Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

M.A. in Anthropology

Students wishing to enter the Master of Arts program with a major in anthropology should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 in the major, 3.3 overall, and hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a major in anthropology. Applicants with a major in a related field (such as biology, sociology, geology, classics, history, historic preservation, or geography) will be considered only if they have a formal minor in anthropology or its equivalent (at least five upper-division anthropology courses).

In cooperation with the Classics and History Departments, the Department of Anthropology offers a concentration in Mediterranean archaeology. Students who apply in this area should have completed appropriate undergraduate courses in archaeology or anthropology. An anthropology minor is preferred.

All prospective MA students must make formal application to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Office of Graduate and International Admissions. The application must specify that the applicant is applying for admission to the MA program, and state the concentration (archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, Mediterranean archaeology, zooarchaeology) the student will pursue. Click here for application instructions and deadlines.
Graduate applications are considered once a year by the Graduate Admissions Committee, who forward their recommendations to the faculty for their approval. Admission to the MA program is by majority vote of the entire faculty. Because of the structure of first-year studies, MA students must plan to begin their studies in the fall semester.

The program leading to the MA is a general curriculum that allows for concentration after completion of a core course sequence. Formal requirements include the following.

  • Selection of an MA major professor. This should be done as soon as possible in the student’s program but must be done no later than the end of the second semester in residence. The department graduate secretary must be informed in writing of each student’s major professor.
  • A minimum of 30 hours in graduate courses. Twenty-four hours must be in course work graded A-F. Course work must include three core classes taken in the first year.
    1. ANTH 510 Method and Theory in Cultural Anthropology.
    2. ANTH 560 Theory in Archaeology.
    3. ANTH 590 Method and Theory in Biological Anthropology.
  • Additional course work should be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and must include one additional course from two anthropology concentrations besides the student’s primary concentration. At least 20 hours of course work must be at the 500 level or higher. Students concentrating in Mediterranean archaeology, in consultation with their major professor, should select their additional 18 hours from courses offered in the Anthropology, History, or Classics departments. All MA required course work, save for ANTH 550, must be completed within four semesters of admission.
  • Minimum GPA for retention in the program is a 3.0, grades below a B are considered failing.
  • During the first year, comprehensive Graduate Evaluation Examinations (GEEs) are required of all MA students and are based on the content of the core courses. These examinations are given in each core class and are graded by all faculty within the appropriate concentration for each course. At the end of the first year, all MA students are evaluated by the entire faculty and will either be retained or dropped from the program based on their first year’s performance and scores from the department’s GEEs.
  • All MA students must attend the graduate section of the visiting lecturer program (ANTH 550). To insure compliance with this requirement, each student is required to register for 1 hour of ANTH 550 in the fall semester of each year and fulfill all requirements for the course as defined by the instructor. Materials covered by visiting lecturers may appear on the GEEs.
  • A graduate-level introductory statistics course, usually STAT 537 or ANTH 504 is required. Upon suggestion of the major professor and with permission of the department head an equivalent graduate level course may be substituted for STAT 537 or ANTH 504.
  • A formal performance review of each MA graduate student’s progress will take place following the first year by the student’s major professor or a designated representative from the faculty for the relevant concentration. This review shall include recommendations for improvement or retention, and shall be subject to approval by the faculty within the relevant concentration and the department as a whole.
  • Students cannot continue coursework without approval through the annual review process, including demonstrating satisfactory progress in any areas where improvement was noted as needed during earlier reviews. Students who fail to demonstrate satisfactory progress toward the degree may, upon vote of the faculty, be dropped from the program.
  • In the second year of the program, students pursue their concentration area and undertake thesis research. Course work and research will be determined through consultation with the student’s major professor and committee (composed of the major professor, at least one other member of the anthropology faculty, and one or more mutually-agreed upon members).
  • An MA thesis proposal must be submitted no later than the end of the fourth semester following admission and must be approved by the entire MA committee.
  • Successful completion of the thesis and final oral examination. A public oral presentation of the thesis will occur, followed by a closed defense of the thesis before the student’s MA committee and any other interested faculty members. The major professor acts as chairperson of the oral defense committee. Following revisions agreed upon by the committee in the defense, the acceptance of the thesis will occur, acknowledged by the signature of the committee members, and followed by the submission of the final thesis to the Graduate School. Normally, students will complete and defend their theses by the end of their third year in residence.
  • Electronic submission of the thesis is required by the Graduate School. In addition, one hard copy of the thesis is to be provided to the department and to each member of the student’s MA committee.

In addition to the requirements listed above, MA students have the option of completing a minor in statistics. The statistics minor requires 9 hours of course work, normally STAT 537 and STAT 538 plus one additional course from an approved list.