About the Program
The Department of Anthropology offers a PhD in Anthropology, with concentrations in Sociocultural Anthropology, Archaeology, or Biological Anthropology. The PhD in Anthropology is concerned with diverse analytic and substantive problems in the contemporary world and includes research sites across the United States and around the world. For example, the PhD in Anthropology might focus on issues of political economy and finance; the dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality; psychological and medical anthropology; the study of religion and secularism; genomics and the anthropology of science and reason; folklore theory; linguistic anthropology; long term human-environment relations; cultural politics of food, energy, and space; aging and the life course; historic archaeology; archaeology of the contemporary; biocultural approaches in archaeology; cultural politics of identity, space, and the body; agrarian micropolitics; or urban anthropology.
Admission to the University
Minimum Requirements for Admission
The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.
Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree
The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
- Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
- Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.
Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.
Required Documents for Applications
- Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
- Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
- Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
- courses in English as a Second Language,
- courses conducted in a language other than English,
- courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
- courses of a non-academic nature.
If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
Where to Apply
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Admission to the Program
Applicants for the Anthropology PhD are required to specify the concentration to which they wish to apply: Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, or Sociocultural Anthropology. Applicants who wish to work in Archaeology are required to name at least two faculty with whom they wish to work.
Applicants must hold a Bachelor of Arts degree or its equivalent from an institution of acceptable standing and may hold a Master of Arts in Anthropology or another field. Previous concentration in anthropology is not required. The department does not accept applicants interested in the Master of Arts in Anthropology degree only.
Doctoral Degree Requirements
Normative Time Requirements
Normative Time to Advancement to PhD Candidacy
Total time to advancement is expected to be three years.
The students begin to narrow down their interests to particular topical and geographical fields of specialization, a process that normally takes one year.
Students attend seminars, prepare three field statements in their specializations, satisfy their language requirement, and prepare for their PhD oral qualifying examination. This step lasts one to two years. With the successful passing of the orals, students are advanced to candidacy for the PhD degree.
Normative Time in Candidacy
Students undertake research for the PhD dissertation under a three-person committee in charge of their research and dissertation. Students do original field, laboratory, or library research, which generally takes a minimum of one year. The students then write the dissertation based on the results of this research. On completion of the research and approval of the dissertation by the committee, the students are awarded the doctorate. When registered during this phase, students normally enroll in ANTHRO 299 with their dissertation chair.
Total Normative Time
Total normative time is 6 years.
Time to Advancement
|ANTHRO 229A||Archaeological Research Strategies||4|
|ANTHRO 229B||Archaeological Research Strategies||4|
|ANTHRO 290||Survey of Anthropological Research (every semester until advanced to candidacy)||1|
|ANTHRO Methods and Area course, per approved study list|
|ANTHRO Electives, per approved study list|
|Biological Anthropology Concentration|
|Anthropology Theory Seminar: Select one from the following:|
|Archaeological Research Strategies |
|Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory |
|Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory |
|ANTHRO 290||Survey of Anthropological Research||1|
|ANTHRO Methods Course, per approved study list|
|ANTHRO Electives, per approved study list|
|ANTHRO 240A||Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory||5|
|ANTHRO 240B||Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory||5|
|ANTHRO 290||Survey of Anthropological Research||1|
|ANTHRO Electives per approved study list|
In addition to English, the program requires at least one other language. This language may be a language of international scholarship, a literary language, or a field language. The required language must be directly relevant to the research.
Field statements are bibliographical essays on areas of specialization that are to address substantive areas of anthropology. Each field statement is a critical summary and analysis of issues and debates in a field of knowledge. Students will write three field statements. Faculty sponsors will work with the student in the preparation of these field statements. All three faculty sponsors for archaeology field statements must be from within the Department of Anthropology; biological anthropology and sociocultural anthropology students may work with one faculty member from outside the department. Students normally enroll in a section of ANTHRO 298 for each statement with the professor supervising that statement.
The dissertation prospectus is an intellectual justification and research plan for the dissertation. Sociocultural students must get their prospectus signed by all three dissertation committee members and file it at the end of their third year, either before or after the PhD Oral Qualifying Examination. There is no designated length for a sociocultural dissertation prospectus. Archaeology and Biological Anthropology students must submit their prospectus before the PhD Oral Qualifying Examination, and it should be no more than eight pages in length.
