University of California, Berkeley

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.

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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:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant has completed a basic degree 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
  4. 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 the 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. Unofficial transcripts must contain specific information including the name of the applicant, name of the school, all courses, grades, units, & degree conferral (if applicable). 
  2. 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, by the recommender, not the Graduate Admissions.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions 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.

Applicants who have previously applied to Berkeley must also submit new test scores that meet the current minimum requirement 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 for Graduate Organizations. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years prior to beginning the graduate program at UC Berkeley. Note: score reports can not expire before the month of June.


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.

sTep I

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
Step III

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 their dissertations 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

Archaeology Concentration
ANTHRO 229AArchaeological Research Strategies: History of Theory in Anthropological Archaeology4
ANTHRO 229BArchaeological Research Strategies: Research Design4
ANTHRO 290Survey 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: History of Theory in Anthropological Archaeology [4]
Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory [5]
Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory [5]
ANTHRO 290Survey of Anthropological Research1
ANTHRO Methods Course, per approved study list
ANTHRO Electives, per approved study list
Sociocultural Concentration
ANTHRO 240AFundamentals of Anthropological Theory5
ANTHRO 240BFundamentals of Anthropological Theory5
ANTHRO 290Survey of Anthropological Research1
ANTHRO Electives per approved study list
Foreign Language(s)

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

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 before the PhD Oral Qualifying Examination.  The dissertation prospectus should be between 8-10 pages.  Archaeology and Biological Anthropology students must submit their dissertation prospectus before the PhD Oral Qualifying Examination, and it should be between 8-10 pages.

Time in Candidacy

Fieldwork and Dissertation Writing

After advancing to candidacy for the PhD, students are expected to conduct dissertation fieldwork, typically for about a year. Students then return to analyze their findings and begin writing their dissertations. Some use this period to gain more experience in 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 291 to participate in the Archaeology Outreach Program, which includes school and community group talks and other activities. 

Research Resources

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.

Teaching Opportunities

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, Professor. Bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, gender research, biological and evolutionary anthropology, osteology and osteoporosis, health and disease, paleopathology .
Research Profile

Charles L. Briggs, Professor. Linguistic and medical anthropology, social theory, modernity, citizenship and the state, race, and violence.
Research Profile

Lawrence Cohen, Professor. Social cultural anthropology, medical and psychiatric anthropology, critical gerontology, lesbian and gay studies, feminist and queer theory.
Research Profile

Terrence W. Deacon, Professor. Neuroscience, anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, semiotics, primates, linguistic theory.
Research Profile

Nicholas Dirks, Professor. History and anthropology of South Asia, social and cultural theory, history of imperialism, historiography, cultural studies, globalization.
Research Profile

Mariane C. Ferme, Professor. Material culture and agrarian landscapes, gender, historical anthropology, Sierra Leone, contemporary Africa, political culture, transitional justice in post-conflict societies.
Research Profile

Daniel Fisher, Associate 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 .
Research Profile

Daena Funahashi, Assistant Professor. Medical anthropology, psychological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology.
Research Profile

Junko Habu, Professor. Japan, anthropology, archaeology, climate change, sustainability, East Asia, Jomon hunter-gatherers.
Research Profile

William F. Hanks, Professor. Social and cultural anthropology, linguistics, shamanism, language, Yucatan Mexico, Maya culture.
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Christine Hastorf, Professor. Anthropology, archaeology, paleoethnobotany/archaeobotany, ancient plant use, foodways, Andean South America, ritual, agriculture.
Research Profile

Cori Hayden, Associate Professor. Latin America, Mexico, social and cultural anthropology, kinship, anthropology of science, technology, and medicine, post-colonial science, gender, queer studies.
Research Profile

Charles Hirschkind, Associate Professor. Islam, anthropology, religious practice, media technologies, political community, Middle East, Europe.
Research Profile

James Holston, Professor. Citizenship, Brazil, architecture, law, planning, the United States, cities, democracy, political and social anthropology, urban ethnography, the Americas.
Research Profile

Rosemary Joyce, Professor. Latin America, anthropology, gender, archaeology, sexuality, museums, cultural heritage, ethics, Central America, feminism.
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Andrew Wooyoung Kim, Assistant Professor. Intergenerational trauma, culture and mental health, psychiatric epidemiology, stress physiology, epigenetics, developmental origins of health and disease, biocultural anthropology, racial justice, critical and decolonial approaches to biological anthropology.
Research Profile

Nicholas Laluk, Assistant Professor. Decolonization, indigenization, indigenous methodologies, Tribal sovereignty-driven research, Indigenous Archaeologies, Southwest U.S.
Research Profile

Kent Lightfoot, Professor. California archaeology, coastal hunter-gatherers, North American archaeology, archaeology of colonialism, indigenous landscape management.
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

Lisa A. Maher, Associate Professor. Archaeology, hunter-gatherers, prehistory, geoarchaeology, landscape use, stone tools technology, emergence of social complexity.
Research Profile

Karen Nakamura, Professor. Cultural anthropology, Disability Studies, LGBT movements, minority social movements and identity politics, visual anthropology and ethnographic filmmaking, Japan.
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Stefania Pandolfo, Professor. Cultural anthropology, Islam, Middle East, theories of subjectivity, postcolonial criticism, anthropology and literature, the Maghreb, mental illness.
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Aarti Sethi, Assistant Professor. Agrarian Anthropology; Rural Life; Feminist Anthropology; Political Economy; Comparative Religion; South Asia; Debt and Capitalism; Cinema and Media Culture; Ecstatic Experience, Embodiment and Aesthetics; Theories of Mind, Language and Subjectivity; Caste, Structural Violence and Socio-Economic Inequality.
Research Profile

Jun Sunseri, Associate Professor. Historical archaeology, zooarchaeology, ceramic material science, GIS, landscape archaeology, experimental archaeology, community-engaged scholarship, outreach, foodways, actualistic research.
Research Profile

Sarah Vaughn, Assistant Professor. Cultural anthropology, (Post)colonial Science studies, environment, expertise, climate change, vulnerability, critical theories of race and racialization, theories of liberalism, Caribbean/Latin America.
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William A. White, Assistant Professor. Historical archaeology.
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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.
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

Emeritus Faculty

Brent Berlin, Professor Emeritus.

Stanley H. Brandes, Professor Emeritus. Cultural anthropology, ritual and religion, food and drink, alcohol use, visual anthropology, Mediterranean Europe, Latin America, Spain, Mexico.

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.

Donald S. Moore, Professor Emeritus. Ethnicity, development, cultural politics, race, and identity, spatiality and power, governmentality, environment, postcolonial theory, Africa.
Research Profile

Laura Nader, Professor Emeritus . 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 .
Research Profile

Aihwa Ong, Professor Emeritus. Anthropology, transnationalism, governance, citizenship, global cities, migration, Asian biomedical science, Southeast Asia, South Asian Art.
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

M. Steven Shackley, Professor Emeritus. Northwest Mexico, anthropology, archaeology, North America, geochemical analysis.

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).

Contact Information

Department of Anthropology

232 Anthropology and Art Practice Building

Phone: 510-642-3391

Fax: 510-643-8557

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Charles Hirschkind

232 Anthropology & Art Practice Bldg

Head Graduate Advisor, Archaeology

Rosemary Joyce, PhD

Head Graduate Advisor: Sociocultural Anthropology

Cori Hayden

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Tabea Mastel

213 Anthropology & Art Practice Building

Phone: 510-642-3406

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