Application Deadlines | Required Application Materials | Criteria | Diversity | Financial Aid | Funding for Fieldwork | Student Satisfaction | Job Placement | Transfer Credits | Sub-field course requirements
The information below addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about the Program. Please consult Program Information which contains a fuller description of the doctoral program and the courses of study.
We accept applications only for courses of study beginning in a Fall Semester. The Anthropology Program does not accept students for the Spring Semester. Completed applications with all supporting materials, including test scores and recommendations, must be in the Office of Admissions at the CUNY Graduate Center by December 1.
Each applicant is required to provide the following materials:
None of these requirements can be waived.
Optional Application Materials
All required documents should be sent directly to the Office of Admissions at the CUNY Graduate Center. When all required items have been received, your file will be ready for review by the Anthropology Program's Admissions Committee. The Program cannot keep track of specific materials for individual applicants, so it is your responsibility to ensure that your materials reach the Office of Admissions before the deadline
Admission to the PhD Program in Anthropology is very competitive. The Admissions Committee for each of the four sub-fields meets from mid-February until mid-May to review completed applications. Four essential factors are considered: a solid academic record and relevant professional and research experience; excellent references; strong test scores; and an articulate personal statement. No single item is considered in isolation.
You will be notified by the Office of Admissions as soon as the Committee reaches a decision about whether or not to admit you. Because of the number of applications requiring careful consideration, some are placed temporarily on hold and reviewed at subsequent meetings. If you have not heard from us, please contact the Office of Admissions to make sure that your application is complete before you contact the Anthropology Program. We regret that the large number of applications prevents us from explaining our decisions, given our small staff.
The PhD Program is committed to encouraging diversity among its students, and we strongly encourage applications from minorities. Our student cohorts over the years reflect a wide diversity of ethnicities and nationalities. The percentage of students of African and Hispanic/Latin descent remains well above the national average.
Beginning in Fall 2013, all entering doctoral students will be considered for one of the following new (or newly enhanced) 5-year awards.
Students have opportunities for early fieldwork experience through faculty directed practicums, summer field schools and field trips. The Program encourages students to make a preliminary reconnaissance trip to a potential fieldsite. Normally the Program holds an annual competition for summer research funds. With close faculty guidance students write proposals for their dissertation fieldwork and submit them to external funding agencies. Students in the Program receive outside funding for their research at an exceptionally high rate. Funding agencies have included: the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, Social Science Research Council, L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, IREX, International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Open Society Institute, CARE Archaeology Foundation, Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, Ford Foundation - US Community Forestry Research, Foreign Languages and Areas Studies (FLAS), American Museum of Natural History, Kellogg Foundation, Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), and the Smithsonian Institution.
The results of the National Doctoral Program Survey (2000), funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, place our Program in the top five of forty-one Anthropology programs surveyed across the country. Altogether, over 32,000 doctoral students and recent Ph.D.'s evaluated their program's educational practices. The survey was specifically designed to assess student perceptions of the educational effectiveness of their doctoral programs based on the adoption of widely accepted best practices in doctoral education, as recommended by the Association of American Universities, National Research Council, and others.
Many factors determine success in academic and non-academic job placement. The Program's four-field requirement together with exceptional opportunities for fieldwork and teaching experience, provide CUNY anthropology graduates with credentials not commonly available from other doctoral programs. As noted above, most students acquire significant undergraduate teaching experience at the various colleges of the CUNY system and other colleges in the area while completing their degrees. Many students establish a track record of writing successful proposals and winning external funding for their research (Student News). The Program expects students to participate in professional meetings, and many organize sessions and present papers (Student News). It is not uncommon for our students to publish a paper while they are writing their dissertations. The Program's placement record varies from one year to the next and from graduate to graduate. We are proud of our placement record and of the achievements of many of our alumni (Alumni News). It is a source of pride that three alumni (one cultural, one physical, and one linguistic) have gone on to win distinguished MacArthur "genius" awards. CUNY anthropology counts more MacArthur winners among its alumni than any other anthropology department save the University of Chicago.
After a student has successfully completed the First Exam, it is possible to request the evaluation of transfer credits. Taking into account the advice of the student's sub-field coordinator, and the student's academic record in the doctoral program, the Executive Officer (chair) evaluates the courses the student would like to transfer. Normally this occurs after the student has passed the First Examination. Official Graduate Center policy allows for the transfer of a maximum of 30 credits. Students are sometimes confused when they read this and expect to receive more transfer credits than are approved. To obtain a doctoral degree from CUNY a student must complete a total of 60 credits, of which a minimum of 30 must be earned at CUNY. Thus, our policy allows for transfer of up to a maximum of 30 credits. In practice this is extremely rare.
Students are required to take one course in each of three sub-fields other than their own. This requirement is may be waived depending on a student's earlier course work. A request for a course waiver may be considered if the student has taken either one graduate level course or two undergraduate level courses in a sub-field. Taking into account the advice of the sub-field coordinator for the sub-field course in question, the Executive Officer (chair) evaluates the course(s) a student wishes to have considered to obtain a waiver.
Information about financial aid, housing, degree requirements and general course offerings may be found in the Prospective Student section of the Graduate School website. The Anthropology Program's Website contains schedules of recent and current course offerings and course descriptions, faculty members, and program events. The student news section is the place to look for information on our students' record of participation in conferences, publications, winning grants, and landing jobs. The faculty section contains a list of faculty and information on their research interest and publications. The faculty news section provides current information on their activities, publications, invited lectures, awards, and so forth.
Questions may be addressed to Anthropology student liaison – Ryan Mann-Hamilton
You may also contact:
This departmental publication supplements the official Bulletin of The Graduate School as well as the current Graduate Center Student Handbook and "Announcement of Courses."
Copyright 2012 PhD Program in Anthropology