Applying to the Graduate Program

Admission to the Graduate Program in Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology admits students only for full-time study (at least nine credit hours per term) toward the Ph.D. degree. The Anthropology Department does not offer a terminal Master's Degree. Admission decisions are made once a year and all students are admitted for the fall semester. The deadline for application is December 1 for the following academic year. We are a highly selective department and normally admit three to four students per subfield (archaeology, biological anthropology and sociocultural anthropology) each year from a competitive pool of U.S. and international applicants.

In addition to an excellent academic record and letters of support, faculty are looking for a good research fit with prospective students. Once you have reviewed faculty research areas, you should contact faculty whose research interests most closely fit your own to let them know of your interest in the program (See “Finding a Faculty Advisor”). The more you can refine your research interest, the better the faculty can assess your match with their interests. You may contact potential advisors directly, or if you are unsure which faculty member(s) you might work with, contact the faculty representative for your subdiscipline. The current faculty representatives for each subdiscipline are: Dr. Xinyi Liu (archaeology), Dr. EA Quinn (biological anthropology), and Dr. John Bowen (sociocultural anthropology).

We do not have data available to share on the average GPA, GRE, or TOEFL for our applicants. The GRE is not required.

The Application Process

Applications must be submitted online to the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences. More information about the process can be found here on the Office of Graduate Studies' Admissions page.

Required Materials:

  • ONLINE application form submitted through the SLATE application system that includes the following:
  • 3 letters of recommendation uploaded electronically through the SLATE application system. Recommendation requests should be sent to recommenders via email through the SLATE application system.
  • Transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended are required. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted for the applicant review process and may be uploaded through SLATE. Official transcripts are not required for applicant review, however, students who would like to send official transcripts should send them directly to the department courier address:

Department of Anthropology
Washington University
McMillan Hall, Room 112
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
Please note that if made an offer of admission, applicants will be required to submit official transcripts to the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences. Please see the following FAQ for more information: Admissions FAQ | The Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences.

  • Submit a personal statement of approximately 2 pages in length which describes interests, relevant experience, anticipated plans for dissertation research, and faculty with whom applicant would hope to collaborate.
  • GRE scores are not required for application to the graduate program in anthropology. (Rev. 10/2019)
  • TOEFL and IELTS - For application to the graduate program in the department of anthropology the TOEFL/IELTS is waived for native English speakers and applicants who meet specific criteria. More information regarding the criteria needed for waivers can be found on the FAQ page of the Office of Graduate Studies linked above.

*Please note that if the applicant accepts an offer of admission to the anthropology program, the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and/or U.S. immigrations officials may require official TOEFL scores prior to matriculation.

  • Please do not submit writing samples unless requested.