The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Anthropology - PhD

Division: Social Sciences
Degree Type: PhD (For the MA degree, see the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences)

Program Description

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago has a long and proud tradition of scholarly excellence and leadership in the discipline. This is, perhaps, an even more exciting time than usual because we have just made substantial additions of excellent young anthropologists to our faculty. We are intent on maintaining the traditional foci of the Department while developing emerging centers of theoretical interest in the discipline and beyond. Some of the areas that are currently enjoying particular attention by faculty and students in archaeology, as well as linguistic and sociocultural anthropology, include: semiotic approaches to culture, postcoloniality, human rights and indigenous rights, globalization, critiques of neoliberalism, the politics of gender and sexuality, the analysis of place and space, and the anthropological study of science. Each of these research areas is enhanced by the Department's longstanding commitment to training students in the history and foundations of social and cultural theory. The excellence of our graduate students has always been one of the most important aspects of our program, since so much is learned in free-ranging discussions with fellow students and in our small, hands-on research seminars and workshops.

Explore program faculty »

Specific Areas of Focus

  • Archaeology
  • Sociocultural
  • Linguistic Anthropology


Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15

The Department of Anthropology admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered.

Campus Visits

Campus visits and interviews are not required. Contact the department for more information.

Degree Objective

The Department of Anthropology admits applicants only for the PhD degree. We do not offer an MA program. If you are interested in pursuing an MA focusing in Anthropology, look at the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS).

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Non-refundable application fee Fee waiver information »
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. GRE and TOEFL Scores
  5. Statement of Academic Purpose
  6. Resume/CV
  7. Writing Sample
  8. Transcripts
  9. Supplemental Data Form

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

The requirements have been defined with a view to maintaining a balance between professional guidance and freedom of choice, common departmental criteria and the distinctive needs of each field, extensive coverage and intensive application. Here is a summary of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree:

A. Nine courses for grades of A, B, or P during the first year including Development of Social Cultural Theory-1,-2 for grades of A or B (4 courses); Introduction to Chicago Anthropology for a grade of P, and four other courses for grades of A or B.

B. Nine more courses for grades of A, B, or P completed prior to admission to candidacy (usually by the end of year three) including Anthropological Methods and Proposal Preparation for students in Social/Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology and Archaeological Theory and Method, Archaeological Research Design, and Archaeological Data Sets for Students in Archaeology

C. Master’s paper or approved equivalent.

D. The PhD. Qualifying Examination usually taken in the third year.

F. Presentation and defense of the dissertation proposal in a public setting in the third year or fourth year.

G. Defense of the dissertation in the Ph.D. Final Oral Examination

 See requirement details »

Costs & Financial Aid

As a general principle, we provide extensive funding for all students who matriculate in our doctoral programs. Applicants to our doctoral programs are considered for all fellowship resources at the University of Chicago for which they are eligible. More information »