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The Department of Anthropology offers the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy.

The department also offers several areas of concentration:

Anthropological Linguistics


Cultural Anthropology

Medical Anthropology

Physical Anthropology 

And has several focal study programs:

Comparative Archeology of Complex Societies

Ethnicity, Nationalism and the State

Students may combine work for the MA and PhD degrees, including a program in which the student earns an MPH (Master of Public Health in behavioral and community health science), as part of the PhD in anthropology. Students are encouraged to develop a regional specialization that can lead to a certificate in Latin American studies, Asian studies, West European studies, or Russian and Eastern European studies.

Contact Information

Department Chair: Kathleen Musante
Main Office: 3302 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Fax: 412-624-5133

Additional information concerning the department’s graduate program may be obtained from the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology, Graduate Administrator, 3302 WWPH, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Phone: 412-648-7504. Fax: 412-624-5133. E-mail:


Entrance into programs leading to the MA and PhD degrees in anthropology requires a baccalaureate degree in one of the arts or sciences from an accredited institution of higher learning. Qualified students from any discipline are considered for admission. Applicants whose first language is English are required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit either the TOEFL administered by the Educational Testing Service or the IELTS administered by the University of Cambridge (taking the academic writing and reading modules). The department admits students only for the fall term. The deadline for applications is January 15. All applicants are automatically considered for financial aid.

Financial Assistance

Graduate student financial support awarded to graduate students by the Department of Anthropology includes fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and Heinz/Mellon Fellowships in Latin American Archeology. The University Center for International Studies is another significant source of financial assistance.

Requirements for the MA

A minimum of 30 course credits in anthropology and a paper is required for the MA (master’s) degree. Of these, at least 21 credits must be in formal courses (as opposed to readings courses, independent study, or thesis credits). Full-time MA students must pass the core course in their declared subfield by the end of their second term in residence (or, for part-time students, before they have completed 18 credits), or petition for a specialized written examination (administered by their MA committee) in lieu of the core course. The MA committee consists of three graduate faculty members. Two must come from the department and include the student's advisor. The third member can be either from the department or outside of the department. All committees are approved by the faculty of anthropology. The language requirement is the same as for the PhD program. Students must pass a designated "methods" course with a B or better.

For the MA paper, students plan an original research paper with their advisory committee. This committee will also evaluate the final paper. Note that the required paper is not necessarily a "thesis" as defined in Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences requirements (although a thesis, as formally defined, would also satisfy the MA paper requirement).

Requirements for the PhD

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences requirements for the PhD also apply.

Credit Requirements: A minimum of 72 course credits in anthropology is required for the PhD (doctoral) degree. Of these, at least 57 credits must be in formal courses (as opposed to readings courses, independent study, or thesis or dissertation credits). The remaining 15 credits may be any combination of formal courses, readings courses, independent study, and/or thesis and dissertation credits.

Core Courses/Preliminary Examinations: The core course system of the Department of Anthropology fills the role of the preliminary examination in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences requirements for the PhD. PhD students are required to pass (with a grade of B or better) at least three of the four core courses (cultural anthropology [ANTH 2789], physical anthropology [ANTH 2687], archeology [ANTH 2588], and linguistics [ANTH 2490]), including the core course in the student’s chosen subfield of specialization. Full-time students are expected to pass the required core courses by the end of their second term in residence. A student with an MA from another institution, or with a strong undergraduate background in one or more sub-disciplines, may petition the Committee on Graduate Studies to waive the core course in that/those sub-discipline(s).

Language Requirement: Before students are advanced to candidacy, they must demonstrate competence in a language other than English that possesses a substantial body of anthropological literature.

Method/Theory Requirements: Students in archeology must pass with a grade of B or better ANTH 2534 and ANTH 2524 (Archeological Data Analysis 1 and 2). Students in physical anthropology must pass with a grade of B or better: 1) Biostatistics 2041 and 2042 (Introduction to Statistical Methods I and II), or, for bioarcheology concentrators with the approval of their advisor, Anthropology 2534 and Anthropology 2524 (Archeological Data Analysis I and II); and 2) by the end of the second year, Anthropology 2614 (History of Paleoanthropology).

Students in cultural anthropology must pass with a grade of B or better ANTH 2763 (Field Methods) and ANTH 2750 (Seminar on Contemporary Theory) or a comparable seminar approved for this purpose by the Committee on Graduate Studies. Students may petition for approval of other courses to satisfy these requirements.

Comprehensive Examinations: Students must pass two comprehensive examinations designed to test breadth and depth of knowledge in the chosen areas of expertise. The acceptable forms of the exam are described in greater detail on the department’s Web site. Each examination is designed and administered by a faculty committee consisting of at least three members of the department. Students generally take their comprehensive examinations at the end of their third year in the program.

Dissertation Overview: Before actively pursuing dissertation research, the student makes an oral presentation of the intended project to a dissertation committee chosen by the student subject to approval by the department chair and dean. Following committee approval, the student applies for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Dissertation Defense and Graduation: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.

Course Listing


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