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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Anthropology (ANTH)

Program Home Page

Department of Anthropology
409 Carpenter Building
814-863-1474 (fax)


Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.A.
Integrated B.A. in Anthropology/B.A. in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and M.A. in Anthropology
Integrated B.S. in Archaeological Science/B.A. in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and M.A. in Anthropology


The Graduate Faculty


The Programs

The master's program is designed to train students in general anthropology. The doctoral program is structured to train students in the following areas of specialization: ethnology (with subspecialization in social anthropology, demographic anthropology, cultural evolution, and ecology); archaeology (with subspecialization in cultural ecology, analytical approaches, technological methods, and culture areas); biological anthropology (with subspecialization in human adaptability, genetics, biological demography, human evolution, and the behavioral biology of human and non-human primates).

Admission Requirements

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), or from a comparable substitute examination accepted by a graduate program and authorized by the dean of the Graduate School, are required for admission. At the discretion of a graduate program, a student may be admitted provisionally for graduate study in a program without these scores. Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Undergraduate preparation must include 12 credits in anthropology and archaeology or their equivalent. A student with an excellent record but who does not meet these requirements may be admitted provided course deficiencies are made up without graduate credit. Students with a 3.00 or higher junior/senior average (on a 4.00 scale) and with appropriate course backgrounds who have research interests directly related to the special anthropological competencies within the department will be considered for admission. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students. Exceptions to the minimum 3.00 grade-point average may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

Master's Degree Requirements

M.A. candidates may submit either a thesis or a term paper. If the latter is chosen, 6 credits in 500-level courses in the major field must be scheduled in lieu of thesis credits. The M.A. degree may be bypassed by exceptional candidates for the Ph.D. degree.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

For the Ph.D. degree, students must conduct significant original research that demonstrates the student’s mastery of the field. The Ph.D. requirements include successful completion of coursework as stipulated by the department and doctoral committee, passing the candidacy and comprehensive exams, preparing a proposal prior to initiating doctoral-level research, and writing and defending the subsequent dissertation. A doctoral committee minimally consists of three faculty from the department and one external member, all part of the Graduate Faculty. The committee administers the comprehensive exam and evaluates the doctoral proposal, subsequent dissertation, and its defense. At least one regular member of the doctoral committee must represent a field outside the candidate’s major field of study in order to provide a broader range of disciplinary perspectives and expertise. This committee member is referred to as the ‘Outside Field Member.’ In cases where the candidate is also pursuing a dual-title field of study, the dual-title representative to the committee may serve as the Outside Field Member. In order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, the primary appointment of at least one regular member of the doctoral committee must be in an administrative unit that is outside the unit in which the dissertation adviser’s primary appointment is held (i.e., the adviser’s administrative home; in the case of tenure-line faculty, this is the individual’s tenure home). This committee member is referred to as the ‘Outside Unit Member.’ In the case of co-advisers, the Outside Unit Member must be from outside the administrative home(s) of both co-advisers.

The communication and foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree includes a reading knowledge of a foreign language plus an option from among additional foreign languages, field languages, linguistics, or statistics.

Integrated Undergraduate and Graduate (IUG) Degree Requirements

The Department of Anthropology offers integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree programs (B.A./B.A./M.A. or B.A./B.S./M.A.) designed to allow academically superior students to obtain a either B.A. degree in Anthropology or a B.S. degree in Archaeological Science, a B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS), and an M.A. degree in Anthropology in five years of study. To complete the program in five years, students interested in either of the IUG programs in Anthropology must apply for admission to the Graduate School and the IUG program by the end of their junior year.

