PhD in Anthropology
The PhD in Anthropology program empowers students to apply anthropological concepts to contemporary social problems. Through rigorous coursework and independent research, students hone their communication and academic expertise.
Doctoral students work in small cohorts under faculty mentors. They explore ethnographic questions and complete original research that integrates archaeology, gender studies, ethnography, international affairs, museum studies and more.
The PhD in Anthropology has no formal concentrations but is primarily focused on sociocultural anthropology and the archaeology of biologically modern humans (applicants interested in the study of human evolution should apply instead to the PhD in Human Paleobiology). All students are strongly encouraged to complete an internship at one of Washington, D.C.’s many cultural institutions and museums.
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.
Admissions and Funding
Research Area Highlight
Areas of Interest
The PhD in Anthropology program encourages prospective students with scholarly interests in public life to discuss their research interests in these focus areas during the application process:
- The social world of public policy, both in centers of power and in the diverse range of places where these policies are formulated, contested and put into practice. Washington, D.C., provides unique access to such institutions.
- The complex work of governance at global, national and local scales. This research area asks questions about the discourse and practice of scientific, bureaucratic and religious authority.
- The role of materiality and material culture in the various dimensions of social life. In this focus, students explore how things are made, consumed and circulate through time and space.
- The role of the digital in our world, and how it constitutes, transforms and disrupts the contemporary human experience. Digital ethnography examines the internet’s role in our lives, as well as how it affects “offline” categories such as kinship, labor, gender, power, mobility and inequality.
- The social model of disability. In this area, society and not the individual is responsible for disability. Research explores how societies create and classify impairments, and how disability reverberates through kinship, politics, religion and aesthetics. What does one community view as deviant, and another view as expected?
|Students are expected to take three of the four offered proseminars; however, students with significant background in a field, as determined through petition to the instructor, may waive one proseminar.|
|ANTH 6101||Proseminar in Biological Anthropology|
|ANTH 6102||Proseminar in Sociocultural Anthropology|
|ANTH 6103||Proseminar in Archaeology|
|ANTH 6104||Proseminar in Linguistic Anthropology|
|One research methods seminar|
|ANTH 6531||Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology|
|One professional skills and ethics seminar|
|Dissertation Research (6-24 credits)|
|ANTH 8999||Dissertation Research|
All students must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language; an additional language may be required if it is needed for fieldwork or archival research. An internship in anthropology and public life at an institution responsible for communicating anthropological knowledge to diverse audiences is recommended.
Requirements for the second phase of the program
In the second phase, students prepare a research proposal that meets funding agency guidelines and take the general examination in at least three major areas (e.g., a general field in anthropological theory, a geographic area, and a thematically defined field). Following successful completion of the general examination, an oral defense of the student’s research proposal is held. Those who pass advance to candidacy for the PhD and engage in completion and defense of the dissertation.