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FAQ for Anthropology Graduate Program

Please review the information detailed on the department webpages


Graduate Program

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:

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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.


No, prior graduate work may not be transferred or credited toward the MA degree program.

No, transferring from the MA degree program to the PhD degree program is not usually permitted. Anthropology MA applicants whose ultimate goal is the Anthropology PhD program should apply directly to the PhD degree 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.

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.

Please refer to the University Bulletin, Department Admissions 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.

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. In addition to the graduate funding offer, the PhD student is also offered funding for at least two summers of pre-field summer research; and health insurance coverage during the academic year (autumn, winter and spring quarters).


There is no financial support available through the Department of Anthropology to support students in the graduate Masters program. For more information about other funding opportunities, please contact the Student Services Officer directly via email or telephone at or 650-723-4641.

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.

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.


Information about current Anthropology course offerings can be found on our Department website under Courses. Course listings beyond the current quarter can be viewed in Stanford Bulletin Explore Courses.

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


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

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.


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


Admission to the Master's degree program does not increase the probability of admission to the doctoral degree program. If a current Stanford University MA student applies to the PhD degree program, the applicant will be considered equally with all other graduate applicants.

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


The Department of Anthropology usually offers identical five-year funding packages to all admitted PhD students, with two additional summer quarters of funding. Funding is intended to cover the applicable tuition costs, Stanford Cardinal Care health insurance expenses, and various living expenses in the form of direct stipend, teaching assistantships or pre-doctoral research assistantships. The department, with the School of Humanities and Sciences, is also committed to sponsoring students' involvement in professional activities and may reimburse many of the expenses for research travel, summer language study, and participation in academic conferences. Applicants to the graduate PhD degree program in Anthropology do not need to submit an additional application for funding at the time when the graduate application is submitted. The department encourages students in all stages of the PhD degree program to apply for funding from intra and extramural funding sources.