2009 MA Alumni Survey - Participate & Advocate
Skip to content
Login Communities Publications Calendar About AAA Contact Join Donate Shop Jobs
Purple sign with pictures Mobile
Purple sign with pictures Desktop

In This Section

2009 MA Alumni Survey

From Our Sponsors
New OER Available from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Introduction to Anthropology: Holistic and Applied Research on Being Human

In This Section

AAA/CoPAPIA Masters Alumni Survey

Between April and September 2009, AAA and CoPAPIA conducted a broad-reaching MA career survey. The survey was open to those holding Masters degrees in anthropology from a North American institution, awarded anytime before 2008, irrespective of any prior and subsequent degrees.

The overall purpose of the study was to better understand where MAs have gone in their careers; the ways in which alumni have benefited from the knowledge and skills they acquired in their Masters programs; and to gather suggestions, ideas, and feedback on how programs, national associations, and professional groups can best serve their needs. The AAA hopes to expand its utility and professional services to MAs and to provide information to anthropology departments on alignments between their curricula and their students’ future careers.


Each year since 1991, U.S. departments of anthropology have matriculated over 1,000 master’s students annually, yet little information exists from this huge cadre of colleagues about career trajectories, how well Masters programs prepared graduates for the job market, and how anthropological organizations can best meet their needs.

The career and training survey was open to all anthropological sub-fields and provided the chance for respondents to express where a career in anthropology has led, whether they continue to identify with anthropology, and what feedback they might have to share about career paths.

To ensure its utility, the survey was developed with the cooperation of the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA), whose members are interested in feedback on applied anthropology degree programs. In addition, CoPAPIA developed an Advisory Network of diverse and experienced anthropologists representing departments with Masters programs, MA alumni in a number of different areas, and leadership in AAA/Sections and COPAA, to provide a breadth of perspectives and guidance to the survey process. A steering committee of CoPAPIA members guided the routine management of the survey.


Between May and September 2009, CoPAPIA collected data from 883 survey respondents. The survey was distributed widely through list serves, alumni lists and groups, websites, relevant organizations, and individuals. Respondents were valuable in forwarding the survey information on to colleagues and other alumni. The survey contained 58 numbered questions, plus an optional six stand-alone open-ended questions in a second section. As some of the numbered questions had multiple parts, there were over 125 questions asked on the survey. Analysis began in September 2009 and premilinary findings were first made available in early 2010. For any questions about the survey, please send a message to: MASurvey2009@americananthro.org.

Preliminary Data

Below are the preliminary findings that were made available prior to the final report publication. (PDF and Power Point format)

Data Sheet 1: Basic Survey Demographics
Data Set 2: Preliminary Report to Anthropology Department Chairs (PP Presented at the 2009 AAA Annual Meeting)
Data Set 3: Association Data (PPT presented to the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA) in January 2010)

Final Report

The final report is available in two formats:

About the Survey Data Project

AAA is making the MA survey data available to individual instructors for use in graduate-level statistics and methods classes for the primary purpose of coursework in data analysis and reporting. It is believed that this unique data set will be of particular interest for analysis by anthropology graduate students as it relates to how their peers viewed their educations, and how their career tracks relate back to that education. The data will also be available to others with an interest in the topic and an analytical plan. The primary results of analysis should also help to inform and educate the broader anthropological community.

Who is Eligible to Apply:
Current AAA members
Instructors of graduate-level statistics, methods and related classes
Instructors of undergraduate-level classes will also be considered
Graduate students, practitioners, and independent scholars may also apply

For more information on the survey data project or to make a request for data, please send all inquiries to Daniel Ginsberg.

Survey Data Project Papers

As part of the Survey Data Project, students who perform data analysis are required to submit their results under the terms of the data sharing agreement. Papers describing the analysis and results will be posted below as submitted by students, in chronological order. Papers are in PDF format and may not be broadcast or republished without the permission of the authors, who retain full copyright protection.

Hardman, R., U Maryland College Park, June 2, 2013, Statistical Analysis of CoPAPIA's 2009 MA Alumni Survey Results. 16 pp. (Note: A review of five analysis questions)

Hutchinson, Katie, U Maryland College Park, June 3, 2013, Comparing Archaeology and Cultural or Social Career Satisfaction. 14 pp.

Gates, Rivka, U Maryland College Park, June 20, 2103, The Effect of Sex on Employment Related Questions on the CoPAPIA MA Survey. 8 pp.

MA Alumni Survey Steering Committee

Linda Bennett (University of Memphis)
Patricia Ensworth (Harborlight Management Services) 
Shirley Fiske, Chair  (University of Maryland adjunct)

MA Alumni Survey Advisory Network

Drew J. Asson (writer and political consultant)
Elizabeth Bird (University of South Florida)
Keri V Brondo (COSWA survey, University of Memphis)
Mary Odell Butler (University of Maryland adjunct, NAPA President)
Janet Cohen (National Park Service
Cathleen Crain, (LTG Associates, Inc.) 
Bill Doelle (Desert Archaeology, Inc.)    
Ruthbeth Finerman   (University of Memphis)  
Jack Garrett (Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, FL)  
Bob Harman (NAPA Masters survey [2000], Cal State University Long Beach, ret.)  
Barbara LeMaster (Cal State Univ. Long Beach)
Janet Levy (UNC Charlotte, Archaeology Division President)    
Ed Liebow (Battelle)  
Ellen Marakowitz  (Columbia University)   
Erika Martin-Seibert (National Park Service)      
Kimber Haddox McKay (University of Montana)  
Barbara Miller (George Washington University)
Liz Pulver (General Motors) 
Alicia Re Cruz (University of North Texas)   
Paul Shackel (University of Maryland)   
Robert Trotter (University of Northern Arizona)  

Other key individuals: 

Terry Redding (survey coordinator, Beta Development Associates, Inc.)
Kathleen Terry-Sharp (Director, AAA Academic Programs)
Jona Pounds (AAA Program Coordinator)

You Might Also Like