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Laurel Carpenter
Academic Administrator
Brown 228

Graduate Programs


"Dream 2" by Victor Ekpuk

The Department of Anthropology at Brandeis offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology as well as a Joint M.A. degree in Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Our graduate students specialize in either sociocultural anthropology or anthropological archaeology. Training for independent research is stressed, with particular emphasis on theoretical issues and fieldwork.

Our department’s small size combines the best of both worlds: the intimacy of a small liberal-arts college department and the intellectual strength of a major research institution. Graduate training is based on core courses in the history, theories, and methods of anthropology and opportunities to pursue a wide range of theoretical, ethnographic and archaeological interests.

Areas of faculty specialization in sociocultural anthropology include economic anthropology and development, gender and sexuality, linguistic and semiotic anthropology, medical anthropology, religion and ritual, global and transnational processes, urban anthropology, political ecology, colonialism and postcoloniality, citizenship and the state, anthropology of finance, psychological anthropology, personhood and experience, and inequalities and social justice. Geographic areas of faculty research include Latin America, North America, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and Oceania. Course work and study with faculty in other departments enable the student to pursue interdisciplinary interests, language training, and focused regional studies. Our students also have the ability to take courses at other major research universities in the Boston area. Doctoral admissions are limited to students currently or previously enrolled in the Brandeis anthropology master's program and related master's programs. Generous scholarships are available for master’s students, and Ph.D. students receive full tuition waivers and fellowships renewable for a total of five years.

Graduate study in archaeology concentrates on the development of complex societies, emphasizing Mesoamerica. Areas of faculty specialization include theories and methods in archaeology, Mesoamerican civilizations with a particular focus on the Maya and Zapotec cultures, the archaeology of power and inequality, borderlands and landscape, meaning and material culture, writing systems, bioarchaeology and human osteology, GIS, and the modern contexts of archaeological research. Students may take classes with the faculty of the seven major Boston-area universities that comprise the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE) ( Some also work with archaeologists in Brandeis’s Department of Classical Studies. Students may apply directly to either the M.A. or Ph.D. program. Generous scholarships are available for master’s students, and Ph.D. students receive full tuition waivers and fellowships renewable for a total of five years.

Financial support is available for M.A. and Ph.D. students in both sociocultural and archaeological anthropology to carry out independent research around the United States and abroad, including recently in Cameroon, China, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, Kentucky, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Samoa, and South Africa. Formal training in research design and internal support for pilot studies help students achieve a high success rate in securing Fulbright, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research grants to support their dissertation projects.

Graduate students take an active part in the Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar (BARS).

The department is committed to mentoring our master’s students for successful admission into our own and other doctoral programs. At the same time, we prepare students for careers in the non-profit sector and elsewhere. Our Ph.D. students and alumni are active delivering papers at professional conferences, publishing books and articles, and moving on to productive teaching and research careers. M.A. and Ph.D. student and alumni accomplishments may be explored by following this link: