Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)
Our MA program provides students with a broad knowledge of anthropological theory and research methods. Students build their research and writing skills in their graduate courses, culminating in the preparation of a significant piece of scholarly writing, which constitutes their MA thesis. Interdisciplinary contacts are encouraged, and links are maintained with departments and programs such as Asian Studies, the Institute of Asian Research, Linguistics, History, Geography, Sociology, and the Centre for Women's and Gender Studies.
What makes the program unique?
We are the second oldest anthropology program in Canada, with more than six decades of research and teaching to our name. Our students are supported by a dedicated staff and faculty and access to outstanding research resources, such as the Museum of Anthropology and Laboratory of Archaeology. Today, UBC anthropology faculty and students conduct original research throughout BC and around the world.
The M.A. is based upon a combination of coursework, research, and a thesis. Compared to the Ph.D., the M.A. is a structured course of study. Students must successfully complete 30 credits:
- ANTH 500 History of Anthropology (6)
- ANTH 506 Current Research in Anthropology (3)
- an advanced anthropological methods course (3)
- two 3-credit courses outside of the student's sub-disciplinary specialty; Students are encouraged to take at least three credits of these in Anthropology (6)
- at least 6 credits of elective courses
- a 6-credit thesis, which is initiated after submitting an approved thesis proposal
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
We look for applicants with developed intellectual interests as well as abilities and a strong commitment to their area of study and with interests that fall within the current interests of the Department. If applicants have questions about the match between their interests and those of the Department, they should contact the program administrator. It is also helpful for applicants to discuss their program with the appropriate faculty members before making a final application.
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 100
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
Prior Degree Requirements
Applicants must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree with a major, honours or concentration in anthropology or the equivalent. Outstanding candidates with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines but with substantial background related to anthropology, or who are missing one or more of our admission requirements, are occasionally admitted on the condition that they complete a number of additional courses in anthropology.
Applicants to the MA program must have completed at least 12 credits in senior anthropology courses with a minimum average of A-. The courses should cover a broad range of anthropology, including at least three credits of archaeology or physical anthropology, six credits in ethnography, three credits in methods, and, if possible, at least three credits of anthropological theory, and three credits in museum and visual anthropology. The Department also favours applicants who have taken introductory courses in linguistics and statistics. Highly qualified applicants lacking one or more of these requirements may have courses in contiguous fields accepted as equivalents or may be required to take such courses as part of their program of study.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date15 September 2022
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
UBC offers graduate study in the fields of socio-cultural anthropology (including legal, medical, and ecological anthropology, oral and expressive culture, religion, globalization, and applied anthropology), linguistic anthropology, anthropological archaeology, biological anthropology, and museum studies. Faculty research interests include North America, Asia (Russia, India, Japan, and Korea), Mesoamerica, South America, Oceania, Europe, and Africa. The program provides training in quantitative, qualitative, archaeological and museum methods.
Extensive research facilities are available in the Museum of Anthropology, and in the Laboratory of Archaeology. The UBC Library has excellent collections to support program interests, as well as a large collection of microform theses and dissertations, and the Human Relations Area files. Anthropology has a dedicated graduate computer lab with a wide range of software to support quantitative and qualitative research.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,767.18||$3,104.64|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
Our Master students have opportunities to work as Teaching Assistants during their program.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Speller, Camilla (Anthropology; Archeological Data Analysis; Molecular Genetics; Ancient DNA Analysis (paleogenetics); Ancient proteins (paleoproteomics); Animal Domestication; Bioarchaeology; Environmental Archaeology; Marine Ecosystems)
Turin, Mark (Anthropology; Cultural Institutions (Museums, Libraries, etc.); Lexicography and Dictionaries; Language Contact and Linguistic Changes; Language Rights and Policies; Language Interactions; Political Culture, Society and Ideology; Bella Bella; Bhutan; First Nations; Heiltsuk; Indigeneity; Nepal; Sikkim; Tibet)
Weston, Darlene (Anthropology; Archeological Data Analysis; Bioarchaeology; Biological Anthropology; Osteoarchaeology; Paleodemography; Paleopathology)
Zeweri, Helena (Anthropology; Mobility; migration; Critical refugee studies; settler colonialism; Anthropology of care, policy, social movements, empire)
Sample Thesis Submissions
UBC offers graduate study in the fields of socio-cultural anthropology (including legal, medical, and ecological anthropology, oral and expressive culture, religion, globalization, and applied anthropology), linguistic anthropology, anthropological archaeology, biological anthropology, and museum studies. Faculty research interests include North America, Asia (Russia, India, Japan, Korea and China), Mesoamerica, South America, Oceania, Europe, and Africa.