The 2023-2024 AnthroGuide is the last print version. Edits for graduate programs are due July 31, 2023.

General Description / Special Programs

The Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins is one of the few in the United States that was founded—and had developed organically—as a department specializing in socio-cultural anthropology. The department was created on the initiative of Dean George Owen and historians linked to the Atlantic Program in History, Culture, and Society. In the fall of 1973, the Rockefeller Foundation financed two positions in history and two positions in anthropology as part of the newly created Atlantic Program.

In 1974–75, Sidney W. Mintz, Richard Price, and Emily Martin, all three of whom had moved from Yale, started teaching at Hopkins.  Founding members of the faculty focused attention on matters of political economy, globalization, and transnational forms of social and political organization, working at the intersection of anthropology and history.  Our current research themes build upon and carry forward these founding concerns, routed now through a renewed emphasis on ethnography, its pursuit across diverse scales of analysis, and the use of novel conceptual prisms.

Theory and Method

The Department of Anthropology emphasizes the importance of ethnographic research methods, conducted through intensive fieldwork in a single site or in a network of sites. Our ethnographic research has involved both innovative engagement and solid grounding in multiple anthropological traditions. Faculty and graduate students have conducted longitudinal studies through repeated field visits, combined quantitative and qualitative methods, explored novel methods in archival research, and followed networks and movements of people, institutions, and ideas across dispersed sites.

We take ethnography as generative of anthropological theory and objects of anthropological reflection, rather than merely as a mode of collecting data, making observations, or illustrating theoretical claims. Our emphasis on the link between theory and ethnography reflects the dynamism of the interdisciplinary conversation animating work within the department, which places our work in a mutually productive conversation with scholars and scholarship in philosophy and social and political theory. These concerns are reflected in the topics of recent conferences and discussion organized by faculty and graduate students alike, on topics such as animality, newness, locality, affect, number, and the concept of the “empirical.” We are deeply invested in carrying forward and sustaining such dialogue across the humanities and social sciences.

The interdisciplinary character of our conversations is also manifested in our approach to the themes of health and well-being. We do not distinguish, for example, between “medical anthropology” and mainstream anthropology. Rather, we seek to integrate questions of health, broadly speaking, into several research domains, such as economy, family, state practices, and religion. We foster cross-disciplinary dialogue with public health, history of medicine, and the humanities. An ongoing Critical Global Health seminar series draws together scholars working in anthropology, public health, history of medicine, and history.

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Tuition Info
Degrees Offered Anthropology PhD, BA major
Highest Degree Offered PhD
Certificate Info PhD. Requirements Students will usually spend three years in residence, one year or more conducting field research, and a final year completing the dissertation. Requirements include: A total of twelve courses to be completed in the first three years. The first of these courses is Proseminar and is a requirement for incoming students. Students will sit a three-hour exam near the end of their first year. Incoming graduate students will be provided with a reading list at the start of the summer before the academic year to initiate their self-directed growth as anthropologists and to help them prepare for the exam. Students are expected to conduct exploratory fieldwork during the first summer. They are to write a proposal for this fieldwork and discuss their work upon return in a departmental methodology workshop. This workshop accompanies the Methods course, which is a requirement for students in their second year. For the comprehensive exams, students are required to write two essays (one conceptual and one on their study area). These essays will ideally also help develop their dissertation research proposal. The essays should preferably be completed by the end of the second year. A course called Regions has been developed to assist students in writing the essays. Students are also encouraged to take the Proposal Writing course offered and to apply for fieldwork grants from external agencies. A student should be able to demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language relevant to his/her field of study before completing the comprehensive exams A Post-Field course will be offered to those returning from the field to help them begin writing their dissertation, along with relevant professionalization workshops as needed. Post-field students are required to give a seminar on their research in the departmental colloquia series. Beyond these requirements, students are expected to meet regularly with their advisors to discuss their academic plans.
BA/BS Field Areas
BA/BS Requirements
A total of 30 credits (10 courses) in Anthropology (including 4 core courses). Students must meet a foreign language requirement (intermediate level).
PhD Field Areas
Cultural Anthropology
Phd Requirements 2-3 years coursework (Ten courses); summer fieldwork; written and oral comprehensive exams; language exam(s); PhD fieldwork; dissertation write-up; defense
Internship / Grants / Funding
Internships Available 0
Internship Required 0
Support Opportunities

5 year fellowships include full tuition plus financial support and 1.5 years of Teaching Assistantship. Additional Teaching opportunities and stipends for summer field research available on competitive basis.

Program Details
Research Facilities

Krieger Academic Computer Lab; Multimedia Development Center; Language Teaching Center

Library Resources The Milton S Eisenhower Library, The Welch Medical Library (School of Medicine), Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives (School of Medicine), Lilienfield Library (School of Public Health), Population Center Library (School of Public Health), Arthur Friedheim Library and Peabody Archives (Peabody Institute), Mason Library (School of Advanced International Studies)
Certs Offered 0
Employeesmore than 3000
Online Courses
Online Courses: 0
Club / Honor Society
Anthropology Club: 0
Lambda Alpha Chapter: 0