Sep 20, 2018  
2012 - 2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012 - 2013 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Anthropology Department



View the Anthropology Faculty .

The Anthropology Program

The expertise and interests of faculty members within the Department of Anthropology at William and Mary span all four sub-disciplines within the field:archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and anthropological linguistics. The boundaries between these fields are fluid, and we strongly encourage research that employs theory and methodology from more than one sub-discipline. Current research projects being carried out by faculty and graduate students include: African-American material culture in the American South; the excavation of Powhatan’s settlement at Kiskiak; ethnohistorical and archaeological research on slavery and British colonialism in Barbados and Bermuda, the “local food” movement, rainforest ethnoecology, animal emotions, Native American language revitalization, Andalusian musical traditions, the Anthropology of Science, and analyses of Native American and African American skeletal collections.

Two graduate programs are offered, differing in goals and requirements. The M.A. in Historical Archaeology is a terminal degree designed to prepare students for careers in historical archaeology and related professions. The Ph.D. program admitted its first students in fall 2001; with specializations in Historical Archaeology and Historical Anthropology, it is designed to prepare students for long-term research and teaching in anthropology.

The Anthropology Department’s teaching and research facilities include laboratories housing extensive collections of prehistoric and historic artifacts from Virginia and the Caribbean, a research library, and computer facilities for Cad and GIS. Three research centers are housed in the department: The Institute for Historical Biology which holds a large database on the 17th and 18th century African Burial Ground in New York City; The American Indian Resource Center which undertakes applied and collaborative projects with contemporary native communities; and the William and Mary Archaeological Conservation Center which gives students the opportunity to observe and participate in the conservation of archaeological materials. Students also participate in projects run by The William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research, which provides cultural resource management (CRM) services for public and private organizations, and in material science research at the Jefferson Laboratory in Newport News.

The Williamsburg area provides unparalleled historical, archaeological and museum resources. The Anthropology Department maintains strong ties with local research and service organizations which offer students opportunities to engage in field and laboratory research. Scholars from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation regularly teach courses within the department and supervise graduate research projects. William and Mary also offers a field school at Colonial Williamsburg each summer, and graduate students in anthropology are actively involved as supervisors. In addition, faculty members in the department conduct field research on local prehistoric and Protohistoric sites, in Bermuda, the American South, in Africa, and in the Caribbean.

General Description

The Department of Anthropology’s graduate program offers both general coverage of the discipline as a whole and more specifically focused preparation for students intending to work in the fields of Historical Archaeology and Historical Anthropology.

Faculty specialties include cultural theory, biocultural theory, area studies, and historiography, with special emphasis on comparative colonialism, the African Diaspora, Native America, and the archaeology of Colonial America and the Caribbean. Practical training in field, laboratory, and museum/archaeological conservation methods is available in various courses, including summer field schools/programs. Scholars in the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation participate in the Department of Anthropology’s graduate program.


Students will have the option of enrolling directly into the M.A.-only program, into the sequential M.A./Ph.D. program, or into the Ph.D. program after completing the M.A. degree at William and Mary or at another institution. Admission is competitive, based on such criteria as grade point average, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, experience, and educational history. Minimally, to be considered each applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, history, or a related discipline, and a 3.0 grade average [on a 4.0 scale]. Graduate studies begin in the fall; there are no spring admissions.

Application materials consist of the College’s standard form, GRE scores taken within the past five years, undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. Foreign applicants will also be required to submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applications and supporting materials for both the M.A. and the M.A./Ph.D. programs must be received by January 15. The M.A./Ph.D. program in Anthropology at William and Mary requires full-time study. Full-time and part-time students will be considered for admission into the M.A.-only program.

Summer Field Schools in Archaeology

The Department of Anthropology will offer summer field schools in archaeology focusing on historical sites in Colonial Williamsburg and contact-period villages in Tidewater Virginia. Other research opportunities will be tied to faculty projects in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the American South. Graduate students will enroll in ANTH 625 .

Programs and Course Descriptions

Description of Courses

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are graded using standard grading [A, B, C, D, F] scheme (See Grading and Academic Progress  in the section entitled ‘Graduate Regulations ’) and may not be repeated for credit (See Repeated Courses  requirements in the section entitled ‘Graduate Regulations ’).