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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Graduate Admission

You are here: Anthropology Home » Graduate Program » Graduate Admission » FAQ

Where am I?

You are on the FAQ of the Prospective Graduate Student page of the web site for the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. IUB is the main campus for Indiana University.

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for both an international applicant and domestic applications is December 1st.

Should I apply for the Masters or the PhD program?

We rarely admit MA-only students to the graduate program. Students who are just finishing a BA are urged to apply directly to our PhD program, even though they will earn an MA degree on their way to their PhD. In other words, if your ultimate goal is to earn a PhD, you should apply to the PhD program. Note that admissions standards are the same for MA and PhD students, which means MA applicants must compete on even footing with PhD students. MA students also cannot receive financial aid from the department. Be sure to indicate whether your ultimate goal is an MA or a PhD on the application form, and you should also mention this in your statement of purpose.

I'm taking the GRE soon. What are IU Anthropology's ETS codes for the GRE?

School code: 1324
Dept. Code: 1701

How do I apply for departmental fellowships and assistantships?

Your application for admission is also your application for nearly all university and departmental assistantships and fellowships. That means that by submitting your application materials you're in the queue for this funding. In recent years, we have been able to offer aid (in the form of fellowships and/or teaching assistantships) to all admitted students for two to three years.  Some underrepresented students have received financial packages that fund them for four or five years.  There are two exceptions to this rule, which are detailed in the next question.

“Nearly all?”  What other funding can I apply for?

The first exception is the Educational Opportunity Fellowship.  For instructions, see The EOF is meant to aid promising first-generation college graduates who may not fare well in conventional competition for graduate fellowships to attend graduate school. The awards are relatively small, but may be important as part of a financial aid package. This is a one-year award, but is renewable one time. Applications are due mid-January.

The second exception is the Foreign Language Area Studies fellowship. These fellowships provide graduate students with an academic year stipend similar to and often greater than an anthropology AIship, plus maximum tuition award of 12 credit hours per semester. They also provided automatic enrollment in the graduate student health insurance plan with the cost of the student premium paid by the fellowship. FLAS fellowships are awarded to individuals who will be studying a language spoken in that region of the world that is associated with a particular areas studies Center. Students apply for a FLAS directly through one of the area Centers. Go to for further information. You’ll find more information on the FLAS later in this FAQ.

Students who have MAs in fields other than anthropology or whose undergraduate major was outside anthropology may have skills that qualify them for teaching positions in departments other than anthropology; these students should contact the appropriate department.

Your application for admission serves as your application for several other awards, including the Graduate Scholars Fellowship, which supports outstanding students who are members of underrepresented groups, the Adam W. Herbert Graduate Fellowship, which supports graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Ronald E. McNair Graduate Fellowship, which is for outstanding McNair Scholars entering Ph.D. or M.F.A. programs at Indiana University, Bloomington.  If you are a McNair Scholar you must mention this on your application!

Although most financial assistance other than that applied for with your application to graduate school is directed at students beyond their first year in grad school, you will want to look closely at the Funding Opportunities page.

To what other kinds of funding opportunities should I apply?

We suggest that you apply for financial aid (go to the OSFA web site) as this will probably qualify you for graduate work study assistantships available around campus. Some of these GWS positions carry a tuition fee remission. If you fill out a FASFA form with the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) you may be declared eligible for hire for a Graduate Work Study assistantship.

Please inform the faculty with which you intend to study that you are in need of financial assistance. Most of our faculty are associated with other campus offices, departments, museums, research institutes and centers which may have funding to offer you.

There are two important outside fellowships that first-year and continuing students can apply for. Both are extremely competitive, but both are very generous. NSF graduate fellowships ( supports outstanding graduate students and strongly encourages under-represented populations, including women, under-represented racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities. NSFs provide three years of support, including a very generous annual stipend. The Jacob Javitz fellowship ( is directed at students of superior academic ability—selected on the basis of demonstrated achievement, financial need, and exceptional promise. The Javits provides full support for four years.

What qualifications does the department look for when considering admitting me?

The four most important parts of the application are: your undergraduate record (including your GPA and transcript), your GRE scores, your 'personal statement,' and your letters of recommendation. Before making final decisions, faculty will additionally review your CV and your writing sample.

What should I include in the 'personal statement'?

It’s really a 'research statement.' You will want to discuss the subject of your dissertation work, to the extent you can, and you should make it clear why the curriculum at IU fits well with your research plans, including mentioning faculty you may want to work with.

Do you require your graduate applicants to have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology?

No. We are aware that many schools do not offer a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. We admit graduate degree program students from many other fields and majors. To be admitted into a graduate degree program at IU, students are required to be working towards finishing the Bachelor’s degree at the time of application or to have already received the degree.

Do you have a minimum GPA requirement?

The Graduate School requires a accumulative undergraduate Grade Point Average of at least 3.0. Exceptions may be requested but are rarely granted.

Are students close to the minimum GPA admitted often?

No.  While our minimum is 3.0, we only admit a small pool of students each year, and the average is often considerably above 3.0. 

Are GRE scores required?

The Department of Anthropology requires a GRE from our domestic applicants whose native language is English. We do not require the GRE if you are a international applicant and your native language is not English.

What is the minimum required GRE score? 

The required minimum GRE scores are 152 (verbal) and 153 (quantitative), and a 4.0 in analytical writing, or a 600 in both verbal and quantitative in the old format. Most of our accepted students however have scores well above this minimum.

