Graduate Studies in Anthropology

The UC Davis Department of Anthropology conducts a highly regarded graduate program leading to master's and doctoral degrees. Here you will find information about our Evolutionary Wing and Sociocultural Wing, subdisciplines from which to choose, advising, research opportunities, and more.

About 70 graduate students are currently registered in our graduate program. New students are accepted for the fall quarter only. Admission depends primarily on the student’s prior academic record as shown by transcripts, the statements of purpose and research interests, and letters of recommendation. Applications for enrollment in our Ph.D. programs must be submitted online no later than December 15. Applications for our Terminal M.A. degree in Evolutionary Anthropology will be considered until March 15, our “Space Available” deadline.

  Applications for enrollment must be submitted online no later than December 15 for PhD and March 15 for MA "Space Available".

Program strengths

Our graduate program's greatest strengths are its flexibility in meeting the intellectual needs of individual students, the high level of cooperation and collaboration that exists within the graduate student community, and interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship. Our annual departmental research conference enables graduate students to present their research to faculty and other students.

The Department of Anthropology is organized within two discrete wings:

Each student is admitted to either the E-Wing or the S-Wing. While most requirements are uniform across the entire department, be aware of some distinct subdisciplinary requirements, noted in the Evolutionary areas of specialization and the Sociocultural areas of specialization sections.

Outstanding opportunities

Students gain insights and knowledge not only from our own nationally recognized faculty members, but also from eminent scholars visiting from other institutions. The UC Davis Department of Anthropology's graduate program focuses on development of scholars who will contribute original and rigorous intellectual evaluation to the field of study.


Most of our students are admitted to the graduate program in Anthropology for doctoral study only; they complete M.A. requirements in the normal course of the Ph.D. program. However, within the Evolutionary Anthropology program, we are admitting students who wish to obtain only an M.A. degree (become part of our “Terminal MA" program). Please consult with the faculty you are interested in working with before selecting the M.A. rather than the Ph.D. degree program.

The focus of the graduate program is the development of scholars who will contribute original and rigorous intellectual evaluation to the field of study through the Ph.D. program. The program provides a bridge between established research and new methodologies and approaches.

Enrollment is limited to ensure perpetuation of a flexible, research-oriented program and close faculty-student contact. Applicants preferably should have a good general background in at least one area of anthropology. The academic requirements for the doctorate include successful completion of several graduate seminars and/or graduate statistics courses, a written preliminary examination, a pre-dissertation research project, an oral qualifying examination, and an acceptable doctoral dissertation.

We invite you to explore our site, and learn how UC Davis can help you attain your intellectual goals.

Advice and counsel

The Evolutionary and Sociocultural Wings have separate graduate advisors. The dean of Graduate Studies appoints each graduate advisor as the official liaison between students, the department and Graduate Studies. Ultimate responsibility for graduate education rests with the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, but students should regard the departmental graduate advisor as the primary authority on all matters pertaining to their degree requirements. The graduate faculty advisor must sign applications for examinations, candidacy for degrees, and other official transactions, and the graduate staff advisor is responsible for maintaining accurate records of each student’s progress in the graduate program.

Grad diversity

The graduate community at UC Davis values a diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences among its students with the knowledge that a diverse student body strengthens the research, scholarship and teaching of all members of our community. As a part of our commitment to diversity, numerous resources, events and professional staff are positioned to meet the needs of our diverse graduate students as they achieve their professional, educational and career goals. Please feel free to contact , UC Davis’ Graduate Diversity Officer for Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, with any questions or concerns regarding diversity in Graduate Studies. Visit the Office of Graduate Studies' Diversity website to read the latest initiatives.