College of Arts & Sciences

Anthropology - Graduate

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Since its inception in the 1960s, the graduate program has been nationally recognized as a leader in applied anthropology. We define applied anthropology as research with practical application and impact, but anchored in a rigorous foundation in anthropological theory and method, whether from socio-cultural, bio-cultural, medical, or archaeological perspectives. With grounding in core anthropological theory and method, we train our students to be skilled researchers who can traverse both academic and non-academic settings, bringing to their research a sound intellectual base, and skills for application and practice.

Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Anthropology

The M.A. degree in Applied Anthropology at UK is designed to train students to apply the theories, methods, and practices of anthropology to solve real world problems, and to prepare students for careers in different domains of application or for further graduate study. The program draws on the department’s considerable research strengths in a variety of areas (see website for more information), and puts strong emphasis on training in theory, application, and proficiency in qualitative and quantitative research methods and skills. The M.A. in Applied Anthropology program has three Areas of Concentration – Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology and Medical Anthropology. Students must declare their area of concentration in their program application.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Anthropology

The PhD program in Anthropology consists of a minimum of 36 credit hours, plus a minimum of two semesters of ANT 767. Students must fulfill any and all other requirements of the Graduate School. An entering PhD student should complete required coursework by the end of the second year, and successfully defend a dissertation proposal and successfully complete the qualifying exams as early as the fifth semester, but no later than the tenth semester, after admission to the program. Upon acceptance into 3 the graduate program, a student will be assigned a graduate advisor who will review and approve all first year coursework, and in consultation with the DGS, evaluate requests for transfer of up to 9 credit hours of equivalent graduate-level coursework. Following the first year, all coursework will be approved by the student’s committee.

Application Requirements

  1. CV
    • Please provide an updated curriculum vitae containing information on your academic and professional accomplishments and experiences.
  2. Personal Statement
    • For MA applicants, discuss how you think the applied MA suits your particular professional and career goals and discuss why the University of Kentucky's Department of Anthropology is a good fit.
    • For PhD applicants, please describe your research interests and a potential dissertation project. Also, list faculty members with whom you would like to work. If applicable, discuss any training or experience you have had that relates to your research interests. Finally, why is the University of Kentucky’s Department of Anthropology a good fit for you? (no more than two single-spaced pages).
  3. Writing sample
    • Upload two (2) writing samples, preferably in the form of a term paper or an extensive essay. If you have completed an undergraduate thesis or a Master's thesis, you may submit one or two chapters only. Please DO NOT submit an entire thesis, an entire archaeology site report, nor other lengthy document.
  4. Three letters of recommendation (see Instructions in the section below)

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

The GRE is not required for admission to this program during the 2022-2023 academic year.


Application deadlines:
  • Fall: January 1

Letter of Recommendation Instructions

3 Letters:

Recommenders, please attach a letter and rate the scholarly ability of the applicant in comparison with students in the same field who have approximately the same amount of experience and education:

Outstanding (upper 5%) Very Good (upper 10%) Good (upper 25%) Average (upper 50%) or Below Average.

Further, please provide your recommendation for admissions to our program: Strongly recommend, Recommend, Recommend with reservations, or No recommendation. Finally, please provide your estimate of the applicant’s promise as a graduate student. Give views on such matters as previous accomplishments and training, intellectual independence, capacity for analytical thinking, ability to organize and express ideas clearly, drive and motivation, ability to work with others, and any other information you feel may assist us in evaluating the applicant’s potential for graduate work.