anthropology student at computer

Our master of arts (MA) program in anthropology can serve as a steppingstone for further study in a doctoral program or as a final degree preparing you for a professional career.

We’ve designed this program to be a general degree, with coursework covering both anthropological theory and current trends in three major subfields: cultural, biological, and archaeology.

What You Will Learn

This program gives you a broad foundation in anthropology while also allowing you to specialize in a particular area of the discipline, such as:

  • archaeology
  • biological anthropology
  • cultural anthropology

What It’s Like to Major in Anthropology at Ball State

All of our faculty members conduct research in a variety of specialization areas. As a graduate student in our department, you’ll work alongside our expert faculty and staff as we guide you in the focus area of your choice.

Each year, the Department of Anthropology offers graduate assistantships to qualified students pursuing their master’s degrees. Stipends total approximately $10,000 per year and include a remission of tuition during both the academic year and the following summer. Assistantships are typically renewed for a second year.

Since we value research, we’ve made sure you'll have some of the best facilities and technology available. One great resource is our Applied Anthropology Laboratories (AAL), which holds an extensive library of archaeological literature concentrating on the Midwest.

In addition, AAL houses extensive artifact collections, including diagnostic artifact and chert-type collections, that are used as educational and professional resources. These research collections have established us as a leading resource center for professional and amateur archaeologists, public school teachers, and other interested individuals.

Every year, our faculty members organize a variety of field study experiences that allow anthropology students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. Faculty conduct field schools in Indiana, the southwestern United States, South Africa, Romania, and other locations around the globe.

Field studies are a great way to bring your classroom work to life and learn about different cultures. Our field studies are usually scheduled during the summer months, but some may be conducted during the semester.

Professional internships provide excellent opportunities to gain experience in your field, often while earning money and receiving credit.

Program Requirements

Because we believe that students should gain a broad knowledge of anthropology, you need to take core courses covering the three sub-disciplines of archeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. (This requirement can be waived only by the graduate committee.)

Also required is a graduate studies seminar (ANTH 600), which will help you become familiar with research resources and practices in our field and develop a research proposal for your master’s thesis. The thesis allows you to acquire skills in research methods and techniques in a specific sub-discipline.

Beyond these requirements, you will be able to tailor your plan of study to your individual needs. Although we encourage you to take general courses, electives may focus on cultural or physical anthropology or archaeology.


Total: 32-38

  • Thesis Option: 32 credits
  • Non-Thesis Option: 38 credits


A few of the classes you will take may include:

  • ANTH 501 History of Method and Theory in Anthropology
  • ANTH 505 Topics in Biological Anthropology
  • ANTH 690 Independent Study in Anthropology
  • ANTH 695 Research Methods in Anthropology
  • ANTH 696 Internship in Anthropology

For a complete list of all courses and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Master of Arts in Anthropology?

Our MA graduates often go on to doctoral study that can lead to careers in teaching and academic research. Other students use the practices and theory of anthropology to address real-world human problems through careers in:

  • archaeological resource management
  • museum work
  • applied anthropology

Explore More Career Options

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing a Master of Anthropology degree? Review our admissions criteria and apply.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about The Graduate School at Ball State University, please complete our online form to request more information. Or, if you’d like to speak directly with someone in our department by phone or email, please contact us.