Time in Candidacy
Fieldwork and Dissertation Writing
After advancing to candidacy for the PhD, students are expected to conduct dissertation field work, typically for about a year. Students then return to analyze their findings and begin writing their dissertation. Some use this period to gain more experience teaching as well.
Dissertation Presentation/Finishing Talk
There is no formal defense of the completed dissertation. Archaeology students are required to publicly present a talk about their dissertation research in their final year, normally as part of the Wednesday brown bag lunch lecture series at 2251 College Avenue.
Required Professional Development
All Archaeology graduate students are expected to attend Wednesday brown bag lunches held at 2251 College Avenue, organized by faculty affiliates of the Archaeological Research Facility, and they may regularly present research talks there.
All Anthropology graduate students not yet advanced to candidacy are required to enroll in ANTHRO 290, each semester until they are advanced to PhD candidacy. All in-residence archaeology students are expected to register in ANTHRO 290-2 to participate in the Archaeology Outreach Program, which includes school and community group talks and other activities.
The department administers two endowments, the Lowie and the Olson Funds, which are designed for student support. Graduate students are eligible to apply for these funds for research and conference travel and other related expenses over the course of their graduate career. Please consult the Graduate Programs page on the departmental website for further details.
The department strives to provide every student with an opportunity to gain teaching experience. Every year, students work as teaching assistants responsible for small discussion or laboratory sections (graduate student instructors, or GSIs) and serve as readers assisting with grading but not conducting independent teaching. Unlike some universities, Berkeley does not normally approve students to teach entire courses independently, even in the summer session. In recent years, the department has drawn on recent PhDs to staff summer session courses after they complete the degree. In preparation for teaching, each fall the department offers a seminar, required before or concurrent with the first GSI assignment, on teaching in anthropology.
Faculty and Instructors
Sabrina C. Agarwal, Associate Professor. Bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, gender research, biological and evolutionary anthropology, osteology and osteoporosis, health and disease, paleopathology.
Stanley H. Brandes, Professor. Cultural anthropology, ritual and religion, food and drink, alcohol use, visual anthropology, Mediterranean Europe, Latin America, Spain, Mexico.
Charles L. Briggs, Professor. Linguistic and medical anthropology, social theory, modernity, citizenship and the state, race, and violence.
Lawrence Cohen, Professor. Social cultural anthropology, medical and psychiatric anthropology, critical gerontology, lesbian and gay studies, feminist and queer theory.
Terrence W. Deacon, Professor. Neuroscience, anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, semiotics, primates, linguistic theory.
Nicholas Dirks, Professor. History and anthropology of South Asia, social and cultural theory, history of imperialism, historiography, cultural studies, globalization.
Mariane C. Ferme, Associate Professor. Material culture and agrarian landscapes, gender, historical anthropology, Sierra Leone, contemporary Africa, political culture, transitional justice in post-conflict societies.
Daniel Fisher, Assistant Professor. Social Cultural Anthropology; Anthropology of Media; Aboriginal Australia; Music and Sound; Art and Expressive Practice; Photography; Ethnographic Film and Video; Citizenship and the State; Bureaucracy.
Junko Habu, Professor. Japan, anthropology, archaeology, climate change, sustainability, East Asia, Jomon hunter-gatherers.
William F. Hanks, Professor. Social and cultural anthropology, linguistics, shamanism, language, Yucatan Mexico, Maya culture.
Christine Hastorf, Professor. Anthropology, archaeology, paleoethnobotany/archaeobotany, ancient plant use, foodways, Andean South America, ritual, agriculture.
Cori Hayden, Associate Professor. Latin America, Mexico, social and cultural anthropology, kinship, anthropology of science, technology, and medicine, post-colonial science, gender, queer studies.
Charles Hirschkind, Associate Professor. Islam, anthropology, religious practice, media technologies, political community, Middle East, Europe.
James Holston, Professor. Citizenship, Brazil, architecture, law, planning, the United States, cities, democracy, political and social anthropology, urban ethnography, the Americas.
Rosemary Joyce, Professor. Latin America, anthropology, gender, archaeology, sexuality, museums, cultural heritage, ethics, Central America, feminism.
Kent Lightfoot, Professor. California archaeology, coastal hunter-gatherers, North American archaeology, archaeology of colonialism, indigenous landscape management.
Xin Liu, Professor. History and/of anthropology, contemporary trends in social theory, social/cultural anthropology, comparative societies, capitalism and culture, America and China/East Asia.
Lisa A. Maher, Assistant Professor. Archaeology, hunter-gatherers, prehistory, geoarchaeology, landscape use, stone tools technology, emergence of social complexity.
