethnography, among others. The choice of core courses and electives depends on the track and students can opt to either take the comprehensive exam or produce a thesis.

California State University - Sacramento

California State University - Sacramento offers a comprehensive MA in Anthropology program that tackles four subfields of anthropology (biological, sociocultural, archaeology, and linguistic). Courses such as ethnology, language, areal archaeology, and human skeletal analysis are offered to aid students in the completion of their final requirement, the thesis.

California State University - Chico

The Anthropology Department at California State University - Chico offers an MA in Anthropology degree program with the option to focus on museum studies, aside from the traditional MA in Anthropology program. Students in these programs learn about sociocultural and physical anthropology, archaeology, and museum studies, and are required to complete a thesis, but only those in the museum studies program participate in off-campus internships.

California State University - Long Beach

The general anthropology and applied anthropology tracks in the MA in Anthropology program at California State University - Long Beach provide training in ethnographic research methods, social justice work, linguistic anthropology, and grant writing, and the applied anthropology option focuses on applying these concepts to solve prevailing socioeconomic problems. Students need to complete their courses and come up with a thesis project or an ethnographic film.

School NamePrograms OfferedAverage Graduate Tuition (2019-2020)*
California Institute of Integral StudiesMaster of Arts in Anthropology and Social Change$21,708
Humboldt State UniversityMaster of Arts in Applied Anthropology$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state
San Diego State UniversityMaster of Arts in Anthropology
*General Anthropology Specialization
*Applied Anthropology Specialization
$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state
San Francisco State UniversityMaster of Arts in Anthropology
*Archaeology
*Social/Cultural Anthropology
*Biological/Physical Anthropology
*Visual Anthropology
$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state
San Jose State UniversityMaster of Arts in Applied Anthropology$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state
Stanford UniversityMaster of Arts in Anthropology
*Culture and Society Specialization
*Archaeology Specialization
$52,479
California State University - Los AngelesMaster of Arts in Anthropology
*Archaeology
*Sociocultural Anthropology
*Biological Anthropology
$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state
California State University - SacramentoMaster of Arts in Anthropology$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state
California State University - Chico*Master of Arts in Anthropology
*Master of Arts in Anthropology with a focus in Museum Studies
$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state
California State University - Long Beach*Master of Arts in General Anthropology
*Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology
$7,176 in-state and $16,680 out-of-state

Source: *NCES

MA in Anthropology programs prepare students for careers in academia or government through advanced courses in archaeology, sociopolitical anthropology, physical anthropology, and research methods. Some schools may offer specific specialization tracks that students can choose from, such as museum studies, sociocultural anthropology, and biological anthropolgy.