PhD: Anthropology

The Doctor of Philosophy - Anthropology

The Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology is awarded to students who have shown mastery of the general materials of anthropology and a substantial command of the specialized subject matter of one or more of the four subfields (Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, or Sociocultural Anthropology) and who have successfully carried out and formally presented research judged to constitute an original contribution to the discipline.

Funding is limited, and all students who apply by the Fall deadline (January 15) are automatically considered for funding as a Teaching or Research Assistant. Funding covers tuition for the required graduate credits plus a stipend. Students who are eligible for the Clark Fellowship should submit this application at the same time.

We highly recommend that students contact faculty members they are most interested in working with before applying. Applicants are not required to have an MA or MS before admission, though some faculty prefer to admit students with an MA or MS. Students who enter with an MA or MS are required to demonstrate that they have fulfilled our MA requirements, either in their previous institution or here, before they can advance to candidacy.


  • Admissions

    Students with an MA/MS (or professional equivalent) may apply directly to our PhD program; students with a BA may also apply for admission to our PhD program, and will be required to complete an MA before being considered for advancement in our PhD program.

    Applicants are required to submit GRE aptitude test scores along with their applications. Students from countries in which English is not the primary language must also submit TOEFL scores; additionally, all foreign students must provide immigration forms guaranteeing financial support.

    Admission to candidacy

    To be admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology, a student must have satisfied at least the minimal course credit requirement (at least 56 hours, exclusive of courses graded below B-, with a GPA of 3.5 or better), and all MA requirements. In addition, a student must:

    1. pass a written examination covering three literature areas (one of which may be a regional competency examination)

    2. propose a dissertation research project in colloquium before the department

    3. pass an oral examination administered by the guidance committee in which questions address both the written exam and the colloquium

    4. Within six months after admission to candidacy, submit a dissertation prospectus approved by the student's doctoral committee.

  • Requirements
    • Minimum credits satisfying master's requirements (subfields and electives): 30

    • Electives (exclusive of ANTH 591, 599, 698, 699, and including no more than 8 credits of ANTH 597, and not more than 8 credits of course work outside of anthropology) to be chosen with the advice of the student's guidance committee and the written approval of its chair: 26

    • ANTH 699, Dissertation, as required to maintain registration after admission to candidacy.

    • Total minimum credit hours: 56

    Students who have completed an MA at another university or in another discipline may request credit for up to 30 credit hours toward the PhD, and they may request exemption from one or more of the subfield distribution or discipline-specific requirements on the basis of previous graduate coursework in the relevant area. Students should address such requests to the Director of Graduate Studies.

  • Foreign Language and Research Skill

    See language requirement for the master's degree. Students having completed an MA at another university that required a language examination may submit evidence of having satisfied this requirement. In some instances, the choice of research area by the student may require demonstration of additional language proficiency (e.g. due to a lack of relevance of the language competence previously demonstrated).

    Students should seek the advice of the members of their doctoral committee regarding appropriate language and research skills for the pursuit of their individualized programs of study. 

  • Granting The Degree
    Each doctoral candidate must demonstrate the ability to complete an original research project and submit the findings in a dissertation acceptable to the student's dissertation committee. Upon approval by this committee, the dissertation must be defended in a public defense attended by the candidate's committee, an outside reader appointed by and representing the dean of the Graduate School and any others who wish to attend. A successful defense and submission of the dissertation to the Graduate School complete the requirements for awarding the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology.