Anthropology

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Entrance to the Anthropology graduate program occurs in the fall semester. Applications must be received by the department no later than December 1 for fall admission. The Department of Anthropology requires Ph.D. program applicants to submit:

A Master’s degree is not required to apply to the Ph.D. Program. The department does not admit students to the terminal Master’s degree, but does allow students to apply for a Master’s degree through admission to the IUG (Integrated Undergraduate and Graduate) program and Ph.D. degree program.

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

A minimum of 30 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level is required, with least 18 credits at the 500 and 600 level, combined. All Master’s students are required to take the following:

Required Courses
Core Theory Seminars
ANTH 560Ecology, Evolution, and Human Behavior3
ANTH 571Principles of Human Evolutionary Biology3
ANTH 588Method and Theory in Archaeology3
Literature Review Seminar
ANTH 541Current Literature in Integrative Anthropology2
Culminating Experience
ANTH 600Thesis Research
or ANTH 596 Individual Studies

Students can choose to complete a thesis or a scholarly paper as the culminating experience for the degree. Students who choose to complete a thesis must take a minimum of 6 thesis research credits (ANTH 600). The thesis must be accepted by the advisers and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School. Students in the non-thesis track must complete 18 credits at the 500 level, and must write a satisfactory scholarly paper, while enrolled in ANTH 596.

Additional course work is tailored to the student’s research interests after advance consultation with their adviser, and specific courses may be required by the adviser depending on the student’s background and research plans. 

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

The doctoral degree in Anthropology requires a minimum of 30 credits, 27 of which are required coursework and 3 credits of which are electives. All first-year Ph.D. students are required to register for 9-12 credits per semester and complete 15 credits of course work, including the three core theory seminars ( ANTH 560, ANTH 571, ANTH 588) and two research method seminars (ANTH 572, and ANTH 573). The core method and theory courses will serve as the basis for the Ph.D. qualifying exam, which will take place at the end of the first year.

In the fall of the second year, all students in the Ph.D. program should enroll for a total of 9-12 credits per semester, including ANTH 509. ANTH 508, Visualizing Anthropological Data, is required for all Ph.D. students and may be taken at any point in the first two years. Students without suitable preparation in statistics may also be required to take a course at the 400 or 500 level at the adviser’s discretion. A student’s Ph.D. committee can require additional course work depending on the student’s background and research plans.

Required Courses
ANTH 508Visualizing Anthropological Data 13
ANTH 509Proposal Writing3
ANTH 541Current Literature in Integrative Anthropology 26
ANTH 560Ecology, Evolution, and Human Behavior3
ANTH 571Principles of Human Evolutionary Biology3
ANTH 572Advances in Anthropological Methods3
ANTH 573Anthropology Research Practicum3
ANTH 588Method and Theory in Archaeology3

A student’s Ph.D. committee can require reading knowledge and/or demonstrated working knowledge of a foreign language, specialized training in linguistics, or training in computer programming languages, depending on the student’s research interests. This will be determined shortly after the committee is formed.

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 course work as stipulated by the department and Ph.D. committee, passing the qualifying exam, preparing a dissertation proposal, successfully passing the comprehensive exam/dissertation proposal defense, and writing and defending the subsequent dissertation. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense).

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title Ph.D. in Anthropology and Bioethics

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

The Bioethics program provides anthropology students with an opportunity to develop their knowledge of the social and ethical implications of their research. This combination – solid research experience with an intimate knowledge of the ethical dimensions of that work – is increasingly important in the workplace, and broadens the possibilities of employment beyond traditional anthropology positions.

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Anthropology and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Bioethics dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Bioethics Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Bioethics prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Anthropology, listed above. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Bioethics, listed on the Bioethics Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Anthropology and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Bioethics program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Anthropology and Bioethics. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of an Anthropology and Bioethics dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Bioethics Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Bioethics, the member of the committee representing Bioethics must be appointed as co-chair. The Bioethics representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Anthropology and Bioethics. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title Ph.D. in Anthropology and Climate Science

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

The Climate Science program offers enhanced training opportunities for students interested in investigating the role of climate change in human evolution, socio-natural systems, and contemporary societies.

