How to Apply

PhD Application Deadline

December 15

Admission to Our Program

Admission to our graduate program is competitive. Only a small percentage of applicants are admitted to the graduate program each year. Currently, we admit six or seven PhD students annually across all three subfields of archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. 

You may apply for the PhD program with either a BA or MA degree. We do not admit students to the MA degree program in the three primary subfields.

We collaborate with the University of Minnesota College of Design on the Masters of  Heritage Studies & Public History.

Submitting Your Application

Applicants should review the Graduate School's application instructions. Please contact the anthropology graduate program with any questions.

Applicants should include their subfield preference (archaeology, biological anthropology, or sociocultural anthropology) when applying for admission to the PhD program. 

There is an application fee required by the Graduate School: Application Fees. If you are a McNair Scholar, you may be able to request an Application Fee Waiver through the Graduate School Diversity Office: McNair Scholar Resources.

Application Materials

All application materials should be submitted electronically via the Graduate Application. We accept admissions to the program for fall semester only.



How to submit

Statement of Purpose

This statement should include information about your research interests, academic background, and reasons for applying to the University of Minnesota. Please limit your submission to a maximum of two single-spaced pages.

The Extenuating Circumstances Statement is not required, but you may submit them if you wish.

Diversity Statement

Enrolling and graduating a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota's mission. Please write a statement that identifies the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to your graduate program and to the education of fellow students at the University of Minnesota. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success.

Provide an approximately 450-word count diversity statement. Examples include but are not limited to, personal and community backgrounds, commitment to diversity, research commitments. 

Unofficial Transcripts

Unofficial copies of your transcripts should be uploaded into the "Educational Background" section of the application using the “Upload Transcripts” button.

You must upload a transcript from each college or university you have attended.

GRE Scores
This requirement has been temporarily lifted for those applying for admission for fall 2022, due to difficulty in taking this exam related to COVID-19.


Send these to the department directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Our institution code is 6874 and the department code is 1701.

TOEFL Scores
International students only

You do not need to submit these scores if English is your native language or if you have completed at least 16 credits at a college or university in the US, Canada (except Quebec), United Kingdom/ Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or most current and former British and U.S. territories in the Caribbean/Central and South America, within 24 months of your desired date of admission. Find the most up-to-date information on how to prove English Language Proficiency on the Graduate School's website: English Language Proficiency.

The University of Minnesota requires a minimum score of 79 on the TOEFL with minimum scores of 21 on the writing section and 19 on the reading section.

However for TOEFL, the department requires a minimum score of 100, for IELTS it is 7.0, and MELAB is 84. These test scores are valid for only two years.

Our institution code is 6874.

Review the Graduate School's English Language Proficiency web page for additional options available to provide proof of English language proficiency. 

Letters of Recommendation (3)

You must submit three letters of recommendation. Recommenders must submit the letters using the admissions application.

Please email the program at if recommenders are not able to submit letters using the application system.

Writing Sample

Sociocultural subfield students are required to submit a writing sample. Students in other subfields are welcome, but not required, to submit a writing sample.

The writing sample must be no longer than 20 double-spaced pages and be uploaded into the online application.


A resume/CV is not required but is highly recommended.

More information

See chapter one of our graduate handbook or contact