During the first three years, the student will follow course scheduling for the B.A. degree in CAMS and either the B.A. degree in Anthropology or the B.S. degree in Archaeological Science (see the Undergraduate Bulletin). Students who intend to enter the IUG program are encouraged to take upper level classes during their first three years whenever appropriate. By the end of the junior year, students normally apply for admission to both the IUG program and to the Graduate School. Acceptance decisions will be made prior to the beginning of the senior year and M.A. advisors will be appointed for successful applicants. During the senior year, IUG students follow the scheduling of the selected options for their B.A. or B.S. majors, with an emphasis on completing 500-level course work as appropriate. During the senior year, IUG students will start work on their thesis or scholarly paper research to meet the M.A. thesis or scholarly paper requirements. During the fifth year, IUG students take courses fulfilling the M.A. degree requirements and complete their M.A. theses.

Admission Requirements

Students who wish to complete the Integrated Undergraduate and Graduate Program in Anthropology should apply for admission to both the Graduate School and the IUG Anthropology Program. Students shall be admitted to an IUG program no earlier than the beginning of the third semester of undergraduate study at Penn State (regardless of transfer or AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study. In all cases, admission to the program will be at the discretion of the joint Anthropology-CAMS admission committee. Criteria for admission include a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 in their majors, strong recommendation letters from faculty, and an excellent proposal for a research project with a specific adviser who has agreed to guide the student through to the completion of the M.A. thesis or scholarly paper.

Graduate Course Work

Requirements for the M.A. portion of the IUG Program include 30 credits in course work and a written thesis or scholarly paper. Course work includes:

  • ANTH 493, 588, plus 6 credits in ANTH 545 and 2 credits in ANTH 521
  • 4 required credits in ANTH 494 or CAMS 494
  • 6 required credits in ANTH 594, ANTH 596, ANTH 599, CAMS 592, CAMS 593, or CAMS 596

6 required credits of Thesis Research, ANTH 600 (thesis option), or 6 additional credits of course work (paper option).

Dual-Title Ph.D. in Anthropology and Bioethics

Degree Requirements

Anthropology Ph.D. students may pursue additional training in bioethics through the dual-title Ph.D. program in Bioethics. To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Anthropology Ph.D. program. In addition, they must satisfy the requirements described below, as established by the Bioethics program committee. Within this framework, final course selection is determined by the student, their Anthropology adviser and their Bioethics program adviser.

Additional Course Work
The dual-title Ph.D. in Anthropology and Bioethics requires eighteen credits of course work, as follows:

  • Seven required credits (BIOET 501, BIOET 502, and BIOET 590), plus at least three additional BIOET credits at the 500 level.
  • Eight additional credits from a list of approved electives at the 400 and 500 level, with at least two credits at the 500 level. The list of elective courses will be maintained by the Director of the Bioethics Graduate Program in consultation with the Bioethics Program Committee.

In order to be admitted to doctoral candidacy in the dual-title degree program, students must meet the Ph.D. candidacy requirements specified by Anthropology. During the candidacy process, the student will also be assessed for candidacy to the Bioethics program, and at least one member of the candidacy committee must come from the Bioethics program.

Comprehensive Exam
At least one member of the doctoral committee will be a faculty member affiliated with the Bioethics Program. The faculty member (or members) affiliated with the Bioethics Program will be responsible for administering a portion of the comprehensive exam that will require the student to demonstrate an understanding of various theoretical and methodological approaches to bioethics, and an ability to apply them to issues and problems (including, where appropriate, practical problems) in their primary field.

Dissertation and dissertation defense
A dissertation on a bioethics-related topic or with a substantial bioethics component is required of students in the dual-title Ph.D. program. The bioethics-related topic of the dissertation or the bioethics component will be approved by the student's committee.

Student Aid

In addition to the fellowships, traineeships, graduate assistantships, and other forms of financial aid described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin, the following award typically has been available to post-comprehensive graduate students in this program:


Details available from Professor Nina G. Jablonski, Department of Anthropology, 409 Carpenter Building, University Park campus.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.



Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2013

Blue Sheet Item #: 42-01-122; 42-01-123

Review Date: 08/20/13

Faculty linked: 5/12/14


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