Master of Arts in Southwest Studies


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Concentration in Anthropology
The Master of Arts degree in Southwest studies marshals interdisciplinary resources in the study of anthropology, history and political science, and Hispanic language and literature ofdancerANTHRO the Southwest. Students complete a core of courses in Southwestern history and prehistory; social, political and cultural dynamics, and contemporary writers. In addition, each student selects one of three specialized options:

1. Anthropology – including fields such as human geography and Indians of the Southwest.

2. History and political science – including courses in Chicano leadership, the American frontier, legislative process, and New Mexico since statehood.

3. Hispanic language and literature – including folklore studies, New Mexican and Southwestern Spanish language, and a comprehensive survey of Hispanic traditions.

Instruction in appropriate research methodologies then prepares each student for the culminating experience of a thesis.

Because of its multiethnic composition, varied traditions and rich history, the American Southwest lends itself to interesting and important studies. New Mexico Highlands University offers a breadth of faculty experience, well-equipped laboratories, links with regional organizations such as the Mexican-American Research Consortium in Higher Education (MARCHE), and opportunities for students to travel through a study abroad program.

The master in Southwest studies prepares people for teaching in secondary schools and community colleges, for research-oriented employment in non-academic and applied settings, and for further work needed to earn a Ph.D.  Faculty committees supervise individuals' programs of studies, and particular care is taken to see that all programs include adequate training in research methods, concentration studies, and appropriate theoretical applications.

For full-time students, the master's program is designed to occupy two to two and a half years, culminating in a thesis or a published paper. By the end of the second semester, a student should select a committee chair and two other members of the M.A. committee, and, with the committee, formulate an individual program of study. Prior to the selection of a committee, the discipline/concentration head ordinarily serves as the student's advisor. The chair of the M.A. committee must be a full-time member of the student's program of concentration, the second reader should also be a full-time member of that program, and the third reader must be a faculty member from another discipline. There may be additional members from Highlands, or from other institutions outside the university with experience in the student's areas of interest.

Students seeking a Master of Arts degree in Southwest studies with emphasis in anthropology must write a thesis.

The format and thesis guidelines are available in each discipline's main office and are governed by the university. Otherwise, the requirements of the thesis and non-thesis are identical. They consist of the following:

  • Completing a minimum of 36 hours of course work
  • Writing and orally defending a thesis or publishable paper proposal
  • Writing and orally defending an M.A. thesis

Courses in the program of study reflect the student's interests and are selected from the modules listed below. A minimum of 36 hours is required for the M.A. degree. It is the student's responsibility to read his or her Southwest studies concentration requirements carefully and follow the procedures meticulously.


This degree is under the College of Arts and Sciences