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SHESC Graduate Program

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Current Graduate Students

About the Graduate Program

The School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC) offers unprecedented opportunities for graduate students. SHESC currently offers the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Anthropology. In the near future, the School hopes to add an interdisciplinary degree in addition to its traditional Anthropology degrees.

SHESC is an excellent choice for students wanting to pursue a PhD in one of the traditional subfields (Sociocultural Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, or Archaeology). And, SHESC is an ideal environment for students who wish to pursue programs that cross-cut the subdisciplines or that involve interdisciplinary pursuits, such as bioarchaeology, paleoanthropology, medical anthropology, material culture in the past and present and museum anthropology.

The School’s newly designed curriculum

gives students the flexibility to design a program (in consultation with their advisor) to meet their educational and research needs.

SHESC offers a supportive atmosphere for graduate students. Only a small group of top students is admitted each year, and once students begin the program, faculty dedicate themselves to helping the students progress and succeed. Two SHESC faculty members, Professors Geoffrey Clark and Keith Kintigh, have received ASU’s Outstanding Doctoral Mentor award in recognition of their excellent work with graduate students and two others, Professors Leanne Nash and Margaret Nelson, have received ASU’s Professor of the Year awards.

The atmosphere among students and faculty is highly collegial. The School is known for representing a broad range of theoretical viewpoints—from evolutionary ecology to postprocessual archaeology—for encouraging good work in any field or approach. Faculty are extremely active, and there are numerous opportunities for students to participate in faculty research.

The success of our students is indicated in numerous ways: In recent years, nearly every student who applied for an NSF dissertation improvement grant received the award. In the past eleven years, five of the Society for American Archaeology Dissertation Awards (for the best archaeology dissertation of the year) have gone to ASU students. Finally, and very importantly, increasing numbers of ASU Anthropology Ph.D.s have obtained faculty positions at other universities.


1)  How do I apply?

Applications are accepted through the Graduate College’s online Admissions Application . For more information, contact: 480-965-6215.

Admissions requirements and online application can be found at the Graduate College website,

Once the Graduate College Admissions office receives the online application, students are notified of their asurite id and activation code through an acknowledgement, sent by the Graduate College admissions office within 48 hours of receipt of the application.  If you have submitted an application, and have not received this code, please contact the Graduate College Admissions office at or call (480) 965-6113. 

2)  When should I apply?

The application deadline is January 1 (or the next working day if the first is a holiday or weekend) for admission in the fall of that year. The school only admits students in the fall semester and there are no spring admissions. It is recommended that you have your application, transcripts, test scores and application fee to the Graduate College Admissions office by December 1 or earlier if you are an international student.

3) When will I be notified of admissions?

Students can track their admission via the interactive website,

4)  How long does it take to complete the PhD program?

Generally speaking, the PhD degrees can be completed in 5 – 7 years of full-time study.

5)  What kind of funding is available?

The school awards fellowships, teaching assistantships and tuition support on a competitive basis. Research Assistantships are also available, depending on current research projects. Incoming students are automatically considered for financial support through fellowships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships, which generally include tuition waivers and health coverage. For additional funding opportunities, consult the Graduate College financial support services.

6)  How many students apply each year and how many are accepted?

Approximately 300 students apply each year and we admit seventy to eighty new students each the fall .

7)  What if I am new to anthropology?

Applicants for the Graduate Program in Anthropology who have a degree in another discipline may have some deficiencies noted on their admission letter from the Graduate College. Students who are accepted with limited background are generally required to make up deficiencies by taking courses in one or more approaches. For more information, contact the Graduate Coordinator

For more information on graduate studies, please consult the Graduate College website.

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