Ph.d. program.

  • Graduate Studies

The graduate program in Brown’s anthropology department encourages a diversity of doctoral research agendas in socio-cultural anthropology, anthropological archaeology, and linguistic anthropology.

Our program balances a rigorous curriculum of core classes with more specialized training in advanced courses. Our graduate seminars and independent study courses provide an engaging and rigorous tutorial approach to training. Graduate courses offered this academic year are listed on  Courses@Brown .

Brown’s graduate program is primarily PhD granting; students are not admitted to the department solely to seek a Master’s degree. Doctoral students complete requirements for a Master’s degree during their course of study, as well as additional requirements described below.


Degree Requirements

Generally awarded as part of the overall requirements for a Ph.D.

Four core courses

  • ANTH2010: Principles of Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 2020: Methods of Anthropological Research (or equivalent)
  • ANTH 2501: Principles of Archaeology
  • ANTH 2800: Linguistic Theory and Practice
  • Four approved electives
  • A Master’s Thesis
  • 12 additional elective courses beyond the 8 required for the Master’s Degree (or the fulfillment of equivalent through coursework at another university) 
  • Preliminary examinations in three topics
  • One year of teaching experience, usually as a teaching assistant
  • Approved research proposal for doctoral research
  • Foreign language requirement (if required by the candidate’s doctoral committee)
  • Dissertation, based on independent field research

More detailed information about the program, including a general outline of the timeline for completing the program, can be found in the Anthropology Graduate Handbook . 

Specialized Ph.D. Tracks

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They choose a topic within Anthropological Demography as one of their preliminary examination topics, participate in the activities of the Working Group in Anthropology and Population, and attend the regular colloquia of the Population Studies and Training Center (PSTC). PSTC also has a set of requirements trainees must meet. Special fellowships are available to students in this program.

More information @ PSTC

Lutz Bases

The program offers specialized courses, funds field-based research, provides fellowships, hosts visiting faculty, and promotes collaborative research initiatives with partner institutions in the global south. The program builds on a core group of faculty internationally renowned for their research and scholarship in the area of development and inequality. Program activities are open to all PhD students at Brown. All trainees and fellows are eligible for summer fieldwork research grants.

More information @ Watson

Medical anthropology is a subfield of anthropology that seeks to understand human experiences of health, illness, and suffering. Medical anthropologists study topics such as global health, local health systems, indigenous medicine, violence and trauma, disability and the body, gender and sexuality, biotechnology, bioethics, and social suffering. Brown’s PhD program offers an array of opportunities for students seeking specialized training in medical anthropology. Brown’s anthropology faculty are actively engaged in researching a wide variety of topics within the subfield of medical anthropology, including HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, mental illness, reproductive health, gender and sexuality, violence and trauma, biotechnology, language and medicine, anthropology of drugs, and bio-archaeology.

Pentecostal Healing

For more information, contact  Professor Daniel J. Smith or  Professor Katherine A. Mason.

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Programs in Economic Anthropology

We have created the following list by asking people to nominate their programs and provide the following information. If you’re interested in providing information about your economic anthropology program here, or need to edit your entry, please contact Sarah Lyon (sarah.lyon [at] uky [dot] edu).


Arizona State University Indiana University Ohio State University Princeton University Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona University of Calgary University of Kentucky University of Maine University of South Florida University of Sussex  (includes information about the  MA in the Social Anthropology of the Global Economy (MA SAGE) )

Arizona State University

Faculty with an Interest in Economic Anthropology: David Abbott H. Russell Bernard Robert Boyd Shauna BurnSilver Michelle Hegmon Kim Hill Daniel Hruschka Sarah Mathew Christopher Morehart Michael Smith Pauline Weissner Amber Wutich

Additional Information:

The Department offers graduate courses in economic anthropology and closely related topics. The archaeology program has strengths in the study of ancient systems of production and exchange, as well as economic (and social) inequality.   The socio-cultural program has particular strengths in institutional, evolutionary, and biocultural approaches to economic anthropology.

Indiana University

Faculty with an Interest in Economic Anthropology: ,

Susan Alt Eduardo Brondizio Beth Buggenhagen Sarah Osterhoudt Laura Scheiber

The Department offers courses in the anthropology of development and economic anthropology. The economic anthropology in our department is closely connected with food studies. Over the years many of our graduate students have joined SEA and have worked closely with the organization. Until recently we had three past presidents of SEA on the faculty.

Ohio State University

Jeffrey H. Cohen Sean Downey Kris Gremillon Nick Kawa Joy McCorriston Mark Moritz Barbara Piperata Anna Willow

The Department offers graduate courses in economic anthropology including ones on inequality and theory.  The faculty emphasizes strong training in methods and empirically grounded research (regardless of the area).  We have ethnographic strengths in Latin America (particularly Mexico, Central America and Brazil), West Africa (particularly Cameroon), the archaeology of the Midwest US, Middle East and Central/Eastern Europe and the bioanth/bioarch of Europe, South America and the US.  Graduate students in our program and with an economic interest have explored labor, property rights and tourism in South and Central America, migration in Mexico, South America and South Africa, welfare reforms in the US, democratic reforms in West Africa and political ecology in West Africa with support from internal and external funding agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Hayes program.

Princeton University

Julia Elyachar Rena Lederman Serguei Oushakine Carolyn Rouse

Over the past several years, we have offered student-initiated graduate tutorial courses in “Economic anthropology”, “Economic and finance anthropology”, and “Anthropology of development”. Detailed information about Princeton Anthropology’s graduate program is available at the website link above.  Highlights include: (a)  an intensive, fast-paced two-year residence requirement (that is, only two years of courses are required before students take their general examination and proceed forward to dissertation field research);  (b) generous 5-year fellowships for all students (that is, everyone receives the same kind of support; additional funding is available to enable post-first year and post-second year summer research; fellowship monies can be used to jump-start dissertation fieldwork);  (c)  a small, supportive department with lots of contact between faculty and graduate students; and (d) an excellent record of post-graduation placement in tenure-track and post-doc positions.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Faculty with an Interest in Economic Anthropology:

Jose Luis Molina Hugo Valenzuela García

The department offers graduate courses in Economic Anthropology and Human Ecology and faculty have expertise in Network Analysis.

University of Calgary

Gerlach, Craig Hayashi, Naotaka Peric, Sabrina Smart, Alan Smart, Josephine Yessenova, Saulesh

All graduate students do thesis development reading courses with their supervisor, which can focus on economic anthropology. The University of Calgary’s Anthropology Department is an animated two-field intellectual community driven by faculty and students alike in a quest to understand our contemporary condition. Embracing anthropology’s traditional integrative approach, we consider humans as they are constructed simultaneously by cultural meanings, social structures, and the biology and ecology of the human species in its evolutionary context.

U of C sociocultural anthropologists approach the field through a firm knowledge of the discipline’s history as well as social and cultural theory, gained from both contemporary ethnographic writings and classic anthropological and sociological studies. While ethnography remains the cornerstone of the discipline, multidisciplinary approaches, and especially collaborations, remain crucial to the faculty. Areas of strength include: urban anthropology, political economy and globalization, natural resources and environment, medical anthropology, anthropology and militarization, development, water and food security. Regional expertise encompasses: East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, West Africa, the Circumpolar North  

University of Kentucky

Lisa Cliggett George Crothers Scott Hutson Ann Kingsolver Sarah Lyon Kristin Monroe Carmen Martinez Novo Chris Pool

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky offers multiple graduate courses in economic anthropology with particular strengths in cultural anthropology and archaeology: ANT 637-Socio-Cultural Dimensions of Economic Development, ANT 653-Prehistoric Economics, ANT 734-Economic Anthropology, ANT 770-Political Economy and additional special topics courses that are offered on a rotating basis.  Professors Lyon, Pool, and Cliggett have each served on the Society’s board of directors and as program directors of past Society meetings and Lyon is a past recipient of the SEA’s book prize. The department has a strong reputation for research speaking to core debates and discussion in academic, policy, and private spheres. Established in 1927, the department is among the oldest departments of anthropology in the United States. The department has 15 full-time faculty, 2 full time lecturers, and 17 affiliated or adjunct faculty in different programs and colleges around campus. Currently, the program has approximately 100 undergraduate majors and 60 graduate students.

University of Maine

Jim Acheson Christine Beitl Cindy Isenhour Lisa Neuman Darren Ranco Brian Robinson Paul “Jim” Roscoe Dan Sandweiss Greg Zarro

The department offers graduate courses in economic anthropology. This new PhD Program centers on understanding human environmental relationships in cross-cultural perspective and their pivotal role in implementing successful environmental policy. The program engages students in a highly multi-disciplinary framework bridging environmental sciences and policy while focusing on the sociocultural impacts of, and responses to, local and global environmental change.

University of South Florida

Tara Deubel Kiran Jayaram Dillon Mahoney John Napora Christian Wells Kevin Yelvington Rebecca Zarger

The Department offers graduate courses in Economic Anthropology, Anthropology of Development, Global Tourism, and Environmental Anthropology, among others. Faculty research and teaching in economic anthropology emphasize international development, infrastructure, labor, migration, human rights, and human and environmental health. The Graduate Program in Applied Anthropology at USF aims to develop creative scholars and scientists who will apply their knowledge and skills to contemporary human problems, whether as academics or practitioners. The department offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Anthropology, as well as a concurrent degree with Public Health (M.P.H.).  Initiated in 1974, the University of South Florida was the first in the nation to focus on graduate career training for the practice of applied anthropology, and since then, more than 425 graduates have obtained a degree from our department.

University of Sussex

Andrea Cornwall (sex work, development, social and economic justice, Africa, India, Brazil) Geert De Neve (labor, industry, corporate codes of conduct, India) Peter Luetchford (fair trade, anthropology of food, Costa Rica, Spain) Magnus Marsden (trade, traders, migration, Afghanistan) Filippo Osella (philanthropy, charity, Islam and economy, India and the Gulf) Rebecca Prentice (garment industry, neoliberalism, health and safety, West Indies) Dinah Rajak (corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, global political economy, Africa) Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner  (bioeconomies, Japan, China, India)

At the University of Sussex, our Anthropology department specializes in economic anthropology, especially corporate social responsibility, fair and ethical trade, the politics of labor, neoliberalism, social & economic justice, and the ethics and moralities of capitalist markets. The MA in the Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation is a year-long program (or two years part-time) at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. The MA in the Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation is concerned with the anthropological study of the complex economic, political, and cultural processes of social transformation in the developing world. We offer student-centered teaching underpinned by the department’s world-leading research on themes such as development, new social movements, capitalism and the economy, justice, rights, health and sexualities, as well as the inter-relationships between these.

MA in the Social Anthropology of the Global Economy (MA SAGE)

Academic Convenor, Dr Rebecca Prentice:  r.j.prentice[at]sussex[dot]ac[dot]uk

The MA in the Social Anthropology of the Global Economy (MA SAGE) helps you develop a critical understanding of the relationship between neoliberal capitalism and social and economic transformation around the world. The course combines theory and anthropological case studies to explore equality and inequality; the politics of labour in the global economy; relationships between wealth, power, and democracy; the global and local impacts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social enterprise; and new social movements for social and economic justice (including mass public protests and the Occupy movement).

Key features of the degree:

·       A focus on the anthropological study of economic life – one of the most dynamic and fast-growing areas of anthropology;

·       Students learn how to analyse and explain the complex relationship between local realities and global processes of economic transformation;

·       Student-led teaching underpinned by our Sussex Anthropology’s world-leading research;

·       The ability to tailor your degree to your own interests, with courses such as “Fair Trade, Ethical Business & New Moral Economies,” “Poverty, Marginality, and Everyday Lives,” and “Activism for Development and Social Justice.”

·       The opportunity to undertake a 12-week work-study placement in an organisation relevant to your degree.

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Social Sciences PhD Program

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The HSS PhD program in the social sciences offers the opportunity for highly motivated and quantitatively oriented students to pursue interdisciplinary research in areas common to economics , political science , political economy , history , psychology, anthropology, law, and public policy.

A foundational belief of the program is that a wide variety of social phenomena are best understood as the consequence of intelligent decisions by individuals pursuing their own ends. Caltech social scientists have established that such decisions can be modeled and that conclusions concerning social events should be based on observable and measurable parameters of those theories.

Caltech was one of the first research institutions to use laboratory experimentation in the study of economics and political science, and HSS remains one of the top departments—if not the top—in the world in this field. Under faculty supervision, graduate students conduct experiments in HSS research centers, including the Social Science Experimental Laboratory (SSEL) and the Caltech Brain Imaging Center (CBIC) .

Graduate students in the social sciences PhD program are encouraged to begin largely independent research early in their graduate career. Many of the research projects involve direct collaboration between members of the faculty and graduate students. Graduate students are expected to participate actively in the intellectual life of the division, including attendance and participation in seminars and workshops. Seminars occur at least weekly and usually feature colleagues from other universities who have been invited to formally present their work. Workshops are more informal gatherings where students, faculty, and visitors present their work in progress.

Expected learning outcomes for a graduate student completing the social sciences PhD program include:

  • a strong background in economics, political science, and econometrics;
  • a solid understanding of the technical tools—which themselves require an understanding of different theoretical and empirical approaches—needed to carry out research at the frontier of the social sciences;
  • a demonstrated record of independent and high-quality research; and
  • an ability to collaborate and communicate across different fields in the social sciences.

Caltech conferred its first PhD in social science in 1978. Graduates of the program have been eagerly sought after and have found positions in leading university departments of economics, political science, and law, as well as jobs in government and industry. Additional information about graduates of the program is available on the alumni listings page .

Social Sciences Graduate Courses

The first-year graduate curriculum consists of courses in modern statistical and econometric methods; game theory, social choice, and decision theory; microeconomics; and American political institutions. These required courses give Caltech students the unique perspective and background that faculty believe yield special insights into economic and political interactions. This rigorous first-year training also provides students with the foundation and skills needed to conduct independent research early in their careers at Caltech.

The second-year curriculum is built around a series of course sequences that are used to set students on the road to active, independent research. Emphasis in these second-year courses is on areas of the faculty's current research interest, offering students a unique opportunity to work closely with individual faculty members in identifying and tackling research problems.

During their third year, graduate students in the social sciences are expected to complete the transition from coursework to independent research.

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To learn more about the research currently underway in the social sciences at Caltech, visit the research areas page.

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For questions regarding the social sciences PhD program, please contact the option manager.

economic anthropology

Economic Anthropology: Bridging the Gap Between Economics and Culture

In our rapidly globalizing world, understanding the intersection of economics and culture has never been more crucial. Enter economic anthropology – a discipline that provides invaluable insights into this complex relationship, bridging the gap between economics and culture.

Table of Contents

What is Economic Anthropology?

Contrasting with mainstream economics, which predominantly focuses on market behaviors, economic models, and theories, economic anthropology extends its scope to highlight the diversity of economic practices across various cultures and societies.

In essence, economic anthropology bridges the gap between the economic and the social, blending the analytical tools of economics with the cultural sensitivity of anthropology. It enriches our understanding of economic life by shedding light on the social and cultural underpinnings of economic behavior.

