Master of Arts in Anthropology

Our Master of Arts programs train students in anthropological theory and methodologies through course and fieldwork, research, and the development of an original thesis. Our students graduate with knowledge and skills that prepare them to continue in academia or pursue professional careers both in and outside of anthropology.

Program Requirements

In addition to satisfying the general requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR), candidates for the MA degree must complete the following courses:

  • four ANTHR courses of which one must be ANTHR 501. The other three courses must be in areas relevant to their specialization (3 units of course weight each); and 
  • two courses in areas outside their specialization (at least one of which must be from Anthropology).
Specific courses to meet these requirements must be chosen in consultation with the student's supervisor. The normal course load is three courses in each of the Fall and Winter terms of the first year.

To continue in a graduate program the minimum required cumulative grade point average (GPA) for completed graduate level courses is 3.3. The cumulative GPA is evaluated at the end of each year. If a satisfactory GPA is not achieved, the Associate Chair (Graduate Programs) and department Chair may recommend to FGSR termination of the program or continuation in the program for a specified period as a probationary student.

During the course of their program, MA students will be required to attend two two-hour professional Development Seminars offered by the Department, of which one shall be the departmental graduate student research ethics workshop.


In addition to course requirements, candidates must prepare an acceptable MA thesis according to the FGSR regulations and Department expectations. Candidates must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the examining committee proficiency in the application of any research tools, such as statistics or a foreign language, necessary for the MA thesis.

Residence requirements are met upon the completion of two terms of full-time attendance at the University (total of 36 units of course weight).

Time limit for completion of the MA degree is four years from the date of first registration in the program. Students are encouraged to plan to complete the degree in two years since most financial awards do not exceed two years.

See below for admission requirements.

Admission Requirements

The minimum admission requirement for the thesis-based MA  and MA in Humanities Computing is a four-year undergraduate degree and a grade point average of 3.3 on the 4 point grading scale in the last 60 units (*60) of course weight (or equivalent) at the University of Alberta or an equivalent qualification from a recognized institution. 

Applicants whose primary language of instruction was not English at their post-secondary institution must demonstrate proficiency in the English language in order to be considered for admission. Minimum scores required are:
  • TOEFL score of 88 on the internet-based exam, 550 on the paper-based exam
  • IETLS overall band score of 6.5

Generally, students with a degree in a different discipline are advised to complete at least one year of senior level undergraduate coursework in anthropology before applying for a graduate degree program.

Admissions Process