Graduate Studies Program Admissions

Thank you for your interest in applying to our graduate studies programs in Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We offer doctoral training in Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology, with a single admissions process for all applicants. Please note that except for a terminal MA degree in archaeology, the Department of Anthropology offers a PhD degree. Graduate students may request the award of an M.A. during the process of their doctoral program, but not as a stand-alone degree. Details about our graduate curricula are available in our Illinois Anthropology Graduate Program Handbook.

Applications to the Graduate Studies Progam in Anthropology can be submitted through the Illinois Graduate College website. The annual application deadline is December 1st for the fall semester of the next academic year. Please also review the Illinois Graduate College website admissions page menu for topics like uploading documents for your application, frequently asked questions, the English Proficieny Requirements for Graduate Admission, and more. Additionally, the Graduate Employees' Organization at Illinois is an informative resource for prospective applicants. 

Illinois Anthropology Graduate Program Information Session

For admission for the 2024 - 2025 academic year, Illinois Anthropology hosted a webinar event on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 for prospective applicants via Zoom. This event was recorded and is embedded below.


Graduate Studies Program Application 

The University of Illinois Department of Anthropology welcomes application to their PhD program. We welcome applicants from all subdisciplines, students whose research interests cross subdisciplinary boundaries, and those who are well-matched to the strengths of our faculty. This application process provides you the opportunity to show us your best scholarly selves. Please read the information below for guidance on both required and optional materials.

Academic Statement (Required)

Please write an Academic Statement that answers the following questions (1,000 word maximum).  

  • How has your academic background, including any training, research, or other educational experiences, prepared you for graduate study? 
  • What are your intellectual interests, what scholarly questions are you interested in exploring in graduate study and why do you want to pursue a career in anthropology? 
  • Are there any specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own with whom you would like to work? 
  • How will our program help you achieve your academic and professional goals and why are you interested in pursuing your graduate degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign?

Short Personal Statements 1 & 2 (Required) 

The Personal Statement is a series of required brief essays (250 words maximum per response) on how your personal background and life experiences motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is not an academic statement of research, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. This information will assist the Admissions Committee identify and nominate candidates for Illinois Graduate College Fellowships

  1. Please describe any experiences and/or challenges that may have shaped your intellectual and personal development.  
  2. Provide insight into your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect in which scholars with diverse perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and collaborate productively and positively. 

Short Personal Statements 3 & 4 (Optional) 

All applicants will also be presented with the following short answer essay questions (250 words maximum per response); their responses are optional. 

  1.  (#3) Please address any concerns you may have in your application. If, for example, you do not believe that your academic credentials demonstrate your true capabilities, please explain why. Also, describe any gaps in your academic career and work experience or any extenuating circumstances in your profile of which the admissions committee should be made aware.
  2.  (#4) If there is something that you would like to highlight that you have yet to discuss in other areas of the application, please do so here. 

3 Letters of Recommendation (Required)

Letters of Recommendation should speak to the applicants ability to pursue graduate school. 

Graduate Studies Program Admissions Process & Timeline

Admission decisions are made collectively by faculty in each subdiscipline in consultation with the Graduate Admissions Committee. We receive many worthy applications, and every year must place truly excellent students on our wait list. If you are waitlisted, please understand that this means we consider you to be an outstanding candidate and would very much like to have you join us.

Our graduate admissions process takes place in two phases. A first selection, when each subdiscipline ranks their top choices and a final selection is made by mid-December by the Graduate Admissions Committee. We will notify you by December 21st if you have been admitted or waitlisted. While the official acceptance date is April 1st, we strongly encourage admitted students to formally accept or decline our invitation as soon as they reasonably can so that we can invite waitlisted students into the program.

Again, thank you for your interest in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We look forward to your application.


Brenda Farnell
Head, Department of Anthropology

Graduate Studies Program Contact Information

Dr. Jessica R. Greenberg, Director of Graduate Studies Program 
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign
109 Davenport Hall (MC‐148)
607 Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217)-300-0410

Ms. Joyce Dowell, Graduate Studies Program Coordinator
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign
109F Davenport Hall (MC‐148)
607 Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217)-300-9167