Graduate School Policies and Procedures apply to this program.
The unique intellectual challenge of anthropology is to integrate knowledge from many disciplines for a global understanding of cultural and biological diversity in the past and the present. Individual courses in cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and archaeology cut across lines of the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Because of this integrative perspective on the human condition, and the training provided in objectively assessing cultural patterning and social interaction, an advanced degree in anthropology provides a versatile base for career development.
Students in our terminal Master's program have the benefit of receiving the faculty's full attention. Our program is unique in several respects. First, for students wishing to find employment after their MA, the department offers a mentorship program that pairs them with alumni who have forged careers in students' fields of interest. Second, our program also offers students a range of opportunities for professional development that are unusual in programs that focus on PhD students. For students considering the possibility of doctoral-level work in anthropology, the department has an excellent record in placing students in top-tier graduate programs. Students with residency in 14 states are eligible for in-state tuition, and funding opportunities in the form of Teaching Assistantships and graduate fellowships are available to students on a competitive basis. MA students may pursue the thesis or non-thesis option.
The University of Colorado Denver Department of Anthropology provides outstanding graduate education in anthropology, giving students a broad yet thorough grounding in the four subfields of anthropology as well as specialized instruction in one or more of a number of research orientations and/or geographic area concentrations. These orientations encompass the areas of research and application in which department faculty have substantial expertise.
These degree requirements are subject to periodic revision by the academic department, and the College reserves the right to make exceptions and substitutions as judged necessary in individual cases. Therefore, the College strongly urges students to consult regularly with their major advisor and CLAS advisor to confirm the best plans of study before finalizing them.
Some students may benefit from adding a specific skills-based certificate program onto their graduate program. For example: archeology students may wish to gain expertise in Geographic Information Systems through the GIS certificate offered through the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, while medical anthropology students may benefit from the certificate in public health offered through the School of Public Health. Graduate-level courses in certificate programs can often fulfill elective requirements in the anthropology program.
One doctoral program at the CU Denver campus that may be of particular interest to graduates of the anthropology MA program is the PhD in Health and Behavioral Sciences. It is highly interdisciplinary and a natural extension of a master's degree in medical anthropology.
Please click here to see Anthropology department information.
- Students must complete a minimum of 30-36 credits.
- Students must complete a minimum of 30-36 credits at the graduate level.
- Students must earn a minimum grade of B (3.0) in all major courses taken at CU Denver and must achieve a minimum cumulative major GPA of 3.0. All graded attempts in required and elective courses are calculated in the major GPA. Students cannot complete major or ancillary course requirements as pass/fail.
- All credits for the degree must be completed with CU Denver faculty. A maximum of 12 credits of relevant graduate work may be transferred from another university with the program director's approval.
- Students must comply with all Graduate School Policies and Procedures
Program Restrictions, Allowances and Recommendations
- The Graduate School on the Downtown Campus allows up to five years to complete a master's degree, but students are strongly discouraged from spending more than four years. While it is possible to finish the MA in two years, most of our students work part-time, which limits the time they can dedicate to the program; most finish within three years.
- All students are required to pass a written comprehensive examination, taken after core course work has been completed.
- Thesis track students must complete a minim of 30 total credits and non-thesis track students must complete a minimum of 36 credits.
Your graduate anthropology education begins by taking ANTH 5810 Integrating Anthropology plus two core courses each from two subdisciplines of Anthropology. After completing this core, you will select from among the specialized elective courses in the research concentrations described in more detail below. You will work closely with an advisor in selecting the range of courses appropriate both to a problem orientation and to your career objectives.
Required Core Courses
|Take the following||6|
|ANTH 5810||Integrating Anthropology (required during fall term of first year)||3|
|ANTH 5053||Quantitative Methods in Anthropology||3|
Required Core Sets
|Choose two of the following sets of core courses. Students are not required to take these courses sequentially.||12|
& ANTH 6317
|Contemporary Perspectives in Archaeology|
and Archaeological Research Design and Analysis
& ANTH 6513
|Biological Anthropology Core: The Fossil Record|
and Biological Anthropology Core: Modern Human Variation
& ANTH 6063
|Current Theory in Ethnography|
and Qualitative Research Design and Methods
You will round out your program by selecting from the diverse range of courses offered in the department according to your particular interests in anthropology, your career goals and your plans for future graduate study. You may take courses in one or more concentrations. The courses listed are suggestions only; you must work closely with your advisor in constructing your particular program of study.