The Cultural Dimensions of Economics

In the context of modern economies, money is typically perceived as a medium for buying and selling goods and services. However, this understanding is not universal. In certain cultures, money transcends its economic function and takes on a social role, serving as a tool for fostering relationships and maintaining social exchanges.

For instance, in some Pacific Island cultures, traditional forms of money like shell money or feather money are used in significant social ceremonies, such as marriages or funerals, reinforcing social bonds and obligations.

Bridging the Gap

Economic anthropology plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between economics and culture. By focusing on the cultural dimensions of economic behavior, it offers a more holistic view of economic systems.

It underscores that these systems are not merely mechanical constructs driven by supply and demand or profit and loss. Instead, they are intricate social structures shaped by people with their unique cultural identities, social relationships, and ethical values.

These insights remind us that economic phenomena cannot be fully understood or predicted without taking into account the cultural factors at play.

By including cultural considerations in economic planning and decision-making, policy-makers and business leaders can design more inclusive and culturally sensitive economic policies and practices.

This can lead to better economic outcomes, such as higher economic growth, lower inequality, and greater customer satisfaction.

Key Concepts in Economic Anthropology


According to this theory, economic behaviors and institutions are embedded within broader social structures and cultural practices. This means that to fully understand economic phenomena, we have to look at the social relationships, cultural beliefs, and societal norms that surround them.

Informal Economy

The term ‘informal economy’ was coined by Keith Hart and refers to economic activities that are not regulated by the state or covered by formal labor laws.

This includes everything from street vending and home-based businesses to illegal activities like smuggling.

Gift Economy

In many cultures, gift-giving is a crucial part of social relationships and carries significant moral and symbolic meanings.

Subsistence Economy

A subsistence economy is one where people produce most or all of the goods they consume, often through hunting, gathering, or small-scale farming.

Marshall Sahlins’ work on ‘Stone Age Economics’ highlighted the richness and sustainability of these economies, challenging the notion that technological progress and economic growth are the only paths to prosperity.

Cultural Economy

This perspective recognizes that economic activities are not just about making a living or accumulating wealth, but also about expressing cultural identities, fulfilling social obligations, and pursuing moral and aesthetic values.

Each of these concepts offers unique insights into the complex interplay between economics and culture. By exploring these concepts, economic anthropology provides a more nuanced and holistic understanding of economic life.

Influential Economic Anthropologists: Pioneers and Thought Leaders

Here are a few influential figures in the field:

Bronisław Malinowski

Bronisław Kasper Malinowski , a Polish-British anthropologist and ethnologist, is widely recognized as one of the most influential figures in the field of anthropology, particularly in economic and social anthropology.

His innovative research methods and insightful theories have had a profound impact on the discipline.

During World War I, he spent a significant amount of time conducting fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands , an archipelago located in the Solomon Sea off the eastern coast of Papua New Guinea.

This intensive and immersive approach to research, which later became fundamental to anthropological study, allowed him to gain a deep understanding of the local culture, society, and economy.

One of Malinowski’s key contributions to economic anthropology was his study of the Kula Ring , a complex ceremonial exchange system practiced by the Trobriand Islanders.

Unlike traditional Western economic theories that focus on monetary transactions and individual profit, the Kula Ring revolves around the reciprocal exchange of symbolic goods for the purpose of establishing and reinforcing social relationships.

This system challenged prevailing Western economic theories by highlighting the social and cultural dimensions of economic behavior.

In addition to his work on the Kula Ring, Malinowski is also known for developing the theory of functionalism . This theoretical framework suggests that every aspect of a culture, including its economic practices, serves specific social functions and contributes to the overall stability of the society.

Marshall Sahlins

‘Stone Age Economics’, first published in 1974, is a collection of six influential essays that examine the economic systems of early human communities.

One of the most notable concepts introduced by Sahlins in ‘Stone Age Economics’ is the ‘Original Affluent Society’.

Contrary to the common perception of hunter-gatherer societies as impoverished and constantly struggling for survival, Sahlins argued that these societies were in fact affluent.

Karl Polanyi

Karl Polanyi, a Hungarian-American political economist, is another prominent figure in the field of economic anthropology. His influential work, ‘ The Great Transformation ‘, has become a cornerstone of the discipline and continues to shape contemporary research.

Polanyi’s critical examination of the economic and social changes brought about by this transformation offers a profound critique of the self-regulating market and its effects on society.

This perspective challenges traditional economic theories that view the economy as an autonomous domain governed by its own laws.

It has also influenced other fields such as sociology and political science, where it has been used to analyze the interplay between economic practices and social structures.

In addition to ‘The Great Transformation’, Polanyi is also known for his work on the ‘double movement’ theory, which describes the tension between the market’s demands for self-regulation and society’s need for social protection.

Clifford Geertz

Early in his career, Geertz critiqued the scientific models widely used in the social sciences, rejecting the causal determinism that often characterized these approaches. He was a champion of symbolic anthropology , which emphasizes the role of thought, or “symbols”, in society.

Geertz is perhaps best known for his work on bazaar-type economies in Morocco and Indonesia.

This approach calls for detailed, contextualized, and interpretive accounts of social phenomena, rather than reductive, abstract explanations.

