How do I Earn an Anthropology PhD?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Most anthropology PhD programs require a dissertation to be fully completed, reviewed, and accepted.
Most anthropology PhD programs require a dissertation to be fully completed, reviewed, and accepted.

A doctorate, or PhD, in anthropology the most advanced degree available in this fascinating area of study. To obtain an anthropology PhD, a candidate must complete several rigorous years of study and fieldwork at an accredited university. With an anthropology PhD, a graduate can find work as a field researcher, professor, or consultant in a wide range of areas.

Almost all PhD programs require at least a bachelor's degree, or BA, before allowing potential students to apply. Some may also require a master's degree (MA) in a field related to anthropology, or may allow students to complete an MA while concurrently fulfilling PhD requirements. Other possible requirements for a PhD program may include fluency in other languages, fieldwork, and standardized test scores. Each program features its own unique set of requirements, so do research carefully before sending in applications.

Applicants may undergo an interview process with potential schools, usually meeting with professors and administrators along the way. During this process, it may be a good idea to prepare for questions about plans for a dissertation, or long-term research project, that will be undertaken during the program. Most anthropology PhD programs require a dissertation to be fully completed, reviewed, and accepted by program overseers before allowing a student to graduate with a PhD. Work on a dissertation usually begins in the first year of study, so a project outline or plan may be requested by interviewers.

Another major part of getting an anthropology PhD is determining an area of specialization. Anthropology has four main sections: physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and archaeological anthropology. There are numerous subfields and specialties within these four main areas, but most people entering a PhD program have at least a basic idea of what they plan to focus on.

During school, PhD candidates may take classes, but the majority of the program is usually focused on researching and writing the doctoral dissertation. Those concurrently studying for an MA may have a larger course load in order to catch up. Most anthropology PhD programs take two to three years to complete. Summers and much of the school year may be devoted to field work such as cultural immersion studies or archaeological digs.

Classes taken will usually include seminars and courses on various topics in anthropology, such as gender studies, art and music, and linguistics. Students may be required to take language or computer classes to supplement their available skills. On completing an accepted dissertation, as well as meeting all fieldwork and course requirements, a student will receive an anthropology PhD.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

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    • Most anthropology PhD programs require a dissertation to be fully completed, reviewed, and accepted.
      By: Gekon
      Most anthropology PhD programs require a dissertation to be fully completed, reviewed, and accepted.