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How to Apply

The Department of Anthropology very much hopes to admit an incoming class of PhD students in each sub-field (Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, Sociocultural Anthropology) for the 2021-2022 academic year. At this time, while we know that we will certainly have fewer admittees this year, we are still in conversation with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota about the potential size of our cohort. 
It is important to note that the College of Liberal Arts is asking all programs to pause admissions (i.e. not admit any new students) for the coming academic year, with limited exceptions. We are meeting with the college to seek an exception so that we may admit a small cohort for the 2021-2022 academic year. Please check back for updates in early November. Admissions for our program will not be open before October 31, 2020. We strongly recommend that applicants wait to submit their application and pay the application fee until closer to the December 1 deadline.

The requirement to submit GRE Exam scores has been temporarily lifted for those applying for admission to the Department of Anthropology’s Ph.D. program for Fall 2021, due to difficulty in taking this exam related to COVID-19.

Additionally, please review the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency web page for the options available for international students about providing proof of your English language proficiency. There are various options available for those applying to programs for admission in Fall 2021 that would not otherwise be available.

Admission to the Department of Anthropology graduate program is competitive. Only a small percentage of applicants are admitted to the graduate program each year. Currently, we admit six to seven PhD students annually across all three subfields of archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. A master’s degree is not required for admission, and students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree are welcome to apply.

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

The department collaborates on a new MA in Heritage Studies & Public History.

All application materials should be submitted electronically via the Graduate Application. The Department of Anthropology accepts admissions to the program for fall semester only.

PhD application deadline: December 1. 
For more information
See chapter one of our graduate handbook
or contact

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

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

The application fee is $75.00 for US Citizens and $95.00 for international students.


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 double-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 2021, 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, or New Zealand within 24 months of your desired date of admission. 

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

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.