‘Thick description’ has had a profound impact on the field of anthropology, emphasizing the need to understand cultural practices in their specific contexts.

Hart is widely recognized for coining the term ‘informal sector’ in his groundbreaking study on urban labor markets in West Africa.

This concept refers to economic activities that are not regulated by the state and are often overlooked in official statistics. Examples include street vending, unregistered small businesses, and casual labor.

His work has shed light on the importance and prevalence of informal economies, particularly in developing countries where formal job opportunities may be limited.

Maurice Godelier

Maurice Godelier, born on February 28, 1934, is a renowned French anthropologist known for his influential work in Marxist anthropology .

Godelier has made significant contributions to the field of anthropology, specifically in understanding the relationship between economic structures and social relations.

An advocate of structural Marxism, Godelier has extensively studied and written about the intricate interplay between economic systems and societal structures. He proposed that society must adapt to changing economic circumstances, thereby underscoring the dynamic nature of social structures.

Among his numerous publications, “ The Enigma of the Gift ” stands out as a seminal work. In this book, Godelier reassesses the significance of gifts in social life, focusing on their role in building and maintaining social relationships.

In recognition of his contributions to the discipline, Godelier has received several prestigious awards, including the CNRS Gold Medal and the Alexander von Humboldt Prize.

One of Ho’s most influential works is “ Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street “ 6 .

In this seminal book, she offers an in-depth account of Wall Street, exploring its culture, practices, and ideologies. The book provides a critical analysis of how financial markets are constructed and operate, shedding light on the often overlooked cultural dimensions of financial activities.

By bridging the gap between economics and culture, it provides a more holistic and nuanced view of economic behavior, one that recognizes the diversity and complexity of human economic practices.

As we navigate the challenges and opportunities of a globalized world, such insights will be increasingly important.

Frequently Asked Questions About Economic Anthropology

While mainstream Economics often assumes rational, self-interested behavior and uses mathematical models to predict economic outcomes, Economic Anthropology emphasizes the influence of social and cultural factors on economic behavior. It uses ethnographic research methods to study economic phenomena in their cultural and social contexts.

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Graduate program.

The Department of Anthropology prepares students for knowledgeable teaching and significant original research in Sociocultural Anthropology, also enabling them to bring anthropological concepts, findings, and approaches to bear on cross-disciplinary scholarship, public understanding, and public policy. The Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology is the final degree in the graduate program. We do not offer a Master's Degree in Anthropology.

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Ph.D. in Anthropology

Anthropology at Boston University

Earn Your PhD in Anthropology

Our Ph.D. program in anthropology is designed to provide a broad background in the field with a primary emphasis on sociocultural anthropology, biological anthropology, or archaeology. The degree prepares students for careers in academia, consulting, or other applied professions in the discipline. 

The major foci of research and instruction in sociocultural anthropology include religion, law and politics, ethnicity, gender, history and anthropology, problems of social change and economic development, culture and the environment, cognition and culture, and medical/psychological anthropology. The study of the Islamic world, East and Southeast Asia, and Africa are the greatest strengths among our sociocultural faculty and students. 

In biological anthropology, our faculty and students primarily study living and fossil human and non-human primates, including their evolutionary morphology, behavior, genomics, and sensory adaptations. For more information on ongoing research in biological anthropology, visit our laboratories page . 

Finally, the major foci in archaeology include human-environment interactions, urbanism, households, and material culture viewed in deep historical perspective. Faculty and students are primarily interested in Mesoamerica, North America, and the Mediterranean. To learn more about research and fieldwork in archaeology, click here .

PhD Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate mastery of the fundamentals of the traditional four subfields of American anthropology (social/cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology) sufficiently to make them effective and competent teachers of introductory undergraduate courses in general anthropology, social/cultural anthropology, and/or biological anthropology.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conceive, plan, propose, carry out, and write up a major piece of anthropological research, related to current theoretical discourse in their chosen subfield and constituting a significant contribution to the discipline.
  • Be able to make compelling and interesting presentations of their ideas and findings to audiences of professional anthropologists in several forms—oral, written, and graphic.
  • Carry out all these tasks in a manner consonant with the highest prevailing standards of ethical and professional conduct in research and teaching.

Each year, Boston University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GRS) offers incoming Ph.D. students Dean’s Fellowships, which include full tuition, a living stipend, and health insurance for five years; along with a new summer stipend beginning in 2021.

For more information on financial aid for doctoral students, visit the GRS page on fellowship aid .

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Graduate Study

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The Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago offers doctoral programs in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology and in archaeology.

The program in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology offers opportunities to pursue a wide range of ethnographic and theoretical interests. While the Department does not emphasize a particular theoretical perspective, it is well known for its attention to classic problems in social theory along with an engagement with the latest developments in theories of history, culture, politics, economics, transnational processes, space and place, subjectivity, experience, and materiality. 

Shared topical interests among its members include culture and colonialism; postcoloniality and globalization; gender and sexuality; historical anthropology; history and social structure; politics and law; political economy; religion; ritual; science and technology; semiotics and symbolism; medicine and health; and subjectivity and affect. Africa, the Caribbean, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Oceania, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the United States of America are among the geographic areas of faculty research.  

