How to Apply

Ph.D. Program

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

  • Applicants must submit their applications and supporting documents online. There is an $95.00 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 you to apply by December 1 and no later than December 7. 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. However, you can download some sample statements of purpose (below) from a few successful 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 for questions send an email to by December 8.
  • December 8: Departmental deadline for submission of Ph.D. applications for admission and award for the fall semester. 

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

Graduate School Admissions
Phone: (919) 684-3913

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 and Feminist Studies; African and African American Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Documentary Studies; International Development Policy.