Are students close to the minimum GRE admitted often?

No. While our minimum is 600 in either verbal or quantitative using the old format, or a 152 (verbal) and 153 (quantitative) in the new format, since we can only admit a small pool of students, admission is competitive. Every year we have more students with GREs above these minimums than we can admit.

What if my GRE scores are more than five years old?

ETS will not send out GRE scores that are more than five years old.  By request of the applicant, the department’s Graduate Admissions Committee may accept old GRE scores.

Are TOEFL scores required?

For applicants whose Native Language is not English, proof of English proficiency is required by the Graduate School. If the applicant received an undergraduate degree in the US, we may waive the requirement. TOEFL or IELTS or Letter from a consular official is required. If it is not possible to take the TOEFL, applicants should obtain a statement by a responsible official, ordinarily a United States consular official, attesting that they read, write, speak, and understand the English language well enough to pursue, at an American university, a program leading to an advanced degree in their chosen field. Such a statement should be submitted with the application for admission. A consular official could be a consul or an ambassador at the U.S. consulate or U.S. embassy in the student’s home country.

What are the minimum TOEFL scores?

Minimums are:

  • 550 for the paper version of the TOEFL
  • 213 for the CVT (Computer version of the TOEFL)
  • 79 for the new internet TOEFL, which is the preferred test as it includes a speaking section
  • 6.5 for the IELTS

Exceptions to minimum scores may be requested by the department, but in practice this is rarely done.

Is the nature of the MA degree aimed towards a balanced introduction to the four fields of anthropology, or aimed towards one specific area of the student's choice?

Like PhD students, MA students are expected to focus on one of the anthropological subfields, Social Cultural, Biological, Linguistic Anthropology, or Archaeology, and they are required to take at least one course in three of the four subfields.

What do most of your graduate students study?

A majority of our graduate students are PhD degree program students pursuing the Social Cultural subdiscipline as their inside major.

Should I schedule a campus visit? 

It is certainly not required. You may wish to meet with faculty and graduate students before you apply to help you decide whether IU is right for you. Or you may want to meet faculty and students when deciding whether to accept an offer for admission. Students say they find a visit helpful.

How do I schedule a visit?

You should contact the faculty member with whom you expect to work with if you’re accepted, and s/he will help you plan a visit.

Would it be possible for a prospective graduate student to contact a current or past student?

The President of the Anthropology Graduate Student Association (AGSA) for this academic year (2017-18) is Molly Mesner. Her email is Ms. Mesner will be able to answer many questions, and she can also direct you to another graduate student with similar interests to your own.

How do I apply for a FLAS fellowship?

These are available through area studies centers on campus. Go to to find more information.

For a FLAS, would I have to teach a foreign language if I earned this fellowship?

No, for a Foreign Language Area Studies fellowship you are required to take language classes, not to teach them.

For a FLAS, where do I have my reference letters sent?

There are multiple centers on campus that give out these awards.  Please take a look at:  Scroll all the way down to find a list of these centers' contact information.  Letters of recommendation should be sent directly to these FLAS centers.

I keep seeing references to ‘fellowships’ and ‘assistantships.’  What exactly is a fellowship?

Generally speaking, financial awards labeled ‘fellowships’ enable students to work on their degree requirements without other duties. A fellowship is more or less the graduate equivalent of an undergraduate scholarship. 

What is an Assistantship?

Assistantships are financial support that does have duties beyond working toward the degree; they are a kind of employment that requires a certain number of part time hours per week.

Why can I not find any information on Teaching Assistantships at IU?

At IU these are called Associate Instructorships.

What is a Student Academic Appointment?

At IU, there are four kinds of SAAs. 1)  Research Assistantships give you the opportunity to work for a faculty member and help them with their research project. 2)  Graduate Assistantships are assigned duties such as laboratory assistant, newsletter editor, or database entry for a museum collection. 3) Associate Instructorships offer the opportunity to gain teaching experience either as a grader for a Professor or as an assistant who also teaches discussion sections for a course. More advanced graduate students who are hired as Associate Instructors may have the opportunity to design a course and to be a course instructor. 4) Faculty Assistant performs non-teaching services

What is a ‘fee remission’ or a ‘fee scholarship’?

A fee remission or fee scholarship is financial aid that covers most of the cost of your tuition. Funds are credited directly to your financial account at IU; this account is called your ‘bursar account.’ Only certain Fellowships include a fee scholarship and only some of the Student Academic Appointments will come with a fee remission.

How much does graduate tuition cost?

For tuition information please go to Office of the Bursar website, as tuition and campus related fees are subject to change.

How long will it take to get a PhD?

On average, our students who complete the Ph.D. in Anthropology finish in 7.2 years. A student who meets all of our target deadlines can complete the degree in five years. Students who start the program with a definite idea of their dissertation topic and with a prior MA degree (and transfer credits) will finish more quickly. Entering with competence in a foreign language can also decrease time to degree.

What is the job placement rate for Anthropology PhDs?

Our placement rate for PhD students is 93.25%. Such jobs include higher education faculty positions (both non-tenure track and tenure track), post-doctoral research appointments, and professional-adminstrative positions of various kinds. Of faculty positions, our graduates often take positions in non-anthropology departments, including public health, marketing, pathology, medical sciences, osteopathic medicine, area studies programs, linguistics, religious studies, and gender studies. A substantial number of our graduates work in government and industry, mostly in research, management, and marketing.

Where is the department located?

The Department of Anthropology is located in the Student Building which is on the western edge of campus.