Coursework and study with faculty in other departments enable the student to pursue interdisciplinary interests, language training, and other regional studies.

The archaeology program enables students to articulate archaeology, history, and sociocultural anthropology, with emphasis on the integration of social and cultural theory in the practice of archaeology.

Current faculty specialize in the archaeology of Latin America (the later prehistory and colonial periods of the Andes and Mexico), Europe and the Mediterranean (the “Celtic” Iron Age and Greco-Roman colonial expansion), the Southeastern U.S. (urban history, colonialism, landscapes), East and Southeast Asia (from the Neolithic to the early colonial periods), and West Africa (history, landscape, complexity and political economy), as well as ethnoarchaeology in East Africa and experimental archaeology in South America.

Research interests include: urbanism; state formation; colonialism; industrialization; art and symbolism; spatial analysis; politics; ritual and religion; human-environment interactions; agricultural systems; material culture; economic anthropology; political economy; the archaeology of the contemporary; and the socio-historical context and the history and politics of archaeology. Faculty members have ongoing field research projects in Bolivia, Mexico, China, Cambodia, France, Senegal, and the United States (New Orleans). The program in anthropological archaeology also has strong ties to many other archaeologists on campus through the  UChicago Archaeology Nexus (UCAN) .

Teaching in physical anthropology, mainly directed towards evolutionary anthropology and primatology, is offered by Russell Tuttle.

In addition to linguistic anthropology as a sub-field within the Department of Anthropology, there is also a joint Ph.D. program available to students who are admitted to both the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Linguistics . Administratively, the student is admitted to, and remains registered in, the primary, or “home” department, and subsequently seeks admission to the second department in joint residence status. Students approved to pursue the joint degree program must complete the requirements of both departments, including the distinct introductory and advanced courses stipulated by each, the departmental qualifying examination in appropriate special fields, and the language requirements, including additional foreign languages for the Linguistics Ph.D. The student’s dissertation advisory committee consists of three or more members of the faculty; at least one must be a member of the Department of Anthropology but not of the Department of Linguistics, and at least one in Linguistics but not in Anthropology. After approval by the advisory committee, the student’s dissertation proposal must be defended at a hearing open to the faculty of both departments. Generally, an Anthropology student may apply to Linguistics for the joint degree program at the end of the second year or later, after having successfully completed the first-year program in Anthropology and the core (first-year) coursework and examinations in Linguistics. However, students should declare interest in the Joint Degree Program on the initial graduate application to the Department, and should discuss this interest personally with linguistic anthropology faculty soon after arrival on campus.

Although Anthropology has no other formal joint degree programs, students admitted to Anthropology may subsequently petition the University to create a joint program with another department. For instance, there is considerable precedent for pursuing a joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and History . To create this joint program, Anthropology students spend their first year taking the required first year courses in the Anthropology Department; in the second year, they take a two-quarter history seminar and write an anthropologically-informed Master’s paper in coordination with that seminar which will be acceptable to both Departments. The Master’s degree is awarded by one of the two departments and is accepted for equivalence by the other. The Anthropology student then applies for admission to History at the end of the second year or later, having already demonstrated a proficiency in both disciplines. Applicants to Anthropology who are interested in a joint degree program with History should declare interest at the time of the initial application.

Also by petition, it has been possible for students to create other joint Ph.D. programs. In recent years, individual programs combining Anthropology and Art History , South Asian Languages and Civilizations , East Asian Languages and Civilizations , Slavic Languages and Literatures , Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science , and Cinema and Media Studies have been created. An M.D./Ph.D. program is coordinated through the MeSH program in the medical school. A J.D./Ph.D. with the University of Chicago Law School or another law school is also possible, and we have facilitated joint degrees with the School of Social Services Administration at the University of Chicago.

Such individually-created joint degree programs begin in the second year of graduate studies or later. In all cases, students complete the separate program requirements for each degree, with no additional residence requirement, and write one Ph.D. dissertation that separately meets the dissertation requirements of each department. The specifics of each joint degree program, such as any requirements that may be jointly met, any overlapping examination areas, and the composition of the dissertation committee, are agreed upon by both departments at the time of the petition.

Students interested in pursuing an ad-hoc Joint Ph.D. should consult with the Dean of Students Office to understand the application process.

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Political Anthropology and Political Economy

Many faculty at Stanford work on questions of political authority, sovereignty, transnational global economy, political movements, postcolonial and decolonial theory and praxis.

In the last two decades, the anthropological study of political authority has moved away from its historical focus on kingship and big man systems towards a focus on the historical formation of modern forms of sovereignty, state authority and the modern government of bodies and populations through languages of science, health and security. Anthropologists have paid particular attention to how colonial forms of government left lasting marks on how political power has been performed and legitimized outside of Europe and America. The modern nation-state may be the dominant form of political authority and imagination today but it has taken many and specific forms across the world without completely removing or superseding older languages of power and public authority. Anthropologists today are centrally concerned with both “the local”, and national-level and transnational political and cultural processes. 

