Applying to Grad School & Employment




  • Choosing a Career in Anthropology
  • Preparing Your CV
  • Writing a Letter of Intent/Introduction
  • Finding a Graduate Program or Career Opportunity
  • Finding Funding for Graduate School
  • Graduate School Entrance Exams
  • Networking


Write a statement that summarizes: a) why you want to study anthropology; b) what subfield and geographical area interests you, and c) your future career goals. Make sure that the statement is personal and not a textbook description of Anthropology. This statement should help you assess your next step after your BA and whether graduate school is right for you.

Be sure to talk to a faculty who can also help you assess the world of possibilities in anthropology and the right career track for you.

Use the following webpage to help you: Finding a Career in Anthropology


A curriculum vitae or CV is an academic resume that highlights your scholarly accomplishments. Although most students compose a curriculum vitae while in graduate school, you should consider including one in your application to graduate school or job application. A CV, also known as a vita, provides the graduate admissions committee with a clear outline of your accomplishments so they can determine whether you’re a good fit with their graduate program. Begin your curriculum vitae early and revise it as you progress through graduate school and you’ll find applying to academic positions after graduation a little less painful.

This is your opportunity to make yourself shine!

Do not be shy or hesitant to frame your personal and professional experience in ways that highlight your interest in people and anthropology.

Be sure to do the following:

  1. Make it easy to read;
  2. Make it visually stimulating;
  3. Put information in order from most recent at the top to oldest at the bottom;
  4. Put dates on the left hand side and separated out so they are easy to see.

Include the following Headings

  • Education: colleges and universities attended
  • Certifications
  • Skills
  • Research Interests
  • Awards & Scholarships
  • Volunteer work
  • Presentations/Guest Lectures and Publications including websites
  • Research and Field Experience
  • Affiliations with Professional Organizations local, national, and international
  • Work Experience



Now that you have an idea of what you want to do and which schools you want to apply to, you need to start the application process by writing your letter of intent. A letter of intent should convey to the readers who you are and why your area of interest and your ultimate career goals can be obtained through attending the application school or the retaining a specific job.

Write a 1 to 2 page letter that is specific to each school and employment opportunity you are applying for.

It should include the following:

  1. An introductory statement discussing why YOU want to be an anthropologist and what YOU want to study in graduate school or obtain a particular position. Why is this area of study/job important to YOU?
  2. Briefly review your academic achievements.
  3. Review your experiences in anthropological practice: class work, publications, presentations, and field schools.
  4. Name the school you are applying to and indicate which professors you wish to work with and why or name the company and use specifics that indicate why they are a good fit for you
  5. What do you plan to do with your graduate degree/employment opportunity, i.e., what type of employment do you hoping to seek after you finish your degree or what are your career goals


Once you have decided what you want to study and that you want to go to graduate school, you will have to spend time searching for the school/employment that is appropriate for you.

Find 5 graduate schools/employment opportunities that suit your interests and needs.

Ask faculty for their advice and insights!

  1. Graduate School
    If you are confident and know what your specific interests of study is including: the sub-field, geographical and specific interests within a sub-field, then find a program with faculty that best suite your interests
  2. If you are uncertain. Try at least to narrow it to at least a geographical interest. If you are interested in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe then find a large university with a program that has a diverse faculty in African studies (Michigan, Univ. of Indiana, UF), Latin American Studies (Univ. Texas, UF) etc. This way you will have more flexibility once you enter graduate school and you will not have to change universities mid-stream if you decide you want to do cultural, archaeology or even history.
  3. Do not be afraid to dream and to shoot for the best program and school you want to attend
  4. The key is remember is that you are a unique individual and although there are scholars you may admire, you want to make unique contributions and not be a clone of someone else! For instance, if you want to study Gender in Health in Africa, you could spend a lot of time looking for one scholar here or there that has this specialty or you could look for a university with an African studies program, a gender studies program and a strong program in medical anthropology. The former gives you a lot of intensive time to study with one individual and the latter will give you a broader perspective and more flexibility
  5. Be aware that Applications are a financial drain: Grad-school fees range from ~$30 to $90. Many universities are swamped by record numbers of applications, & have raised their fees to reduce applications from less-motivated individuals. Remember, costs for postage, transcript fees, photocopying, and so on can add up fast.
  6. Evaluating graduate schools:
  • The academic quality of the program.
  • Your chances of getting into that program.
  • Consider who you would like to study with in graduate school. Professors you work with make a big difference, so research their backgrounds and publications.
  • If you have someone who is special (hero/idol) & active in your field, contact them. Don’t think anyone is too “Big a Name” or “Too Famous” to contact.
  • At the very least, you should call the professors at your top choices and discuss the programs.
  • Another consideration is in choosing a suitable adviser. Do you want a mentor who provides personal as well as professional guidance, or is that not a necessity for you? Would you rather have an adviser who can introduce you to the research community, provide advice about research topics or give you feedback on your thesis?

