Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants


Q: Do you have any written materials you can send me?
A: All of our information is available online.

Q: When can I apply?
A: We accept applications from October 1 – December 15th.

Q: Where do I send my transcripts?
A: All application material must be submitted online (see "How to Apply" under the main Graduate tab). 

Q: What is the address of the Anthropology Department?

A: University of Pennsylvania
Department of Anthropology
3260 South Street – Room 325
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Q: What is your acceptable minimum or average GRE/TOEFL scores or GPA?
A: We have no set minimums and therefore do not report average scores or GPAs. Our faculty prefer to look at each candidate as a whole. Candidate consideration includes review of grades and scores as well as letters of recommendation, your personal statement, any contact the department has had with the candidate, experience in the field, life, etc. In other words, there is no magic formula for acceptance to our program.

Q: How many applications do you receive versus the number of students admitted?
A: We receive anywhere from 150 to over 200 applications for 8-9 PhD positions. Master's students are accepted on the basis of a faculty member's interest in working with them.

Q: Do you require a writing sample?
A: No, but many candidates do include a sample with their application. Writing samples should be NO longer than 25 pages and must be submitted online.

Q: Do I need an undergraduate degree in Anthropology to apply to your graduate program?
A:    No, but such an undergraduate degree is a positive element.

Q: Can I apply to more than one graduate department at Penn?
A: No (See "Joint PhD Programs" under the main Graduate tab).

Q: Is there a form or template for letters of recommendation?
A: No. The online application allows your recommenders to answer a few brief questions and then submit their letter online. There is no set format for the letter and most professionals are used to such requests.

Q: When are decisions announced?
A: You should have an e-mail with your decision announcement by early March.

Q: How is the MA program structured?
A: The MA program requires students take the four core courses based on the four major Anthropology subfields: archaeology, cultural, physical and linguistics. After completing the four core courses, you must take the Comprehensive Exams. Your degree is complete after passing the COMP Exams, successfully completing 10 CUs and depositing either a research paper or master’s thesis.

Q: We do not have the same grade point average system (GPA), what do I fill in for GPA on the application?
A: Fill in whatever you use for GPA or leave this section blank. We will have your official transcript(s) to refer to for your grades.

Q: Do all accepted PhD applicants receiving the Benjamin Franklin Fellowships?
A: Yes, all accepted full time PhD applicants are offered the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship which includes the cost of tuition, fees and health insurance as well as providing an annual stipend. The only exceptions are those who can prove that they do not need any funding. We do not fund dual or joint degree candidates, PhD students housed in another graduate group at Penn; such funding must come from the student’s home graduate group.

Q: Is there any funding for the master’s program?
A: No. Please see, Student Financial Services