Admissions - Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a minimum GRE score that is necessary to be considered for admission?
No. We consider your entire admissions package -- your application, personal statement, writing sample, GRE scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. If, however, you think that your GRE scores do not reflect your abilities, you might discuss this point in your personal statement and make sure that the people writing your letters of recommendation are also aware of the issue.
What were the average GPA and GRE scores for last year's entering class?
Their average GPA was 3.5, and their average GRE scores were 576 verbal, 619 quantitative, and 4.75 writing
Can I apply to your graduate program even though I do not have a BA in anthropology? What if I never even had a course in anthropology?
Yes, you can apply to our Ph.D. program even if you have never had an anthropology course in your life. You will need to explain in your personal statement, however, WHY you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in anthropology, and perhaps how other aspects of your education, training, work experience, and so forth have led you to this decision.
Do you accept applicants who only want to pursue an M.A. in Anthropology?
Most of the graduate students we admit are pursuing Ph.D.s, even those who do not yet have a Masters degree in any subject. However, we do accept students who do not intend to go on beyond an M.A., though such students rarely receive financial aid. Students who are pursuing a Ph.D. may choose to be awarded an M.A. along the way or may be asked to terminate their graduate studies with an M.A. if their Ph.D. studies are not progressing well. Details regarding this process can be found in the Grad Handbook.
Is the writing sample that I need to submit distinct from the writing assessment that is now part of the GRE exam?
Yes. You need to submit a separate writing sample. These samples may include an undergraduate honors thesis, a paper that you wrote for a class, a published article, or any other piece of written work that you believe demonstrates your skills as a writer and critical thinker. Ideally, the content of the writing sample should in some way relate to your proposed graduate research topic. Most writing samples average between 10 and 20 pages in length.
What kinds of financial packages are available from the department to support graduate students?
Every year, the department has a certain number of financial packages to offer the most competitive applicants, regardless of nationality. These multi-year packages combine fellowship support and a teaching assistantship, which include tuition coverage and a stipend; the teaching assistantship includes additional health insurance benefits. In addition, after their first year, students without financial packages can compete for the remaining teaching assistant positions in the department. All prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for national funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. For more information about financial aid for graduate students, check out our financial aid overview, or the Dept. of Anthropology Grad Handbook's section on financial aid.
What kinds of jobs have recent graduates received?
Our graduates are very competitive candidates on the job market. Some have accepted tenure track positions at four-year colleges and major research universities, and others have won postdoctoral awards. A few have chosen to work in non-academic jobs with museums, corporations, and consulting firms.
How are advisors assigned?
First-year advisors are provisional and are assigned based on a combination of factors including your requests to work with a particular faculty member, a faculty member's request to work with you, the match between your research interests and those of our faculty, and a faculty member's previous student load and commitments. You have the right to request a change of advisors once you are in the program, and sometimes advisors or the Graduate Director may suggest a change themselves, especially if your research interests change. We strongly suggest that you learn about and contact faculty members who you think you might wish to work with BEFORE you apply, so that you can learn more about each other's research interests and compatibility.
Is there an orientation for new students?
Yes. The Graduate School offers a series of orientation meetings for new students and new international students during the week before classes begin in the fall. In addition, our Graduate Program also offers a mandatory half-day orientation during the same week, followed by a luncheon with the graduate faculty and other graduate students. During the orientation, we cover the policies and procedures of the program, introduce you to the staff and key faculty members, discuss logistics such as keys and photocopying, and tour the department facilities. If accepted into our program, you will receive notification about all of the orientation meetings over the summer.
Do you have suggestions for what I should cover in my personal statement?
The personal statement is a very important part of your application. It is your opportunity to make your case for why you want to study in a graduate anthropology program, discuss what you want to study, how your previous education, training or experiences have qualified or compelled you to study a certain topic, and explain why you believe the Rutgers program is right for you. You should also use the personal statement to mention other strengths or skills relevant to your research interest that might not be evident elsewhere in your application and to explain any discrepancies in your academic record (such as, for example, a high GPA and low GRE scores, or a long absence from academics). Finally, if you have been in contact with certain faculty members or have ideas about who you would like to work with, you should identify them by name and explain how your interests match with theirs.
May I come visit the program? How do I set up appointments with faculty members?
We encourage all prospective applicants to visit our program and meet with relevant faculty and graduate students. You should contact directly those faculty members with whom you would be interested in working to set up appointments. At the same time, you should ask them to help you meet with graduate students working on similar topics. You should also try to set up an appointment with the Graduate Director. For contact information, please click the Graduate Program category on the Anthropology Department home page. You can learn more about faculty interests and how to contact them by email or phone from our faculty web page.
If I am an international student who received an undergraduate degree from a college or university in the United States or the United Kingdom, do I still need to submit a TOEFL score?
Are international students eligible for financial aid?
Yes, international students can qualify for fellowships and teaching assistantships offered by the Graduate Program. All applicants, regardless of their nationality, are considered for the few multi-year funding packages that we have to offer students.
Is it possible to apply as a non-matriculated (non-degree) student?
Yes, but there are some special procedures that must be followed. Please consult the "Non-Matriculated (Non-Degree) Students" page.
Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?
Please contact the Graduate Director. For contact information, please click the Graduate Program category on the Anthropology Department home page.