Why study anthropology?

Because anthropology explains the diversity of humanity.

For specific questions about our program, please contact us:
The University of Kansas
Department of Anthropology
Graduate Programs
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.,
622 Fraser Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
E-mail:  kuanthro@ku.edu
Phone: (785) 864-2630
Fax: (785) 864-5224

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission to the Anthropology Program

The Graduate Record Examination is recommended but not required for admission; however, to be considered for university fellowships (GTA appointment), GRE scores are required.  The graduate program begins at an advanced level. Preparation for the program through completion of an undergraduate major in anthropology is encouraged but not required. Some undergraduate preparation in fields closely related to anthropology, such as biology, sociology, psychology, linguistics, economics, geography, or geology, is strongly recommended. Undergraduate courses in such subjects as biology, philosophy, genetics, computer science, and history are of considerable value to the graduate student in anthropology. Graduate courses in Anthropology are reserved for students who are admitted to a graduate program in the Department of Anthropology.

Proficiency in a modern foreign language and in statistics is of special importance to candidates for graduate work in anthropology and should be acquired during the undergraduate years. All students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree must enroll in the M.A. program. Admission to the Ph.D. program is ordinarily contingent upon completion of the master’s degree in anthropology. A student with a master’s degree in anthropology from another institution may apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

Submit your graduate application online.


Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in anthropology is awarded to candidates who have demonstrated specialized competence in one or more of the general fields and who have contributed to the body of knowledge and theory in the specialized field through independent, original research.

Research Skills & Responsible Scholarship Requirement (RSRS)

The Graduate Studies' policy on Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship also requires the following: 

  1. Every doctoral student is required to have training in responsible scholarship pertinent to the field of research.
  2. Every doctoral student is required to obtain research skills pertinent to the doctoral level of research in their field(s).

Languages or other research skills used to satisfy the RSRS requirement must be approved by the student's committee. Since these are research skills, students are advised to master them early in the program, so they may be utilized in further course work, independent study, and research. The aspirant must satisfy 1 of the following options before taking the comprehensive exams:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive reading and speaking knowledge of one foreign language relevant to the student's research interests, in which there exists a significant research literature in anthropology.  Foreign students may use their native language to fulfill this option only if the language is considered to be an adequate research tool for their program.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the reading of 2 foreign languages relevant to the student's research interests, in which there exists significant research literature in anthropology.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the reading of 1 foreign language relevant to the student's research interests, in which there exists significant research literature in anthropology, and competence in another research skill relevant to the student's special research requirements in anthropology. This latter requirement may be satisfied by knowledge of a language in which there is no written research literature, but which the student will employ in fieldwork.
  • Demonstrate competence in 2 research skills relevant to the student's special research requirements in anthropology.

This policy is effective for all doctoral students admitted fall 2011 or later.

Doctoral students in anthropology must pass the following course. Master’s students are encouraged to take it as well.

ANTH 707 Responsible Research & Scholarship in Anthropology (3). This course examines a range of issues critical to responsible research, scholarship, and practice in anthropology. Topics include: anthropological codes of ethics; protection of human subjects, informed consent, and confidentiality; appropriate conduct in field and laboratory research; data management, curation, and dissemination; proper protocols for authorship, submission of publications, and peer review; classified and proprietary research; mentor-student relationships; professional collaborations. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in anthropology or consent of instructor. Required for all doctoral students in anthropology.

Upon completion of a RSRS requirement, the student and advisor must notify the graduate coordinator, who will enter it in the student's permanent record and notify the College Office of Graduate Affairs.

Residence Requirement

2 semesters, normally consecutive, or 1 semester and 1 summer session must be spent in resident study at KU.

Field Statements

Students must become thoroughly familiar with the literature pertinent to their specializations and doctoral research problems. The student who submits field statements is asserting that he or she has achieved competence in limited areas defined by the subdiscipline, as demonstrated by bibliographies and written treatments of the research problems in those areas. The comprehensive examinations are based on the areas specified in the field statements.

Written and Oral Comprehensive Examinations

The student’s doctoral committee devises and judges the written comprehensive examinations, which may be taken either together or at different times. If the committee is satisfied with the caliber of the student’s field statements and written examinations, they may schedule the oral comprehensive examination, providing all other requirements have been fulfilled.

Dissertation Proposal

From the beginning of doctoral study, the student should plan to conduct a doctoral dissertation project. This is an independent piece of research, usually requiring fieldwork, and leading to a dissertation that contributes to anthropological knowledge. 

Defense of the Dissertation

When the dissertation is accepted by the dissertation committee, a final oral examination is held.

Handbook for Graduate Students

Detailed information, application deadlines, and general information may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook, available on the Anthropology Graduate website.