Washington University's Department of Anthropology has one of the top-rated doctoral programs in the country. It is a highly collegial, medium-sized program notable for its highly productive faculty, its strong tradition of close mentoring (ranked 2nd nationally in mentoring in the National Doctoral Program Survey), its policy of guaranteed full-funding, its outstanding program climate (ranked 1st nationally in program climate and overall grad student satisfaction in the National Doctoral Program Survey) and its solid record of placing graduates in desirable positions.
The graduate program in anthropology at Washington University is a Ph.D. program designed to train scholars (students are not admitted for a terminal master's degree). It maintains very small class sizes and a high level of support to train students who will be highly competitive in the academic job market.
- Program strengths in archaeology include the origins of agriculture and pastoralism; the development of social complexity in intermediate societies; paleoethnobotany; zooarchaeology; GIS; geoarchaeology and landscape archaeology; environmental archaeology and climate change; and the prehistory of Central Asia, North America, Africa, Mesoamerica, and South America.
- The sociocultural subfield offers research strengths is a wide variety of topics, including politics, pluralism, and religion; indigenous political movements; political ecology; cognition and culture; fertility and population; medical anthropology; the anthropology of public health; the politics of gender and sexuality; sociolinguistics, and the anthropological study of science and technology. The department has recently expanded its program for training and research in medical anthropology and encourages applications from qualified students. Strong links with academic and clinical programs at the University's School of Medicine and the Institute of Public Health permit the development of integrated medical anthropology research projects, which draw upon the resources of the University and the community at-large.
- The physical anthropologists have a program emphasis in human and primate evolution; the ecology and conservation of modern primates; biomechanics and energetics; and quantitative studies of morphology and genetics, with ongoing paleontological, behavioral, and ecological field research in Africa, Madagascar, Europe, North America, Central America, and South America.
Interdisciplinary research is enhanced by the involvement of anthropology faculty in on-campus institutes and programs, including the Interdisciplinary Program in Archaeology; African & African American Studies; American Culture Studies; The Center in Political Economy; The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences; The Division of Infectious Diseases; The Institute for Public Health at George Warren Brown School of Social Work; Earth & Planetary Sciences; Environmental Studies; and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The department also has close research ties to the School of Medicine, the Missouri Botanical Garden (one of the world's great herbaria), the Danforth Plant Center, and the Saint Louis Zoo.