Applications for Graduate School and Employment

  • Prepare your applications carefully and thoroughly.
  • Check your spelling, grammar, and content for your letter of intent. Better yet, have someone else check.
  • Fill out all portions of the applications. If you do not understand something, call or email the school.
  • Be sure to specifically address what they are asking for, as the letter needs to be specific for each program/job.

Resources for Locating a Career Opportunity

Resources for Locating Graduate schools:
Talk to faculty that specialize in that area or in a similar area for their advise on programs.


Once you have made the decision and before you accept to attend a particular institution you need to figure out how you will pay for tuition, books, and living expenses. Use the following website to assist you.

  • Teaching and research assistantships, the application process, who is eligible, get faculty support at institution, ask about what it provides health insurance, tuition waiver, and amount of monthly stipend.
  • Local employment- ask the department if there are CRM or Applied opportunities through local businesses for graduate students.
  • FLAS Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship
  • Fulbright Program Many UCSD graduate students have had their work supported by the Fulbright Program. (An additional informative web site is that of the Fulbright Association, a separate organization of Fulbright alumni, with links to other international grant opportunities. Fulbright grants are available to qualified citizens of the United States. They do not need to be affiliated with universities.
  • The Wenner-Gren FoundationSupport for basic research in all branches of anthropology. This is a major source of anthropology research funding.
  • National Science Foundation Funding for research and education in science and engineering. A fair amount of anthropology research is sustained from this source. An undergraduate NSF program provides top candidates with a stipend that may be used to begin study in a graduate school of their choice (contingent upon admission).
  • Federal Student Loans and Federal Student Aid Application- U.S government loans.  Remember that if you spend 10 years in grad school and then borrow $10,000 a year which is not much to live on, by the time you finish you could buy yourself a modest house or a couple of luxury vehicles, but the trade off is a career that you love. Try to AVOID UNSUBSIDIED loans, because the interest is flexible on these loans.


GRE (Princeton Review) and (Kaplan) GRE


state residency policies


Before applying to specific graduate schools it is advisable to make contact with the professors you want to work with and line up your letters of recommendation. You should contact faculty at least 1 month before the deadline and provide them with a copy of your CV, your letter of intent, and a list of courses you have taken with them.

Contact Faculty and Students

  • Contact Faculty at your current institution to inquire if they have any contacts at the institutions you are applying to. If you are in good standing with this/these professors ask them to make personal contacts on your behalf.
  • Directly contact the individuals you wish to work with at the graduate schools. Send them a short email explaining who you and why you would like to work with them. Professors may be on sabbatical, retiring or only accept a certain number of grad students they want to mentor each year. So contacting them ahead of time is important.
  • Letters of recommendation. Ask faculty to write you letters of recommendations, preferably faculty you have taken several courses with and in which you have done very well (A or B) in their courses. Provide the faculty with your letter of intent, your CV, and a list of the schools (include address, contact name, and deadline). Request letters at least 1 month before the deadline. DO NOT ASK FACULTY TO WRITE YOU LETTERS DURING HOLIDAYS (Winter break, Spring break or summer), as you are unlikely to get a response.
  • Consider contacting through email one or two students at the graduate school you are applying to, to get the inside scoop. Often there is a list of current graduate students and their projects listed on department web sites.

Campus Visits

  • If you find one or two schools that you believe are PERFECT for you, make every effort to visit the campuses to talk to students and faculty and to evaluate their facilities. Do this before you apply.
  • Visits are the best way to find out which graduate program will best suit your academic and career goals. Most graduate departments will invite you to sit in on classes, visit the library, meet with faculty and students, and talk with department chairs or directors of graduate studies.
  • Your objective here is to stand out and be noticed, a face-to-face interview allows you to make an impression.
  • These visits require planning and forethought:
  • Make appointments with the people you specifically want to meet & talk to.
  • Draw up a set of questions to guide conversations with those people.
  • Prepare well, and dress for the occasion, you want to make a positive impression.

After you send out Applications

  •  Follow up with phone calls, especially to the faculty members you’d like to work with or the director of graduate studies.
  • Find out when acceptance decisions will be made and call again the week before.
    Schools are often eager to encourage serious graduate students. Make sure they know who you are and what areas you’re interested in.
  • Presenting yourself as an organized, competent student will certainly attract like minded advisors.
  • You want to make yourself visible to the faculty, make them aware of your goals, abilities, & desire.