Anthropology, PHD

At a Glance: program details

Are you interested in exploring the origins and implications of human uniqueness and contemporary human behavior? In this interdisciplinary program, you will engage in intensive, collaborative training that fosters critical research on key questions in anthropology and across the social sciences.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Anthropology

The School of Human Evolution and Social Change is an excellent choice for students interested in pursuing a PhD in the classic fields of anthropology:

  • archaeology
  • bioarchaeology
  • evolutionary anthropology
  • sociocultural anthropology

It is also an ideal environment for students who want to combine these approaches and other disciplines to explore specific issues or research questions within a transdisciplinary context. The flexible graduate curricula are designed to encourage students to design innovative plans of study in order to pursue their interests while receiving broad training in key areas. The anthropology faculty actively engage with faculty in other disciplines, including:

  • applied mathematics
  • chemistry
  • environmental economics
  • epidemiology
  • formal modeling
  • genetics
  • sociology
  • sustainability
  • technology and society
  • urban planning

The training students receive in this program prepares them to become expert scholars who are able to contribute not only to their chosen field but also to finding solutions to humankind's greatest challenges. This program provides training in data analysis and research design within the context of human evolution, archaeology and the wider field of anthropology. Through anthropological coursework, students learn how to ask important questions about the human species and employ statistics to analyze and extract meaning from data. Students will learn to appreciate humanity's place in nature and the long history of human societal change.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

Students entering with a master's degree in a related field may be granted up to 30 credit hours toward the 84 credit hours required for the doctorate. This leaves 30 credit hours of coursework, 12 credit hours of research and 12 credit hours of dissertation (54 credit hours total) to be earned post-admission.

Students entering without a master's degree must earn an additional 30 hours of graduate credit, produce a research portfolio which is formally evaluated by a faculty committee, and present that research in a public forum before continuing on in the later stage of the doctorate.

All students must maintain a GPA of 3.20 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in their courses and complete degree requirements per the program's satisfactory progress policy.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or they must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement outlining educational and professional goals
  4. current curriculum vitae or resume
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Undergraduate coursework in anthropology is not a prerequisite for admission but is generally advisable. Students may be admitted without such a background and may be required to acquire knowledge of general anthropology in a manner to be specified at the time of admission.

Applicants also may submit with their application materials an optional scholarly writing sample not to exceed 30 double-spaced pages.

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
December 1st

Career Opportunities

The demand in the job market for people with an anthropology background is stimulated by a growing need for researchers and analysts with keen thinking skills who can manage, evaluate and interpret large amounts of data. As the many spheres of human interaction expand globally, people trained in anthropology are increasingly sought-after for their broad, holistic knowledge and perspectives, which are the hallmarks of anthropology. Some career opportunities include:

  • acting as legal advocates in international cases
  • analyzing and proposing policies
  • conducting postgraduate academic research
  • consulting for private and public organizations
  • curating cultural resources
  • directing nonprofit organizations
  • directing programs in the private or public sector
  • managing culture or heritage resources in private or public sectors
  • modeling infectious diseases
  • planning communities
  • teaching

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.