Main Content

The School of Anthropology, Political Science, and Sociology offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts in Anthropology and Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology. Provided the student has been admitted to the Graduate School and meets its requirements, acceptance and continuation in the graduate program are at the discretion of the Anthropology Faculty. The philosophy of the Anthropology program is to produce students with broad backgrounds in the major subfields of anthropology and expertise in particular specialty areas. Within this philosophy, and subject to the requirements discussed below, Anthropology Faculty offers a flexible program which will serve students with diverse needs and goals.


The applicant to the M.A. in Anthropology program must send a completed application for admission to graduate study and official copies of all transcripts directly to the school, and must meet all Graduate School requirements for entry. Applicants whose native language is not English must achieve a TOEFL of 600 paper score, 250 computer score, 100 on the Internet-based test, or higher in order to gain admittance in the program. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for all U.S. applicants. Preference will be given to applicants who score in percentiles above 40. Although not required to take the GRE prior to admittance, all foreign students are strongly encouraged to take the exam prior to entering the graduate program and are required to take the exam before the end of their first year in the program.

Applicants who wish to be considered for University Graduate School fellowships must have all application materials completed by December 1. Applicants who wish to be considered for admission into the graduate program in the fall semester of the next academic year and who wish to be considered for graduate assistantships in the program or school must have all application materials completed by March 1. Applications not received or completed prior to March 1 will be considered only in exceptional cases, as determined by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with other members of the Graduate Studies Committee.

In addition, the applicant must send a completed program application for admission and financial aid form, personal data sheet, statement of academic and professional goals, and arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies of Anthropology. All necessary forms will be provided to applicants through the school. No special program of previous work is required. Applicants with academic degrees in fields other than anthropology are encouraged to apply.

This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Anthropology. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card.   

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology


In addition to the master’s degree requirements specified in the Graduate Catalog, the following program requirements apply to all M.A. in Anthropology degree candidates:

  1. Each student must complete three core courses: One core course must be in their subfield, and two courses are determined in consultation with the chair of the M.A. in Anthropology committee. It is preferred that these courses be completed during the first two years in the program. At the end of the student’s first year of study, the faculty will evaluate each student’s performance in the completed core courses along with the rest of the student’s record and arrive at a decision on the student’s continuation in the program. This decision will take into account the overall evidence of the student’s abilities, potentials, and interests.
  2. Each student must complete one or more regular graduate-level courses or seminars in each of two subfields of Anthropology of the student’s choice (from among archaeological, linguistic, biocultural, or sociocultural anthropology) beyond the core courses.
  3. A further nine credit hours of coursework will be assigned by the student’s committee after consultation with the student. These nine hours may include up to four hours of graduate credit but may not include more than three credit hours of independent study or thesis. No more than three hours of credit in ANTH 501, ANTH 590, ANTH 597, and ANTH 599 (thesis) may be applied toward the Graduate School requirements of 30 hours of graduate course credit and 15 hours of 500-level credit. The program requires one additional 500-level seminar beyond the core courses in the Anthropology program or in a related program with the agreement of the chair of the M.A in Anthropology committee, and the thesis hours.
  4. Students entering the program may petition to have previously taken courses accepted for credit as equivalent to core courses in cases where the equivalence can be documented.

M.A. in Anthropology Degree Committee, Thesis, Research Paper

Each student in the M.A. in Anthropology degree program will consult with the Director of Graduate Studies and relevant faculty members to select a three-person faculty committee, which will assume major responsibility for the student’s advisement. At least two members of this committee, including the chair, must be from Anthropology, and the third member may be selected from outside the program. At least the chair should be chosen by the end of the first year, and the entire committee by the end of the third term.

Under the direction of the M.A. in Anthropology degree committee, the student will complete a thesis and register for at least three credit hours of ANTH 599 while doing so. A student may submit a published paper, or one accepted for publication in an approved professional journal, instead of a thesis, or may be authorized by the program to substitute a research paper for the thesis. Passing of a comprehensive examination on the student’s entire program is a Graduate School requirement. One paper copy of the thesis, research paper, or article must be deposited with the school before the degree is granted.

