How to Apply

Ph.D. Program

COVID 19 Update

This past year's hiatus in admissions is at an end and we will be accepting applications for our doctoral program beginning in Fall 2021. Prospective PhD applicants are encouraged to apply for possible admission to the Cultural Anthropology Department in Fall 2022. At this time the GRE remains optional so as to accommodate the ongoing challenges of study and test taking in the midst of a pandemic.

All the best, Anne-Maria Makhulu (Director of Graduate Studies till June 30, 2021)

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

  • Applicants must submit applications and supporting documents online. There is a $95.00 application fee.
  • All requested supporting documentation should be uploaded electronically via the online application portal. An official hard copy of your transcript will be requested after admission by the Duke Graduate School. We strongly encourage you to apply before the Graduate School deadline (exact date in Fall 2021 to be announced). 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 full consideration of your application. 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 because it gives applicants a chance to describe their research interests. There is no single way to write a good statement of purpose. However, you can download some sample statements of purpose (below) from a few successful applicants.
  • At the beginning of the statement of purpose, 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 also upload a roughly 10-20 page sample of relatively recent written work  via the online application portal.

For questions regarding admissions materials or process, in lieu of phone calls to the department of Cultural Anthropology, please contact:

Graduate School Admissions
Phone: (919) 684-3913

Download Sample Statements of Purpose

Certificate Program

To enroll in a Certificate Program, you must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Duke University. Once you have been admitted into a Ph.D. program and wish to add a Certificate in another department or field, you must identify a faculty mentor in that field to assist you in developing a plan of study.  Cultural Anthropology PhD students have acquired certificates in, among others: Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies; African & African American Studies; Latin American & Caribbean Studies; Asian & Middle Eastern Studies; Documentary Studies; International Development Policy.