Is A PhD In Anthropology Worth It

Last Updated on December 14, 2022

These details are updated regularly and include information on master in landscape architecture In canada offered by universities in Canada for those considering attending or applying for one of its graduate programs.

Anthropology | StFX University

What Is an Anthropology Degree?

Anthropology is an interesting subject in that it often draws on many other subjects, including economics, sociology, and many business-related skills too. The primary goal of this discipline is to understand the behaviour of humans and primates through individual and group behavior and study. 

The majority of Ph.D. programs last for around five years, with most involving one or more field placements that may be based within the United States or across the globe. Some Ph.D. programs may run for as few as 3 years or for as long as 6. 

Course structure usually leans more heavily towards seminar-based learning, though lectures are still common. You’ll cover both mandatory and elective topics, including those in socio-cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and more. You’ll complete written coursework, oral or visual presentations, and examinations, in addition to a thesis in some cases. 

What Are the Best Anthropology Degrees?

At CollegeRank, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals. Please feel free to visit our dedicated methodology page for a step-by-step breakdown. For questions, comments, badge downloads, or data corrections, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]

University of Washington


Seattle, Washington


Recently ranked at number 14 in a recent ranking of the world’s top academic universities, the University of Washington is home to over 50,000 students annually. With campuses based in Bothell, Tacoma, and Seattle, over 12,000 degrees at every level are conferred each year. 

At the University of Washington, you’ll be able to pursue a doctoral program in one of three concentrations, including archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. Each of these programs has its own set of requirements and admission criteria; for more information on each respective program, you can visit the above links to see the program page. 

As part of your studies, you also have the option of pairing additional courses or concentrations to enhance your experience and future employability. These include a specialization in medical anthropology and global health, a concentration in the area of statistics, or one of several graduate certificates in areas that include feminist studies, global health, or public scholarship (and more). 

Resident tuition at the University of Washington costs $11,745 for state residents, while non-residents pay around $39,114. Housing and food costs vary from $4,458 to $17,316 depending on your living situation. This makes for a total annual cost of around $20,106 to $33,597 for residents and between $47,475 and $60,966 for non-residents.2

Ohio State University


Columbus, Ohio


Established in 1870, Ohio State University welcomed its first graduating class in 1878. Today, the institution regularly ranks highly in numerous areas, including having been named the top university among Ohio public institutions and the best choice for online undergraduate programs (U.S. News & World Report). 

The Ohio State University’s anthropology department comprises 19 faculty who are actively contributing towards research projects in the fields of biological and cultural anthropology and archaeology. The program heavily emphasizes thorough training in the application of theoretical concepts, in addition to training you in the use of modern methodologies that are designed to drive the discipline forward. 

As part of this program, you will have the opportunity to work with these faculty members within established sites throughout the world. This could include working directly with communities across the globe and even primate communities, studying subject areas that include life history theory, human migration, and political ecology. 

Tuition for graduate studies at Ohio State University is charged on a per-credit-hour basis. Each credit hour costs $722.50, with an additional $23.00 general fee per credit. These fees are for students who are also state residents; non-residents pay an additional surcharge of $1,544.75 per credit hour.3

University of Arizona


Tucson, Arizona


Students at the University of Arizona are known as ‘Wildcats’ and benefit from an education that comes from a highly regarded institution. The U.S. News & World Report recently named this university on a list of the top 40 public universities in the nation, in addition to taking the 11th position for providing the best online bachelor’s degrees. 

Students choosing this program will earn a Ph.D. in anthropology and linguistics (ANLI), which requires a solid educational background in both subject areas. You’ll study language in a social context, utilizing the university’s longstanding resources at the Department of Linguistics and School of Anthropology. As part of your application, you’ll need to explain how your prior experience and future interests align with these departments. 

