Jun 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Applied Anthropology, M.A.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: Anthropology


  • Archaeological and Forensic Science
  • Bio-cultural Medical Anthropology
  • Cultural Resource Management
  • Heritage Studies

Also offered as a Concurrent Degrees  


The Applied Anthropology major, initiated in 1974, was the first in the country to focus on career training for the practice of Applied Anthropology. Faculty at USF specialize in various areas, including medical anthropology, biological anthropology, urban policy and community development, environmental anthropology, education, archaeology, cultural resource management (CRM), economic development, immigration, media, and issues pertaining to race, gender, and ethnicity. Geographic specializations emphasize the Caribbean, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the United States. More than 240 graduates have received an education in anthropology and its practical uses, leading to employment in government and private sector agencies and organizations. For many, the MA is a terminal degree that qualifies them for professional careers in administration, program evaluation, planning, research, and cultural resource management. Others have gone on to earn doctoral degrees and have gained employment in academic or higher level nonacademic positions.

Students entering the Applied Anthropology major at USF choose from one of four tracks: Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, or Medical Anthropology. Although these four tracks share some common requirements, and are bound by general rules of the USF Office of Graduate Studies, they have different curricula and employment trajectories. Archaeology Track graduates typically enter careers in contract archaeology, or public and private agencies and museums responsible for managing archaeological resources. The Cultural Anthropology Track is designed to lead to employment in diverse areas that include education, urban planning, human services, private sector consulting and research, and non-governmental community organizations. Museum and heritage programming represent an area of overlap between the two emphases. Students who wish to pursue these kinds of specialties will develop curricula that draw from both applied and public archaeology requirements in consultation with their advisors. Biological Anthropology students are trained to work in law enforcement, private sector consulting and research, and non-governmental organizations. The Medical Anthropology track prepares students to conduct research, evaluation, and consulting in a variety of settings, including community-based organizations, county and state health departments, and non-governmental organizations. In addition to following the curriculum of a track, M.A. students can select elective courses to fulfill one of four concentrations in Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, Bio cultural Medical Anthropology, Cultural Resource Management, or Heritage Studies.

Our M.A. offers flexibility, depending on the student’s career plans. Students choose from one of three professional development options: research, internship, and internship-based research (a hybrid of the other two). All three options are expected to have an applied component, but differ in emphasis and setting.

Major Research Areas:
Human biology; bio cultural medical anthropology; nutrition/diet; growth and development; population genetics; forensic anthropology and human rights; neuroanthropology; stress; immune function; maternal and child health; reproductive health; HIV/AIDS; disasters; water and sanitation; migrant health; health policy; sociocultural and historical anthropology; transnational migration; labor; neoliberal globalization; citizenship; media and visual anthropology; environmental anthropology; urban anthropology; pedagogy and educational anthropology; heritage and memory studies; Florida archaeology; Eastern U.S. prehistory; Mesoamerican archaeology; Mediterranean prehistory; archaeological science; bioarcheaology; cultural resource management; public archeology.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • a statement of purpose
  • a signed research ethics statement
  • at least three letters of recommendation
  • a resume or curriculum vitae
  • supplemental department application form 
  • writing sample (optional)

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours - 30 credit hours

  • Core Requirements - 6 hours
  • Required Track - 18 hours
  • Optional Concentrations 9-12 hours*
  • Internship/Thesis – 6 Credit Hours minimum 

*students have the option of earning a concentration through coursework options within the track

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Required Track (18 Credit Hours)

Students select from one of the following Tracks:

Archaeology Track

Biological Anthropology Track

Cultural Anthropology Track

Medical Anthropology Track

Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in Applied Anthropology for Returning Peace Corps Volunteers

Students in the Coverdell Program are required to complete internships related to the program of study in underserved American Communities.

For more information on the Fellows Program:

Concentration Requirements (Optional)

Students may select one of the following concentrations.  Credit hours used toward the concentation would take the place of discretionary courses in the track.

Concentration in Archaeological and Forensic Sciences (12 Credit Hours)

Two required courses (3 credits each), consisting of
Two additional courses (3 credits each) selected from one of the following: one may be outside of Anthropology

External Courses That Also Qualify

(only one can count towards concentration):

Concentration in Bio-cultural Medical Anthropology (12 Credit Hours)

Four Graduate Medical Anthropology Courses with the ANG Prefix:

Or one of the following:

Concentration in Cultural Resource Management (9 Credit Hours)

Graduate class in Geographic Information Systems, whether offered in Anthropology or another department.

Graduate students pursuing a concentration in Cultural Resource Management must take the basic course requirements of their graduate program.

One of the following courses:

(or other course approved by Graduate Director):

Concentration in Heritage Studies (9 Credit Hours)

And two courses from among the following options:

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam requirement is satisfied upon successful completion of ANG 6705 Foundations of Applied Anthropology I . Successful completion entails earning a final grade of “B” or better in this course.

Internship/Thesis (6 Credit Hours Minimum)

The MA offers flexibility, depending on the student’s career plans.  Students choose from one of three professional development options, which must be decided in consultation with their major professor before the proposal is delivered.  All three options are expected to have an applied component, but differ in emphasis and setting.  Each option requires a minimum of six credit hours, taken in thesis and/or directed research internship as outlined below.

Research Option

This option is designed for students who are planning a career in applied esearch and are considering a Ph.D. Degree.  The final product is a thesis, which may be delivered as eitehr a traditional thesis or as a peer-reviewed journal article.  If an article is submitted, the student must be first author and the journal selected in consultation with the M.A. Committee.  The publication must be formally accepted, but not necessarily published, to fulfill this requirement.  Students register for six (6) hours of thesis.

Internship-Based Research Option:

This option is designed for students who are planning a career in applied research and pratice. It is designed for students whose thesis research is situated in an Internship setting.  A formal Internship is required, and the final product is a thesis, which may be delivered as either a traditional thesis or a peer-reviewed journal article (same guidelines apply as in the Research option).  Students register for three (3) hours of directed research internship and three (3) hours of thesis.

Internship Option

This option is designed for students who are planning a career in applied research and practice. A formal Internship is required, and the final product consists of 1) a technical report or installation delivered to the host agency and 2) a substantial Internship report delivered to the M.A. committee. The student must be the first author on the technical report, and it must represent new and original work. The targeted length and substance of the Internship report should be discussed with the M.A. committee and agreement reached in advance. Students register for three (3) hours of directed research and three (3) hours of thesis.

Concurrent Degree

Also available as a Concurrent Degree