Master of Arts in Anthropology

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 M.A. level, we offer specializations in African Studies, Climate Change, Digital Humanities, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies.


The minimum requirement for admission to the master’s program is an Honours bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) in anthropology or a closely related discipline, with at least high honours standing. Related disciplines could include sociology, history, religious studies, and Canadian studies. Where relevant, previous professional experience will be taken into account in determining an applicant’s standing upon admission.

Applicants with a general bachelor’s degree, or those with degrees in fields other than anthropology, may be admitted into a qualifying-year program designed to raise their standing to Honours anthropology status. Students earning at least high honours standing in their qualifying-year courses will be considered for subsequent admission into the master’s program.

The deadline for applications to the master’s program is:

  • February 1 for applicants requesting financial assistance for September admission or for applicants applying from outside of Canada; domestic applications will continue to be considered beyond this date (space permitting) and funding may be available.

Please consult the Graduate Calendar for Information about Admission, the Qualifying-Year Program, and the Accelerated Pathway.

Application Requirements

Applications for the M.A. and Ph.D. require the same components. These are as follows:

  • A statement of academic/research interests and ambitions (1-2 pages in length);
  • English-language test scores (if applicable);
  • Sample of written work;
  • Two referee appraisal forms and letters of reference (to be uploaded by referees); and
  • One transcript (unofficial can be uploaded by student – official transcripts can be mailed to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs and only required if offer is made).

Applicants’ statements of interest should provide a clear and focused description of their research interests and why they wish to enroll in the program. A strong research statement elaborates, as clearly as possible, a particular thesis research project the student wishes to carry out, ideally by proposing particular research questions and citing relevant academic literature.  The sample of written work should have been completed in the most recent degree program and can be a term paper, thesis proposal, or published work.

Degree Requirements

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 further details of the program requirements for the M.A. in Anthropology, please see the Graduate Calendar.

Financial Assistance

Upon acceptance in to the program, we offer full-time, domestic students (Canadian citizens and permanent residents) substantial financial assistance in the form of teaching and/or research assistantships and scholarships based on academic excellence. Applications received prior to February 1 will automatically be considered for financial assistance. For applications submitted beyond these dates, financial assistance may be available. For additional information on scholarships visit the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs website.

Qualifying domestic MA students typically receive both scholarship money and a paid teaching assistant position for four terms (two years). PhD students normally receive both scholarship money and a paid teaching assistant position for four years. As a unique benefit of our anthropology PhD program, teaching assistant-level funding is maintained during up to three terms of fieldwork, helping to ensure adequate income even when students are conducting research away from the university. MA students who find that they need to conduct research outside of the Ottawa area that extends beyond their first summer in the program may also be eligible to apply to one of our competitive conversions from TA duties to Field Research duties. This allows students to substitute partial scholarship funding for their teaching assistant funding for one term. Students should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator or Administrator to inquire about the application process

Applicants are also encouraged to apply for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), and funding from either the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for research projects on health-related topics.  For more information, see the external awards page of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website.

Funding for international students is very limited, and students are considered on a case-by-case basis. Normally, international students must arrive with some substantial funding from their home country or their own resources before some matching funding will be provided by Carleton. International applicants are encouraged to contact the Graduate Administrator in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology before applying to ensure that attending Carleton is financially realistic for them.