How to Apply

Ph.D. Program

COVID 19 Update

In response to the disruptions wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Cultural Anthropology has elected to pause admissions for its doctoral program for Fall 2021. This one-year hiatus will allow us to provide our current students with additional support as they navigate the unanticipated needs that have arisen since the pandemic began. We are committed to devoting our full attention and support to our current doctoral students, and to mentoring them closely so that their research may recover as quickly as possible.

We understand that this may be disappointing news to those seeking to begin doctoral study in the fall of 2021, but we believe that we have an abiding responsibility to the students whom we have admitted in the past, and whose success must be secured to the best of our capabilities. Prospective PhD applicants are encouraged to apply in 2021 for admission in Fall 2022. 

We thank you for your understanding, and wish you well in all your endeavors.

All the best, Anne-Maria Makhulu (Director of Graduate Studies)

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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 December 8, 2020. 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
Email: grad-admissions@duke.edu

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.