Anthropology--the study of humanity in its broadest sense--is, according to Eric Wolf “the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.” At Tulane, anthropology is divided into four subdisciplines: archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, and socio-cultural anthropology. These subdisciplines or fields are interconnected. Anthropologists at Tulane often straddle the boundaries of the subdisciplines, and they collaborate with scholars from other departments and schools of the university. Anthropology is perhaps the world’s oldest cross-disciplinary discipline, and at Tulane, anthropologists study topics as seemingly disparate as two million year-old fossil hominins, capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica, the impact of Islam in West Africa, Mayan hieroglyphic texts, political movements in Mexico, indigenous use of the environment in the Amazon, and variations in spoken New Orleans English--and much more!
The roots of Tulane’s Department of Anthropology date from 1924, when the Department of Middle American Research (now the Middle American Research Institute [MARI]) was founded on the uptown campus. Anthropology courses were first offered at Tulane during the 1938-1939 academic year, and by 1947, anthropologists were employed in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. A separate four-field Department of Anthropology was established in 1968. In the last thirty years or so (1990-2020), the anthropology department has more than doubled in size and diversity, and course offerings reflect that growth. In 2010, the Department and MARI moved into newly-renovated space in Dinwiddie Hall.
Tulane’s Department of Anthropology has long been known for the archaeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics of Mesoamerica (the region from Central Mexico to El Salvador). Today the teaching and research interests of our faculty have expanded, and in addition to Mesoamerica, they work in North America (especially the southeastern United States and the Gulf South); South America (especially the Andes, and the Amazon); lower Central America and the Caribbean; West Africa; the South Asian subcontinent; Southeast Asia; and Europe.
We offer an M.A. degree to our current Tulane undergraduate students who by taking two 6000-level anthropology classes (six hours) while earning their B.A./B.S. degrees, are able to apply these six hours toward an M.A. degree. They then spend a fifth year taking 24 hours of anthropology classes to earn their M.A. degrees (30 hours total).
We also offer an M.A. degree to our Ph.D. students midway through their training for the doctorate.
MA Degree for PhD Students
General Requirements for MA Degrees
- Completion items 1-5 of the PhD program requirements.
- Students wishing to receive the MA degree must submit the appropriate application for graduate degree form to the Graduate Programs Office of the School of Liberal arts by deadlines specified for the semester of the award.
4 + 1 MA Program Degree requirements
- Completion of the normal requirements for the BA or BS in Anthropology.
- Completion of two Anthropology courses at the 6000 level or above. (Students must complete 126 credit hours at the undergraduate level, including 2 graduate-level anthropology courses beyond those required for the major.)
- Completion of 24 additional credit hours of graduate level courses.
- Language Competence Certification (as in item 2 in the PhD requirements)
- Completion of one methods course.