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Anthropology and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Climate Science dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Climate Science Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Climate Science no later than the end of the fourth semester (not counting summer semesters) of entry into the primary Ph.D. program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in in Anthropology, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Climate Science, listed on the Climate Science Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination in Anthropology satisfies the qualifying exam requirement for the dual-title degree program in Climate Science.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of an Anthropology and Climate Science dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Climate Science Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Climate Science, the member of the committee representing Climate Science must be appointed as co-chair. The Climate Science representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Anthropology and Climate Science. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology and Demography 

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

The Demography interdisciplinary program is designed to give students in-depth knowledge of the demographic dimensions of anthropological research, including studies of present populations as well as those of the past.

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Anthropology and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Demography dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Demography Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Demography prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Anthropology, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Demography, listed on the Demography Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Anthropology and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Demography program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Anthropology and Demography. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of an Anthropology and Demography dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Demography Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Demography, the member of the committee representing Demography must be appointed as co-chair. The Demography representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Anthropology and Demography. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

The HDNRE program, which involves four colleges including the College of the Liberal Arts, is oriented toward research that furthers our understanding of the human use of natural resources, a pressing concern for all of us in the twenty-first century.  Topics of special concern for anthropologists are the (very) long-term impact of humans on natural settings, and the ways people have adapted to those changes in their surroundings.

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Anthropology and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the HDNRE dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the HDNRE Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in HDNRE prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Anthropology, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in HDNRE, listed on the HDNRE Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Anthropology and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the HDNRE program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements from both Anthropology and HDNRE. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of an Anthropology and HDNRE dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the HDNRE Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in HDNRE, the member of the committee representing HDNRE must be appointed as co-chair. The HDNRE representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Anthropology and HDNRE. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Integrated Undergrad-Grad Programs

Integrated B.A. degree in Anthropology or B.S. degree in Anthropological Science, B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS), and M.A. degree in Anthropology

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The Department of Anthropology offers two 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 either a B.A. degree in Anthropology or a B.S. degree in Anthropological Science, a B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS), and an M.A. degree in Anthropology in five years of study.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students who are applying to the Integrated Undergraduate and Graduate (IUG) program must complete the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Anthropology IUG graduate program, listed on the Admission Requirements tab. Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. Criteria for admission include a minimum 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. In consultation with this adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program. 

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.A. in Anthropology, B.A. in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and B.S. in Anthropological Science are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.A. degree are listed below. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
ANTH 541Current Literature in Integrative Anthropology1
ANTH 560Ecology, Evolution, and Human Behavior3
ANTH 571Principles of Human Evolutionary Biology3
ANTH 588Method and Theory in Archaeology3

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students must complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.A. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Joint Degrees

Joint M.D. / Ph.D. with the College of Medicine

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students interested in simultaneously pursuing a M.D. and Ph.D. degree must apply to the College of Medicine M.D. program using the national American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application system and indicate their intent to pursue the joint-degree program. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State College of Medicine are available at the M.D. Program section of the Penn State College of Medicine website. Applicants must also meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Ph.D. admission requirements listed on the Admission Requirements tab, however, the requirement for GRE scores is waived for students applying to the joint degree program.. The M.D./Ph.D. Admissions Committee reviews applications and evaluates candidates for acceptance into both the M.D. and Ph.D. programs. After the review committee has accepted an applicant to the joint degree program, s/he must apply to the Graduate School for admission to the graduate program.  Applicants not accepted into the joint-degree program may be referred to either the M.D. or Ph.D. program, depending on their qualifications.

Applicants to this program generally have very strong grades and MCAT scores, as well as a strong and sustained background in research. Applicants must be able to clearly articulate reasons for pursuing the joint degree. Letters of recommendation from faculty who have advised the applicant in research and who can comment on the applicant’s passion and potential for research are strongly encouraged.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits outlined below. Degree requirements for the M.D. program are listed on the Penn State College of Medicine website. For students enrolled in the joint degree program, the requirement for ANTH 572 and ANTH 573 will be waived, and students will be required to complete 2 credits of ANTH 541 instead of 6. The College of Medicine will accept 8 credits of ANTH 600 in lieu of two months of elective rotations (MED 797). In addition, the College of Medicine waives the requirement for a Medical Student Research project for students in the M.D./Ph.D. program.