An option is available, at the discretion of the program Faculty, to allow exceptional M.A. in Anthropology students accelerated entry in the doctoral program at the end of their first year of study. For these students, the following are sufficient for the M.A. in Anthropology:

  1. completion of 30 credit hours of coursework, including 21 credit hours at the 500 level (which can include up to nine credit hours of ANTH 598 - Research); and
  2. a research paper (normally one prepared for a class in the student’s subdiscipline) approved by the student’s advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies, and submitted to the Graduate School.

No additional stipulations on the nature of the coursework (beyond the core courses) nor a language requirement are imposed.

The Anthropology program may offer direct post-baccalaureate degree entry to the doctoral program under exceptional circumstances, when a student’s past work is determined to be of sufficient scope and excellence as to merit equivalence to an M.A. in Anthropology research degree. Students admitted under this option are subject to all existing requirements for the doctoral degree; the admissions/advisory committee for the student may add extra requirements based on the student’s background.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Anthropology


Applicants to the Ph.D. in Anthropology degree program must complete the equivalent of the master’s degree and apply directly to the Graduate School for admission as a doctoral student. Three letters in support of the application must be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies of Anthropology. Students must also supply a statement of goals for their programs and subsequent professional careers. The program will offer an accelerated entry option to students who have been admitted at the M.A. level and who are judged by the faculty of the program to be prepared to begin research at the doctoral level. Such students must complete at least one term in the M.A. in Anthropology degree program before being admitted at the Ph.D. level, and must then meet all retention and exit requirements for the regular doctoral option. The students need not submit the application materials required of regular applicants to the Ph.D. in Anthropology degree program outlined above.


Students are required to demonstrate breadth of competence in the four sub-disciplines of Anthropology. Retention beyond the first year will be determined by an evaluation of course work for the first year and the maintenance of a minimum GPA of 3.2. Students will then form a faculty committee in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and relevant members of the faculty. The committee must include at least five members of the graduate faculty, at least three of whom (including the chair) must be from within the Anthropology program, and at least one from outside: the normal case will be four from within and one additional.

The requirements for the Ph.D. in Anthropology degree include the following:

  1. Additional coursework in anthropology and other fields, including in related programs, within the
    student’s interests. Of the 24 hours of credit required to establish residency, nine credit hours must be in 500-level anthropology courses other than ANTH 500A, ANTH 500C, ANTH 500D, ANTH 501, ANTH 585, and ANTH 597. The Ph.D. committee is expected to help formulate a study program that will usually involve at least one additional academic year of full-time course work beyond the M.A. in Anthropology degree.
  2. Research tool requirements. These vary and will be determined between the students and the committee. Students must complete two tools. Possible tools include, for example, computer science, statistics, one or more foreign language(s), still photography, drawing, GIS, or a combination of these or others.
  3. Administration by the committee of a special examination with both written and oral components covering topical and geographical specialties (the preliminary or candidacy exam). The student may not take the examination until two years of full-time post-baccalaureate study have been completed and SIU residency attained. The student should take this examination by the end of three years of full-time Ph.D. level work. In evaluating the examination, the committee may pass the student, pass with conditions, fail the student but allow retaking of part or all of the examination at a later time or fail the student and recommend dismissal from the program. If a student fails the examination and the committee allows reexamination, it must occur within one year of the first examination and only one retake is allowed.
  4. Dissertation prospectus approved by student’s committee and formally presented to the school.
  5. Formal experience in teaching.

Ph.D. in Anthropology Candidacy, Dissertation, and Defense

After completion of the above requirements, the school will recommend a student to the Graduate School for candidacy. The candidate will design dissertation research in consultation with the committee and will undertake the research necessary to acquire the materials for the dissertation. Candidates must register for 24 hours of credit under ANTH 600.

When a final draft of the dissertation has been accepted by the Ph.D. committee, an oral defense of the dissertation and all supporting work will be held in accordance with Graduate School requirements. After a successful dissertation defense and completion of final revisions of the text, the student must submit the dissertation to the Graduate School in accordance with its guidelines, and a paper copy to the School of Anthropology, Political Science, and Sociology.