The MA Degree Program

The MA Curriculum


The Department of Anthropology offers three pathways to an MA Degree in Anthropology, but the requirements for the degree are the same, no matter which path is taken.

The requirements for the MA Degree in Anthropology at the University of Virginia are:

  • 24 Credits of graded coursework at the graduate level that include:
    • ANTH 7010 (History of Anthropological Theory)
    • Two subfield distribution courses in either Archeological, Linguistic, or Socio-cultural Anthropology
  • Satisfaction of the first part of the department's graduate language requirement:
    • Demonstration of "Competency" in a second language (in addition to the language the student grew up speaking and using)
    • See our Graduate Language Requirement Page for details
  • Either:
    • A Critical Review Essay evaluated by the student’s MA Director plus a second faculty reader.  (This Critical Review Essay follows the same guidelines used by 2nd-Year PhD students for their Critical Review Essays, and MA students may choose to write either the topical or regional essay.) OR
    • A comprehensive examination evaluated by the student’s MA Director plus a second faculty reader.

Most graduate courses run for a single semester and count for 3 credit hours. Full-time graduate students generally take three (sometimes four) courses per semester. Graduate courses from other institutions cannot be transferred for credit towards the University of Virginia MA degree. Incoming MA and PhD students take ANTH 7010 (History of Anthropological Theory) together.  The subfield distribution requirement involves taking at least one course in two of the three subfields (archaeological, linguistic, and socio-cultural anthropology). Full-time students in the MA track are expected to complete all coursework and other requirements for their degrees by the end of their second year. Students seeking the PhD degree and completing the requirements for the En-route MA Degree must choose the Critical Review Essay option (rather than the Comprehensive Exam).

UVA undergraduates are encouraged to apply for the MA Promotion program in their third or fourth year of undergraduate study. For more information about this program, please see our MA Promotion Program Description.