Graduate Admissions

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington recognizes three principal sub-fields of anthropology into which its graduate programs are divided: archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. The department has a concurrent MPH/PhD degree program with the departments of Epidemiology and Health Services. The MA degree can be earned ONLY within a PhD program as a thesis or non-thesis degree. Graduate Non-Matriculated (GNM) status is recognized by the anthropology department, however, there is a separate application process for applicants seeking GNM status.

Archaeology and Biological Anthropology admissions will be run every year, however, Sociocultural Anthropology has moved to an "every other year" model. Next admission cycle for Sociocultural Anthropology will be for Autumn 2022 (apply by December 15, 2021).

To apply to the MA program in Archaeological Heritage, please visit:


Applicants may apply for and be admitted for autumn quarter only. Offers of admission are usually mailed prior to the first of March. Those receiving offers of admission should respond as quickly as possible and certainly by April 15; those failing to do so risk losing their place in the entering class.

Applicants are considered on the basis of academic ability, career motivation, and promise for achieving professional competence associated with the PhD, with interests and goals that fit with departmental programs and faculty interests. It is recommended that the applicant complete an undergraduate program appropriate for graduate work in anthropology, but a BA in anthropology is not specifically required. Applicants from non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate proficiency in English (see Graduate School Memo #8). The Graduate School requires a minimum grade point average of B (or 3.0 on a 4.0 scale) for the last 90 quarter credits (60 semester credits) of completed course work. 

See Admission Statistics for a profile of recent applicants.

Apply Online

If you wish to apply to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, you must complete the online application on the University of Washington Graduate School website. Please note that applicants may only apply to one of the three PhD track programs. All applicant materials (including letters of recommendation and unofficial transcripts) will be collected online and the deadline to apply is December 15th.

Before you apply to our programs, please read through the answers to some frequently asked questions, and be sure you understand what we offer.

If you have questions that are not answered in the online program information, application website, or frequently asked questions, please contact the Graduate Program Advisor at

Applicants will be notified by e-mail if materials are missing and when all application materials have been received.

Tuition and Residency Status

Students who receive teaching assistantships or research assistantships generally have their tuition covered and receive a stipend to live on. The approximate cost of one year for a full-time, first-year, non-resident/international student (2020-21) is $53,163. This figure includes the cost of tuition ($30,294) and estimated books and living expenses for one year (not including summer). Expenses are subject to change without notice. International students cannot be admitted unless proof of funding is submitted. International Student Services posts projected expenses for international students on their web site.

The approximate cost of one year for a full-time, first-year resident student (2021-22) is $40,263. This figure includes the cost of tuition ($17,394) and estimated books and living expenses for one year (not including summer). Expenses are subject to change without notice and can be found on the Office of Planning and Budgeting webpage. US Citizens who are not residents of the State of Washington will have an opportunity to apply for residency status from the Washington State Residency Office after residing in the state for at least 12 months.

Depending upon subdiscipline, length of field studies, personal and professional factors, etc., it can take anywhere from 5-10 years to complete our PhD programs.

Diversity within the Department of Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology, in keeping with our disciplinary mission, has long attempted to diversify the composition of our graduate students. We recognize that diversity – whether defined as cultural, racial/ethnic, national, socio-demographic, gender/sexuality, religious, linguistic, age or ability – enriches the process of discovery by engendering multiple modes of thinking about problems and communicating ideas.

Given that anthropology as a discipline will only remain relevant to the world if it includes and trains practitioners from diverse backgrounds, the UW Department of Anthropology is committed to developing a more diverse faculty, staff and student body in order to better achieve our departmental, institutional and discipline-related goals of research, teaching, community service and social justice. View the Anthropology Diversity Mission Statement.

We have benefited from support from the Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program in pursuit of this goal. In order to attract strong students to our graduate programs, the department has actively recruited during the national meetings of the major anthropological societies - the American Anthropological Association, the Native American Relations and Native American Scholarship Committees of the Society for American Archeology, the Alaska Anthropological Association, and the Association of American Physical Anthropologists. Additionally we have taken steps to follow-up on names submitted to us by Graduate Opportunities for Minority Achievement Program as part of the University Name Exchange Program. We also recruit with the Olson Fellowship which is funded by a bequest to the department by the Olson family. The bequest stipulates that members of North American Native tribes be given the highest priority.

More Information about our Graduate Program