|As part of the MA degree, students take up to 18 credits of elective courses.||12-18|
Students choose courses from the following research concentration areas, according to their interests and plan of study.
|Students who opt to complete the non-thesis option will complete 18 credits of courses from the lists below.||18|
|Students completing a thesis will complete a combination of coursework and thesis credits.||12|
Our MA program in cultural anthropology offers a unique focus on Medical Anthropology. Medical anthropology is a subdiscipline of anthropology that includes the study of all aspects of health, illness and disease in human communities and populations. It draws on all of the perspectives that distinguish anthropology as a unique discipline: the analysis of human evolution and adaptation; cultural development, expressions, and variability; and historical change and continuity. Medical anthropology takes as its subject a broad range of specific topics, including the study of health care systems, factors that affect the distribution and determinants of disease in populations, maternal and child health, nutrition and food habits, human development, political ecology, health policy, health disparities, community-driven wellness practices, visual storytelling, social media designed to promote health equities, and language and communication in health care contexts.
Faculty members take a variety of theoretical approaches to the topic, but our program is distinguished by its applied and engaged perspectives. A particular strength of our program is its integration of theoretical knowledge with community- and field-based training opportunities and challenges. We prepare students for careers in nonprofit and community groups, non-governmental organizations, advocacy, public health, health care institutions, and health sciences research; our graduates also attend doctoral programs at selective institutions. Courses in the department are complemented by electives in other departments (sociology, biology, psychology, history, geography, political science) and programs on the CU Denver campus (public affairs, education, health administration) and at the Anschutz Medical Campus (Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Pharmacy and Nursing).
|Special Topics in Anthropology|
|Medical Anthropology: Global Health|
|Global Health Practice|
|Anthropology and Public Health|
|Anthropology of Globalization|
|Special Topics in Medical Anthropology|
|Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective|
Note: Students are encouraged to take elective courses in GIS mapping (geography), ecology (biology/anthropology), public policy, public health, epidemiology and biostatistics as it is relevant to their course of study.
The archaeological studies program concentrates on the study of past human societies using archaeological data collected in field and museum settings. While a quantitative and scientific approach is emphasized, the theoretical perspectives employed draw heavily from political economy and cultural ecology. The department offers a variety of theoretical, methodological and area courses, which may be supplemented by others in the geography and environmental sciences and history departments. Internships are available in local museums and historic preservation offices in the Denver metropolitan area.
|ANTH 5320||Archaeology of Mexico and Central America||3|
|ANTH 5330||Lithic Analysis||3|
|ANTH 5380||Archaeology of Hunters-Gatherers||3|
|ANTH 5400||Archaeology of Power and Inequality||3|
|ANTH 5440||Museums in the 21st Century||3|
|ANTH 5570||Landscape Archaeology||3|
|ANTH 5580||Neanderthals and the Origin of Modern Humans||3|
|ANTH 5910||Field Experience in Archaeology||3|
|GEOG 5060||Remote Sensing I: Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing||3|
|GEOG 5080||Introduction to GIS||3|
|GEOG 5220||Environmental Impact Assessment||3|
|HIST 5232||Historic Preservation||3|
|HIST 5234||History at Work: Public and Community History||3|
The biological anthropology concentration is concerned with modern human biological diversity and the past evolutionary history that has led to such diversity. Students in this concentration develop a firm understanding of the evolutionary processes that lead to physical and behavioral variation in humans and nonhuman primates. The concentration also emphasizes the theoretical and quantitative methods used to explore and explain this variation. Students may take courses in diverse areas including evolutionary biology, genetics, ecology, ethnobiology, epidemiology, nutrition, medical anthropology, paleoanthropology, paleontology and primatology. Because biological anthropology is multidisciplinary in nature, students are encouraged to consider courses offered outside the department.
|ANTH 5014||Medical Anthropology: Global Health||3|
|ANTH 5500||Advanced Issues in Human Evolution||3|
|ANTH 5550||Primate Comparative Anatomy||3|
|ANTH 5560||Human Ecology||3|
|ANTH 5580||Neanderthals and the Origin of Modern Humans||3|
|ANTH 5640||Darwinian Approach to Human Behavior||3|
|BIOL 5134||Human Genetics||3|
|BIOL 5494||Population and Evolutionary Genetics||3|
|HBSC 7031||Human Ecology and Environmental Adaptation||3|
|HBSC 7310||Environmental Epidemiology||3|
Students pursuing the thesis option must develop a topic and research proposal that specifies their plans in the semester after their completion of 18 credit hours.
