Applying to the Ph.D. Program


August 5, 2020:

The Brown Anthropology department will not accept graduate applications during the 2021 admissions cycle. During this exceptional time, the faculty plan to focus our energy, resources, and efforts on our current graduate students. This was a difficult decision to make and we look forward to resuming our admissions process and reviewing applications in the fall of 2021.

Brown University's Ph.D. Program in Anthropology offers:

  • a stimulating, challenging, yet supportive intellectual community
  • a highly productive and diverse group of faculty members whose research and teaching interests span a broad range of interdisciplinary concerns
  • close mentoring for graduate students, both inside and outside formal coursework
  • a close-knit, mutually supportive graduate student community
  • generous funding packages, with additional funds available for supplementary training and field research
  • an outstanding record of graduate student success in receiving external research grants in national and international competitions
  • a strong record of placing graduates in desirable academic and professional positions, both within the United States and abroad

The Application Deadline is December 15th of each year.  The Graduate School manages the online application portal, as well as the overall application process. The online application portal, as well as more detailed practical information about the application process, is available from the Graduate School’s website.

The application consists of the online application, a personal statement of two single-spaced pages, a copy of academic transcripts, three letters of recommendation, official scores from the GRE General Test, and writing samples in the applicant’s area of intended specialization. Applicants are encouraged to use their personal statements to convey their intellectual trajectory, describe their scholarly/research interests, and articulate why Brown’s anthropology department would be an ideal intellectual home in which to pursue their research interests. In addition, all international applicants whose native language is not English must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams.  The Department of Anthropology welcomes applications from international applicants; further information is available specifically for international applicants on the Graduate School’s website.

Brown’s graduate program is primarily Ph.D. granting, with no students admitted initially as terminal Master’s degree candidates. Students are admitted on the basis of their excellent academic credentials; strong evidence of the capacity to conduct innovative, rigorous independent research; and interests that align with the department’s overall areas of strength. If you wish to work with a particular faculty member, you should make that clear in your personal statement; however, the department makes admissions decisions collectively. Our admissions process is highly selective.  Each year, the department receives well over 100 applications for graduate study. We have typically made offers of admission to roughly 10-12 students per year, all of whom receive full five-year funding packages, which include tuition remission as well as an annual stipend.

The Director of Graduate Admissions is Andrew Scherer.  Contact information for  all other departmental faculty is available on the Core Faculty website

If you have a special interest in the program and are visiting the Providence area, you may contact relevant faculty members well in advance to request appointments. Faculty availability for such meetings will depend on their schedules and commitments. Additionally, feel free to contact faculty members by email.  Most faculty will be happy to respond by email to inquiries from serious candidates regarding the program and individual research interests.

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