The practicum is the centerpiece of our graduate program, providing practical experience
in applied anthropology. Students usually work collaboratively with agencies engaged
in applied research, urban development or community health, and use anthropological
knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.
Students typically engage in practicum activities such as formative research, grant
writing, data analysis, program design and implementation, and/or program evaluation
for governmental and non-governmental, non-profit and for-profit organizations such
as health clinics, schools, police precincts, churches and community development agencies
at the local, regional, national, or international level.
The practicum assists students in the development of engaged scholarship by integrating
academic knowledge with applied experience in settings providing professional applied
anthropological services, contributes to the development of competence in the basic
skills of professional anthropological practice, and enhances the effective use of
training experiences. The practicum furthers growth of the student’s identity as a
professional applied anthropologist.
To earn practicum hours, students register for 6 hours of ANTH 7985: Anthropological
Applications. These 6 credit hours comprise participation in the practicum workshop,
completion of at least 300 hours of practicum project work, plus oral and written
Graduate students are required to complete a 1 hour proseminar in their first fall
semester, where they will begin planning for the practicum project. Training includes:
finding a partner organization, developing a practicum agreement, setting goals and
objectives, ethics, working with human subjects, linking theory and practice, skill
training and advance preparation, mentors, technical and writing skills, practicum
deliverables, reporting procedures, professionalism, and professional development.
All MA candidates are required to make a formal presentation on his/her practicum
project results in a Department colloquium. The student is also encouraged to present
results at a professional meeting, such as the SfAAs, AAAs, or SAS.
The Practicum Project
The practicum project can be completed by working 20 hours per week for one 15-week
semester. However, depending on the agency and assignment, students may arrange a
more flexible schedule to fulfill required hours. For instance, students may work
fewer hours per week over a longer period (e.g., 10 hours per week for one academic
year), or they may work extended hours for a shorter period (e.g., 40 hours per week
for 7.5 weeks during the summer). In some cases, students may be permitted to register
for practicum hours in a given semester but complete their workshop and conduct their
assignment during a different period (e.g., a student might attend the workshop in
spring and complete their practicum during the summer, but wait until fall to register
for 6 hours of ANTH 7985 and offer their oral report).
In order to ensure that the practicum is a rewarding experience, students must work
closely with a faculty advisor and an agency supervisor to plan their assignment.
Students can ask different faculty members to serve as their practicum advisor and
their degree committee chair. While the practicum is usually undertaken late in the
degree program, students should begin planning early in their graduate career, in
consultation with their faculty advisor(s).
When performing a practicum, the student is an ambassador of the Department and the
contracting agency. The practicum also creates a foundation for future collaboration
between the University and the contracting agency. Therefore, it is essential that
students fulfill all commitments and conduct assignments in a responsible and professional
Students are advised to prepare a formal “practicum agreement,” specifying all duties
and obligations necessary to fulfill their assignment. A written statement should
be prepared describing what the student will do, how she/he will do it, what the student
expects to learn from the experience, and who is responsible for evaluating the practicum
performance. The student, their faculty supervisor, and their agency supervisor should
all sign copies of the statement; each should retain a copy for their records. The
agreement will also be kept on file in the Department. Ideally, the student’s full
committee should be appointed before the practicum, though this is not mandatory.
The committee members should be given a copy of the practicum agreement. Examples
of practicum agreements are included in the appendix.
Practicum Report Policy
Upon successful completion of practicum responsibilities, all graduate students are
required to submit a formal report. Practicum reports are generally relatively brief
(usually, 10-20 typed, double-spaced pages, plus attachments) as the program focuses
on the practicum experience. Nevertheless, the practicum report is an essential record,
which documents the assignment experience and its outcomes. Information on the production
of the practicum report follows here.
Due dates for a practicum report draft and submission of the final, approved report
should be set by the advising committee chair. Normally, a draft should be distributed
to the graduate student’s full advising committee. All committee members must approve
the final practicum report. Once approved, copies of the final report must be submitted
to the advising committee chair and practicum supervisor, and to the Anthropology
Graduate Coordinator or the Department Chair, who will place the report on file in
the Department’s permanent records.
Practicum Report Structure
While the practicum report is brief, several specific criteria must be met. Specifically,
the report must be typed, double-spaced, and include the items listed below. Any request
for exceptions to this structure must be cleared in advance with the student’s advising
committee chair, in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator, and indicated by written
permission of the committee chair.
The Practicum Report structure is as follows:
- Title page. Provide a brief title indicating the nature of the assignment and student’s name.
Near the bottom of the page, type the following statement: “This report is submitted
in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Anthropology.”
Below this statement the student should enter the semester in which the report will
be filed (e.g., Spring 2010).
- Summary/abstract. Provide a brief description (150 words or less), for points 3-6, below. Print this
separately, as the second page of the report.
- Introduction. Begin the report with a description of the nature of the practicum (i.e., evaluation,
grant writing, etc.). It should include a summary statement of the assignment’s goal(s)
and greater significance.
- Supervising Agency. Describe the administrative context within which the practicum was conducted. Outline
assigned responsibilities within this structure. Attach a practicum agreement, job
description, or scope of work for the position (if one exists) as an appendix.
- Practicum Assignment. Offer fairly detailed information on the specific activities actually performed,
including the broad time frame within which tasks were completed. For repetitive activities,
indicate the overall time frame of the practicum and the approximate proportion of
effort devoted to each major activity.
- Significance. Prepare a substantive statement on the practical and theoretical value of the practicum
experience. Discussion and critical analysis should reflect on links between coursework
and the practicum, including relationships of core and track requirements (i.e., research
methods, data analysis, theory, applications, and medical and/or urban courses) with
the practicum project. Discussion should also specify anticipated outcomes and results
that were actually achieved during the course of the assignment. This statement should
also offer recommendations for modifications in comparable practica, if they were
to be conducted in the future. If appropriate, comment on how your practicum experience
shaped your future professional goals.
- Final comments. Offer any summary remarks, which you feel are relevant to the general conduct and/or
organization of your practicum, and any relevance these might have for the organization
and conduct of future practica.
- Appendices and attachments. These may be minimal or extensive, as appropriate and depending upon the nature
of the practicum assignment. The practicum agreement, job description, and any materials
prepared by the student as a part of the project should be included (e.g., grants,
bibliographic references, reports or evaluations produced as a part of the practicum
- Vita. Finally, attach a copy of your current curriculum vita.
Masters Practical List:
Click here for the Masters Practica list and agencies (1997-present)