Further, anthropology offers a unique perspective on our interconnected global economy, attending both the transnational social and cultural connections that it entails and to the specific, located social practices that make such connections possible. Department faculty have worked on many different aspects of global political economy across several different world areas. Faculty have worked on questions of development, conservation, and humanitarianism. They have also   engaged with structures of (and challenges to) inequality, humiliation, and disprivilege through historically situated work staged at different scales, foregrounding anthropology’s ability through ethnographic fieldwork and engagement to provide deep understandings of struggle and power in our contemporary world. 

Andrew Bauer

Andrew Bauer

James Ferguson

James Ferguson

Duana Fullwiley

Duana Fullwiley

Angela Garcia

Angela Garcia

Thomas Hansen

Thomas Hansen

economic anthropology phd

Matthew Kohrman

Kabir Tambar

Kabir Tambar

Sharika Thiranagama

Sharika Thiranagama

Mudit Trivedi

Mudit Trivedi

Serkan Yolacan

Serkan Yolacan

economic anthropology phd

Amanah Nurish

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Department of Anthropology

  Anthropology is the comparative study of culture and society. We ask big questions about what we have in common, and what makes us different. Introduction Read more

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LSE Anthropology ranked top in recently-published Times league tables

About us We have a strong international reputation and a long and distinguished history of leadership

People LSE Anthropologists are passionate about teaching

Studying Anthropology at LSE: Careers with an Anthropology degree

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Research Innovative while being rooted in core aspects of our anthropological tradition

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  • University of California, Irvine


Department of Anthropology

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Ph.D. Program in Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology Ph.D. program at the University of California, Irvine focuses on social and cultural anthropology. Graduate training in anthropology involves a period of long-term, independent fieldwork, generally (though not always) outside the United States, and often conducted in a language other than English. Graduate students generally obtain grants or other external funding to conduct their fieldwork. Attentive to our discipline's past and indeed the paradigm of disciplinarity that has structured social inquiry since the early 20th century, our program gives students a breadth of knowledge in traditional anthropology and the traditional subjects of anthropological study. At the same time, we push the boundaries of the discipline and use our ethnographic work to stretch the anthropological imagination.

The department provides students with superb training in both theory and method. Areas of teaching emphasis include: the anthropology of modernity and development; political, legal, and economic anthropology; ethnographic method; and the anthropology of science, technology, and medicine. In addition, Ph.D. students have the option of enrolling in a number of graduate emphases that involve interdisciplinary work in a number of schools and programs across the campus, including feminist studies, critical theory, visual studies, translation studies, and others. The department is committed to fostering new and innovative approaches to anthropological inquiry in a pluralistic and intellectually open academic environment. The faculty take diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to a variety of substantive issues. They are united, however, in a willingness to question taken-for-granted theoretical premises and analytic frames, and to engage in intellectual dialogue about alternative models and approaches.

The department's graduate students have an unparalleled record of research funding, receiving prestigious grants and fellowships at higher rates than the national average. Since 1995 they have garnered over $1.5 million to support their dissertation research. They publish their work in top-ranked journals, and the department has an excellent track record of placement. Please refer to the section on Ph.D. recipients to learn more about the employment opportunities secured by Ph.D. recipients from the Department of Anthropology.

Graduate Specialization in Anthropologies of Medicine, Science, and Technology

The department offers a graduate specialization in anthropologies of medicine, science, and technology to all Ph.D. students enrolled in any department at the University of California, Irvine. Click here for more information .

Program Requirements by Year

The program involves three years of course work. The bulk of the curricular requirements are ordinarily satisfied after the first two years, and in the normative cases, the third year involves development of a research proposal, advancement to candidacy, and the securing of funding for fieldwork, in addition to further course work. The fourth (and in many cases, some or all of the fifth) year is devoted to extended anthropological fieldwork. The sixth year (in some cases also part of the fifth) is devoted to writing the dissertation, in close consultation with the advisor and members of the dissertation committee.

Year by Year Overview (in more detail)

First Year: In your first year you should take the three required proseminars in sequence, as well as other elective seminars offered in the department or in other departments. You should contact your two initial advisors and meet with them. Different graduate students will make different use of initial advisors. Some meet frequently with both of their initial advisors, some with only one of them, and some rarely with either. We suggest you meet with at least one of your initial advisors once a quarter during your first year, but the arrangement is entirely up to you. More generally, you should seek to familiarize yourself with department faculty and with faculty across campus. There are many exciting graduate student groups and events campuswide, as well as centers, workshops, and so on. Get to know our library, including its extensive online resources. If you have already decided on a fieldsite, you might begin studying a field language if appropriate. In Winter Quarter of your first year, if you choose you can apply for summer funding. This can be used for preliminary research, more informal explorations of possible fieldsites, language training, or any other legitimate purpose related to your developing project. If this summer work will involve some kind of preliminary research that involves data gathering that could be used in a conference talk or publication, you should get Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, and you should file that paperwork as soon as possible as well.

Second Year: You should plan to complete most or all of your required coursework by the end of your second year. You will take the three-quarter sequence of ethnographic methods, research design and grant writing. Develop your expertise further through electives and begin to clarify what your dissertation project will entail. You may be able to choose an advisor and/or other members of your committee for your admission to candidacy (“orals exams”). This committee will have 5 members, and either 1 or 2 of them will be from outside the department. Ideally you will be able to take your orals exams by Spring Quarter of your third year. As in your first year, you can apply for summer funding this year if you so choose.

