Department of Anthropology

Graduate Programs

two men doing an archaeological dig

Doctoral student Van Kollias (left) examines ancient Maya architecture with Professor Charles Golden (right).

The Department of Anthropology offers the best of both worlds: the intellectual strength of a major research institution and the personalized attention of a small department. 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. Training for independent research is stressed, with particular emphasis on theoretical issues and fieldwork. 

Graduate Degree Options


Our graduate students specialize in either sociocultural anthropology or anthropological archaeology. 

Sociocultural Anthropology

  • 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, the Middle East, East Asia and Oceania.
  • Interdisciplinary course work and study with faculty in other departments enable our students to pursue cross-disciplinary interests, language training, and focused regional studies.

Anthropological 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, geographic information systems (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' Department of Classical Studies.