Graduate Studies

The Department of Anthropology's doctoral program offers advanced training in social/cultural anthropology and archaeology. Regardless of a student's field of specialization, the department believes that the best scholarship emerges from a collaborative rather than competitive model of training. The size and strength of the department allows us to provide a deeply supportive and individualized model of graduate education. Faculty work closely with graduate students on developing key professional skills and on designing and completing their research projects. In turn, students are expected to become active collaborators in the intellectual life of the department and in helping to co-mentor their peers. In keeping with the Rice legacy, the department supports rigorous, experimental, and innovative anthropological research of all kinds. We seek to train not only brilliant scholars but also ethical professional subjects.

Social/Cultural Anthropology

The program's major focus is social/cultural anthropology. Through ongoing departmental and interdepartmental seminars, the faculty is dedicated to marrying the best in both the social science and humanities traditions. In recent years, faculty members have been concerned with the development of ethnography as a method and with the analysis of social discourse toward a broadly conceived cultural criticism of institutions in many different societies that are experiencing historic and global conditions of modernity. This has made collaboration and exchanges with literary critics, philosophers, historians, linguists, sociologists, and political scientists an integral part of the graduate program in anthropology.

Additionally, the program offers exposure to styles of argument and reasoning across a range of contemporary theoretical issues. We emphasize the reading of primary sources of theory that have inspired the definition of central programs in anthropology. As essential preparation for doctoral research, explicit attention in instruction is paid to fieldwork and to skills in the conception and writing of ethnography.

Students interested in medical anthropology may take advantage of the extensive resources of the Texas Medical Center through ties established with the University of Texas School of Public Health and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. In addition to work at Rice, degree credit may be given for formal courses offered at the Schools of Public Health and Biomedical Sciences.


The archaeology faculty seeks students with research interests complementary to their own. Faculty research writing is ongoing in several fields: the emergence of complex societies and urbanism, settlement studies, origins of food production, the Late Stone Age and Iron Age in Africa, and historical archaeology.

This specialization emphasizes research skills in the library, field, and laboratory - making use of the excellent laboratory and computer facilities at Rice. These skills will be tested by means of three research papers, at least one of which must be an original data paper. In addition to research on the dissertation topic, all students are encouraged to develop at least one analytical skill, such as remote sensing, archaeological statistics, osteology, geomorphology, and pedology.

Financial Assistance

All students admitted to the graduate program are fully funded for five years, dependent on the maintenance of good standing. The funding package includes tuition remission, a partial health insurance subsidy, and a stipend for living expenses. The tuition waiver is extended through year six, and a significant reduction in tuition through year eight. Graduate students also have a strong track record of success in securing dissertation research and write-up funds from both internal and external funding sources.