Anthropology MA

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College : Sciences Degree :MA
Department : Anthropology Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites :


The Department of Anthropology offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Arts degree in Anthropology. The course work in this program is conceptually four-field, with faculty strengths in archaeology, cultural anthropology, and physical anthropology. Students are admitted to the program by a graduate faculty advisor (visit the Faculty Page for the UCF Department of Anthropology) and can choose to pursue a thesis or non-thesis option. A graduate plan of study dependent on the student’s interests will be individually developed with his or her graduate faculty advisor. Students in the program are prepared to enter doctoral programs or begin professional careers following the MA degree.


Degree-seeking students in the Anthropology MA program may elect to follow either a thesis or a nonthesis program of study.

The thesis option is designed for students who plan to enter doctoral programs, while the nonthesis option is more appropriate for students entering or continuing professional careers following the MA degree. Both options require 30 hours of course work, of which half must be at the 6000 level.

Total Credit Hours Required:
30 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

The MA degree is conferred when students have fulfilled the requirements of either the thesis or nonthesis option. No graduate credit will be given for any grade lower than a B- (2.75), but the grade will be counted toward the GPA. Courses may be retaken to achieve a better grade; however, the unsatisfactory grade will remain on the transcript since there is no grade forgiveness at the graduate level. In order to stay in good academic standing, students must maintain a minimum Graduate Status GPA of 3.0 in all coursework taken since entering graduate status and a 3.0 in their program of study.

Upon acceptance into the program students will be assigned a faculty adviser. Together the students and their advisers will determine the student’s preliminary program of study, either in the thesis or nonthesis option. Students should maintain close contact with their faculty adviser in order to develop a viable program of study and avoid graduation delays.

Research studies are required in the required courses, and at the conclusion of all course work, an assessment of students independent research projects and papers is completed. The research study will focus on reviewing and analyzing contemporary research in a particular specialization within anthropology in order to help students acquire knowledge and skills pertaining to research-based best practices in that specialization area.

Required Courses—12 Credit Hours

These courses provide an in-depth understanding of the epistemological foundations of the discipline. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of anthropology at a level of synthesis that will prepare them for future doctoral study should they wish to pursue it. These courses also establish the foundations of understanding that will prepare students for nonacademic careers that employ anthropological perspectives and knowledge.

  • ANG 6110 Archaeological Theory and Method (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6587 Seminar in Biological Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6930 Seminar in Cultural Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6002 Proseminar in Anthropology (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—12 Credit Hours

A minimum of 12 additional credit hours must be selected from the list below in conjunction with the faculty advisor and/or the advisory committee members and approved by the program graduate coordinator. With prior approval, the student may take one elective (3 credit hours) in another department. Additional electives may be selected as they become available.

Under special circumstances, students may enroll in a graduate-level Directed Independent Study course or a Directed Independent Research course to fulfill their non-required elective course requirements. These courses, like most graduate seminars, require written research reports. Enrollment in these courses requires written approval from the student’s adviser. No more than 6 hours of graduate-level courses in Directed Independent Study or Directed Independent Research may be included in a student’s program of study.

  • ANG 5166 Problems in Maya Studies (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5167 Maya Hieroglyphs (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5228 Maya Iconography (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5486 Quantitative Research in Anthropology
  • ANG 5742 Problems in Forensic Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5525C Human Osteology (4 credit hours)
  • ANG 6520C Advanced Human Osteology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6740C Advanced Forensic Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5822 Field Research in Maya Studies (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5272 Culture, Power, and Development (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5307 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5301 Anthropology of Tourism (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5531 Nutritional Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5620 Language and Culture (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5738 Advanced Medical Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6168 The Ancient Maya (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6821 Forensic Archaeology Field Methods (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6181C GIS Applications in Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6324 Contemporary Maya (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6701 Seminar in Applied Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6801 Ethnographic Research Methods (3 credit hours)

Thesis Option—6 Credit Hours

The thesis and oral defense are the culmination of the course work for those students who have elected the thesis option. Students electing to write a thesis must select a Thesis Advisory Committee. The student’s faculty adviser will chair the Thesis Advisory Committee. The committee will consist of three members. All members must be approved graduate faculty as cited in the most current UCF Graduate Catalog. Qualified individuals from outside the Department and also the University of Central Florida may be eligible to serve as the third member of Thesis Advisory Committees. The committee needs to be established prior to enrolling in thesis hours.

