Graduate Program

Increase font size
Decrease font size

The department offers advanced work leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Students admitted into the graduate program are admitted for the Ph.D. degree. A master’s degree may be taken as part of the program leading to the Ph.D. degree; however, a master’s degree is not an essential part of the doctoral program.

In order to organize constellations of research interest, the department curriculum is organized by Programs and Concentrations. Programs are offered in Archaeology, Human Biology, Ecology, and Evolution, and Sociocultural Anthropology and Ethnography. Concentrations include Health, Medicine, and Humanity; Global Engagement; Race, Difference, and Power; Heritage and Unwritten Histories; and Social Formations and Processes. Students are expected to take at least three courses from within their chosen area of concentration or from a set of courses designated by their program.

Programs are distinguished from Concentrations by their institutional links to other faculty and administrative units on campus, and by their greater specificity for certain course requirements. Students interested in one or the other Program are advised to so declare when they enter the department if they have not yet done so. Students interested in choosing a Concentration may make this choice after beginning their graduate work. The choice of Concentration or Program must be made by the end of the student’s third semester. Whichever path the student chooses, the faculty expects all students to obtain broad training in anthropology. To this end, graduate students may take courses offered by other departments or institutions such as Duke University. Departmental policy is to help the student select courses that supplement and strengthen the specialization in anthropology.

Incoming graduate students are required to complete the appropriate two-semester core course sequence for their concentration: Sociocultural Theory and Ethnography (ANTH 701, 702) or Evolution and Ecology (ANTH 703, 704). In addition, incoming students will either choose to complete the remaining core course sequence, or take one course from that sequence and Archaeological Theory (ANTH 705). Other courses are selected from a list of concentration courses, field research courses, and professional preparation courses.

During the second year of study, graduate students are required to produce a substantial piece of independent research, advised by a three-member faculty committee and presented to the entire faculty at the end of the fourth semester. Graduate students are advised to take their written and oral Ph.D. exams by the end of the sixth semester.

The Ph.D. degree requires specialization in a defined area of study and the completion of an acceptable dissertation treating some problem within this area. The Ph.D. program is quite flexible; any area or problem can be selected for study, provided it meets the approval of the student’s adviser, Ph.D. committee, and the faculty. Part of the training of a professional anthropologist is based on a minimum of one year’s fieldwork, which provides the context for the dissertation data in sociocultural anthropology or human ecology. For students concentrating in archaeology or biological anthropology, the Research Labs in Archaeology offer opportunities for student-led investigations as well as analysis of existing collections of archaeological material.

The Department of Anthropology works closely with the Institute for Research in Social Science, the Institute for the Study of the Americasthe Carolina Population Center, and the Research Laboratories of Archaeology.

For a more detailed elaboration of requirements for programs and concentrations, see the Guide to Graduate Studies in Anthropology at UNC-CH.

What should you think about when applying to grad school? Good advice here.

Helpful Links:

Graduate Student Center
Grant Source Library
Current Research
Graduate Student “Brown Bag Talks”
Graduate School Handbook
Grant Proposals