Please see the information below

Duke’s Department of Cultural Anthropology will not be admitting new candidates to its Graduate Program next year (application December 2016, matriculation September, 2017).  We will resume regular admissions the following year.

Graduate students are awarded fellowships, scholarships, and teaching and graduate assistantships to the fullest extent permitted by available funding. Graduate Fellowships provide tuition plus a living stipend for 5 years, contingent on continued appropriate progress toward the Ph.D. degree. Stipends and fellowships require service in the form of teaching and/or graduate assistance. Other university awards are given on a competitive basis to outstanding students. These include the James B. Duke Fellowships, International Fellowships, and Deans' Fellowships. Applicants are also encouraged to seek fellowships for graduate study in anthropology that are awarded by non-university agencies, as these frequently offer high stipends and several years of continuous support. Various university and external funding sources provide awards for pre-doctoral and doctoral research, including field research in anthropology, and students are encouraged to apply for these at the appropriate time. Some additional funding as well as part-time teaching positions may be available to students beyond the fifth year.

IMPORTANT: Please click on the link below to better understand how the department and the Graduate School work together to assist Ph.D students with their funding support.

All students admitted to the Cultural Anthropology Ph.D. program are fully funded for 5 years. For the 2016/17 academic year, funding includes payment of tuition and fees, a living stipend of $22,470 plus payment of individual health insurance. Those successful in obtaining the equivalent of one full year of external funding (e.g. SSRC or Wenner-Gren for dissertation fieldwork) may bank it towards a sixth year of departmental support.

Admission is competitive with approximately 3-5% of applicants offered admission.

  • Applicants must submit their applications and supporting documents online at  There is an $80.00 application fee.                                                                    
  • All requested supporting documentation should be uploaded electronically via the online application. An official hard copy of your transcript will only be requested after admission. We strongly encourage students to apply by December 1 and no later than December 8. If you apply later, there may not be time for all your supporting documents (transcripts, recommendation letters, etc.) to arrive by the time our departmental reviews begin in early January.  An incomplete file may affect your consideration. All supporting documents must be electronically submitted along with your application to the Duke Graduate School.  They should not be submitted directly to the department. 
  • The statement of purpose is an especially important part of the application as it gives applicants a chance to describe their research interests. There is no single way to write a good statement of purpose, but click for some sample statements of purpose from successful recent applicants.. 
  • At the beginning of their statement of purpose in the application, all applicants must also list three keywords best describing their research interests and geographical area of study (for example: Mass Media, Indigenous Rights, Latin America). 
  • Applicants must upload a roughly 10-20 page sample of relatively recent written work electronically via the online application or to  by December 8.
  • December 8: Departmental deadline for submission of Ph.D. applications for admission and award for the fall semester. 
  • NOTEFor questions regarding admissions materials or processes:

    Graduate School Admissions
    Phone: (919) 684-3913

     in lieu of phone calls to the department of Cultural Anthropology

Visitation Policy

In the interest of fairness to all applicants, departmental visits from prospective students are strongly discouraged. Applicants should be advised that contact with faculty members does not advantage their application. Students are admitted by the faculty as a whole, rather than on a mentorship model in which applicants are vetted by particular faculty.

All students in their first and second summers, who would otherwise be unfunded are eligible to receive a Summer Research Fellowship, which will provide a summer stipend of $5,000 as well as summer tuition and fees.

Note: this is guaranteed funding for first and second year students, but if you do not apply, you will not receive the summer funding. This is a graduate school competition, for any questions please contact them.

For more information about the elements of a successful application to the program, go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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University Regulations & Degree Requirements

The Doctoral Program in Cultural Anthropology operates within the general regulations of the Graduate School of Duke University. These are set forth in the annual Graduate School Bulletin:; the student is urged to refer to the current edition of this publication which is revised every August. The student's actual program of courses must be approved each semester by the department's Director of Graduate Studies or the student's advisor, after consultation and advice. The Director of Graduate Studies is a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Cultural Anthropology appointed by the departmental Chair to oversee the graduate program. The Director of Graduate Studies chairs the Graduate Committee, whose members include several additional faculty.

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