The Ph.D. degree leads to the accomplishment of professional-level skills in conducting independent research, and normally features specialized training in one or two of the discipline’s subfields. Doctoral education is guided by a Ph.D. committee composed of members of the faculty competent in the particular areas and topics chosen by a student. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00.

The doctoral program includes an integrated process of progressively developing and completing reading lists, developing and submitting research proposals to funding agencies, developing and defending a dissertation prospectus, and writing two comprehensive exam essays. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination and the dissertation prospectus, a student advances to candidacy for the Ph.D. To complete the Ph.D. degree, all doctoral candidates are required to conduct independent anthropological research, write a dissertation, and defend it.

For students who enter the doctoral program with an existing M.A. (in anthropology or a related field), the faculty develop an individualized program of study based on a student's existing coursework and goals.

Ph.D. students also may elect to pursue an optional concentration in either feminist anthropology or paleoanthropology.

For program requirements, refer to the current Graduate Student Guidebook on the Department of Anthropology website.

Applicants for admission to the graduate program in anthropology are considered regardless of their previous field of training. Students without previous training in anthropology are expected to perform additional work as necessary to achieve competence expected for their degree objective.

Students normally are admitted under the assumption that they intend to pursue the Ph.D. degree. Students without an M.A. in anthropology devote the first two years fulfilling the M.A. requirements. After those requirements are completed, the student's committee may award the M.A. with admittance to the Ph.D. program.

Students with an M.A. in anthropology from another institution may proceed directly into a Ph.D. program organized around their special research interests. If they lack any of the requirements of the graduate program at the University of Iowa, they are informed of those requirements when admitted. Acceptance of credit hours from other institutions will follow UI regulations.

Applicants for admission to the graduate program must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Anthropology graduate program applicants are required to upload the following documentation to the University of Iowa Graduate Admissions online application:

  • official academic records/transcripts from previous institutions attended;
  • a brief statement of interest or intent regarding why graduate study in the Department of Anthropology is desired;
  • three letters of recommendation;
  • a writing sample (preferably a research paper or M.A. thesis);
  • an application for graduate funding; and
  • official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores taken within the past five years from the Educational Testing Service (University of Iowa institution code 6681).

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test (DET). Once recommended for admission, international students also must complete several additional requirements.

For more information concerning the required application elements, see Admissions Process on the Department of Anthropology website.

Financial assistance, usually in the form of teaching and research assistantships, may be offered to doctoral and potential doctoral students in good standing for up to four years. Students making satisfactory and timely progress through the graduate program are in good standing. The amount and types of aid depend on departmental needs.

Students are notified in writing of a provisional financial award before the semester or summer session for which the award has been granted. Although awards are made before the end of the previous semester, each award is contingent upon satisfactory completion of that semester's work by the awardee.

Graduates establish careers at universities, colleges, museums, health care institutions, and a diverse range of governmental and nongovernmental agencies. For more information, see Careers and Opportunities on the Department of Anthropology website.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Anthropology, Ph.D.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
72 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a, b  
Students may elect to pursue an optional concentration in either feminist anthropology or paleoanthropology; work with faculty advisor to determine appropriate coursework and sequence.  
Students who are first-time teaching assistants must also complete ANTH:5001 Graduate Teaching Pro-Seminar Graduate Teaching Pro-Seminar.  
 Hours0
First Year
Fall
Seek Internal Review Board (IRB) Approval c  
Required Theory course d 3
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
 Hours9
Spring
Language Competency Requirement f  
ANTH:5110 Anthropological Data Analysis 3
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
 Hours9
Second Year
Fall
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
 Hours9
Spring
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
 Hours9
Third Year
Fall
Comprehensive Exam g  
ANTH:7110 Research Design and Proposal Writing h 3
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
 Hours9
Spring
Dissertation Prospectus i  
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
Elective course e 3
 Hours9
Fourth Year
Fall
ANTH:6015 Thesis 9
 Hours9
Spring
ANTH:7501 Dissertation Writing Seminar 1
ANTH:6015 Thesis 8
Final Exam j  
 Hours9
 Total Hours72