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Columbia University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :24 Feb 
International :24 Feb 

MA Sociocultural Anthropology

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

27180 USD
27180 USD

Application fee

International 105 USD
National 105 USD
Institute for Research in African-American Studies
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)315

World University Ranking

About this course

The Master of Arts in anthropology program offers students an opportunity to develop a strong theoretical foundation in the field of anthropology, and to participate in the vibrant intellectual life of the Department of Anthropology through workshops, talks, and other programs. The MA program includes coursework and a thesis. All MA students take a two-semester theory class as well as a thesis workshop. Each MA student is assigned a faculty mentor. The program as designed includes required courses and electives, and students in the MA program take classes in the anthropology department as well as other departments throughout the university. Students in the MA program are encouraged to develop their particular interests through this combination of coursework from within the department as well as from other related disciplines. Students develop the thesis through consultation with faculty. Although fieldwork is not required, many MA students conduct fieldwork for the thesis. MA students may also study a language as part of their program and apply for funding through Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) for summer language study. MA students present thesis projects at the annual MA Thesis Presentation Day in the department. Each year, one thesis is chosen to receive the Best Thesis Award. The program is designed to be completed within one academic year for coursework plus the summer for thesis writing. Part-time enrollment is also possible.

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Eligibility Criteria

The admission standards and selection procedures are identical to those followed by the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences for all of its M.A. Programs (with the exception of the Liberal Studies Program). Applicants must provide a 10-15 page writing sample, three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with their academic work and history, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

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Course Modules

Program Requirements

The program consists of 30 credits of graduate course work and a thesis project. Eighteen of the thirty credits must be anthropology courses. The remaining twelve credits may be taken in other relevant departments. Course selection is made in consultation with the student’s advisors. All incoming students meet with the MA Director to help design their individual program. Incoming students are also assigned a senior faculty mentor from the anthropology department. Fieldwork is not required for the thesis project but many students choose to do fieldwork for the MA thesis. The program can be completed in two semesters of full-time coursework and a summer for thesis research/writing. Part-time enrollment is also possible.

Core Requirements

Program requires 30 credits in graduate courses plus the thesis

1. Core courses/requirements

  • GU4201 Principles and Applications of Socio-Cultural Theory, fall term, 3 credits
  • GR6212 Principles and Applications of Socio-Cultural Theory II, spring term, 3 credits
  • GR6116, Social Theory and Contemporary Questions., spring term, 3 credits
  • GR9101 Independent Research (Thesis Research), 6 credits

2. Thesis
The thesis is an original piece of writing on a topic of the student’s choice. The topic is typically chosen after consultation with the student’s advisor, mentor and/or other faculty member with whom the student has discussed the project. Fieldwork may be done although it is not a requirement. The thesis does not have a required length, but is generally about 70 pages long. Two faculty members – the MA Director or the MA Post-Doc, as well as a faculty member chosen in consultation with the MA Director, read each thesis. Students may have a faculty reader from outside the department if the MA Director approves. Students work with the MA advisor to set up timetables for thesis completion and approval. The two assigned readers, while not graded, must approve the thesis.

3. Additional elective courses (from Anthropology or other departments)

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How to Apply

All prospective students must apply using the online application. Printed applications are not available.

You must specify in your application the department, doctoral program subcommittee, or free-standing master’s degree program in which you wish to study. If required, you must indicate the sub-field of study and the term for which you are applying. A complete application includes:

  • transcripts of all previous post-secondary education
  • a statement of academic purpose
  • a curriculum vitae or résumé
  • three letters of recommendation from academic sources
  • GRE scores and, if applicable, results of the TOEFL or IELTS examination to fulfill the English Proficiency Requirement
  • a sample of scholarly writing, if required by the department or program
  • payment of the application fee

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