Admission Process

Each year the Department receives more than 200 applications, and less than 10% of those matriculate. The statement of purpose is a very important part of the application. Applicants should use this opportunity to discuss their research and professional goals and, if possible, to indicate how they might be accomplished at the University of Chicago. Letters of reference should come from people who are familiar with those aspects of the applicant’s background, broadly defined, that are relevant to graduate study in anthropology.

All applications are considered together in the admissions competition. Accordingly, applicants are strongly advised to take the GRE by October (December at the latest), to request letters of recommendation sufficiently early to ensure their timely submission, and to make sure that the application is complete by the deadline. At the Department’s discretion, incomplete applications may be reviewed only during the review period, and they may be excluded from the competition.

The Department welcomes applications from a variety of academic backgrounds; previous study of anthropology is not required. A writing sample (requested of all applicants) of no more than 20 pages should demonstrate the ability to write clearly and make a cogent argument. Writing samples may be a short research paper, an excerpt from a bachelor’s thesis, or an essay exam.

Applicants may address general questions to Anne Ch’ien, Administrator for the Graduate Program, 773-702-8551; amchien@uchicago.edu

Apply Online

This year’s application due date is December 15.

The GRE Institution Code is 1832
There is no GRE Department Code; 1832 is all you need

Our application process is now entirely online (paperless).  All supporting material -- including letters of recommendation, transcripts, and writing samples (if required by a specific department) -- must be submitted electronically through the online application.

Special Note:  While the Anthropology Department offers an M.A, degree on the way to the Ph.D., its central focus is on training Ph.D. students.

Students not yet ready to make a commitment to the Anthropology Ph.D. may explore several more specialized M.A. programs, which allow one to take courses across the social sciences, strengthening a future application to a Chicago Ph.D. program.  For example, see the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences.