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Anthropology | Master's Program

Anthropology Master's Program

Documentary Filmmaking

Public anthropology master's student Charlene Shovic integrates film-making into activism.

MA in Public Anthropology

The master's degree program in public anthropology prepares students in archaeology and cultural/social anthropology for careers in public service, community organizing, and social advocacy. Through coursework, research projects, and internship experiences, graduate students explore the workings of culture, power, and history in everyday life and acquire skills in critical inquiry, problem solving, and public communication. Coursework in related fields, including sociology, public history, education, international development, justice, law, and society, further enhances these perspectives and skills. Public anthropology MA students may focus their graduate studies in cultural/social anthropology or in archaeology. Both concentrations combine classroom and experiential/field-based learning activities as appropriate for each student's career plans and goals.

Pathways after graduation range widely and alumni are working as researchers, public intellectuals, community leaders, and grassroots organizers. Anthropology master's graduates are prepared for employment in the D.C. area, other U.S. locations, and international settings. They work with projects in such areas as cultural resource management, women's and minority health, educational equity, refugee resettlement, human rights, and environmental justice. All Department of Anthropology graduates will be prepared to engage the possibilities of anthropological theory and method for illuminating social problems, past and present, articulating social justice, and building social change.

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International Program

The Anthropology Master's International Program is a joint venture between the Peace Corps and American University, which enables graduate students to prepare for Peace Corps placement while earning an MA in public anthropology.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is a very important component of applying to the program. See suggestions on how to make the statement effective.