A thesis is characterized by three factors: it is based in a research question or problem; it involves original research; there is a fully developed research proposal. A thesis can also encompass a range of format alternatives to the traditional thesis (e.g. article submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed journal, or a video production, internship or museum exhibit, each generally accompanied by a companion paper developing a theoretical or problem-oriented question).
The thesis is a major requirement for those in the MA in anthropology thesis track. The thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to apply knowledge and skills gained from the anthropology department's curriculum. A desirable goal for an excellent thesis would be a work of sufficient rigor and quality that it could be considered for publication. Original data collection ("fieldwork") is recommended but not required for the thesis. Analysis of secondary data-whether quantitative, qualitative, visual or other formats-is perfectly acceptable as long as the research is informed by a clearly articulated research question and under-girded by a research proposal.
The traditional thesis is a single document that often incorporates a literature review, definition of a problem, discussion of methods to address the problem, the subsequent research activity and results. However, the student may design a thesis with different emphases, in consultation with their advisor. For example, the goal may instead be a more compact paper submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Other thesis plans may combine some research activity such as a video production, museum exhibit or an internship, with an accompanying paper.
The thesis must be defended before a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom need to be on the Department of Anthropology faculty (which includes senior instructors and research faculty). The structure of the thesis is largely determined by the Graduate School Policies and Procedures; i.e., a thesis must conform to the rules.
- For the thesis, students must prepare a full research proposal which must be approved by their thesis chair before beginning their research. This proposal must be completed by the semester after the student has completed 18 credit hours. Sections of the proposal should include, at a minimum:
- Introduction and statement of the problem: Should include a one sentence statement of the problem on the first page, and a discussion of its significance (i.e., why is it important that this topic be researched).
- Literature review covering theoretical and topical material.
- Research design and methods including a data analysis plan. Note: Wenner-Gren and National Science Foundation both provide good models and templates for the research proposal. Those in the medical anthropology track might want to consider following the NIH model, depending the nature of their research questions and career goals.
- All students proposing to work with humans or data on modern humans must apply for and receive approval from the Human Subjects Research Committee before they begin their research. Note: most of the material for the application will be drawn from the research proposal.
- The draft thesis must be reviewed and approved as "defensible" by the student's thesis committee faculty chair before a thesis defense date can be set. Defensible means the chair has reviewed the draft and suggested changes have been made.
- The draft sent to the student's committee must be substantively complete: All references must be in the text and properly formatted in a references cited section; there should be no "track changes" comments in the text; the text should be formatted according to Graduate School requirements.
- Given the complexity of faculty and student schedules, consultation on a defense date should be done as far in advance as possible.
- There must be a minimum of three weeks between the agreed-upon date for the defense and distribution of the draft thesis defined as defensible by the student's chair. If you would like feedback from your committee members before the defense, you should plan to distribute the thesis at least 4 weeks before the defense date. Note: If you intend to graduate the same semester you defend your thesis, you must schedule, successfully defend, and complete all recommended changes in accordance with CU Denver thesis and dissertation guidelines. This effectively translates to having the thesis completed and "defensible" before the middle of the semester.
This track is defined by additional course work in lieu of a thesis. The decision to pursue the non-thesis option should be made by the semester following the completion of 18 credit hours.
The non-thesis option allows students to pursue their own educational goals through the selection of additional courses that fit their interests. We strongly encourage students who choose this option to consider an internship position arranged around an area of expertise or the development of a skill-set. The internship may be in a governmental agency or non-governmental organization in Colorado, the U.S. or internationally. Successful completion of an internship will be acknowledged on the transcript of the MA program.
To learn more about the Student Learning Outcomes for this program, please visit our website.