Graduate Programs

To our Admitted Graduate Students:

Please know that our priority during this challenging time is the well-being of our students and ensuring their ability to fulfill their academic program requirements. This applies to our current students as well as you, our incoming graduate students. Due to the growing impact of COVID-19, all student visits will be moved to a virtual format, but we certainly still welcome any questions. 

We are also aware of the increasing concern around delayed visa appointments for our international students and delayed air travel for both our domestic and international students. Please be assured that we are currently working on alternative enrollment options for admitted students who are unable to make it to campus by the start of classes in September. You will be contacted via email with updates as they become available. Please be in touch if you have any questions or concerns.  


The Anthropology Department offers a rigorous and comprehensive program for graduate students, who examine and experience anthropology through fieldwork, laboratory work, and close study. Our faculty members maintain rigorous field research programs in areas as diverse as Aghanistan, Indonesia, China, South Africa, Mexico, Alaska, and Boston. Other areas of faculty expertise—the role of religion in politics and society, pluralism in society, urbanism, human/environment interactions, diet and foodways, and human evolutionary biology, among others—are at the forefront of current trends in anthropology.

Ethnographically, our Social Anthropologists have three overlapping strengths: Africa (Davidson , Ngom,  and Shipton), Asia (Barfield, KoromShohetSmith-Hefner, Weller, and White) and the Islamic world (Barfield, Haeri, Hefner, Parla, and Smith-Hefner), along with a smaller focus on Europe (Arkin and Parla). These specialties mesh with strengths of the entire University. We spread more broadly for theoretical topics, but we have a number of important synergies for which we are known. One is the study of religion in the contemporary world (Haeri, Hefner, Korom, Ngom, Smith-Hefner, and Weller). There is, in addition, something of a BU Anthropology school on problems of pluralism and civil society (with recent books by Hefner, Norton, and Weller, along with related work by Parla). Another concentration of energies concerns issues of youth and popular culture (Arkin, Ngom, Shohet, Smith-Hefner, and White).

Our Biological Anthropology program affords students the opportunity to work on cutting-edge field and laboratory projects on both human and non-human primates. Faculty research interests encompass morphology (Cartmill and Garrett), behavior (Knott, Hodges-Simeon, and Schmitt), primate and human evolution (Cartmill, and Garrett), endocrinology (Knott, and Hodges-Simeon), diet and nutrition (Knott, and Schmitt), gender and sexuality (Knott, Schmitt, and Hodges-Simeon), genetics and genomics (Schmitt, and Garrett) and primate conservation (Knott). Current projects include laboratory studies of the evolution of primate locomotion (Cartmill), field and lab work on the behavioral ecology and physiology of orangutans (Knott), human vocal and endocrinological maturation (Hodges-Simeon), obesity and metabolism (Schmitt), and genetic evolution of the sense of smell in humans and primates (Garrett).

As of Fall 2018, a new track in Anthropological Archaeology was introduced. Major foci in anthropological archaeology include human-environment interactions (Marston, Runnels, and West), urbanism (Beaudry, Carballo and, Marston), households (Beaudry, Carballo, Marston, and West), and material culture viewed in deep historical perspective (Carballo, Marston, and Runnels); primary regions of study include Mesoamerica (Carballo), North America (Beaudry, and West), and the Mediterranean (Marston, and Runnels).


Robert Weller,
Director of Graduate Studies