Anthropology (Urbanism), PHD

At a Glance: program details

Urban anthropology is an intersection of urbanization, urban space, social relations and poverty. You can develop complex data gathering methods and reasoning skills that will help you better understand how humans have evolved and adapted and how they are continuing to within contemporary settings and societies.

ASU is not currently accepting applications for this program.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Anthropology (Urbanism)

The School of Human Evolution and Social Change is an excellent choice for students wanting to pursue a PhD in the classic fields of anthropology:

  • archaeology
  • bioarcheology
  • evolutionary anthropology
  • sociocultural anthropology

It is also an ideal environment for students who want to combine these approaches and other disciplines when exploring specific issues or research questions within a transdisciplinary context. The flexible graduate curricula are designed to encourage students to design innovative plans of study to pursue their interests while receiving broad training in key areas. The anthropology faculty actively engage with faculty in other disciplines, including:

  • applied mathematics
  • chemistry
  • economics
  • environmental
  • epidemiology
  • formal modeling
  • genetics
  • sociology
  • sustainability
  • technology and society
  • urban planning

The training students receive in this program prepares them to become expert scholars able to contribute not only to their chosen field but to finding solutions to humankind's greatest challenges. The concentration in urbanism leverages the varied interests in urbanism and helps emerging scholars as they attempt to compare, contrast and take stock of urbanism. Working with faculty from across a range of departments and programs at ASU, doctoral students are able to capture the creative tensions that scholarship on urbanism has inspired in order to stimulate a provocative, constructive kind of inquiry.

This degree program provides training in data analysis and research design within the context of human evolution, archaeology and the wider field of anthropology. In this program, through anthropological coursework, students learn how to ask important questions about the human species and employ statistics to analyze and extract meaning from data. Students learn to appreciate their place in nature and the long history of human societal change that brought them to where they are today.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

Students entering with a master's degree in a related field may be granted up to 30 credit hours toward the 84 credit hour total required for the doctorate. This leaves 30 credit hours of coursework, 12 hours of research credit and 12 hours of dissertation credit (54 credit hours total) to be earned post-admission.

Students entering without a master's degree must earn an additional 30 hours of graduate credit, produce a research portfolio which is formally evaluated by a faculty committee, and present that research in a public forum before continuing on in the later stage of the doctorate.

All students must maintain an average GPA of 3.20 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in their courses and complete degree requirements per the program's satisfactory progress policy.

For the concentration in urbanism, 15 credit hours are selected from an approved list of applicable courses related to urbanism. These courses include the core urbanism course, GCU 516, as well as one course from each of the four urbanism clusters. These clusters are:

  • built form
  • culture and society
  • institutions and governance
  • natural environment

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement outlining educational and professional goals
  4. current curriculum vitae or resume
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Undergraduate coursework in anthropology is not a prerequisite for admission, but is generally advisable. Students may be admitted without such a background and may be required to acquire knowledge of general anthropology in a manner to be specified at the time of admission.

Applicants may include with their application materials an optional scholarly writing sample, not to exceed 30 double-spaced pages.

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Career Opportunities

The demand in the job market for people with an anthropology background is stimulated by a growing need for researchers and analysts with keen thinking skills who can manage, evaluate and interpret large amounts of data. As the many spheres of human interaction expand globally, people trained in anthropology are increasingly sought for their broad, holistic knowledge and perspectives, which are the hallmarks of anthropology. Some career opportunities include:

  • acting as legal advocates in international cases
  • analyzing and proposing policies
  • conducting postgraduate academic research
  • consulting for private and public organizations
  • curating cultural resources
  • directing nonprofit organizations
  • directing programs in the private or public sector
  • managing culture or heritage resources in private or public sectors
  • modeling infectious diseases
  • planning communities
  • teaching

Program Contact Information

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