Students may enroll in thesis hours after they have successfully completed the four required courses. When a topic has been selected, students, in conjunction with their faculty adviser, will develop a thesis proposal. Copies of the proposal will be routed to members of their thesis committee and a proposal hearing scheduled. All students must pass a proposal hearing as well as a final oral defense of their thesis. Students who elect to write a thesis should become familiar with the university’s requirements and deadlines for organizing and submitting the thesis. The thesis option is highly recommended for students interested in graduate work beyond the Master of Arts degree.

The completion of the thesis must be followed by an oral defense before the Thesis Advisory Committee. A successful format review, oral defense, and electronic submission of the thesis to the College of Graduate Studies for review completes the program requirements. Students are required to follow all procedures and timetables specified by the College of Graduate Studies.

  • ANG 6971 Thesis (6 credit hours)
  • Successful Oral Defense of Thesis

Nonthesis Option—6 Credit Hours

Students selecting the nonthesis option take an additional 6 hours of elective course work for a total of 18 credit hours of electives.

  • Electives (6 credit hours)

Comprehensive Examination

At the conclusion of course work, nonthesis students will be given a comprehensive examination. In consultation with the faculty adviser, two additional faculty members shall be selected to serve on the Examination Committee that will be chaired by the faculty adviser. This committee must be selected by the semester prior to the semester in which the student will take the exam. The comprehensive examination will consist of two phases.  The first phase requires the student to write three (3) papers to answer a question from each member of their Examination Committee.  Each paper will be 7-10 pages in length and will be due one week (7 days) from the date the student is provided the questions.  The second phase will be a 90 minute comprehensive oral examination with two formal rounds of questions from the Examination Committee.  A successful comprehensive examination completes the requirements for the degree. Students are required to follow all procedures and timetables specified by the College of Graduate Studies. The examination will be based on the course work in the student’s program of study. Students must notify the department’s graduate program director in writing of their intent to take the exam at least one week before the date fixed for the examination. A committee composed of three faculty members will conduct the examination. The grading system for the examination is as follows: 1) Pass with Distinction, 2) Pass, 3) Conditional Pass, and 4) Fail. Students who receive a grade of Conditional Pass will be required to complete additional work as determined by the grading committee. Students who fail must retake the exam. Failure to pass the examination on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program. Students who indicate their intent to take the examination but do not take the exam will be awarded a failing grade.

Independent Learning

Students who choose the thesis option will gain independent learning experiences through their thesis research where they are expected to design and conduct their own research which culminates with the writing and defense of their thesis. Students will also gain this experience through their core course requirements as each course contains an independent research assignment. Students in the nonthesis option will gain independent learning experiences through all of their core courses, all of which contain an independent research component.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.  The program's preferred minimum score is 300 on the GRE revised General Test. 
  • Personal statement of intent that must include the student's research interest, geographical area of interest, faculty they would like to work with, and future career plans (500 words).
  • Contact with a potential advisor is recommended prior to application.  Advisors are unable to grant admission to applicants prior to all application materials being submitted and reviewed by the department. 
  • Three letters of recommendation that assess the applicant’s potential as a graduate student. These letters should come from the applicant’s previous professors and should not be more than 12-months old at the time of application.

The applicant's record will be reviewed on an individual basis and evaluated to assess the applicant's potential for success in the program. Students will be selected for the program on a competitive basis.  Supplemental course work may be recommended for students who do not have a degree in anthropology or are missing key undergraduate course work. 

Meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant's abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program to the applicant's career/academic goals, availability and match to a faculty adviser, and the applicant's potential for completing the degree. There is no automatic connection between acceptance as a non-degree-seeking student and acceptance into this degree-granting program. Please consult the graduate program director whenever questions arise.

Application Deadlines

Anthropology MA *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 1Feb 15Nov 1


International Applicants Jan 1Jan 1Jul 1


International Transfer Applicants Jan 1Feb 15Sep 1


*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.