Anthropology lab assistant points at a computer screen


Investigators of the Human experience
Exploring human diversity from the past to the present


Who We Are


Anthropology doctoral Student Chandras (left) and Proctor (right) at graduation


At its core, anthropology poses questions about the human experience: Where did we come from? How do we communicate? How did we organize into complex societies and what makes us different?

The GW Department of Anthropology navigates these and other questions through interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs. 

As the foremost comprehensive anthropology program in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region, the department also hosts the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology. We print 3D models in house for national museum exhibits and conduct research in 3,000 square feet of laboratory space. And we partner with the Koobi Fora Field School, the National Park Service and other internship and field sites around the world to offer students the opportunity to study anthropology up close.



Core Focus Areas

In our classrooms and laboratories, and in museums and field sites around the world, our students enjoy rich learning and research experiences across the core areas of archeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology and sociocultural anthropology. They work alongside world-class faculty examining the ancient ruins of early ancestors and relics of sunken slave ships; they are deciphering how humans first formed social networks and looking at the role of language in human thought; and they are even analyzing how cell phones are impacting our global culture, not to mention our daily lives.



Fall 2022 Graduate Program Applications Are Open!



GRE scores are not required for application to the MA, MS and PhD programs and, if submitted with the application, will play no role in our departmental admissions decisions. The Department of Anthropology values building a thriving intellectual community that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. We do not consider GRE scores to be a valid predictor of intellectual promise — indeed we believe the GRE often promotes injustices that are contrary to our values.

However, for some PhD funding packages the university continues to require that GRE scores be submitted. For this reason, we currently recommend that applicants to the PhD program take the GRE, but with the understanding that your scores will not affect your chances of admission into the program. We hope that, in the future, the GRE will no longer be required for any funding packages and we are actively working to make this happen.

Professor of Anthropology Sarah Wagner

Dr. Sarah E. Wagner

Associate Professor of Anthropology

"At the core of anthropology are real people’s lives. As anthropologists, we go into communities and spend time trying to understand lived experiences. We tell people’s stories. And we have an obligation to do it right."

Anthropology by the Numbers


Square feet of laboratory space in the state-of-the-art Science and Engineering Hall


Years working with the Smithsonian Institution


Partnerships with archaeological field sites, nature reserves, national parks and laboratories


Texts, rare books, field notes, journals and electronic media on file


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