Master of Arts Degree

Tibetan nomad woman and child at horse festival
Tibetan nomad woman and child at horse
festival (Photo/ Stacey Van Vleet)

The main purpose of the Master of Arts degree program is to provide students with a solid background in anthropology. Undergraduate coursework in anthropology, while helpful, is not a prerequisite for admission. However, students with no previous training in anthropology are expected to remedy deficiencies prior to taking the M.A. Comprehensive Examination (or Ph.D. Qualifying Examination in Biological Anthropology). New students will be assigned a faculty advisor to help them plan a program of study consistent with their interests. A student may change advisors at any time by notifying all parties involved.

Requirements for the master's degree include successful completion of the following:

  • Annual Plan of Study
  • Required core courses in each of the three subdisciplines
  • An approved statistics course (or an approved “tools” course for students in cultural)
  • Credit hour requirements (30-36 hours)
  • M.A. Comprehensive Examination (written and oral, administered to archaeology and cultural anthropology students)
  • Thesis defense (applies only to students following Plan I: Thesis Plan)
A more detailed description of the program and requirements is available in the Anthropology Department Handbook for Graduate Study and the University of Colorado Catalog.

Dual MA/MBA Program

Ceiling House cliff dwellings in Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa, Utah
Ceiling House cliff dwellings in Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa, Utah
(Photo/ Jeff Ferguson)

This combination of degrees will suit you if your career interests include managing the business aspects of archeological projects, working in the growing field of corporate cultural anthropology, ethnography or museum management. Students may have a primary specialization in any of the major subfields of anthropology: archaeology, cultural, or physical anthropology and must complete 30 hours of graduate work in the anthropology program as well as 43 hours of MBA coursework. Details and contacts can be found at our Dual MA/MBA Program page.

Residents of Western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, may be eligible for in-state tuition for this dual degree program. Please see the Western Regional Graduate Program handout at: or contact the Tuition Classification Officer in the Office of the Registrar at 303-492-0907; E-mail