Studying at the main university campus in Tucson, you’ll be based at the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. Your courses will cover areas such as phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and psycholinguistics, preparing you for careers in fields such as teaching and research. For graduate programs at the University of Arizona, the average tuition costs including fees are around $11,600 for state residents or $21,400 for non-residents. For an accurate estimation of the tuition and fees you’re likely to pay for your program, you can use the university’s tuition calculator on their website.4

University at Buffalo


Buffalo, New York


Outside of the classroom at UB, students have a wealth of opportunities. There are more than 600 clubs and organizations to participate in, in addition to a Division I athletics program. The campus also regularly hosts concerts and guest speakers who are experts in their respective fields. 

The University at Buffalo’s Ph.D. in anthropology combines specialized instruction in both teaching and research, including numerous field projects designed to give you hands-on experience. Comprising a total of 72 credit hours of coursework, you’ll also regularly participate in material and technical laboratory work. 

Your first year of study will focus mostly on coursework, requiring you to complete six mandatory courses in addition to a minimum of one course in each subdiscipline chosen. At the end of your second year of study, you’ll have completed a further eight courses of your choosing, and you will have completed a research paper that applies the research skills you’ve gained from the program. 

Full-time students pursuing a graduate program who are also residents of the state will pay around $7,119.00 per semester in tuition and fees. For non-residents, this total rises to around $13,014.00 per semester. There are, of course, additional fees for medical insurance, meal plans, and housing, which you can find via the links on this page. 5

University of Minnesota


Minneapolis, Minnesota


Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus—part of the University of Minnesota System—welcomes around 50,000 students annually, with nearly half a million living alumni. Sitting on the banks of the Mississippi River, it is one of only five institutions in the country to have dedicated schools for engineering, medical, law, veterinary, and agricultural programs within a single campus. 

This Ph.D. in anthropologyhas three core areas of focus: archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. For admission into the program, you do not need to have a master’s degree, making this a particularly strong choice for those coming from a non-traditional educational background (provided that you have completed a bachelor’s degree program). 

The program comprises 36 academic credits and 24 thesis credits in total. You may also apply to transfer up to 12 graduate credits from an institution at which you have studied previously. For a more detailed description of the key study areas and the courses you can expect to take, check out the university’s program page. 

Graduate tuition varies based on your college of education or program. For students pursuing this Ph.D. in anthropology, the general graduate rate applies. As a resident, your annual costs including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other expenses will come to around $38,290.00. As a non-resident, this figure rises to around $47,914.00.6

Texas State University


San Marcos, Texas


Texas State University (TXST) calls its students Bobcats, who have access to over 400 student groups in the arts, academic areas, and social scenes. But that’s not all; students also participate in a Bobcat Build event, which is a student-led community service project taking place annually. 

Texas State University offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) major in applied anthropology through the Department of Anthropology. It’s a program that closely examines subjects areas such as intercultural communication, grant writing, project management, and data collection. Thus, graduates have many opportunities available to them outside of research and teaching, including a career as a project manager for example. 

Your program’s requirements will heavily revolve around research techniques and theory and professionalism. You’ll be well-versed in utilizing modern tools for researching topics in-depth, understanding historical and contemporary theory in anthropology, and applying key skills such as ethical decision making and leadership. Upon acceptance into this program, you will also be designated a dissertation advisor for guided study. Tuition and fees at Texas State University vary from program to program, but the average cost of tuition for a graduate resident is around $347.34 per credit hour. For non-residents, tuition is around $756.34 per credit hour. Various other fees apply, which you can find detailed here.7

University of Illinois


Champaign, Illinois


Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois welcomes almost 50,000 students annually from over 100 countries around the world. According to the university website, this institution has also seen 29 Pulitzer Prize winners among its alumni, in addition to being ranked in the top 15 public universities in the nation. 

ThisPh.D. in anthropology requires a minimum of 96 hours’ worth of graduate credit to complete, of which 64 hours must be completed at the Urbana-Champaign campus. Additionally, students do not need to have completed a master’s degree to be eligible. 

As part of this program, you will however be expected to take a two-semester course called An Introduction to Illinois Anthropology, providing an essential foundation and introduction to the discipline. You will also be expected to show a high degree of proficiency in one foreign language or ordinary proficiency in two. 

