The Graduate Program in Anthropology at the University of Virginia prepares students for careers in teaching, research, and applied work in the fields of Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistic Anthropology. We are a small, selective program that admits about six PhD and six MA students each year across the three sub-disciplines. The department is known for its warmth, collegiality, and supportiveness, where classes are small, students work closely with faculty as well as peers, and students are encouraged to take courses in other disciplines. Regular workshops prepare students for proposal and grant writing, teaching, professional presentations, and job searches, and each sub-discipline supports faculty-graduate student research workshops. The Department also sponsors a Colloquium Series that brings everyone together for Friday afternoon lectures by University and visiting speakers.
We pride ourselves on the following emphases:
- Studies in theory that give students a broad view of the field of Anthropology;
- Integration of theory and ethnographic research;
- Collaboration and inspiration across the three sub-disciplines of Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistic Anthropology;
- Training in grant writing;
- Mentoring for intensive field research;
- Training and experience in teaching; and
- Mentoring for job placement.
We also take inter-disciplinarity very seriously and pride ourselves on our many and strong ties to other University departments and programs, including affiliated faculty in such diverse units as: African-American Studies, English, Environmental Sciences, History, Media Studies, The Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, Linguistics, The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Music, Religious Studies, The Department for Studies in Women and Gender, The Program in Latin American Studies, and many others.
We invite you to explore the links below to find out more about our curriculum and community. If you have questions please contact our Director of Graduate Studies or our Director of Graduate Admissions.
The PhD Program
The PhD program in Anthropology at the University of Virginia is designed to lead students from a common and broad acquaintance with fundamental issues of anthropological theory to their own individually tailored agenda of original scholarly research and writing. The accent throughout is on preparation to make a valuable contribution to knowledge through field research, analysis, and writing.
For information on the specific requirements of the PhD program in Anthropology at the University of Virginia, please visit:
For more information on the program contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
The MA Program
The University of Virginia offers the following three pathways to an MA Degree in Anthropology:
- Stand-alone Masters,
- En-route Masters (part of the PhD program), and
- Masters Promotion (for undergraduate majors wishing to combine their BA with an MA).
The Stand-Alone Masters in Anthropology
A stand-alone MA in Anthropology from the University of Virginia requires 24 credits of graded coursework, satisfaction of our Language Requirement, and completion of either a Comprehensive Exam or one Critical Review Essay. In most cases students take 3 semesters to complete our stand-alone MA program, although it is possible to do it within a single year. It is possible to pursue the stand-alone MA on a full-time or part-time basis.
The En-Route Masters in Anthropology
Students who matriculate into our PhD program are invited to claim an "en-route" MA degree once they have completed all the requirements for the degree, usually during their second year. Those wishing to continue on to the PhD degree must choose the Critical Review Essay (rather than the Comprehensive Exam).
The Masters Promotion in Anthropology
UVA undergraduates (and especially Anthropology majors) are invited to consider applying for Masters Promotion, in which they may complete both the BA and the MA in Anthropology within five years. Students interested in this program should discuss their plans with an advisor during their third year, so that they can select suitable courses during their fourth year of undergraduate study. Ideally MA Promotion students would take two graduate Anthropology courses during their 4th year at UVA, allowing them to complete all of the MA course requirements within one additional (5th) year.
For a full description of the MA requirements and various pathways, please see our MA Program Description.
How to Apply
FALL 2021 Admissions Update
As with many departments in the humanities and social sciences at universities across the country, the Department of Anthropology at UVA has decided to suspend admission into our graduate programs this year. We are doing this in order to focus our resources on addressing the academic and financial needs of our current students whose research has been disrupted by the pandemic. We anticipate resuming our graduate admission process for the Fall 2022 entering cohort and look forward to talking with students in anticipation of that admissions cycle. If you have any questions, please feel free to be in touch with China Scherz, our director of graduate studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are normally due December 15 of the year prior to admission and must be submitted online. Applications to the Department of Anthropology graduate program are accepted online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Admission System.
The application form requires you to specify whether you are applying to the PhD or the MA degree track, and we require a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, and a writing sample. The remaining application materials include the application form, fee, and transcripts. (We no longer require GRE scores). International students from non-English-speaking countries must also provide TOEFL or IELTS scores. The Graduate School asks applicants to upload unofficial transcripts when applying; applicants who are offered admission to our graduate program will then be asked to provide official copies of all transcripts.
For more information about the admissions process, please see the Graduate School's admissions information page: