What Are the Core Courses of a Ph.D. in Anthropology?

Ph.D. degree programs in anthropology encourage the study of human beings and civilization both past and present to better understand human nature. Programs at the doctorate level are generally tailored to a student's area of interest, and the curriculum varies depending upon the concentration. Common courses include those in research, analysis and methodology, fieldwork and a dissertation.

Ph.D. Degree Program Coursework in Anthropology

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in anthropology might appeal to those students who are interested in eventually working in research or academia. Graduates of a Ph.D. program in anthropology can also work as museum curators and archivists. There are several major disciplines within the field of anthropology, and students are able to tailor most Ph.D. programs to focus on a particular branch. Students commonly focus on cultural, linguistic, physical anthropology and archaeology coursework.

Important Facts About a Ph.D. in Anthropology

Concentrations May include medical anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology, or race, gender, and social justice
Possible Careers Anthropologist, archaeologist, historic preservationist, museum curator, educator, health services, forensic scientist, economist, sociologist, historian
Learning Environment Traditional classroom setting
Key Skills Analytical and critical thinking, oral and written communication skills, information recall, diligent researcher, cross-cultural understanding
Median Salary (2018) $62,410 (for all anthropologists and archaeologists)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 4% (for all anthropologists and archaeologists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Anthropology Courses

The core courses for an anthropology Ph.D. program will vary depending on the area of concentration a student chooses. Many Ph.D. programs will require a minimum number of hours of anthropology courses, including some courses within the chosen area of concentration and some from another area. Following is a sampling of the types of courses offered in different fields of anthropology:

  • Patterns of immigration
  • Primate behavior
  • Art anthropology
  • Linguistics
  • Skeletal biology
  • Human behavior

Other Coursework

Many Ph.D. programs in Anthropology require additional coursework in research, analysis, statistics, computer science or methodology. Some programs also require courses in a foreign language. Grant writing classes are sometimes included in the core curriculum. Courses may include:

  • Statistics in applied anthropology
  • Qualitative methods in anthropology
  • Anthropology methods
  • Cultural analysis

Anthropology Field Work and Dissertations

Fieldwork and a dissertation are a major component of Ph.D. programs. Ph.D. candidates will usually work with an advisor to develop a dissertation subject. The subject becomes the student's major focus of study throughout the program. Fieldwork is often a required component of the dissertation research.