Graduate Program

Ph.D. in Anthropology: Overview

Note in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: The University of Notre Dame is now accepting applications in our 2021 Anthropology PhD program cycle. The application deadline remains December 1, 2020. There has been no change to graduate student funding levels. The standard admissions process remains the same. However, applicants should know that the Department of Anthropology is NOT requiring GRE tests scores as part of the application process this cycle.

The University of Notre Dame continues to follow public-health protocols in its in-person and online instruction. Details about Notre Dame's COVID-19 response may be found:


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General Description/Special Programs:
Notre Dame’s Anthropology doctoral program is committed to the richness and diversity of the discipline by building bridges between various humanistic and scientific approaches. We seek to involve graduate students in integrative anthropology, including engagement with different anthropological and interdisciplinary perspectives, integration of theory and application, and integration of teaching, research, and ethics.  Individualized programs are made possible by a close working relationship with other departments and institutes. This includes the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Institute for Latino Studies, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and iCeNSA-- the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Application.

The teaching and research interests of our faculty are diverse and represent all four of anthropology’s subfields. The Notre Dame Anthropology graduate program is focused on developing the skill sets to undertake research related to the human condition, to learn about what it is to be human, and to convey these understandings of what it means to be human to others.


The doctoral program is designed to enable students to spend a major part of their graduate work on their chosen specialties. Doctoral candidates follow a trajectory of study in methods and theory, based on the sub-fields of Anthropology, with flexible language, laboratory, and field training depending upon perceived need and as determined by their individual research agenda. Along with required courses in the first two years of study, each spring students present their research at the end of term. In the fall term, third-year students take comprehensive examinations and prepare a formal dissertation proposal that is suitable for submission to an external funding agency. The dissertation and oral defense are the final steps in the Ph.D. requirement with the goal of completing all requirements within five years.

Notre Dame’s Anthropology doctoral program provides full funding to each accepted student for 5 years. This includes full tuition, a twelve-month stipend for living expenses, and some yearly conference support. Given the low cost of living in South Bend, our stipends are very competitive with those of other universities. Each year between 4 to 6 students are accepted with a planned total of around 30 graduate students enrolled in the program at any time.

Our graduate students are successful recipients of prestigious national and international grants and fellowships, including the


National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP) and Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DDRIG), the Wenner Gren Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, USAID, among others.

Contact Information
Christopher Ball
Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Phone: 574-631-6993

Additional information can be found on the University of Notre Dame Graduate School website.

Click here to download a PDF of the Anthropology Graduate Guide