FAQ for Anthropology Graduate Program


How long does it take to get a PhD in Anthropology at Stanford?

The Ph.D. program allows the student to develop a flexible program reflecting special research interests, under the supervision of a faculty committee chosen by the student. Students are encouraged to plan for completion of all work for the Ph.D. in five years.

Ph.D. students in Anthropology must complete a minimum of 135 quarter units with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B). The maximum allowable number of transfer units is 45.
The typical time to degree is approximately 6 years, although it is quite possible to complete all the requirements in 5 years. A typical schedule is as follows:

  • Years 1 and 2 – coursework and teaching assistance,
  • Year 3 – qualifying exams and research proposal,
  • Year 4 – approved dissertation research, typically in the field,
  • Years 5 and 6 – research, analysis, data collection, write-up, teaching assistance and oral examination – Dissertation defense.

For additional information please see the Stanford University Bulletin, the Anthropology Graduate Program Flyer, and the department graduate program webpage.

Are there different tracks of specialization within the graduate program in Anthropology?

Culture and Society, Environment and Ecology, and Archaeology are the three tracks of specialization in the doctoral program. Within these three tracks, students may explore a range of fields of study. Examples of the varying faculty and student areas of study can be found in their respective profiles online. Although, the tracks are informal and at the department-level, only, they are an important way for the department to identify the student’s developing research.

How can I find out about faculty research and faculty contact information?

The department faculty and their research interests are listed online at Anthropology Faculty. Current PhD students in the Department of Anthropology may be contacted by visiting Anthropology Graduate Students.

How can I find out about graduate student research and graduate student contact information?

Current PhD students in the Department of Anthropology may be contacted by visiting Anthropology Graduate Students.

What is the language requirement for the PhD in Anthropology?

PhD candidates must prove competence in a foreign language by the end of spring quarter of their Second Year. The chosen language may be related to field research or scholarly work.

What is the teaching requirement for the PhD in Anthropology?

The Department requires one quarter of Teaching Assistantship in the Second Year and at least one quarter of Teaching Assistantship in the Fifth Year. The Department requires students in the Second Year cohort to attend a Teaching Assistantship Training workshop at the beginning of the academic year.

If I have prior graduate work, can it be transferred into the PhD degree program? Will this accelerate my doctoral degree program?

After at least one quarter of enrollment in the first year, students pursuing a PhD may apply for transfer credit for up to 45 units of graduate work done at another institution.

If I have prior graduate work, can it be transferred into the MA program in Anthropology?

No, prior graduate work may not be transferred or credited toward the MA degree program.

Does the MA degree program lead into the PhD degree program?

No, transferring from the MA degree program to the PhD degree program is not usually permitted. Anthropology MA applicants whose ultimate goal is the Anthropology PhD program should apply directly to the PhD degree program.

Do I have to have an MA or other graduate work before I apply to the PhD program?

No, applicants to the PhD program are not required to have an MA before applying to the PhD program. Less than one third of an entering PhD cohort will have obtained a masters degree.

My most recent degree is not from an anthropology program. Will this adversely affect my graduate application?

No, applicants are not required to have an Anthropology background. However, a background in the behavioral/ and or social sciences would be expected. In addition, the applicant would be expected to have a foundation in social science theory and the ability to do analysis in the social sciences.

How can I obtain more information from the Anthropology Department regarding my interest in graduate studies?

Please refer to the University Bulletin, Department Admissions website, and Registrars Office of Graduate Admissions website for more information. Contact information for graduate students including a description of their topic and area(s) of interest is also available at the Department website under Graduate Students.

Is funding offered to PhD students in Anthropology?

The Department of Anthropology offers five years of graduate funding (based on the availability of funds) for the PhD program, through a combination of fellowships and assistantships, covering full tuition and a living stipend. The fellowships are usually given for five consecutive years of graduate study. In addition to the graduate funding offer, the PhD student is also offered funding for two summers of pre-field summer research; and health insurance coverage during the academic year (autumn, winter and spring quarters).

Is funding offered to MA students in Anthropology?

There is no financial support available through the Department of Anthropology to support students in the graduate Masters program. For more information about other funding opportunities, please contact the Student Services Officer directly via email or telephone at selleck@stanford.edu or 650-723-4641.

Is there a difference between department funding support and financial aid?

Although, departmental funding support is sometimes referred to as ‘Financial Aid’ this funding is distinct from federal or other funding that an individual student may apply for through the Financial Aid office of Stanford University. Department funding support for PhD students is funding provided from the School of Humanities and Sciences by way of the Department for the purpose of supporting the PhD student’s living expenses as well academic and research expenses throughout the PhD degree program.

Is Stanford on a quarter or semester system?

Stanford is on the Quarter System. For more information about Stanford’s schedule, please go to the Stanford Academic Calendar published by the Office of the Registrar.

Where can I find out more information about course offerings in Anthropology?

Information about current Anthropology course offerings can be found on our Department website under Courses. Course listings beyond the current quarter can be viewed in Stanford Bulletin Explore Courses.

Where can I find information about graduate degrees in Anthropology?

Information about the department’s Doctoral and Masters degree programs, please review the information located on the Department web pages.

Where can I find information about graduate housing at Stanford University?

Information about campus housing for graduate students can be found on Stanford’s Student Housing website under Prospective Students.

Where can I find information about the estimated cost of living at Stanford University?

Information about the estimated cost of living at Stanford as a graduate student can be found on The Student Budget website. Remember that this is only an estimate, your actual expenses may be different.

Does Stanford offer grant and loan opportunities to graduate students?

Information about sources of Graduate student funding can be found at http://vpge.stanford.edu/funding/sources.html.

Will admission to the MA program help increase my chances of being admitted to the doctoral degree program?

Admission to the Master's degree program does not increase the probability of admission to the doctoral degree program. If a current Stanford University MA student applies to the PhD degree program, the applicant will be considered equally with all other graduate applicants.

What is the annual cost of attending your program?

The tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year can be located at http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/registrar/students/tuition-fees_12-13

Is there an additional or separate process to apply for department funding or for financial aid?

The Department of Anthropology usually offers identical five-year funding packages to all admitted PhD students, with two additional summer quarters of funding. Funding is intended to cover the applicable tuition costs, Stanford Cardinal Care health insurance expenses, and various living expenses in the form of direct stipend, teaching assistantships or pre-doctoral research assistantships. The department, with the School of Humanities and Sciences, is also committed to sponsoring students' involvement in professional activities and may reimburse many of the expenses for research travel, summer language study, and participation in academic conferences. Applicants to the graduate PhD degree program in Anthropology do not need to submit an additional application for funding at the time when the graduate application is submitted. The department encourages students in all stages of the PhD degree program to apply for funding from intra and extramural funding sources.

Are there funding opportunities appropriate for application by a graduate applicant before admission to a graduate program?

Listed below, are just a few of the agencies providing graduate fellowships. Applicants are urged to consult funding references for additional sources of support.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program http://www.nsfgrfp.org/

Ford Minority Predoctoral Fellowship Program http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/FordFellowships/PGA_047958

Mellon Mays Predoctoral Research Grants http://www.ssrc.org/fellowships/mellon-mays-predoctoral-research-grants/

Various Foreign Language and Area Studies grants