Applying to the Graduate Program

How to Apply

The following sections provide guidelines and suggestions for applying to the MA, PhD, and MS programs in Anthropology. These guidelines are designed to ensure that applicants coming from different backgrounds are evaluated equitably. Answers to many questions about application procedures or materials can be found on the graduate school website but can also be sent to the graduate director.


Admission Deadlines and Funding

For fall admission, apply by January 1, to receive consideration for funding from the Anthropology Department and the Clifford D. Clark Diversity Fellowship.

Applications received between January 2nd and April 15th will be considered for fall admission, but not for departmental funding. For spring admission it is not possible to receive departmental funding. Applicants for spring semester should apply no later than November 15th.

Only MA/PhD and PhD students are eligible for departmental funding (MA and MS students are not eligible for departmental funding). Students should consider other funding sources available on campus, which are listed online through the hireBing system, or employment opportunities in the wider community. We also encourage applications from students with Fulbright, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) or other research funding.

Admissions Checklist

For general guidelines from the graduate school for these materials, see the Admission Requirements website.

  • Online graduate degree application with graduate degree application fee
  • Transcripts from each college or university that you have attended
  • Personal statement (see specific guidelines for MA/PhD and MS applicants below)
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae (see guidelines below)
  • Three letters of recommendation from professors or other professionals who know your academic record well or have supervised your research (you should contact letter writers in advance)
  • GRE scores are not required

Personal Statement

The information and ideas written in your personal statement should be presented in a way that describes your preparation for graduate study and explains why you are seeking a degree in Anthropology at Binghamton University in particular. The statement should be written using clear and professional language and be free of typos and grammatical errors. You should plan to have a professor or colleague provide feedback on your statement before submission. Specific guidance for MA, PhD, and MS students follows.

  • For MA & PhD Applicants 

    The Master of Arts (MA) and PhD in Anthropology are professional degrees for individuals who are considering careers in academic anthropology as well as non-academic opportunities in the public and private sectors. Applicants seeking a PhD who do not already have an MA, earn this degree on the path to completing their PhD. Applicants to the MS in Biomedical Anthropology (see below) are not immediately eligible for the PhD program, but may reapply to our department after they have completed their degree.  

    Your personal statement should describe your preparation for graduate study and clearly explain why you are seeking to earn the MA and/or PhD in Anthropology at Binghamton University in particular. To help you explain this, you should think about how your research interests overlap with that of our faculty. Training in these programs relies on developing relationships with faculty, therefore we ask that you reach out to potential faculty advisors in advance of your application to learn more about their expertise. In your personal statement you should make clear which subfield suits you best (archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology) and list the names of the faculty members with whom you plan to work.

    In your personal statement, you should highlight how your interests and experiences have prepared you for graduate study, why you want to study anthropology at Binghamton University, and your research interests and career plans. In a statement of 2500 words or less, please address the following questions:

    1. Preparation: What is your preparation for the MA and/or PhD program? Describe your background and training in anthropology and related fields and other relevant experience, including research that was part of academic coursework, independent study, an internship, a foreign language immersion experience, ethnographic research, or a field school. Some of these forms of experience will be more or less relevant depending on which subfield of anthropology you choose and what kind of research you are planning to conduct while here. When discussing some research experiences, you may want to provide a description of the project’s goals and highlight your specific role in terms of skills and contributions.
    2. Program: How will you capitalize on the training and resources of the BU Anthropology program? Who among our faculty would be appropriate mentors for you? To answer these questions, you should review information on our MA and PhD website that describes our programs and requirements and the research interests of our faculty.
    3. Research: What thesis and/or dissertation research do you plan to conduct? While you do not need a fully-formed research agenda, you should describe the topics and geographical areas that are most of interest to you, any possible research questions you want to explore, and the theoretical approach or approaches you plan to use in order to answer them.
    4. Plans: What are your plans after graduation? We want to understand how receiving training in Anthropology connects to your career goals. Spend some time explaining how you think this degree will help you meet those goals.
  • For MS Applicants

    The Master of Science (MS) in Biomedical Anthropology is an applied terminal professional degree. This means that it is designed to prepare students for  jobs in health and health science professions, broadly defined. Applicants who are planning to pursue degrees in medicine, genetic counseling, or other health-related professions may also find the training in the MS degree beneficial. Applicants who are interested in a career in academic anthropology should consider applying to the MA or PhD program.

    Your personal statement should describe your preparation for graduate study and clearly explain why you are seeking to earn the MS degree in Biomedical Anthropology at Binghamton University. In your personal statement, please use the section headers of “Preparation”, “Program”, and “Plans” to specifically respond to the following three questions. Your responses across the three questions should be limited to a total of 1500 words.

    1. Preparation: What is your preparation for the MS program? Describe your background and training in anthropology and related fields (e.g., biology, genetics, forensics, or public health) and other relevant experience, including research that was part of academic coursework, independent study, an internship, or a field school. When discussing research experiences, you should provide a description of the project’s goals and highlight your specific role in terms of skills and contributions:
    2. Program: How does your preparation intersect with the strengths and resources of the BU Biomedical Anthropology program? To answer this question, you should review information on our MS website  that describes the program and its requirements, the research interests of our biological anthropology faculty, and the career paths of our alumni.
    3. Plans: What are your plans after graduation? We want to understand how receiving training in Biomedical Anthropology connects to your career goals. Spend some time explaining how you think this degree will help you meet those goals.
  • For all Applicants

    Résumé or curriculum vitae:

    Information included on your résumé or cv should focus on communicating skills, qualifications, and accomplishments that have prepared you for graduate study.

    Include the following sections if they apply:

    • Education
    • Professional Appointments/Employment
    • Awards and Honors
    • Grants and Fellowships
    • Publications (most recent first)
    • Conference Presentations (posters and talks, most recent first)
    • Teaching Experience
    • Research Experience
      • Including field schools, research done for honor’s theses, research assistantships,
      • internships, independent study projects 
    • Service (to the profession, your university, or department)
    • Professional Membership