Master of Arts in Anthropology

What is Anthropology?

Anthropologists are concerned with the origin, history, and future of  the human species. Our mission is to further our understanding of past and present human societies in their cultural, biological, and environmental contexts. The discipline provides students the knowledge and skills they will need to navigate these complex, multicultural, and rapidly changing worlds. Because we study what it is to be human, the field is one of the most wide-ranging of the academic disciplines.

There are four main subdisciplines of anthropology. Three are currently taught in our department: Archaeology is concerned with studying the human past based on the material culture left behind. Biological anthropology is concerned with human evolution and variation. Sociocultural anthropology is concerned with the many ways humans organize themselves and create, reproduce, and reject meaningful patterns of life in changing local and global circumstances. Anthropologists across all of the subdisciplines apply holistic, comparative, and evolutionary perspectives and a range of methodologies in their research. We are committed to fieldwork and the application of this knowledge to helping people better understand one another.

Why study Anthropology at KU?

Students have many reasons for pursing graduate degrees in anthropology. Some are curious about the origins of the human species. Others are fascinated the diversity of human experiences in ancient and modern periods. Some students intend to pursue international careers, where they will use languages and work in cultural contexts very different from those in which they were raised. Others plan to work in museums collecting and curating human cultural resources. Some wish to pursue graduate training in one of the field’s subdisciplines, while others seek to use their anthropological training as preparation for professional schools, including law, medicine, public health, journalism, business, and engineering. There are many professions where the broad scientific, humanistic, and multicultural knowledge available through the study of anthropology can be useful— in education, healthcare, law, social work, business, human resources, public affairs, cultural resource management, or laboratory research.

The Anthropology Department at the University of Kansas maintains a holistic and integrative approach to studying human beings. Our world-class program has particular strengths in the Americas in all three subdisciplines, and is committed to engaged research with community partners.

Funding is available for MA students admitted into the Anthropology program. 

For specific questions about our program, please contact us:

The University of Kansas
Department of Anthropology
Corinne Butler
Graduate Program Coordinator