Your tuition at the University of Illinois can vary for graduate studies depending on the program you’ve enrolled in; however, the Ph.D. in anthropology is charged at the base graduate rate. For residents of Illinois, the base tuition rate stands at around $12,942 annually, or $27,960 for non-residents and international students. 8

University of Iowa


Iowa City, Iowa


The University of Iowa was founded in 1847, which makes it Iowa’s longest-standing institution of higher education. Located close to the Iowa River, more than 30,000 students enroll annually. It has also been named on national rankings, including having 12 graduate programs that rank within the top 10 in their field nationally. 

In addition to gaining a strong foundation and broad, in-depth knowledge of the field of anthropology, this doctoral program involves specialized training in one or more of the subject’s key subfields. What’s more, if you studied anthropology or similar at the MA (master’s degree) level, the faculty will develop a custom program for you based on your previous experience and coursework. 

As part of this program, you’ll develop an annual portfolio that demonstrates how your knowledge, competencies, and research skills are progressing throughout your studies. You’ll also write and defend a dissertation prospectus, plus two extensive exam essays as part of the assessment process. To successfully graduate from the program, you’ll also be expected to conduct your own anthropological research project. 

Graduate tuition is charged at around $11,890 annually for residents or $30,837 for non-residents. Housing and meals cost $11,590, and books and supplies $650, regardless of residency. This makes for a total annual cost of around $23,480 or $42,427 respectively, excluding personal and transportation expenses.9

The University of Texas at San Antonio


San Antonio, Texas


With an annual attendance of around 32,000 students, The University of Texas at San Antonio is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. Four campuses are spread across the state, including the Main Campus, Downtown Campus, Hemisfair Campus, and Park West Campus. 

On this program, you’ll gain specialized training in applying theory and research into practice, solving the environmental crises facing our modern world. As a student of environmental anthropology, you’ll study topics such as power relations, the impact of socio-physical environments on both humans and primates, and how humans build and organize their environments. 

This doctoral degree in anthropology is led by a highly experienced faculty; specializations are broad and numerous, and you can read more about their expertise on the program page. It’s worth noting that many Ph.D. students are offered some degree of financial aid, and in addition all incoming Ph.D. applicants are automatically considered for teaching assistantships. Graduate tuition at The University of Texas at San Antonio costs around $7,754 for residents of Texas or $25,283 for non-residents. To get a more accurate picture of your tuition and fees, you can download a comprehensive spreadsheet of tuition rates from the university’s website here.10

Indiana University Bloomington


Bloomington, Indiana


Indiana University Bloomington has one of the largest offerings of student recreation and engagement, with more than 750 student clubs and organizations for you to get involved with. For anthropology students, it’s also a great place to be; there are more than 380 study abroad programs available to choose from. 

This doctoral degree in anthropology offers a broad spectrum of study in all of the anthropological subfields, which are archaeology, bioanthropology, linguistic anthropology, and social-cultural anthropology. You will choose one of these areas of specialization, though you may also opt to take other courses or a minor within another field. 

Regardless of your specialization, you will be required to pass a qualifying examination as part of the foreign language requirement. During your studies, you will also be expected to participate in research and teaching activities to satisfy the requirements of the program. 

Locating up to date and comprehensive tuition and fees data for the University of Indiana Bloomington is difficult, though they tend to be around average compared to the rest of the nation and below average compared to other universities within Indiana. You can use the tuition calculator on the university’s website for the most accurate picture of your tuition and fees.11

Colorado State University


Fort Collins, Colorado


Colorado State University’s Department of Anthropology pledges to incorporate hands-on teaching and training into as many facets of the curriculum as possible. As such, there are three field schools linked to the department, which provide comprehensive instruction in three key areas: archaeology, cultural anthropology, and biological anthropology. 

This Ph.D. program is relatively new, having only been launched in 2018 at the Department of Anthropology. It was designed and taught by a faculty that specializes in three key fields of anthropology, in addition to both human and physical geography. 

