Online Master’s Program


The online master’s program offered by UNT’s Department of Anthropology was created to serve students who are unable to attend an on-campus master's program due to geographic, work and/or family constraints. Among other groups, we hope to attract students with diverse backgrounds who have been historically underrepresented in anthropology. This program was created by the UNT anthropology faculty using innovative pedagogical designs that maintain the rigor of a fully face-to-face program while making it more accessible. We offer both an MA and an MS degree in Applied Anthropology.


UNT has a large number of online courses, and the department draws heavily on this great pool of knowledge when developing and revising our online program. The department of anthropology is a member in good standing of the American Anthropological Association as well as the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs.

The University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of North Texas.

Note: The Commission should be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support the institution’s significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. Normal inquiries about UNT, such as admission requirements, financial aid, and educational programs, should be addressed directly to UNT and not the Commission’s office.

Program Trajectory

The program can be completed in three years. In order to do so, students take two classes each fall and spring semester, for a total of twelve classes. The workload was designed to be manageable for students who are juggling work, family, and educational responsibilities. If applying for financial aid, you may have to enroll full time (3 courses/semester).

All courses are fully online. Students are required to come to the UNT campus twice. At the beginning of the program, there is a two-day on-campus orientation for new students. At the end of their final semester, all graduating students come to UNT to give a verbal presentation about their applied thesis project, and share in each others’ successes.

Quote from a new student:
"You … have crafted such a well-designed program that provides accountability for both of us, not to mention a terrific breadth of courses… I am also looking forward to the mentoring and guidance you offer. It is what will separate those who obtain a degree, from those who ultimately get a job. This is exactly what was lacking for me at [university]. I cannot thank you enough."

Degree Options

Degree Options

Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology (36 hours)
For the Master of Arts degree, students fulfill the 36 hours of degree requirements and demonstrate knowledge of a foreign language. Either they complete 2 years of study of a language (undergraduate credit hours will be accepted), or they take an examination given by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Master of Science in Applied Anthropology (36 hours)
For the Master of Science degree, students fulfill the 36 hours of degree requirements including a course in an additional skill appropriate to their area of interest.

Suggested Timeline

Most students take two courses per semester due to workload and other committments. However, UNT considers two courses per semester to be part-time status. Financial aid may require full time status, which is 9 hours per semester.

Summer, before starting program

  • ANTH 5000 Seminar in Sociocultural Anthropology (required for students with fewer than 12 hrs of anth)

Fall, Year 1

  • ANTH 5010 Anthropological Thought and Praxis I (Prerequisite: 5000 if needed)
  • ANTH 5031 Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods

Spring, Year 1

  • ANTH 5021 Anthropological Thought and Praxis II (Prerequisite: 5010)
  • ANTH 5041 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology

Fall, Year 2

  • ANTH 5050 Preparation for Practice and the Applied Thesis
  • Elective

Spring, Year 2

  • Elective
  • Elective

Fall, Year 3

  • ANTH 5950 Applied Thesis (Prerequisites: 5010, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5050)
  • Elective

Spring, Year 3

  • ANTH 5950 Applied Thesis (Prerequisites: 5010, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5050)
  • Elective

Taking Online Courses

Distance Learning at UNT

The University of North Texas is a leader in distance learning. The Department of Anthropology was able to draw on UNT’s deep experience and expertise in the design and delivery of distance education. UNT is the largest provider of online credit courses among Texas public universities. As of spring 2007, 29% of the UNT student body has taken an online course. 8,480 students were enrolled in UNT distributed learning classes in spring 2007, with 2,340 taking only online courses.

UNT uses Blackboard Vista 4.2 as the platform for delivery of online courses.

Virtual Pedagogy

In designing the online master's program, our main concern was that students receive a high-quality learning experience. To this end, we have utilized innovative virtual pedagogy in the development and delivery of our program.

Our courses are designed to provide students with expertise in anthropological theories, methods, and applications. Each course incorporates a unique mix of readings, asynchronous and synchronous group discussions, teleconferences, guest speakers, individual projects, and/or group projects. This mix of pedagogical approaches attends to the diverse learning styles that students bring to the program. All have been adapted to the online environment in creative ways.

Outside of class, students receive personal mentoring from their faculty advisor. Advisors help students plan their electives and work closely with them during the applied thesis. The applied thesis is a client project that helps position students for their career.

In addition, students interact with their peers by joining an online community that includes all students in the program. Participating in this community of practice enables students to learn from each other, and assists in their professional development.

Take a Tour

We have developed a PowerPoint presentation that shows what it’s like to take an online course, including screen shots of various features.

Download the Presentation (.pdf)

Computer Requirements

For information on current requirements, please visit UNT’s Vista page Browser and Computer Settings. Also, please note that a high speed internet connection is required.

Help with Online Courses

  1. Help Desk
    UNT’s Computer Center Help Desk can assist you with a variety of technical Vista problems. The Help Desk has both telephone and email options.
    Phone: (940) 565-2324
    Walk-in: ISB 119

  2. Campus-wide System Outage Reports
    Occasionally, when you cannot access your Vista course, the problem may be a UNT system outage. This website lets you check for information about outages:

  3. Vista at UNT
    Visit UNT's Blackboard Vista Student Resources Page:

    Blackboard’s own website offers various online resources to students:

  5. Your Professors
    You are always welcome to contact your professors for assistance with your online courses. They are not technical experts, but they have experience in resolving common issues.

  6. Graduate Programs Coordinator
    The Graduate Programs Coordinator is Kelly Lauderdale. She can assist students with many of their administrative and technical problems. You can contact her at or (940) 565-4931.

Online Community

The Department of Anthropology is dedicated to making sure that our online master’s program is just as rich and rewarding as our on-campus program. We believe that an important part of graduate education is bringing students into a community of practice. In order to build community, we have designed several activities and communication structures.


All online students attend a two-day mandatory on-campus orientation before they begin the program. This event enables students to meet each other and their professors face-to-face, and start to build relationships with them. Getting to know their fellow students makes it easier for students to work on group projects together, and getting to know faculty members helps them choose their advisor and second committee member.

Cosmic Café

We have created a virtual community that enables students and faculty to engage in conversations outside of classes. This kind of informal interaction is an important aspect of professional development. Students can build connections with others in the field. They can explore their ideas in an informal setting and can assist each other with practical matters.

The Cosmic Café brings together students from our online and on-campus master’s programs, so that the whole department forms a single community of practice. All master’s students, faculty, and staff are enrolled in the Cosmic Café. It is accessed through Vista, and includes discussion boards and a membership directory.

Email Lists

All online master’s students and faculty are enrolled in an email list, The list allows students to receive messages and engage in online discussion via email.

An additional email list brings together the online and on-campus communities. The list reaches all master's students and faculty.