Graduate Program of Study

Emory's graduate program in anthropology encourages a diversity of doctoral research agendas in cultural anthropology (including medical anthropology) as well as biological anthropology (including bio-cultural anthropology). The program balances rigorous courses with a tutorial approach to advanced subjects and is designed to be intense and demanding for both students and faculty alike. The core program consists of a series of courses and seminars that provides advanced training in cultural and biological anthropology, including a proseminar that introduces students to the work of all faculty in the department. As a whole, the educational program provides students with a graduate-level grounding in anthropology that is sophisticated and unique. Specialization within cultural or biological sub-fields is encouraged, as well as combinations and creative dialogues between them. Components of the program are outlined below (see also Overview of the Department).


Students complete an initial three years of coursework. Requirements include three core courses and three additional Anthropology elective core courses. Individual courses of study will be designed in consultation with the students advisor. Some courses may be taken in other departments. In addition to meeting department course requirements, students must complete coursework in accordance with candidacy requirements of the Graduate School. Anthropology Coursework Requirements

Annual Review of Students

The faculty members of the Department of Anthropology conduct an annual review of all graduate students in the program. Prior to the review, students submit an annual progress and activity report, and this report is central to the evaluation process. The review takes place the day following spring commencement. After the meeting, the Director of Graduate Studies prepares a letter for each student, informing the student of the facultys view of academic and professional progress and, if necessary, outlining any concerns. This is an important time for faculty to also note student achievements, such as publications, grants or awards.

Dissertation Research Proposal and Applying for Grants

The department places high priority on refining students doctoral research proposals, both to further students education and to maximize the chances that they can obtain extramural funding for doctoral fieldwork. Students are advised to work with their advisor to develop the basic framework of their dissertation proposal during the second semester of their second year of coursework, and are required to attend departmental grant and funding information sessions. Students generally revise funding proposals over the summer of their second year and present them formally to the department in the third year. With the input received, students finalize their proposals and submit them to funding agencies.

Teaching Requirements

Serving as a teaching assistant (TA) and co-teacher provides invaluable experience and is important as a professional credential. During the semesters in which a student assists or co-teaches, the student takes a normal course load and receives a regular graduate stipend. Students are assigned to serve as teaching assistants for an introductory level course in the second year. After completing the first TA, students are considered teaching associates and collaborate more fully with the faculty member in teaching two undergraduate course. The final phase of training generally occurs following completion of fieldwork (and during dissertation write-up). The student will co-teach a course with a faculty member or, under the supervision of a faculty member, will independently teach a course.

Forming a Committee

The faculty member most directly concerned with the students scholarly aims is the primary supervisor of the students program and typically becomes the committee chair (if research aims change, another chair may be chosen). By the end of the second year, the student selects a chair and two or more additional members of the doctoral examination committee. The committee will supervise the development of dissertation research and the preparation and completion of qualifying exams. The Graduate School requires that at least three members of the committee will be Emory Graduate School faculty. The student will meet with the committee at regular intervals.

Qualifying Examination

Students choose specialty areas as the focus of their written examination. Normally, these areas will be identified by the end of the second year and exams will be completed in the spring of the third year. With the approval of the advisor, students may choose either two topical specialties or one topical specialty and one geographical specialty. The students examination committee will be chosen in consultation with the advisor to reflect the specialty areas of interest. Students will work with their advisor and other members of the committee to develop a bibliography for each specialty area. The bibliography must be approved by the committee.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students must advance to candidacy by September 15th of their 4th year in the program in order to remain eligible for a stipend and tuition scholarship. To apply for candidacy, the student must have met the following:

  • Completed coursework (36 credit hours in Advanced Standing, all core requirements fulfilled, a GPA of 2.7 or better)
  • Passed qualifying examinations
  • Received approval for dissertation research proposal and have preliminary title
  • Fulfilled methodology requirements
  • Completed first two teaching requirements
  • Resolved any incomplete grades
  • Submitted a candidacy application to the Graduate School

Fieldwork or Laboratory Research

After completing coursework, refining the research proposal, submitting grant applications and reaching candidacy, students undertake a period of fieldwork or laboratory research. Depending on the type of research to be completed, students may be at a field site abroad or in the United States, or may conduct research in an Emory laboratory or other research setting. During the period of fieldwork or laboratory research, the student remains in close contact with the advisor and other committee members, and is typically supported by a research grant from an external agency. Funding for fieldwork may come from a variety of sources.

Dissertation Write-Up

After completing fieldwork or laboratory research, students are expected to be in residence for dissertation write-up and are eligible for one and one-half years of post-field funding at the regular stipend rate. With the support of the department, and through the sixth year, students may also apply for an advanced teaching fellowship through the Graduate School. During the post-field period, students complete the third teaching requirement (co-teaching a course) and participate in department post-field seminars. They are also encouraged to attend department talks, social events and colloquia with other graduate students and faculty in order to benefit from and enrich the intellectual and communal life of the department.

Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of the final draft of the dissertation, and with the advisors approval, the student will schedule a public presentation and an oral committee defense. Students must be registered in the program during the semester in which they defend their dissertation and receive their degree.

Coursework Requirements

Graduate Program Timeline