Programs by Campus


College of Arts and Sciences

Departmental Contact: dwilkers [at] indiana [dot] edu; (812) 855-1041

Departmental URL:



Degrees Offered

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution and evi­dence of academic potential to complete an advanced degree;
  2. appropriate level of achievement on the Graduate Record Examination General Test (does not apply to international stu­dents);
  3. three letters of recommendation;
  4. a statement of goals in the field of anthropology; and
  5. a completed applica­tion form.

Recommended undergraduate training in anthropol­ogy and related fields:

  • for students interested primarily in the field of bioanthropology, courses in chemistry and the biologi­cal sciences;
  • for students specializing in the field of archaeol­ogy, courses in history and earth sciences and the humanities;
  • for students specializing in the subfield of social/cultural an­thropology, courses in the social sciences and the humanities;
  • for students specializing in the field of linguistic anthropology, courses in general linguistics and psycholinguistics.
Master of Arts Degree


  1. A minimum of 30 credit hours, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and no more than 6 credit hours of thesis credit. At least 20 credit hours must be in anthropology, including three courses (excluding thesis) that are numbered 500 or above;
  2. at least one course that carries graduate credit in three of the four fields listed above;
  3. at least one semester or two summer sessions of full-time study while in residence on the Bloomington campus; and either
  4. a thesis or
  5. a four-hour written examination.

Examination grading will be (a) pass with distinction, (b) pass (both of these include the award of the M.A. degree), or (c) failure. The examination may be taken twice, but two failures will result in automatic dismissal of the student.

Option (4) or (5) must be selected; no change will be allowed once the selection is made. No oral ex­amination or defense of the thesis is required. The thesis must be read and approved by all members of the student's com­mittee. A master's thesis may be based on library, laboratory, or field research. The department does not require, but does recommend, the completion of one foreign language, particu­larly if the student contemplates continuing for the Ph.D.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Department of Anthropology offers all four fields of the discipline: archaeology, bioanthropology, linguistic anthropol­ogy, and social/cultural anthropology. Students elect one of these fields, but may take courses and/or pursue an inside minor in any of the other fields. Students may also select one of three concentrations, Archaeology and Social Context, Food Studies, and Paleoanthropology. Each of these concentrations is supple­mental to the field. Each field involves its own breadth requirements within the Department of Anthropology and other that may require further class work. All four fields have the following requirements in common.

Foreign Language/Research Skills

One of three is required: (1) reading proficiency in two lan­guages, one normally selected from French, German, Russian, Spanish, or Portuguese (consult advisor for additional languag­es); (2) proficiency in depth in one language, normally selected from French, German, Russian, Spanish, or Portuguese; or (3) reading proficiency in one of the languages cited in (1) plus proficiency in computer science or statistics.

Qualifying Examination

In order to be recommended to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in anthropology, the student must pass a qualifying examina­tion. This examination cannot be administered until the foreign language or research skills and other requirements have been fulfilled and until at least 60 credit hours have been earned. Students are strongly encouraged to complete course work and take the qualifying examination in three years.

The format of the exam shall be decided by the advisory committee in consul­tation with the student from among the following options:

  1. a take-home exam, or
  2. a proctored in-camera exam, or
  3. an exam combining elements of (1) and (2).

Preparation, adminis­tration, and grading of the examination are the responsibility of the advisory committee, but other members of the department are free to participate without voting. A passing grade requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the anthropologists on the examining committee. Grading is as follows: (a) pass with distinction; (b) pass [both (a) and (b) include certification to doctoral candidacy and the M.A. degree if desired and not already awarded]; (c) low pass with terminal M.A. degree; (d) failure. The qualifying examination may be retaken once.