The program curriculum will see students gaining knowledge that allows them to address important research questions, including those that apply to both anthropology and geography, apply modern geographic methods to fields of anthropology, and require critical analysis of the impact of place and space on the environment. 

Graduate tuition at Colorado State University is charged at $820.79 per credit hour for residents or $1,669.19 for non-residents. This useful comparative table on the university’s website gives you a full breakdown of tuition and associated fees for both residents and non-residents.12

University of California, Irvine


Irvine, California


Since 1965, the University of California has been committed to enhancing lives through the provision of comprehensive academic programs and cutting-edge research. Today, students may choose from more than 150 majors and minors, with the institution recently having been named the number one university for “doing most for the American dream” by The New York Times. 

This program focuses on both social and cultural anthropology, including a long-term period of independent fieldwork. More often than not, this fieldwork will take place outside of the United States; it may also require fluency in a foreign language, which is common for doctoral programs in anthropology. 

You’ll be supported by a strong faculty that will guide you in both theory and practice. Areas of expertise include legal, political, and economic anthropology and anthropology applied to medicine, science, and technology. However, the faculty are also open to innovative ideas and the ability to question existing or assumed theoretical methods.     At the University of California Irvine, residents of the state will pay annual tuition of around $11,442.00 excluding fees. Non-residents pay a supplement of around $15,102.00, making for totals of $18,010.15 and $33,112.15 including all fees, respectively. A full breakdown of all expenses and fees is available from the university website.13

University of Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Founded in 1787 under the name Pittsburgh Academy, the University of Pittsburgh is a research university and a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU). The AAU comprises 63 universities within the United States that grant doctoral degrees. This university’s writing program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.  

This Ph.D. in anthropology requires around five years to complete and does not necessitate a master’s degree for admission. Comprising 72 credits of coursework, you will need to be fluent in at least one foreign language to be eligible for completion, in addition to completing written comprehensive examinations.

Upon admission into the program, you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will support you throughout your studies. This person will consult you on your choice of courses, in addition to providing guidance around your research activities and career aspirations. Your progress will be monitored throughout the program to best support you. The University of Pittsburgh has been ranked as the number one institution for value in all Pennsylvania universities and public colleges. To find detailed information about the graduate tuition rates and associated fees, you can use the tuition page on the university’s website, which breaks down expenses based on student type and residency.14

Stony Brook University


Stony Brook, New York


Located in Stony Brook, N.Y., Stony Brook University offers 209 graduate programs, with 59 doctoral programs among these. Founded in 1957, the university has over 25,000 students and 2,500 faculty members. There are also 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs, and many faculty members have earned prestigious awards in varied areas. 

This doctoral program in anthropological sciences is an interdisciplinary program that draws on the expertise of mixed faculties and resources from multiple departments, including anatomical sciences, ecology and evolution, and history. You’ll be trained for varied careers in both teaching and research. It is one of the top-ranked anthropology programs in the U.S. according to the National Research Council. 

This program has been running for over 35 years since its inception in 1982. Students enrolled in the program will have access to a broad selection of state-of-the-art resources and laboratories, in addition to being assigned a dedicated, full-time graduate coordinator. For a full breakdown of the program’s four-year curriculum, you should consult this page on the university’s program website. The average tuition and fees for graduate programs at Stony Brook University is around $13,558 for residents of New York or $25,348 for non-residents and international students. According to the university’s website, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the top 40 public universities within the nation for return on investment.15

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Milwaukee, Wisconsin


The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is situated just five minutes away from Lake Michigan and just fifteen minutes from a vibrant downtown area. The institution has been recognized nationally for its undergraduate research, while providing students numerous real-world opportunities to participate in internships and other preparative activities. 

This degree program has been structured to provide students with a broad foundation in all areas of the discipline, including biological, sociocultural, and archaeological anthropology; however, there’s still scope for specialization in a particular discipline. It’s suited to students who want to pursue an academic career in the subject area, or students who want to apply anthropological concepts to their practice in another career. 

The program encourages cross-discipline research projects, with many students and faculty collaborating with other departments at the university, plus a number of other institutions across the nation and globe. You’ll undertake a dissertation while also being required to pass a number of preliminary examinations. 

