Anthropology: Graduate Programs

Anth Grad Brochure

Anthropology Graduate Program Brochure

Featured Graduate Students

Featured PhD program graduate:

As part of his PhD in Anthropology with a specialization in Political Economy, Daniel Tubb spent more than two years in Colombia conducting fieldwork for his dissertation. Tubb is currently a Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow at the Agrarian Studies Program of the MacMillan Center at Yale University. He is funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Read more…

Anthropology PhD student Ying-Ying Tiffany Liu studies Diasporic Identities in South Africa

For her Ph.D. thesis, Ying-Ying Tiffany Liu spent 2015 working at a variety of Chinese restaurants across the city of Johannesburg in South Africa.  Liu jumped into this academic adventure while working as a visiting associate researcher at the University of Johannesburg. Read more…

Justin LangilleAnthropology MA student Justin Langille Studying Ottawa’s Homeless Youth

Anthropology graduate student Justin Langille is addressing the chronic problem of youth homelessness by speaking directly to the young people who are living on Ottawa’s streets. Read more…

An MA anthropology student talks about his experience at Carleton

Our programs

For more than thirty years, the Carleton anthropology M.A. program has promoted exploration of cultural practices and social conditions in diverse contexts throughout the world. Beginning in Fall 2009, we have added a new and innovative Ph.D. program to our well-established M.A. program. The Ph.D. program focuses on ‘Engaged Anthropology,’ and encourages students to immerse themselves in the situations and practices they wish to study, to reach out to non-academic publics, to engage in apprenticeship, advocacy, and policy-related activities; in short, to engage with research subjects, sociopolitical environments, and the public at large through their scholarly work, whether that work be applied or theoretical in nature.

The anthropology faculty at Carleton conduct research in societies across Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Oceania. This wealth of global experience serves not only to inform their teaching in areas ranging from the study of symbolism and culture to issues in global development and underdevelopment, but additionally facilitates research opportunities for anthropology graduate students worldwide.

The Department strives to achieve a blend of research and formal graduate instruction in its graduate programs while guiding students to take advantage of the extensive research opportunities available both in Ottawa, and internationally.

Carleton’s anthropology M.A. students have conducted a broad range of international field research in locations as diverse as the Philippines, Thailand, India, South Korea, Ghana, Tanzania, Belize, Mexico, Peru, and Greece. Closer to home, they have researched sociocultural issues affecting diverse Canadian subpopulations and subcultures with research participants ranging from members of aboriginal or immigrant communities to homeless populations and community organizations.

As Canada’s capital city, Ottawa provides linkages to innumerable national and international contexts. Its increasingly diverse population and borderland location between anglophone and francophone Canada gives immediate relevance to the comparative and interactive approaches to culture and society that anthropology promotes. As home to many governmental and non-governmental institutions, Ottawa provides exceptional institutional resources upon which our students can draw in their research and learning. As part of their course of study, graduate students in anthropology may pursue a placement in one such organization, linking practical work with their thesis research area of interest. The nation’s capital also houses a variety of library, archival and museum collections that provide unique opportunities for those interested in the anthropological study of material culture, art, ethnohistory, and historical texts.

Anthropology Master of Arts

The Master of Arts program in Anthropology focuses on sociocultural anthropology. The anthropology faculty conduct research and support graduate students in a variety of specific areas of interest, such as studies of ritual and religion, international development, globalization and transnationalism, gender and sexuality, immigrant experiences, race, nationalism and ethnicity, colonialism and post-colonialism, ethnohistory, language and culture, health and illness, performance, art and museum collections, popular culture, and human-environment relations.

At the master’s level, we also offer collaborative specializations in African Studies and Digital Humanities.

For a more complete description in the Graduate Calendar please see Anthropology M.A. program.

