Program Category: MA Programs

Chair: David Scott

Director of Graduate Studies: Brian Larkin


Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

The free-standing MA program in Anthropology is designed specifically for those who wish to cultivate a deeper understanding of the discipline of anthropology and improve their particular professional competence, but who intend only to pursue the MA degree. Study may be undertaken on either a full-time or part-time basis. Applicants with degrees in medicine, psychiatry, business, social work, the arts, library science, theology, demography, law, foreign affairs, international relations, criminology, linguistics, architecture, planning, and community affairs are encouraged to apply for admission to the program, while professionals in the fields of education and nursing are encouraged to consider appropriate programs at Teachers College.

The graduate faculty includes professors in the Department of Anthropology at Barnard College. These offerings are enhanced by a joint program with the American Museum of Natural History. Other institutions—including Teachers College, Columbia's Regional Institutes and School of International and Public Affairs, and New York museums—enrich the experience.

Research facilities include an archaeology laboratory; the Center for Studies in Ethnomusicology; the American Museum of Natural History; the Museum of the American Indian; The New York Botanical Garden; the Wildlife Conservation Society; Wildlife Preservation Trust; the University Libraries and the computer center.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose, a writing sample and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

Additional Information: 

MA in Museum Anthropology

The MA in Museum Anthropology, offered by the Department of Anthropology at Columbia in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), is a professional degree for those already employed in or interested in moving into the museum field. Students learn the practical skills entailed in working in museums and develop the theoretical perspective essential to those who use material culture to express ideas through visual display. The program prepares students to interpret ethnographic and archaeological collections for the general public, work in registration or collections management, and become scientific or research staff at facilities ranging from small local museums to larger institutions.

American Museum of Natural History

Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History cooperate in teaching and conducting research in anthropology. Museum curators are appointed adjunct professors of anthropology, teach seminars and lecture courses at Columbia, and advise graduate students. Columbia faculty and students, in turn, have access to the museum’s research facilities, library, archives, laboratories, and photograph and artifact collections. In addition, opportunities for graduate students to work in the field with museum curators are available. Collectively, this agreement substantially increases the intellectual community at Columbia in all anthropological subdisciplines, giving students a greater chance to exchange ideas and work with faculty whose research spans four continents and many methodological approaches.

Teachers College: Anthropology and Education, Applied Anthropology

Teachers College offers programs in anthropology and education and in applied anthropology. These intensive programs train candidates in anthropology and its relationship to problems in the domain of formal and informal education. Interested students should apply to Teachers College.

Regional Institutes

The department also participates in the programs of institutes at Columbia that are concerned with various regions of the world, including the Institute for African Studies, the East Central European Center, the Harriman Institute, the Institute of Latin American Studies Institute, the Middle East Institute, the European Institute, the South Asian Institute, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

Deadline for Early Admission: Friday, February 16, 2018
Deadline for Fall Admission: Friday, March 2, 2018
Resume Requirement: Yes
Writing Sample: Yes
Writing Sample Number of Pages: 10-15
GRE General: Yes
Degree Programs: Full Time/Part Time
Free-Standing: Yes
Letters of Recommendation: 3