Third Year: You should complete required coursework during your third year, and aim to take your orals exams in Spring Quarter. For this reason, you will ideally confirm the composition of your committee by the end of Fall Quarter of your third year. Your committee will have 5 members, and either 1 or 2 of them will be from outside the department. You will be submitting external grant applications to fund your dissertation research (most deadlines fall between October and January), and obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) clearance for your research. See the forms page for details and deadlines.

Fourth Year: If you have not yet advanced to candidacy, you should do as soon as you can. Ideally, you will have successfully obtained some fieldwork and can spend this year conducting your research. If that is not always the case, you may need to submit a second round of grant applications, reformulate your project, or both. In any case, your top priority is to conduct the research upon which your dissertation will be based and to complete all preparations necessary for successfully conducting that research, including health insurance. You will need to register for in-absentia or leave of absence (LoA) status while conducting fieldwork; graduate students can consult the internal graduate webpage for more details.

Fifth Year: You are completing your fieldwork and beginning to write your dissertation. If you have lost touch with committee members, this is the time to reconnect and get their guidance.

It is worthwhile to think about publishing some of your research before completing the Ph.D. This will be helpful when you go on the job market.

Sixth Year: You are in the process of finishing your dissertation. It is probably a good idea to start applying for jobs before you have finished.

  • The six courses that comprise the first-year proseminar sequence: 202A (Prosem A), 202B (Prosem B), 202C (Prosem C) and the second-year sequence: 215A (Ethnographic Methods), 215B (Research Design), and 215C (Proposal Writing).
  •   Six graduate-level, anthropology elective courses taught by core or affiliated faculty of the department.
  •   Any additional courses you wish to take beyond these 12 courses. Given that graduate students usually take two courses each quarter, you should be able to take 3-9 additional courses, depending on how often you TA and other factors. These other courses can be anywhere on campus and can be a great way to get to know faculty in other departments. They can be Independent Study courses taken with core or affiliated faculty in the department or with faculty elsewhere on campus. (Note that an Independent Study course taken with a department core or affiliated faculty does not count as one of the six elective courses mentioned at (2) above; in rare cases an exception may be granted by the Graduate Director.) They can be courses taken on other campuses.
  • The first-year course work; and
  • Examinations to be taken as part of the Proseminar.
  • Complete all course work requirements;
  • Initiate the formation of a candidacy committee of five members which shall include at least three members of the Department of Anthropology and one member from outside the Department of Anthropology but from the UC Irvine Academic Senate;
  • Submit a research proposal, review of the literature, and bibliography, which must be approved by the committee; and
  • Pass an oral examination by the candidacy committee, which shall include a defense of the proposal and the literature review.
  • Evidence of competence in the field language appropriate to the dissertation research project, or
  • A satisfactory plan for acquiring such competence in the field, where necessary. This field language requirement will in some cases be met simply by establishing that the appropriate field language for the proposed research is English.
  • The student must demonstrate competence to read one scholarly foreign language, in accordance with the requirements of the Ph.D. degree in Anthropology. Students who have not fulfilled the foreign language requirement will not be able to file their dissertations.
  • In the normative case, the student will advance to candidacy by the end of the third year, and will complete the program by the end of the sixth year.
  • Having advanced to candidacy, the student must initiate the formation of a dissertation committee and submit a satisfactory dissertation to this committee. The dissertation committee must be chaired by a member of the Anthropology department and consist of three members, at least two of whom are from the department.

Student Progress Evaluation At the end of every academic year the entire department will evaluate each student. The evaluation will be summarized in a letter written by the Graduate Director. The letter may contain suggestions to students regarding their progress and performance in the program. A copy of this evaluation will be given to the student, a copy to the student's advisor, and a copy placed in the student's file. Evaluations are based upon a broad range of criteria, including: development, GPA, class performance (with particular attention paid to proseminars and other required courses), TA evaluations, quality of written work, and relevant professional activities (if any) such as papers presented, grants, fellowships and awards received, or publications.

Independent Study 299s Students are encouraged to take independent study courses to work closely with faculty on individual research projects. A 299 counts as course for full-time enrollment but does not count as towards fulfilling any program requirement. However, a student may petition the graduate committee to ask that a 299 be counted as an elective. Only one 299 can count as an elective.

Undergraduate Courses Upon petition, upper division undergraduate courses taught by members of the department may count as anthropology electives.

Transfer of Credits Students may petition the graduate committee to have courses taken at other universities or departments count towards their requirements. Only in exceptional cases the committee will grant these petitions and only when the contents of the courses as expressed in their syllabi are compatible with the program's curriculum.

Summer Research Money In the past, the department has been able to fund predoctoral summer research projects and we expect to continue to do so. We encourage students to use this opportunity to get field experience and to make contacts in the area they hope to conduct their doctoral research. Most students are best prepared to benefit from his opportunity at the end of their second year. Each year the graduate committee will solicit and review proposals for summer research.

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