Master of Arts (MA)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Our faculty members in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology believe that study and research must be grounded in rigorous training, as well as in extensive field experience. This thesis-based degree provides that hands-on approach, with students benefiting from the university’s world-class field and lab investigations from Western Canada, the circumpolar North, Asia, Africa, Latin America, to the Caribbean. Research areas in this program include cultural heritage management, development of complexity, ethnoarchaeology, human-environment interaction, landscape, paleobotany, bioarchaeology, social identity and more.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: Topics in Archaeological Theory and Method or Theory and its Application in Biological Anthropology.
  • Specialized Courses: Professional Skills for Anthropologists, Theoretical Foundations, Human Osteology or other courses.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Additional Courses: Students may study hunter-gatherer adaptations, origins of agriculture, development of complex societies or other topics.
  • Field Work: Students will participate in a season of field work or an equivalent activity.


Biological Anthropology (Interdisciplinary)


Museum Curator, Cultural Resource Management, Heritage Regulator, academic positions.

A master’s degree in archaeology will give you the pre-requisite for a PhD.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Four courses and a season of field work

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Two years full-time; four years maximum


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Andrea Freeman

    Andrea Freeman

    Accepting Inquiries
    Geoarcheology, Pedagogy in Geography and archaeology
  2. Placeholder Profile Image

    Diane Lyons

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. Photograph of Dr. Elizabeth Paris

    Elizabeth Paris

    Accepting Inquiries
    Mesoamerican archaeology, Maya culture, Urbanism, Lithic analysis, Zooarchaeology, Archaeometallurgy, Compositional analysis, Economic archaeology
  4. Photo of Kathryn Reese-Taylor

    Kathryn Reese-Taylor

    Accepting Inquiries
    Maya archaeology, Mesoamerican anthropology, Remote sensing in archaeology, Landscape archaeology, Urbanism, Ceramic analysis

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A four year baccalaureate degree, or equivalent from a recognized institution.

Work samples

An example of the applicant's written work in the research context.


  • A statement outlining the applicant's interests and reasons for wishing to pursue graduate work in this department. Clearly identify your thesis research area
  • A C.V

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency (ELP)

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements.


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: December 15 application deadline
  • International students: December 15 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Earth Sciences 620

2500 University Drive NW

Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website