Graduates who are residents of Wisconsin will pay around $12,050 tuition annually for a total of $23,774 including other fees and expenses. Illinois residents pay slightly more at around $29,045 in total. For other students, including those from other countries, this rises to around $37,006 annually. 16

Binghamton University


Binghamton, New York


Binghamton University boasts a number of impressive accolades, including having been named the number one public college in NY by Business First in 2020. The institution has also featured on a number of other rankings, including 16th place for top public colleges, 33rd for best value colleges for money, and 16th for top public colleges in the nation. 

This doctoral program focuses on the four key areas of anthropology including linguistic anthropology. Comprising a minimum credit hour requirement of 56 hours, students may transfer up to 30 credit hours towards their Ph.D. from another university, assuming that they have completed a master’s degree in a related discipline. 

When enrolling in this program, you’ll be automatically considered for a spot as a teaching assistant or research assistant, which could help you with the cost of your education. This funding covers tuition fees, in addition to a stipend. You’re also recommended to contact members of the faculty with whom you’re most interested in collaborating, as students will receive guidance throughout their studies. 

As a public university that’s subsidized by New York State, Binghamton University may cost less than you expect. Graduate tuition runs at around $13,500 for state residents, including fees. For non-residents, this cost rises to around $25,290. This is based on the assumption that you are a full-time student taking 24 credits.17

University of Tennessee Knoxville


Knoxville, Tennessee


Founded in 1794, The University of Tennessee Knoxville was the first public university to be founded west of the Appalachian Divide. It has been deemed as a place of high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and provides degree programs at every level of study. 

For admission into this program, you’ll be required to hold an existing bachelor’s or master’s degree in anthropology; alternatively, a minor in anthropology will be sufficient provided that your degree is in a closely related field such as the sciences or social sciences, or geography. Your cumulative undergraduate or graduate GPA should also be above 3.3. 

As a student enrolled in this program, you will complete two semesters of full-time residence before you take your comprehensive doctoral examination. Minimum coursework requirements include the necessity to complete 48 credit hours if your previous college study was to an undergraduate level or 24 credit hours if you have a master’s degree. Graduate students at The University of Tennessee Knoxville can expect to pay around $13,380 as state residents or $31,798 as non-residents. For information on meal plans, housing, and other associated fees, you can check out the university’s one stop website here, or use the net price calculator.18

University of Virginia


Charlottesville, Virginia


The University of Virginia dates back to 1819, having been founded by Thomas Jefferson. Today, it’s ranked as the second best value public university by Money Magazine (2020). It has also ranked within the top five national public universities according to U.S. News & World Report

This program is designed to take your existing, foundation-level knowledge of anthropology and encourage you to develop your own personalized portfolio of research. By the end of the program, the intention is that you will contribute your own knowledge to the field through a combination of fieldwork, research activities, and writing. 

Your first year in the program will be almost entirely spent in understanding the necessary foundations in social theory; this will be achieved through a number of elective courses that look at the history of the theory and contemporary discoveries. Year two involves close collaboration with faculty members, and writing two essays to provide a critical analysis on the current state of the anthropology discipline. 

As a resident of Virginia, you’ll pay tuition of around $17,076 in your first three years of study, followed by around $5,322 in your fourth year. As a non-resident, these figures are $28,604 and $5,322 respectively. Additional fees include health insurance premiums and other expenses, which you can find more information on here. 19

University of Pennsylvania


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Founded in the mid-1700s, the University of Pennsylvania enjoys low student-faculty ratios of just 6:1 thanks to its nearly 4,800-strong faculty. Student clubs and organizations number in the hundreds and provide a means to blow off steam between time spent in lectures. 

This graduate program in anthropology emphasizes the importance of independent research to a professional standard of competency in at least one subfield of anthropology. You’ll typically take around four units per term, with a requirement of at least twenty units—one unit per course—to complete the program. 

You’ll also be required to take the comprehensive examinations, a set of exams that you will undertake during the final week of May in your first year of study. Lasting for eight hours, these exams will test you on your first year courses and serve as a checkpoint for the second year of study. 

Many of the graduate school programs at Penn State are charged on a per credit hour basis, while others are charged at a flat rate. For an overview of the cost of attending the University of Pennsylvania, you can check out the university’s Graduate School of Education costs page here. 20

Columbia University in the City of New York


New York City, New York



Located in New York City, Columbia University has close links with a huge array of resources that provide valuable experiences that can help boost your studies and employability after graduation. Founded in 1754, it is the longest standing institution of higher learning in New York State and the fifth oldest in the entire nation. 

Graduates of this anthropology degree program commonly progress into teaching and research positions within universities, or work within archaeological and museum positions. You’ll have the choice of specializing in either archaeology or socio-cultural anthropology, depending upon your career aspirations, while taking courses in other key subfields. 

Research facilities at this institution are extensive, including an archaeology laboratory. You’ll also benefit from the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of the American Indian, and numerous other well-known research hubs. These will both serve you in your completion of coursework and provide essential fieldwork experience. At Columbia University, the cost of graduate tuition varies from $2,344 to $24,512, depending on the category into which you fall. These categories include resident unit, extended residence, and matriculation and facilities. You can see a breakdown of these categories and what they mean here.21

Harvard University


Cambridge, Massachusetts


The first graduate to receive their Ph.D. from Harvard’s graduate department did so in 1873, with the institution quickly becoming known as one of the best institutions in the world and much coveted by prospective students across the globe. But it’s not all about academia; students benefit from a vast range of clubs and organizations, in addition to close links to Massachusetts. 

Students enrolled in this anthropology program will focus on two subfields of the discipline; archaeology and social anthropology. Both of these specializations come with their own curriculums and set of examinations, with the department of anthropology also offering an MA in medical anthropology to interested students. 

More specifically, you’ll choose to specialize in one of the following areas: archaeology of complex societies; archaeology of ethnicities and languages; archaeology, art, and religion; archaeology of human evolution; or environmental archaeology / archaeological science. More information on each specialization can be found on the program page. Graduate school students are charged tuition based on a tiered system, which reduces over time throughout the program. For the first two years of your program, you’ll pay around $49,448. For the third and fourth years, you’ll pay around $12,858. A full breakdown of other expenses can be found on this website.22

University of California, San Francisco


San Francisco, California


UC San Francisco is a leading institution for health service programs, with five Nobel laureates who have made significant contributions toward our understanding of major health conditions. According to U.S. News & World Report, the university’s programs and hospitals are regularly ranked among the top in the nation. 

This program sees collaboration between UCSF and UC Berkeley, combining one of the top medical universities in the nation and a leading arts and sciences institution to provide a varied curriculum to Ph.D. students. You’ll study new and emerging concepts in medical anthropology, with no other programs offering such a unique curriculum. 

The faculty is highly experienced and will vary depending on your study location. The UC San Francisco campus comprises eight members of faculty from the university’s Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, whereas the UC Berkeley campus has an eight-strong faculty from the respective campus’ Anthropology Department. State residents pay around $11,442.00 in tuition, while non-residents pay an additional $15,102.00. Including the associated fees, this makes for a total of $18,975.00 and $34,077.00 respectively. A full breakdown of all program tuition and fees can be found here.23

Cornell University


Ithaca, New York


Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a private institution whose mascot is the Big Red Bear. Almost 25,000 students make up the student body, supported by a faculty of nearly 1,700 professors. Founded in 1865, Cornell comprises 15 different colleges and schools, including four graduate and professional units. 

This graduate program in anthropology comprises an interdisciplinary curriculum that features just four courses, in addition to a fieldwork research proposal. As a result, most students accepted into the program will either pair their studies with language-related courses or have a highly individualized program designed for them by the special committee. 

