1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

The MA Degree Program

A stand-alone Masters in Anthropology from the University of Virginia requires 24 credits of graded coursework. Most graduate courses run for a single semester and count for 3 credit hours. Full-time graduate students working toward their MA degree generally take four courses per semester, though it is also common to take three. Graduate courses from other institutions cannot be transferred for credit towards the University of Virginia MA degree. 

Incoming MA and PhD students take ANTH 7010 (History of Anthropological Theory) together. MA students must also satisfy a subfield distribution requirement and demonstrate “competency” in a second language. The distribution requirement involves taking at least one course in two of the three different subfields (archaeological, linguistic, and socio-cultural anthropology).

In addition to coursework requirements, students in the MA track must complete one of the following:

* A Critical Review Essay evaluated by the student’s MA Director plus a second faculty reader. This Critical Review Essay follows the same guidelines used by 2nd-Year PhD students for their Critical Review Essays. MA students may choose to write either the topical or regional essay.

* A comprehensive examination evaluated by the student’s MA Director plus a second faculty reader.

It is possible to pursue the stand-alone MA on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students in the MA track are expected to complete all coursework and other requirements for their degrees by the end of their second year.

Master’s Promotion – The 4 + 1 BA/MA Degree Program

UVA undergraduates have the opportunity to apply for the 4+1 BA/MA Program in Anthropology, officially known as “MA Promotion,” in their third or fourth year of undergraduate study. This program is designed for UVA undergraduates who wish to pursue a Master’s degree in anthropology to deepen their understanding of the many possible ways to live in the world. Students accepted into the program continue at UVA as MA students after they complete their undergraduate degree. 

The requirements for the MA Promotion degree are exactly the same as they are for our stand-alone MA degree, but students can save up to a full year, while also avoiding application fees, GRE test requirements, and a semester or more of graduate tuition.

To make the MA Promotion work best, students should enroll in two graduate-level anthropology courses during their 3rd or 4th year of undergraduate studies. These 6 credits can then count toward the 24 credits needed for the MA degree, meaning that students can complete the MA in a single additional year, by taking a normal load of 4 graduate-level courses each

semester. (Please note: The 6 credits of graduate coursework completed while an undergraduate MUST be in addition to the 120 credits (and other requirements) needed for the BA degree.)

The following programs accept applications for the Master of Arts degree program through May 1, with priority review of applications and admission decisions beginning on January 15.  Students wanting to apply for the MA Promotion after this date are welcome to contact the Director of Graduate Admissions. To apply, follow these simple procedures:

* Send your Statement of Purpose (a brief essay describing your interests in anthropology and goals in seeking an advanced degree at the University of Virginia) and an unofficial copy of your college (UVA) transcript to the Director of Graduate Admissions.

* Arrange with two UVA faculty who know you and your academic work to serve as references (no actual letters of recommendation are needed!). Make sure they know your interest in pursuing the BA/MA degree. You must meet with one of these references (before you apply) to discuss what courses will you use to satisfy the requirements of our MA degree.