Overview of the School of Anthropology’s Graduate Programs

The University of Arizona School of Anthropology offers opportunities for concentrated graduate study in all principal subdisciplines of anthropology: archaeology, biological, linguistic, and sociocultural anthropology. The School supports graduate study in subspecialties within these subdisciplines with special strength in the applied aspects of these foci. Study for an advanced degree consists of a combination of coursework, independent study, and mentored research. Graduate students are expected to display considerable initiative in planning a satisfactory program of study in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and appropriate members of the faculty.

Graduate Handbooks

Degree Programs Overview

Anthropology graduate students must demonstrate a broad factual and theoretical background in the principal subfields of anthropology, an authoritative knowledge of a special field of research, a thorough grasp of research methods, and refined critical judgment. In Anthropology, the Master’s and doctoral degrees are synergistically related with respect to collectively describing a common trajectory of post-baccalaureate training that emphasizes increasing independence of thought and action within the context of directed training in the classroom, laboratory, and the field. Our graduate curriculum has been developed (and is continually revised and updated) with an eye toward providing students balanced, in-depth exposure to the full range of anthropological inquiry. As such, our learning strategies at the graduate level focus on creating competent, independent thinkers capable of advancing knowledge within the context of approaches that combine the best of traditional classroom and laboratory instruction with the deployment of cutting-edge pedagogical technologies and learning strategies including internships and practica.

Master of Arts in Applied Archaeology (Stand Alone)

The School of Anthropology’s Master’s Degree track in Applied Archaeology takes advantage of our strengths in North American archaeology and indigenous archaeology. Applied archaeology is an emerging field of study within Anthropology that creates and uses knowledge in the context of application. The M.A. in Applied Archaeology at the University of Arizona is a rigorous two year academic program designed to teach the subject matter and professional skills needed for a successful career working for businesses, governmental agencies, tribes, and non-profit organizations that employ applied archaeologists. The curriculum includes classroom instruction in anthropological method and theory, laboratory training in specialized analytical techniques, coursework to establish expertise in an archaeological region, and an internship to develop professional skills. The University of Arizona is situated in one of the densest concentrations of applied archaeologists in the country and our program integrates professionals working in the private, public, and non-profit sectors of archaeology. The Master’s degree in Applied Archaeology requires 33 units, three of which are derived from a M.A. thesis or report. View the handbook for the Master's program in Applied Archaeology here.

Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. students in Anthropology must show a broad factual and theoretical background in the fields of anthropology, an authoritative knowledge of a special field of research, a thorough grasp of research methods, and good critical judgment.  Doctoral students are advised by a major advisor and other faculty members representing the student's major and minor foci of study.

The School of Anthropology admits students to the PhD program in Anthropology and the MA program in Applied Archaeology. Most students admitted to our programs have been in communication with potential advisors prior to submitting their application. Prospective students are therefore strongly encouraged to contact potential advisors via email to share your interests and confirm that they will be accepting students. Faculty expect and welcome this contact.

The dissertation requires the equivalent of at least 48 units of class credit, including 36 units in the major and 12 to 15 units in the minor. This equates with a minimum of two semesters of full-time work after completion of the MA, assuming 30 units are transferred from the MA. In addition, at least 18 units of ANTH 920 (dissertation units) are required. With the prior approval of the student's dissertation committee and the Head of the School, dissertation work may be done in absentia. In addition to the unit requirements, there are foreign language, statistics, and written and oral comprehensive examiniation requirements for hte doctorate. For complete information please see the Ph.D. Track Graduate Handbook.

In addition to our traditional Ph.D. program, the School of Anthropology is also pleased to offer dual Ph.D. and joint Ph.D. programs with Near Eastern Studies, and the Department of Linguistics. See below for more information about these opportunities.

Dual Ph.D. Program in Anthropology-Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS)

The Dual Ph.D. Program in Anthropology-Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS) at the University of Arizona is the first program in the United States to provide a formal institutional setting for simultaneous doctoral training and professional certification in these two disciplines. The program builds on the long traditions of excellence and interdisciplinary dialogue that have characterized both departments for decades. It involves faculty from both departments as well as affiliated professors in other departments on campus who share a vision of interdisciplinary research focusing on Sociocultural or Linguistic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona. This program builds upon the complementarity and affinity of the two fields, and the University of Arizona’s nationally recognized strengths in both, to train and certify uniquely qualified scholars for a rapidly globalizing world in which complex inter-dependencies are redefining relations between the West and the Middle East. From Anthropology, students gain a conceptual and analytical apparatus for studying the complexity and diversity of cultures. They also receive training in the theory and method of ethnographic fieldwork and comparative research. From Near Eastern Studies, students receive rigorous language training available in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish, and scholarly expertise in histories, literatures, religions, and the material and popular culture of Middle Eastern societies. This opportunity to combine comparative and theoretical breadth with linguistic and textual depth, and to develop research methods under the supervision of the core faculty, attracts the best students in both fields to the program. The NES-Anthropology dual Ph.D. degree requires 105 total academic units. For more information on the Dual Anthropology-MENAS program please click here.

Anthropology and Linguistics (ANLI) Joint PhD Program

The Anthropology and Linguistics (ANLI) Joint Ph.D. program makes it possible for students to pursue the study of language and linguistic theory drawing on the resources of both the Linguistics Department and the linguistic anthropology program within the School of Anthropology without having to satisfy all of the requirements of two separate Ph.D. programs. Both units have extremely strong national reputations for their contributions to the study of language, and each has specialized in mutually compatible ways in the kinds of linguistic theory and analysis it offers students. The Linguistics Department has given priority to formal models of language structure, including the study of Southwestern Native American languages and cultures and historical linguistics. Linguistic anthropology, as one of the four subdisciplines of anthropology, has concentrated on developing the study of language in its social context, particularly in sociolinguistics, including strong links with cultural anthropology. Scholars from both departments have also carried out research on numerous languages. A total of 64 credits is required for completion of the degree.

Anthropology Ph.D. Minor Concentrations

Concentrations for a Ph.D. minor in Anthropology are available in Applied Anthropology; Ecological Anthropology; Medical Anthropology; Anthropology, History and Social Memory; Archaeology of the Mediterranean World; and Southwest Land, Culture and Society; as well as any of the four principal traditional subfields of Anthropology. Please see the Graduate Handbook for more information.

Graduate Certificate in Medical Anthropology

The School of Anthropology offers a graduate certificate in medical anthropology for motivated health science professionals, scholars from the developing world, and social scientists in the U.S.A. who have been trained at institutions that do not offer specialized training in medical anthropology. Requirements include 9 hours of coursework directly related to medical anthropology and a three-credit research project resulting in a publishable paper or submittable grant proposal.

Graduate Funding

We expect our graduate students to participate in Graduate Research Assistantships and/or Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) frequently during their academic careers at Arizona. For more information on funding opportunities in the School of Anthropology, click here.