Saba Mahmood, Professor. Religion, secularism, gender, ethics and politics, minorities, Islam, the Middle East, and South Asia.
Donald S. Moore, Associate Professor. Ethnicity, development, cultural politics, race, and identity, spatiality and power, governmentality, environment, postcolonial theory, Africa.
Laura Nader, Professor. Latin America, Mexico, social anthropology, comparative ethnography of law, dispute resolution, conflict, controlling processes, comparative family organizations, the anthropology of professional mind-sets, ethnology of the Middle East, contemporary U.S.
Karen Nakamura, Professor. Cultural anthropology; Disability Studies; LGBT movements; minority social movements and identity politics; visual anthropology and ethnographic filmmaking, Japan.
Aihwa Ong, Professor. Cultural anthropology, anthropology, transnationalism, citizenship, global cities, migration, Southeast Asia, urbanism.
Stefania Pandolfo, Professor. Cultural anthropology, Islam, Middle East, theories of subjectivity, postcolonial criticism, anthropology and literature, the Maghreb, mental illness.
Paul M. Rabinow, Professor. Cultural anthropology, social thought, modernity, biotechnology, genome mapping, France, Iceland.
Jun Sunseri, Assistant Professor. Historical archaeology, zooarchaeology, ceramic material science, GIS, landscape archaeology, experimental archaeology, community-engaged scholarship, outreach, foodways, actualistic research.
Laurie Wilkie, Professor. Anthropology, historical archaeology, oral history, material culture and ethnic identity, family and gender relations; North America, Northern California, Caribbean. Bahamas, African consumerism, creolization, multi-ethnic community.
Alexei Yurchak, Associate Professor. Language, Discourse, power, social theory, late socialism, theories of ideology, subjectivity, popular culture, ideology, Soviet and post-Soviet culture and society, post-socialism, telecommunications, linguistics, speech synthesis.
Christopher J. Ames, Lecturer.
Nathan Kwame Braun, Lecturer.
Kimberly E. Christensen, Lecturer.
Mather M. George, Lecturer.
Ruth Goldstein, Lecturer.
Overton B. Berlin, Professor Emeritus.
Margaret W. Conkey, Professor Emeritus. Anthropology, gender, archaeology, prehistoric art, hunter-gatherers, feminist perspectives, Paleolithic art, rock art.
Phyllis C. Dolhinow, Professor Emeritus. Anthropology, development, ecology, physical anthropology, primate social behavior, human behavior, evolution.
Nelson H. Graburn, Professor Emeritus. Social and cultural anthropology, kinship, art, tourism, Japan, circumpolar, China, Heritage, Inuit.
John A. Graham, Professor Emeritus.
Eugene A. Hammel, Professor Emeritus. Kinship, social anthropology, stratification, statistical and formal analysis, computer applications, peasant society and culture, demography, Balkans.
Patrick V. Kirch, Professor Emeritus. Historical anthropology, Oceania, ethnoarchaeology, Melanesia, Polynesia, environmental archaeology, prehistoric agricultural systems, human paleoecology, ethnobotany.
Herbert P. Phillips, Professor Emeritus.
Jack M. Potter, Professor Emeritus. Anthropology, social anthropology, U.S., Thailand, classical social theory, peasants, change, ethnographic film, China.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Professor Emeritus. Critical medical anthropology, violence, genocide, inequality, marginality, childhood, family, psychiatry, deinstitutionalization, medical ethics, fieldwork ethics, globalization medicine, social/ political illness, disease, AIDS, Ireland, Brazil, cuba.
M. Steven Shackley, Professor Emeritus. Northwest Mexico, anthropology, archaeology, North America, geochemical analysis.
William S. Simmons, Professor Emeritus.
Ruth Tringham, Professor Emeritus. Archaeology, Central European, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Anatolian prehistory, early agriculturalists, neolithic, bronze age, prehistoric architecture, household archaeology, feminist practice of archaeology, multimedia (hypermedia).
Department of Anthropology
232 Kroeber Hall
Laurie A. Wilkie, PhD
213 Kroeber Hall
Folklore Program Chair
Charles L. Briggs, PhD
333 Kroeber Hall
Program Director, Medical Anthropology
Seth Holmes, PhD
519 University Hall
Head Graduate Adviser
Rosemary Joyce, PhD
Graduate Student Affairs Officer
205 Kroeber hall