Graduate Program Application

Updated March 22, 2016

Application Procedures

Apply Online
If you wish to apply to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, you must complete the online application on the University of Washington Graduate School website. Please note that applicants may only apply to one of the three PhD track programs. All applicant materials (including letters of recommendation and unofficial transcripts) will be collected online.

Some reminders to the prospective applicant:

Please be sure that you follow all instructions in completing the online application and review the checklist. On-line applications must be submitted by December 15th.

Archaeology and Biocultural Anthropology admissions will be run every year, however, Sociocultural Anthropology has moved to an every other year model admitting studnets in the odd numbered year. Next admission cycle for the Sociocultural Anthropology PhD program will be for Autumn 2017 (apply by December 15, 2016 for consideration).

Before you apply to our programs, please read through the answers to some frequently asked questions, and be sure you understand what we offer.

If you have questions that are not answered in the online program information, application website, or frequently asked questions, please contact the Graduate Program Advisor at

Quick Review

Deadline for all application materials to the Department of Anthropology for domestic and international students

December 15

Required Tests

GRE, TOEFL (for international applicants - or IELTS, TOEFL IBT, TOEFL C, MLT or PTE)

Required Degree

Bachelor's Degree or equivalent

Required Funds for Entering International Students

Approximately $49,948 (academic year 2016-2017)

*International students must prove their ability to cover these costs before the application for a visa can be issued

Tuition, books, living expenses (non-resident, 3 quarters)

Approximately $49,948 (academic year 2016-2017)

Please note that 2017-2018 tuition fees will not be available until July 2017.

Tuition, books, living expenses (resident, 3 quarters)

Approximately $36,900 (academic year 2016-2017)

Please note that 2017-2018 tuition fees will not be available until July 2017.

Possible Department Funding for Entering Students

In addition, the department may nominate for fellowships entering students who have interest areas in demography studies or China

1 Recruitment Fellowship
(for three academic years)

The Olson Fellowship
(for one academic quarter)

2-3 small fellowships
(1-2 quarters)

Faculty RA appointments

Graduate Application Admission Statistics


Competition for admission is high. Applicant's written statement of purpose is very important as it allows the faculty to look for excellent writing ability, clarity of purpose, realistic assessments of both self and the anthropological profession, and an indication that this department has been chosen for a definite reason. Additionally, letters of recommendation are of interest to faculty, particularly if they are detailed and focus on the intellectual abilities and accomplishments of the applicant. GRE scores and GPA are considered as part of the application as well, however, these are not necessarily a good indication of a student’s capacity to succeed at the graduate level. Therefore, the whole application is considered in regards to admission.

How many applications were submitted for autumn 2015?


# of Applications

# of Admits

# of Acceptances













What were the average scores of the students who were admitted for autumn 2015?



GRE/ Verbal


















Practice GRE tests are available on the following website:

UW Women's Center offers GRE Prep Classes:

What is the graduate student enrollment at the end of spring 2015?
There are 76 graduate students in the Department. The subdiscipline enrollment is as follows:


# of Graduate Students







Reasons why applicants may be denied admission:

  • low GPA
  • low GRE scores
  • low TOEFL scores
  • insufficiently competitive with other applicants
  • department has inadequate faculty and curriculum for applicant’s interest area
  • applicant’s interest area not applicable to our program
  • statement of purpose is unclear as to why the applicant wants to study anthropology
  • applicant does not indicate a definite reason why our department has been chosen for study
  • applicant’s assessment of the anthropological profession is unrealistic
  • writing skills undeveloped
  • interest area is unfocused

In order for all applicants to become acquainted with programs that might suit their academic needs, we ask applicants to consult the American Anthropological Association Guide (A Guide to Departments: A Directory of Members for the application criteria of anthropological institutions here in the United States.

Where to Find Information

Office of Student Financial Aid
Student Employment, Work/Study, Emergency Loans
105 Schmitz Hall Box 355880
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-5880 Phone: (206) 543-6101

Fellowships and Assistantships/External Funding Opportunities
G-1 Communications Building Box 353770
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3770 Phone: (206) 543-5900


The Graduate School/Graduate Enrolllment Management Services (GEMS)
G-1 Communications Building Box 353770
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3770 Phone: (206) 543-5900

On-Campus housing options for graduate students are plentiful and varied. Singles and families are encouraged to contact Housing & Food Services for information.

Housing and Food Service
Office301 Schmitz Hall Box 355842
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-5842

Graduate Opportunities & Minority Achievement Program
G-1 Communications Building Box 353770
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3770 Phone: (206) 543-5900

Washington State Residency Office
264 Schmitz Hall
1410 NE Campus Parkway
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195 Phone: (206) 543-5932

Other Web Info

Graduate Funding Information for Applicants

Financial Support

We encourage applicants to seek financial support (non-departmental fellowships, scholarships, etc.) from sources outside the department (e.g., NSF Traineeships, etc.) since there is a limited amount of fellowships/scholarships available within the department. To be assured of consideration for any of the possible fellowships/scholarships that may be awarded by either the Department of Anthropology or the University of Washington, all application materials must be received by the applicable deadline. 

Balancing funding can be one of the trickiest things in graduate school. Students are encouraged to obtain funding prior to admittance to the program. Once here, several courses are available in each subdiscipline on grant- and application-writing in order to help students obtain funding while in school. Opportunities for scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships may be forwarded to anthropology by other departments on campus. The main avenues of disseminating Academic Student Employee job information is through e-mail and on the Human Resources employment page.

Available Funds within the Department of Anthropology:

Recruitment Package: The department recruits one student each year using an assortment of research assistantships and teaching assistantships to fund students for a duration of three to four years. Requests made to the Graduate School to obtain Graduate School Top Scholar Research Assistantships and additional funding for teaching assistantship appointments provide the main basis for this funding. The Department of Anthropology subdisciplines use this recruitment package on a rotating basis to recruit the top applicants to their graduate program.

Ronald Leroy Olson Fellowship: The annual Olson Fellowship originates through the generosity of the late Ronald Leroy Olson, who reserved a portion of his estate to provide financial support for “worthy University of Washington graduate students in the field of anthropology.” Preference is given to applicants who are members of Native American or Native Alaskan Tribes recognized by the US or Canadian governments. Proof of membership is required. Secondary preference given to any student who intends to specialize in linguistic, ethnological, archaeological, or biological studies of Native American peoples, particularly those of the Pacific Northwest. Deadline is December 15th

Brett E. Baldwin Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship was established by Mr. And Mrs. Brooks Baldwin in memory of their son who died shortly after graduating with a BA in Anthropology in 1979. The Baldwin Scholarship is open to both current and newly admitted undergraduate and graduate students. The award amount is approximately $1000 but is subject to change. Applicants for this scholarship must request a nomination letter from a faculty member on their behalf. Deadline is December 15th

Evan David James Endowed Fellowship: This fellowship was established by the James family to enable admitted and continuing graduate students in the Department of Anthropology to complete a graduate degree. Preference is given to students who are studying any phase of Pacific Northwest Anthropology, and selection is based on evidence of dedication to studies, ambition to engage in anthropology, and academic merit. The award amount is approximately $5000 but is subject to change. Applicants for this fellowship must request a nomination letter from a faculty member on their behalf. Deadline is December 15th

Regional Studies Fellowship Nominations: China Studies (in the Jackson School) accepts anthropology faculty nominations for Culp-Jackson Fellowships for China Studies. Nominations will be forwarded by faculty to this programs, some fellowships may be available to non-US citizens. Students who apply for a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship are automatcially considered for REECAS (Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asian Studies) Fellowships, and South Asian Studies Fellowship.

Graduate Opportunities for Minority Achievement Program Research Assistantship: The Anthropology Department has been relatively successful in obtaining a Graduate Opportunities for Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP) Research Assistantship for one year for an admitted US citizen. These funds are available to US minority students, as well as students who will contribute to the intellectual and cultural enrichment of our program (i.e. first generation college students, students who have overcome economic barriers or adverse educational disadvantages). Students are considered for this fellowship by faculty nomination, and submission of a GOMAP diversity statement. The department will secure a second year of funding for GOP RAs in the form of either TA or RA appointments.

Teaching and Research Assistantships: There are approximately 45 departmental quarterly teaching assistantships (TA) available per year. However, most first-year students are ineligible to hold TA appointments, and the faculty do not usually recommend that they do so unless they have considerable prior teaching experience. Teaching appointments become available and are awarded after the first or second year in the program. Faculty have various research assistantships (RA) available in each subdiscipline, which is subject to vary depending on grant money for research projects. Applicants are encouraged to apply for FAFSA student loans and work-study in the event that they wish to be eligible for work study research assistantships. Work study research assistantships are sometimes available for eligible applicants.

Please see the Fellowship and Funding page for more information on available fellowships, scholarships, and other funding.

Funding Outside the Department:

Funding within the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington is obtainable, but limited in some cases. We would like to stress strongly the importance of applying for outside funding to support your graduate studies. Applicants should apply for outside funding prior to or while they are applying to various institutions. Most funding deadlines are in early autumn.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid regarding work-study, and other departments at the university about hourly employment, and RA/TA appointments. Departments that do not have graduate programs of their own sometimes have funds available to anthropology graduate students.

Please visit the Fellowships and Funding link for more on outside funding sources. If you have prior language training which you will pursue as part of your graduate studies you will wish to refer to the FLAS program information.

Here are some of the reasons why outside funding is important to consider:

  • It allows you to choose which graduate program to attend. If more than one institution has accepted you, the National Science Foundation, Javits and other fellowships are “portable” and may be taken wherever you wish to go.
  • It pays your tuition and other fees, and provides you with a stipend on which to live. This is usually adequate (though not kingly) and will allow you to attend graduate school without incurring (further) debt.
  • It is regarded as an accomplishment and recognition of excellence. It also adds to the prestige of the program you attend. In short, it makes a really good impression all around!
  • It allows you to concentrate on pursuing your studies and completing your degree by freeing you from the obligation to work.
  • It reduces the anxiety of your first years in graduate school.
  • By establishing a track record of success, it helps you get more funding in the future, which will be important for as long as you remain in academia.
  • It lets you help put tax dollars and charitable contributions to good use - your education and your scholarly work!