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Our Department of Anthropology offers MA and PhD degrees in Anthropology, as well as a unique Joint MA degree in Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 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. Training for independent research is stressed, with particular emphasis on theoretical issues and fieldwork. Our specializations include archaeology and sociocultural anthropology.

The Anthropology department's dynamic faculty are leaders in their fields, with sociocultural interests that include economic anthropology and development, gender and sexuality, medical anthropology, linguistic and semiotic anthropology, global and transnational processes, urban anthropology, psychological anthropology, religion and ritual, colonialism and postcoloniality, political ecology, citizenship and the state, anthropology of finance, personhood and experience, and inequalities and social justice.

Archaeological interests include Mesoamerican civilizations (with a particular focus on the Mayan and Zapotec cultures), power and inequality, borderlands and landscape, meaning and material culture, writing systems, bioarchaeology, human osteology, geographic information systems (GIS), and the modern contexts of archaeological research. Geographic strengths include Latin America, North America, Africa, East Asia, South Asia and Oceania.


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We encourage you to explore one of the department’s greatest assets through our faculty pages.

Director of Graduate Study

Jonathan Anjaria

Jonathan Anjaria

Courses and Degree Requirements

For the most updated course listing, course descriptions, and degree requirements, please visit the Registrar.

How to Apply

Application Deadlines

MA: January 15 for priority admission. Later applications may be considered on a rolling basis until May 15.

Joint MA with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: January 15

PhD: January 15. Please note that the application to the PhD with a concentration in Archaeology is open to all applicants; the application to the PhD with a concentration in Sociocultural Anthropology is open to current Brandeis Master's students and Master's alumni only.

Admission Requirements

Note regarding the PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology: Applicants interested in the Brandeis doctoral program in Sociocultural Anthropology are invited to apply to the master's program. If accepted as anthropology master's students, students are then eligible to apply to the PhD program for matriculation in the following fall with an application fee waiver.

All students (including non-Brandeis students) wishing to study Mesoamerican Archaeology at the PhD level may apply directly to the doctoral program. Acceptance to the Brandeis doctoral program is very competitive and not guaranteed, but faculty members also provide mentoring for master's students' applications to other doctoral programs. Our department has had excellent success in placing our master's students into doctoral programs. Students admitted to the Brandeis PhD program receive full tuition waivers and fellowships renewable for a total of five years.

To apply for all programs, you need to submit:

  • An online application; 

  • An application fee;

  • Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended must be uploaded to your application; do not mail official transcripts to our office. For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions;

  • Letters of recommendation, submitted electronically; MA applications require 2 letters of recommendation; PhD applications require 3 letters of recommendation.

  • A curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé;

  • A statement of purpose indicating your reasons for undertaking graduate study. In addition, please describe your qualifications for the academic program and your objectives in undertaking this program. Applicants to the master's program should discuss their plans for their academic and professional career and how the Graduate School will help them to attain their goals. Applicants to the doctoral program should outline their research interests and indicate how they would complement those of the faculty. Please visit the Anthropology website for more specific notes regarding the statement of purpose.

  • critical writing sample not exceeding 35 pages; the 35-page maximum may consist of a single critical essay or two shorter essays of approximately equal length.

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE), required for both the MA and PhD programs. Our GRE institution code is 3092 (please note: this institution code only applies to GRE scores).

  • International applicants: Additional requirements for international applicants (non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents), minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores, and important information regarding visas If you are submitting TOEFL scores, please note that our TOEFL institution code is 3261.

For a more comprehensive description of application requirements, please visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Financial Aid

Brandeis University offers a generous array of tuition scholarships, fellowships, and loan opportunities; for more information please visit Financial Aid.

Full and partial fellowships are available for PhD candidates focusing on Israel Studies in many disciplines.

Careers and Alumni

We are 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 PhD students and alumni are active in delivering papers at professional conferences, publishing books and articles, and moving on to productive teaching and research careers. MA and PhD student and alumni accomplishments may be explored on the department's website.

Students and alumni can work closely with Career Services for an array of resources, including CV/resume help, job search, and networking.