Graduate Program

My recommender is unable to upload the form and letter of recommendation online. Can it be faxed or mailed to the department?

Letters cannot be emailed or faxed; they will be rejected. If the recommender has difficulty with the electronic application and the requirements for submission of the letter(s) of recommendation, please contact the Student Services Officer directly via email or telephone at selleck [at] (selleck[at]stanford[dot]edu) or 650-723-4641 in order to make other arrangements to submit the letter.

What are the requirements acceptance into the Coterminal M.A. program?

All Stanford University undergraduate majors are eligible to apply for the coterminal master’s degree program with a 3.5 GPA in their department major, a 3.0 GPA in overall coursework, and with no more than one Incomplete listed on the transcript at the time of application. The Coterminal M.A. degree program allows Stanford undergraduates to study for a master’s degree while completing their bachelor’s degree(s) in the same or different department. Undergraduates with strong academic records may apply for admission to a coterminal master’s program upon completion of 120 units but no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of the undergraduate degree. Full-time enrollment during Summer Quarters, as well as allowable undergraduate transfer credit, are also counted towards quarters of undergraduate study.

For more detailed information regarding Stanford’s Coterminal M.A. requirements, please visit:

How long does it take to get a PhD in Anthropology at Stanford?

The Ph.D. program allows the student to develop a flexible program reflecting special research interests, under the supervision of a faculty committee chosen by the student. Students are encouraged to plan for completion of all work for the Ph.D. in five years.

Ph.D. students in Anthropology must complete a minimum of 135 quarter units with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B). The maximum allowable number of transfer units is 45.
The typical time to degree is approximately 6 years, although it is quite possible to complete all the requirements in 5 years. A typical schedule is as follows:

For additional information please see the Stanford University Bulletin and the department graduate program webpage.

  • Years 1 and 2 – coursework and teaching assistance,
  • Year 3 – qualifying exams and research proposal,
  • Year 4 – approved dissertation research, typically in the field,
  • Years 5 and 6 – research, analysis, data collection, write-up, teaching assistance and oral examination – Dissertation defense.
Are there different tracks of specialization within the graduate program in Anthropology?

Culture and Society, and Archaeology are the two tracks of specialization in the doctoral program. Within these tracks, students may explore a range of fields of study including medical anthropology and ecological and environmental anthropology. Examples of the varying faculty and student areas of study can be found in their respective profiles online. Although, the tracks are informal and at the department-level, only, they are an important way for the department to identify the student’s developing research.

How can I find out about faculty research and faculty contact information?

The department faculty and their research interests are listed online at Anthropology Faculty. Current PhD students in the Department of Anthropology may be contacted by visiting Anthropology Graduate Students.

How can I find out about graduate student research and graduate student contact information?

Current PhD students in the Department of Anthropology may be contacted by visiting Anthropology Graduate Students.

What is the language requirement for the PhD in Anthropology?

PhD students must submit a plan for oral and reading proficiency for successful scholarship in a given field by the end of spring quarter of their Second Year. The chosen language may be related to field research or scholarly work.

What is the teaching requirement for the PhD in Anthropology?

The department requires one quarter of Teaching Assistantship in the Second Year and one or more quarters of Teaching Assistantship in the Second through the Fifth Years. The department requires students in the Second Year cohort to attend a Teaching Assistantship Training workshop at the beginning of the academic year.

If I have prior graduate work, can it be transferred into the PhD program? Will this accelerate my doctoral degree program?

After at least one quarter of enrollment in the first year, students pursuing a PhD may apply for transfer credit for up to 45 units of graduate work done at another institution. Doing so will not necessarily escalated the time to degree completion.

If I have prior graduate work, can it be transferred into the Coterminal MA program in Anthropology?

After accepting admission to this coterminal master’s degree program, students may request transfer of courses from the undergraduate to the graduate career to satisfy requirements for the master’s degree. Transfer of courses to the graduate career requires review and approval of both the undergraduate and graduate programs on a case by case basis.

Courses taken two quarters prior to the first graduate quarter, or later, are eligible for consideration for transfer to the graduate career. No courses taken prior to the first quarter of the sophomore year may be used to meet master’s degree requirements.

Course transfers are not possible after the bachelor’s degree has been conferred. Please be advised that admitted students must have at least one quarter of overlap with both the undergraduate and graduate careers prior to conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Do I have to have an MA or other graduate work before I apply to the PhD program?

No, applicants to the PhD program are not required to have an MA before applying to the PhD program. Less than one third of an entering PhD cohort will have obtained a masters degree.

My most recent degree is not from an anthropology program. Will this adversely affect my graduate application?

No, applicants are not required to have an Anthropology background. However, a background in the behavioral/ and or social sciences would be expected. In addition, the applicant would be expected to have a foundation in social science theory and the ability to do analysis in the social sciences.

How can I obtain more information from the Anthropology Department regarding my interest in graduate studies?

Please refer to the University BulletinDepartment website, and Registrars Office of Graduate Admissions website for more information. Contact information for graduate students including a description of their topic and area(s) of interest is also available at the Department website under Graduate Students.

Is funding offered to PhD students in Anthropology?

The Department of Anthropology offers five years of graduate funding (based on the availability of funds) for the PhD program, through a combination of fellowships and assistantships, covering full tuition and a living stipend. The fellowships are usually given for five consecutive years of graduate study. 

Is there a difference between department funding support and financial aid?

Although, departmental funding support is sometimes referred to as ‘Financial Aid’ this funding is distinct from federal or other funding sources that an individual student may apply for through the Financial Aid office of Stanford University. Department funding support for PhD students is funding provided from the School of Humanities and Sciences by way of the Department for the purpose of supporting the PhD student’s tuition, living expenses, as well academic and research expenses throughout the PhD degree program.

Is Stanford on a quarter or semester system?

Stanford is on the Quarter system. For more information about Stanford’s schedule, please go to the Stanford Academic Calendar published by the Office of the Registrar.

Where can I find out more information about course offerings in Anthropology?

Information about current Anthropology course offerings can be found on our Department website under Courses and in Stanford Bulletin Explore Courses.

Where can I find information about graduate degrees in Anthropology?

For information about the department’s Graduate degree programs, please review the information located on the Department webpages.

Where can I find information about graduate housing at Stanford University?

Information about campus housing for graduate students can be found on Stanford’s Student Housing website.

Where can I find information about the estimated cost of living at Stanford University?

Information about the estimated cost of living at Stanford as a graduate student can be found on The Student Budget website. Remember that this is only an estimate and actual expenses may be different.

Does Stanford offer grant and loan opportunities to graduate students?

Information about sources of Graduate student funding can be found at the Vice Provost for Graduate Education webpages.

What is the annual cost of attending your program?

The tuition and fees information for the current academic year are located at the University Registrar webpages.

Are there funding opportunities appropriate for application by a graduate applicant before admission to a graduate program?

Please review the information detailed on the department webpages.