Some students who are admitted to this program will be lucky enough to receive financial aid covering the cost of five years of study on-campus. Priority admission is given to those whose primary reason for studying to the Ph.D. level is due to the lack of funding or career support available for students who have graduated with only a master’s degree. Doctoral degrees at Cornell University are charged at different rates of tuition depending on the subject area. You’ll pay between $10,400 to $14,750 per semester, or $20,800 to $29,500 per academic year. For more detailed and accurate estimates, follow the links at the top of the table on this page.24

George Washington University


Washington, D.C.


The George Washington University Department of Anthropology was established in 1892 and is situated a short distance from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. A number of other valuable resources are also around the corner, including the National Parks Service, making this the perfect location for budding anthropologists. 

This anthropology doctoral program combines rigorous coursework with fieldwork and independent study. You will work within a small group with an assigned faculty mentor, exploring ethnographic concepts and conducting your own research studies that integrate numerous subfields within the discipline, including gender studies, archaeology, and museum studies to name a few. 

For admission into this program, your GRE scores will not be required nor taken into account; the university is of the opinion that the GRE can promote injustice among candidates. However, for certain funding options, you may still need to submit your scores for consideration for financial aid. The graduate school tuition and fees at George Washington University average at around $31,824.66, though this can vary based upon your individual college and program. Tuition at the graduate level is charged per credit hour, and you can find a full breakdown of tuition for each college and school via this link.25

The New School


New York City, New York


Founded in 1919, The New School brings together scholars, designers, artists, and other professionals, creating a leading faculty that is committed to challenging the norm and innovating. Students may choose from over 130 programs at a university that has been ranked first for being the most international university in the nation. 

Comprising 60 credits in total, this Ph.D. in anthropology is open to students who have completed a master’s degree in the same field at The New School. Graduating students will be prepared for careers in teaching or for their own creative independent research projects. 

As part of the program, students will be encouraged to work on their own specializations by taking part in mandatory doctorate seminars and guided tutorial assignments. Guidance will be provided by an assigned member of faculty who will act as a mentor throughout your studies. Your program will be based at The New School for Social Research, which charges tuition on a per-credit basis. Each credit costs $2,260 for both MA or MS and Ph.D. students. Additional fees will apply, and you can find more information on fees on the university’s tuition, fees, and billing page.26

Brown University


Providence, Rhode Island



At Brown University, there are 34 varsity sports teams and a huge variety of clubs and organizations in which to get involved. In addition to over 400 student clubs, there are also 60 public service groups and 4,100 intramural sports participants on-campus, plus greek and program houses. 

This Ph.D. program covers three key subfields of the discipline: socio-cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and anthropological archaeology. The curriculum consists almost entirely of seminars at the graduate level, with independent study courses making up the rest. This drives students towards tutorial-based and independent learning that encourage a rigorous and discovery-based academic process. 

You’ll take four core courses, which are the Principles of Cultural Anthropology, History of Ethnological Theory, Principles of Archaeology, and Linguistic Theory and Practice. The remainder of your studies will allow you to choose 12 additional electives, giving you a highly individualized course of study that’s aligned with your career aspirations and interests. Tuition for graduate studies at Brown University ranges between $59,254 and $71,312, varying from program to program. Additional fees include a health services fee, health insurance, student activity and recreation fees, and an academic records fee. More information and costs are available on the university’s website.27

American University


Washington, D.C.


Located in Washington D.C., The American University saw 89% of recent graduates participate in an internship during their studies, while 92% of all graduates were either working, enrolled in graduate school, or both. Comprising eight different schools and colleges, the university offers students access to over 200 registered clubs and organizations. 

This highly rigorous program will prepare you for a career as an anthropologist, offering in-depth study of issues that include ethnicity, urban anthropology, and language and culture, among others. Assessment will take the form of written research work, and oral and visual presentations. You’ll also learn how to obtain funding from external agencies for the purpose of research. 

