Frequently Asked Questions

Below are questions we frequently hear from students who are considering graduate programs in Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke. We recognize this resource won't answer all your questions, but it's a start. Please feel free to contact the Director of Graduate Studies to delve more deeply into our programs.


What are the application requirements for Evolutionary Anthropology graduate programs at Duke?

You will need the following documentation to apply for the Evolutionary Anthropology program at Duke:

The entire application process is conducted online through the Duke Graduate School Admissions page. The Duke Graduate School processes all applications for Ph.D. Programs.

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What are the minimum application requirements for Evolutionary Anthropology programs at Duke?

We base admissions on several factors, including letters of recommendation, your specific research interests, undergraduate coursework/preparation, and fit with faculty research directions. Your GPA scores are important, but they're not the only pieces that factor into our evaluation. Admission to the Graduate School at Duke University is very competitive, and the Evolutionary Anthropology program is small and selective.

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Do I need to take the GRE?

GREs are not required for the Duke Evolutionary Anthropology Ph.D. program. Not taking the GRE or choosing not to present your scores will neither advance your case nor hurt your application.

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Do I have to have a master's degree before I apply to the Ph.D. program?

A minimum of a bachelor's degree (or equivalent degree) is required to be admitted to the Ph.D. program. While some students enter the Ph.D. program after obtaining an MS or MA degree, this is not required. Students entering with a master’s degree may be able to reduce their course load at Duke by two courses, with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

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What is the cost of attending graduate school at Duke?

The cost of attendance and explanation of fees for the Ph.D. program can be found on the Duke Graduate School website. Students selected for the program are fully supported.

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I have applied to the Ph.D. program. What do I need to do to be considered for financial support?

All applicants to our Ph.D. program are automatically considered for financial support when their applications are reviewed. No additional action is required on the part of the applicant. Students selected for the program are fully supported. Applicants are encouraged, however, to pursue external funding opportunities such as National Science Foundation fellowships.

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How do I choose an advisor?

When students matriculate to the graduate program, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) will assign a member of the graduate faculty as a temporary advisor, and two other faculty to form a temporary supervisory committee to advise the student on course work during the first year. Read more about our process for establishing the Ph.D. committee.

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How do I match my interests and aptitudes with the available research and curriculum opportunities of the Ph.D. program?

We are a small department with a Natural Science perspective. Please review the list of faculty to be sure that your own particular interest overlaps that of our faculty.

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Can I take courses in other departments across Duke?

Yes. We strongly encourage students to take advantage of Duke's tremendous breadth by taking courses in departments outside of Evolutionary Anthropology. Students also gain some breadth outside their area of specialty through the minor requirement for the Ph.D. program.

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How long will it take to complete a Ph.D. program here at Duke?

The student is expected to complete the Ph.D. degree in five years, although some students (especially those whose dissertation research included lengthy field work) take a bit longer.  Data on the time to Ph.D. degree are available on the Duke Graduate School website. We strongly encourage students to stay on the recommended schedule. Financial support is not guaranteed beyond the fifth year of study.

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Am I required to be a teaching assistant (TA) as part of this program? What are normal TA responsibilities?

Teaching is considered an integral part of the graduate student experience. It prepares future Ph.D. holders for a possible academic career by providing experience in lecturing, teaching laboratory experiments, and tutoring individual students. It also helps develop skills in communicating ideas and fair grading. All graduate students are required to gain teaching experience as part of their professional training. It is expected that students will serve as teaching assistants for at least 2 semesters. This requirement may be fulfilled at any time during the student's program, but is usually met during the second through fourth years. Read more.

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I see that RCR training is required for the degree. What is that?

RCR stands for "Responsible Conduct of Research." At Duke, RCR training embodies the full range of ethical responsibilities of those engaged in research and teaching. It encompasses not only the obligation to conduct research and teach with integrity, but also to ensure that the rights and interests of original sources, human subjects, and/or animal subjects are protected. All Ph.D. students in the Natural Sciences are required to attend 12 contact hours of RCR training. Read More.

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What career development services are available for graduate students?

In addition to the support provided through faculty advising within the department, the Duke Career Development Center offers assistance and extensive resources for graduate students. These services include counseling during graduate studies, and also professional and career counseling and support for exploration of employment opportunities upon completion of graduate study. The Duke Career Center offers confidential advising services, electronic magazine and scholarly society links, fellowship and grant links, graduate school and thesis/dissertation guides, networking information, research directories, writing and research online resources, and career and employment resources, among others.

As program completion nears, graduate students may choose to use the Duke Career Center resources to explore a broad range of employment sectors, including higher education, government, or the corporate world. There is information and training on career planning, interviewing and job search skills, resume and cover letter writing, academic and industry job searches, job listings and employment opportunities, employer research and profiles, on-campus recruiting and graduate student career symposia, and one-on-one resourcing with a Ph.D. career counselor and through periodicals and journals widely available at the Center. The Career Library and Job Room provide a wealth of printed and database materials on career fields and specific employers. In addition, by signing up for the Career Center's mailing lists, news of career-related workshops, employment sector trends, job announcements and strategies for job hunting, or tips for exploring employment options can be delivered to your personal e-mail box.

The goal of the Duke Career Development Center is to assist graduate students in exploring career options and in locating employment opportunities that match their special interests and expertise. Career-related information and advice are readily available, and Career Counselors will work with degree candidates to develop strategies for handling transition from graduate study into college/university teaching, administration, or other professional careers. Advising on career-related concerns is confidential, and feedback on the format and content of the cv, resume, cover letter, abstract, or grant proposal is also provided.

Please visit the website of the Duke Career Development Center to explore the many services they offer.

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