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How to Apply

All materials, including your electronic application and official GRE and TOEFL (if applicable) scores must be received by the December 1, 2018 deadline or your application will not be reviewed for admission.

Instructions for all new Penn State graduate applicants:

  • Read the Graduate School requirements.
  • Proceed to the application.
  • You will be asked to provide 3 references on your application. Each reference will be emailed a link to the reference submission portal on the Graduate School's application site. Be sure you have entered correct email addresses. No special form is necessary.
  • Upload the following to the Graduate School's application portal with your electronic application:


Curriculum Vitae

Your CV should include all of the following that are applicable:

  1. Education
  2. Professional Appointments/Employment
  3. Awards and Honors
  4. Grants and Fellowships
  5. Publications (most recent first)
  6. Conference Presentations (posters and talks, most recent first)
  7. Teaching Experience
  8. Research Experience
  9. Service (to the profession, your university, or department)
  10. Professional Membership
  11. References

Statement of Purpose

Use your statement of purpose to tell us about your research interests and how your interests match with our department and specific faculty. Some pointers:

  1. Explain in detail what you would like to study in graduate school. Ideally, pose a question, define a problem, or indicate a theme that you would like to address. Show your depth of understanding in your chosen research areas and your capacity for creative, original thought. Exploring one or two specific research questions deeply is better than superficially mentioning many topics.
  2. Talk about your relevant past experience—coursework, fieldwork, laboratory research, etc.—but don’t simply reiterate information that is already provided in other parts of your application. Relate your past experience to the research that you would like to conduct in graduate school, and to your future goals.
  3. Demonstrate that you are committed to earning a doctorate in anthropology. Graduate school is demanding and requires dedication and perseverance. Use specific examples to demonstrate your commitment, don’t simply state that you are committed.
  4. Explain why our program is right for you, but do not simply parrot back information on our website. Explain how specific qualities of the faculty and lab(s) in our department will help you achieve your specific research goals.
  5. Length is variable, but most of our applicants submit statements of purpose that are around 600-1000 words.
  6. You are writing to professors. Use clear, professional language.


Applicants are required to electronically upload copies of transcripts (or equivalent documents for institutions outside of the U.S., e.g., degree/study certificates or diplomas) from all post-secondary institutions attended, in the language of instruction (and copies of an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction). Applicants recommended for admission who accept an offer through the online graduate admission system will be notified by the Graduate School that official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended (and if the language of instruction is not English, an official English translation must also be sent). The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadlines, or if official/original documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission. For applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies, the deadline specified for receipt of official/original documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official/original documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized.

International Students

International Students must submit the following additional items with their application:

  • Results from a recent Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.
  • International applicants who have received a baccalaureate or a master's degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following countries are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.