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The PhD Degree 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 a more detailed description of the specific requirements of the PhD program in Anthropology at the University of Virginia, please visit Program Description.

For more information on the program contact the Director of Graduate Studies.       


The program of study for the PhD in Anthropology emphasizes:

  • Studies in history and theory of anthropology that give students a broad view of the field
  • 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
  • Mentoring for job placement
  • Strong ties to other University departments, programs and centers

All incoming students for the PhD are supported with a six-year funding package as well as additional grants for foreign language study, conference travel, and preparatory research during summers.  The first year of our PhD program is devoted primarily to achieving a solid grounding in social theory through a set of “common” and elective courses emphasizing critical engagement with the history of anthropology and contemporary anthropological theory. In the second year, students focus on developing mastery of the existing bodies of scholarship on their research topics and areas. Working closely with faculty, they prepare two essays that critically review the “state of the field” in two areas of scholarly literature relevant to their planned dissertation research. During the summers following this first and second years of coursework, most PhD students visit their chosen field areas to assess the feasibility of research on their planned topics, to establish preliminary contacts, and to study local languages. In the third year of study, PhD students complete any remaining coursework and write their dissertation research proposal and grant applications.  Students who have passed their proposal and received funding carry out field research for one year or more. After returning from their field research, they write up their dissertation in consultation with the faculty members on their dissertation committee.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Graduate Record, found at, represents the official repository for graduate academic program requirements.