Master of Arts in Anthropology

Western Michigan University’s Master of Arts in anthropology provides you with essential training in critical thinking, writing for diverse audiences and holistic thinking to prepare you for both living and working in a diversity of settings.

Former students in the Department of Anthropology have careers in:

  • Museums.
  • Top academic programs (with further academic training) in public health, social work, anthropology, medicine, labor studies, creative writing and law.
  • Government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
  • Community resource management.
  • Crafting socially and ecologically sustainable communities.

Our faculty are dedicated teachers, active researchers widely recognized for their contributions to the field, and active participants in service to their communities. Faculty:

  • Publish widely and frequently both for scholarly and public audiences.
  • Have been the recipients of prestigious external and internal grants and awards for research, teaching and service.
  • Serve on editorial boards and act in leadership positions in professional organizations.

As a student in our M.A. program, you will benefit from both extensive exposure to social theory and experiential learning focused on putting that theory into practice through research. Students learn through seminars focused on social theory, classes in research methods, field experiences in conducting research and experiential learning courses.

Underlying everything the department does is a firm commitment to a public anthropology of, and for, social justice. Our teaching, research and service focus on public anthropology, violence, health, inequalities and disparities, social movements and ecological challenges prepares students to make significant contributions in a diversity of arenas.

Teaching, research and program focus areas

Students in the Department of Anthropology have the opportunity to learn by working with faculty widely acknowledged for their expertise in a theoretically informed, four-field approach to public anthropology. Our faculty and students embrace the potential of an anthropology of social justice where students engage social theory and practice on issues ranging from ethnohistory, historical archeology and the skeletal record, to activist ethnography and writing creatively and effectively for different publics. 

Graduates are well-positioned to pursue positions in museums, the nonprofit sector, cultural resource management and government as well as further advanced higher education in a wide range of fields, from medicine and public health to social work and law.

A particular emphasis is the focused attention on putting theory into practice through experiential learning and public anthropology. With research methods courses, internships, and classes that emphasize community engagement, you will learn by doing. 

See faculty research interests.