With this exposure to the end-to-end research process, you’ll be geared for a successful career in anthropology. However, you can also specialize to a greater degree in archaeology if it aligns with your career plans. You’ll have the opportunity to work on issues both at home and abroad, and you will be given multiple opportunities to develop your skills in public anthropology, too. Graduate students at American University are charged a flat rate for all tuition, based on the number of credit hours taken. Tuition currently costs approximately $1,631 per credit hour, with payment normally due in January for students beginning their program in the fall. For a breakdown of mandatory university fees, you can consult the university’s tuition and fee information page.28

Brandeis University


Waltham, Massachusetts



Situated on a 235-acre campus, Brandeis University is just a stone’s throw away from Boston, located in leafy suburbs. Established as a nonsectarian institution, Braindeis was founded in 1948 and has a total enrollment of around 3,688 for undergraduate programs and 2,137 for graduate programs. 

With this doctoral degree program, you will gain the in-depth training required to become either an archaeologist or professional anthropologist. This program’s areas of emphasis include archaeological and ethnographic field placements and comparative studies, among others. You’ll be able to choose an area in which to specialize based on your interests and goals. 

This is a highly competitive program that provides detailed career planning support for students who are admitted. You’ll be mentored throughout your time at Brandeis, taking part in workshops, mock job interviews, and other activities to prepare you for life after graduation. You’ll also design and deliver your own seminars, take part in reading groups, and present your own research at the American Anthropological Association’s yearly meeting. Average graduate tuition and fees typically comes to around $52,060. Brandeis University provides detailed information on graduate expenses here, including applicable fees and other useful advice.The most accurate estimates of your cost of attendance can be obtained by using the cost of attendance calculator on the university’s website.29

Southern Methodist University


Dallas, Texas


Southern Methodist University (SMU) has a total attendance of around 12,000 students, which means that you’ll benefit from having small class sizes with excellent support. The institution comprises seven schools and colleges, and is known for being a distinguished hub of research activity and teaching. 

When you enroll in this anthropology Ph.D. program, you’ll choose to specialize in either cultural anthropology or archaeology. While archaeology students focus on New World archaeology, anthropology students can further specialize in medical anthropology or subfields related to globalization, depending on interests or career aspirations. 

Students focusing on New World archaeology will be guided by faculty with an interest in areas including complex societies across the Americas and early human civilizations. Your studies will examine subfields that include contemporary theories in archaeology, and you’ll spend a large amount of time on field placements across the Americas. Tuition at this university is dependent on the college under which you are studying. The average cost of attendance for graduate students at Southern Methodist University is around $47,256.70. A more accurate estimate of your program costs may be found by checking the individual department and college fees highlighted on this page.30

Emory University


Atlanta, Georgia


Situated within a picturesque neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, Emory University is a highly regarded and top-ranking private research institution. Nearly $700 million in research funding is generated by the institution annually. It’s also one of just 65 universities within the Association of American Universities (AAU). 

Emory University’s department of anthropology has been ranked within the top 10 departments in the nation by the National Research Council. Combining cultural and biological anthropological studies, students focus on the key areas of “cultivating dialogues and combinations of people, interests, and ideas that cross, connect, and transcend the field’s received sub-disciplines”. 

It’s worth checking out this infographic, which features some useful and insightful information on the program and the activities that previous students and alumni have been involved in during their studies and after graduation. 

Based on the assumption that you’re enrolled in a full-time program of study taking 9 or more credit hours, your tuition will cost $21,900 per semester. The tuition and fees page does not highlight any specific supplemental fees for non-resident students, though it’s worth confirming with the university whether this would be the case.

Careers for Anthropology Majors

Similar to many programs in the arts and humanities, a degree program in anthropology can lead to a broad range of career options. Some of the more popular choices for anthropology graduates include social research, policy development, media and communications, and education. Teaching positions are often highly sought-after. 

For those interested in teaching, it’s common to find work within a university as a professor. Other popular roles in education include working in professional training, language instruction, and adult education and training. Other popular roles include those based in the community, such as a career as a social worker. 

For students whose specialization leans more greatly towards archaeology, you may find work curating and constructing exhibitions or directing the conservation of natural land or artifacts. Alternatively, you could be designing educational programs. Other graduates find work in speech and language therapy, using their background in linguistic anthropology to understand and treat speech problems. 

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