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

The Ph.D. program in Anthropology emphasizes Engaged Anthropology. It seeks to provide graduate students with skills that will enable them to research, understand and engage critically with social issues facing people in specific localities or in translocal communities of practice. Students will learn a range of theoretical approaches exploring the political economy, cultural logics, and discursively constituted power relations shaping engaged actions. Ph.D. students are normally expected to carry out extensive fieldwork away from their academic milieu, immersing themselves at length in the situations and practices they will eventually document in their dissertations. In pursuing their fieldwork, students are encouraged to engage non-academic publics by extending their ethnographic research into apprenticeship, advocacy, and policy-related activities. This training in engaged anthropological theory and practice will provide students with skills and capacities that will make them well qualified for meaningful careers both inside and outside of academia.

At the PhD level, we also offer a collaborative specialization in Political Economy.

For a fuller description in the Graduate Calendar please see Anthropology Ph.D. program.

Anthropology Graduate Program Degree Requirements

Master of Arts in Anthropology

Students can choose from one of the following program options:

  • 3.0 credits of coursework and a 2.0 credit master’s thesis,
  • 4.0 credits of coursework and a 1.0 credit research essay, or
  • 5.0 credits of coursework.

Students normally take 4 terms (up to 2 years) to complete the degree depending upon which program option they select. The choice of thesis, research essay, or coursework option is made by the student, with the advice of a faculty advisor and takes into consideration the student’s academic or professional goals, and background knowledge. The choice of program option is normally made during the first term of study.

There are 2 required courses, ANTH 5401: Theories and Methods I and ANTH 5402: Theories and Methods II. Additional courses are selected from anthropology, sociology, and in some cases, up to 1.0 credit from other disciplines, selected in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor.

For more information on the departmental MA Anthropology graduate guidelines, see our handbook here.

For more details on MA program requirements, see the Graduate Calendar.

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

Doctoral students are required to take 10.0 credits in total including a doctoral seminar (1.0 credit), a research design course (0.5 credit), additional elective courses (1.5 credits), and a thesis equivalent to 7.0 credits. Some students (with background deficiencies or other particular needs) may be required to do extra course credits to complete their program, to a maximum of 12.0 credits.

Remaining courses will be chosen from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology courses at the 5000 or 6000 level and may also include, with the permission of the graduate supervisor, up to 1.0 credit of graduate level courses from another Department at Carleton.

Ph.D. students will also be required to complete the following:

  • A research portfolio
  • A thesis research proposal and (where applicable) Research Ethics Board clearance to undertake thesis research
  • Two terms’ participation in a Thesis Writing Seminar

One unique component of our Ph.D. program is the required Research Preparation Portfolio. The Portfolio is a substitute for components common in many other doctoral programs, including comprehensive exams, language requirements, and statistics requirements. Our goal is to have students compile a portfolio of research preparation work that is tailored to their individual needs, given their background and research objectives, rather than imposing a uniform set of requirements on all doctoral students (e.g., comprehensive papers/exams, etc.). In preparing the portfolio, the student and supervisor (or Ph.D. committee) work together to establish a plan for the student’s research preparation that may include producing research papers, annotated bibliographies, or other materials (i.e., deliverables), some through course assignments, and others independent of courses. This ongoing process will not only help to prepare students for their thesis fieldwork, but also to achieve other needed competencies (e.g., field language skills; knowledge of theory, methods and topical area). By having students work with their supervisory committees in this individualized manner, our program aims to move students through the research preparation phase to the thesis field research phase efficiently (ideally by the end of the first year of study), while ensuring that they have the necessary background and competencies to complete their program successfully, and be well-versed scholars in their field.

For more information see the PhD portfolio and program guidelines and the PhD Anthropology student handbook.

For more details on PhD program requirements, see the Graduate Calendar.

Anthropology Graduate Courses

Not all courses listed in the Graduate Calendar are offered in a given year. For an up-to-date statement of course offerings for the current session and to determine the term of offering, consult the class schedule at central.carleton.ca

*Please note that some Instructors post only a summary of their course outline.  If you would like to see the entire outline please contact the Instructor directly.

Anthropology Graduate Courses

Graduate Course Calendar