Picking the right anthropology masters program is important. Ideally, you should pick one based on the professors you wish to work with and/or the concentrations they offer. I was interested in business, technology, and design anthropology, and likewise, I selected the University of North Texas (UNT) anthropology MS program because they offered a concentration in those areas. Furthermore, it was online, and as a working progressional I needed the flexibility. So while I can’t tell you how other programs work, I wish to share a little bit about the UNT anthropology master’s program for those who may be considering it.
About the UNT Anthropology Master’s Program
Graduate students enrolled in the UNT anthropology master’s program can earn a Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology, Master of Science in Applied Anthropology, or a dual degree in Applied Anthropology and Public Health (on-campus only).
The UNT anthropology department emphasizes the use of anthropology to solve problems and improve people’s lives. All faculty members are applied anthropologists interested in theoretically grounded, but practical approaches to solving modern complex problems.
Concentrations are offered in: Business Technology and Design, Public Health and Medical Care Systems, Population Displacement and Migration, Education and Education Equity, the Environment and Environmental Sustainability, Urban Anthropology.
As I said above, I selected the Business, Technology, and Design Anthropology concentration which was led by Susan Squires and Christina Wasson. Both of them have extensive experience working in industry and have published numerous books and articles on the topic. The concentration encompasses design anthropology and user-centered design, communication in the workplace, human-computer interaction, consumer behavior, diversity and globalization, and organizational anthropology, all topics I was interested in.
To read more about the program, click here.
My Experience in the UNT Anthropology Master’s Program
I did not earn any of my previous undergraduate or graduate degrees in anthropology, so coming into the UNT anthropology master’s program I had to take a foundational course which taught me the basics. Following that, I progressed through the core curriculum in about a year and a half, followed by another half a year or so of electives related to business, technology, and design anthropology. After that, all graduate students are required to conduct applied research and produce a thesis.
To start the process you need to identify a client, which can be tricky to nail down but is certainly doable. Once you have found your client, you put together a research plan and get that approved. You then progress through the IRB process and when complete you are able to start your research.
My thesis client was Sequencing.com, and my thesis was titled An Ethnography of Direct-to-Consumer Genomics. Having the opportunity to apply the theory and methods to a real-life project was really the best part of the UNT anthropology program. It really helps to crystallize all that you learned in the previous years.
Truly, I can say it was a great experience, and my UNT faculty advisors, Susan Squires and Christina Wasson, were also very supportive and helpful throughout. I would highly recommend the program.
More Information on Studying Anthropology and Ethnography
If the UNT anthropology master’s program does not seem to be the right fit for you, check out this post which discusses the Wayne State business anthropology master’s degree program.
If you are not completely sure you want to study anthropology at the graduate level, check out this post on ethnographic research training courses. In the article, I discuss the courses EPIC offers, which are a great introduction to the methods of anthropology.