Research Proposal

At least two weeks before the qualifying examination, the stu­dent will circulate his or her Research Proposal to the Advisory Committee. The Research Proposal must include a statement of the research problem, a literature review related to that prob­lem, the methodology to be employed, a tentative timetable of data collection and analysis, and (if a grant application has been or will be submitted) a discussion of funding prospects and the budget. All grant applications must be discussed with the student’s Academic Advisor. Students are normally examined on aspects of their research proposal during their qualifying examination, both the written and oral portions. Nomination to candidacy and appointment of the Research Committee cannot take place until the Research Proposal has been accepted by the Advisory Committee. All proposals that include the use of living human subjects must receive advance clearance by the IUB Institutional Review Board (Human Subjects) regardless of whether external funding is sought. This clearance is required for use of informants, participant observation, interviews, and questionnaires, as well as more invasive research such as mea­surement and testing.


Each candidate must prepare a doctoral dissertation as part of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. This dissertation may be the result of fieldwork or laboratory or library research. The department expects field research as part of the student's doctoral training in anthropology, but the dissertation may be based upon field data, laboratory data, museum collections, archives, or other documentary sources. The topic and general outline of the proposed dissertation must be approved by the candidate's research committee.

Final Defense

An oral examination of the dissertation—which cannot be waived—will be scheduled and administered by the candidate's research committee.


The department considers teaching experience to be a critical part of graduate training. Therefore, every effort will be made to provide teaching opportunities for each graduate student.

Field Requirements

1. Archaeology
An inside minor (9 hours of coursework) must be selected from among the other fields in Anthropology (Bioanthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, or Social/Cultural Anthropology). The following required courses must be completed with a grade of B or better: Pro-seminar in Archaeology (P500), a course in the archaeology of the geographic area of specialization, an archaeological methods course, Archaeological Ethics (P509), a course in the history of Anthropology (usually H500 or H505), a course in the ethnography of the geographic area of specializa­tion, and Human Osteology (B526).
2. Bioanthropology
An inside minor (9 hours of coursework) must be selected from among the other fields in Anthropology (Archaeology, Linguistic Anthropology, or Social/Cultural Anthropology). The following courses are required, and must be completed with a grade of B or better: one graduate course in Social/Cultural Anthropology or Linguistic Anthropology, and one graduate course in Archae­ology. Bioanthropology students must also acquire expertise in Bioanthropology methods, and three chosen areas of special­ization (e.g., evolutionary theory, molecular genetics). Expertise will be evaluated as part of the qualifying exam. Option 3 must be chosen for the Foreign Language and Research Skills require­ment, with students gaining reading proficiency in at least one scholarly language, as well as in statistics and/or the use of computers for data management and analysis.

3. Linguistic Anthropology
The following courses are required, and must be completed with a grade of B or better: L500, H500, one graduate course in two of the other fields of Anthropology (Archaeology, Bioan­thropology, or Social/Cultural Anthropology), three graduate courses chosen from the five basic areas of linguistics (phonet­ics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and historical and com­parative linguistics), one course in linguistic field methods, two additional courses in Linguistics or related fields. In the qualify­ing exam, each student must demonstrate mastery of Linguistic Anthropology, one chosen area of specialization (e.g., language description, history, culture, discourse pragmatics, semiotics, or language conflict and shift), and one enthnographic area.
4. Social/Cultural Anthropology
The following courses are required, and must be completed with a grade of B or better: H500, E500, E606, one graduate course in two of the other fields of Anthropology (Archaeology, Bioanthropology, or Linguistic Anthropology). In the qualifying exam, each student must demonstrate mastery of Social/Cul­tural Anthropology, two chosen areas of specialization and one enthnographic area.

Ph.D. Minor in Anthropology

Students in other departments may minor in anthropology by completing at least 12 credit hours of course work in anthropol­ogy. No more than 6 credit hours will be accepted by transfer of graduate credit from another university. Each minor student is assigned a faculty advisor to help in the selection of a set of courses that best contributes to the research goals of the student.

Ph.D. Minor in Anthropology of Food

Students must take four courses (3 credits each) one of which must be the core course, ANTH E621 Food and Culture. The additional graduate courses in anthropology must be chosen from at least two different fields of the discipline (archaeol­ogy, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology).

Special Minors in Anthropology: Health, Human Evolutionary Studies, and Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change

See sections under Anthropology and Health.

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