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Best Schools with Cultural Anthropology Graduate Programs

Review a selection of the best schools for earning a graduate degree in cultural anthropology. Learn about the degree types and curriculum formats available at these schools. View article »

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  • 0:03 School Overviews
  • 0:45 Duke University
  • 1:37 University of…
  • 2:17 CIIS
  • 3:00 Other Top Schools

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School Overviews

Cultural anthropology programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Different programs vary in their structure and areas of emphasis. Duke University, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and the California Institute of Integral Studies are three top schools with doctoral programs in cultural anthropology. Wisconsin's Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology follows a traditional Ph.D. curriculum and requires a dissertation, while Duke's program uses a portfolio format. Both are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The program at California Institute of Integral Studies is not ranked, but is unique because it focuses on activist anthropology.

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

The cultural anthropology department at Duke University offers joint graduate degrees with the history department and the law school. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Duke University #8 on its list of national universities.

The school's Department of Cultural Anthropology offers a doctoral program and a dual Master of Arts and Juris Doctor program for law students who want a master's degree in cultural anthropology. The doctorate program is based on a portfolio system. Portfolios contain research and various essays from three areas of concentration, which can include geographic locations, various cultural topics, and interdisciplinary subjects. Prospective students do not need an undergraduate degree in anthropology for admission into the doctorate program, but are expected to have some undergraduate coursework in anthropology or related subjects.

University of Wisconsin - Madison

In 2017, the University of Wisconsin - Madison was ranked #10 on the U.S. News and World Report's list of top public schools. Graduate cultural anthropology students at the University of Wisconsin - Madison earn a master's degree while completing the Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology. Besides specializing in a cultural field, students study anthropological theories, history, and research methods. Students may elect to take a joint major with another department relevant to their field of specialty. Admission into the cultural anthropology program depends on GRE scores, undergraduate GPA, and a personal statement of intent.

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CIIS in San Francisco, California

At the California Institute of Integral Studies (also known as CIIS), students can earn a Master of Arts or a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Social Change, both of which take two years to complete and combine academic research with political activism. The Ph.D. program emphasizes studies in global social movements, colonialism, globalization, development, political ecology, and theories of Anarchism, Marxism, and feminism, among other topics. The program culminates in a dissertation based on ethnographic research. The Institute teamed up with the World Social Forum, making its anthropology and social change graduate program one of the few in the country to focus on activist anthropology.

Other Top Schools

Top-notch cultural anthropology programs can also be found at other schools with excellent opportunities:

School Name Location Distinction
Stanford University Stanford, CA U.S. News & World Report ranked #5 among national universities in 2017
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY The Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences has a 93% success rate at placing graduates
University of Florida Gainesville, FL Cultural anthropology students at the university have opportunities to conduct research in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and Latin America.
Washington State University Pullman, WA Students can join the Anthropology Club or gain hands-on volunteer experience at the Museum of Anthropology.

Students who are interested in cultural anthropology can find unique programs at top schools across the country. Some programs focus on specific aspects of anthropology, while others give students the opportunity to choose a concentration within a broader program.

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