If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the M.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the Ph.D. degree if all the Ph.D. degree requirements have been satisfied.

In addition to the requirements for the Ph.D. committee for a Ph.D. student in the ANTH Graduate Program, at least one member of the Ph.D. committee must be on the M.D./Ph.D. Steering Committee. This member may serve other roles on the Ph.D. committee.

M.D./Ph.D. students must complete 25 credits. Candidates for the M.D./Ph.D. in ANTH will take all of the core courses for the ANTH Ph.D., as well as electives chosen by the ANTH M.D./Ph.D. student in consultation with their primary mentor. In the first semester of the second year at UP, all students in the ANTH Ph.D. program are required to take ANTH 509, the research methods seminar. ANTH 508, Anthropological Data Analysis and Visualization, is also required for all ANTH Ph.D. students and may be taken at any point in the first two years. Students without suitable preparation in statistics may also be required to take a course at the 400 or 500 level at the advisor’s discretion. At any point during the first two years, M.D./Ph.D. students may be required to take up to 6 additional credits of advanced seminars, as directed by their adviser. The M.D./Ph.D. students pursuing the ANTH Ph.D. are also required to enroll in a one-unit literature review seminar (ANTH 541) for one credit each semester during the first two semesters of study. In addition to taking the required core courses and the literature review course, six credits of elective courses may be required in consultation with the student’s dissertation adviser and Ph.D. committee. Eight credits of ANTH 600/ANTH 601 Thesis Research/Ph.D. Dissertation conducted over the four years of the graduate portion of the training program will be counted by the College of Medicine in lieu of two months of elective rotations (MED 797). The College of Medicine’s requirement for a Medical Student Research project is also waived for all M.D./Ph.D.  in ANTH candidates.

The Ph.D. committee of an M.D./Ph.D. student in ANTH will be formed upon successful passing of the ANTH qualifying examination and commencement of work under a primary mentor, no later than the end of the first semester of the second year of graduate study at UP. The committee must include at least two members of the ANTH graduate faculty and one member of the M.D./Ph.D. steering committee.

The comprehensive examination for ANTH M.D./Ph.D. students will follow the same guidelines as for Ph.D. students in ANTH, except that the comprehensive examination must be held before the end of the second academic year at UP. The M.D./Ph.D. student must write a dissertation proposal in preparation for the comprehensive exam, and a final version of the dissertation proposal must be circulated by the student to all committee members at least four weeks in advance of the comprehensive exam. The comprehensive examination for M.D./Ph.D. students will be an oral examination which may be open to the public. The examination will consist of student presentation of their dissertation proposal, followed by questions and discussion.

The dissertation requirements for ANTH Ph.D. and ANTH M.D./Ph.D. students are the same: All Ph.D. candidates must conduct original research and prepare a dissertation that makes a significant contribution of new knowledge, is presented in a scholarly manner, and demonstrates an ability on the part of the candidate to do independent research of high quality. The contents and conclusions of the dissertation must be defended at the time of the final oral examination.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

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.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Graduates will demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the history and current knowledge and theory in the field of Anthropology through written works, oral presentations and teaching endeavors.
  2. Graduates will be able to identify research questions in anthropology, develop a research design to examine questions using appropriate data collection methods, analyze the data using appropriate statistical methodology, and interpret the results of data analysis.
  3. Demonstrate effective communication of research ideas in written works and oral presentations. Demonstrate effective communication of current topics in Anthropology through development of clear and engaging lectures and assignments for undergraduate courses.
  4. Graduates will be able to develop an effective, original research proposal that is framed by current anthropological theory and methods.
  5. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge of the professional standards of scholarly and professional work in their field of anthropology through their written and oral works and interactions with colleagues.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Timothy Michael Ryan
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Mary Katherine Shenk
Program Contact

Audrey Michelle Chambers
414 Carpenter Building
University Park PA 16802
amv14@psu.edu
(814) 865-2509

Program Website View