University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

Anthropology Ph.D. - Cultural Heritage and Applied Anthropology

Doctor of Philosophy - Anthropology; Cultural Heritage and Applied Anthropology Concentration

Required Credits: 60 (30 + 30 from M.A.)

Required Cumulative GPA: 3.0


  • Our doctoral program specializes in Cultural Heritage and Applied Anthropology. Students in this program focus not only on cutting-edge research, but also the application of anthropology to one or more central issues of the 21st century. These include the preservation of heritage and traditions, whether objects, landscapes, or language; international social issues, particularly global development and health delivery; or understanding the biological basis of humankind. This program requires more extensive coursework than the M.A. and, even more importantly, the achievement of independent professional-level scholarship demonstrated by completion of a major research project presented to the faculty as a dissertation. This comprehensive yet individualized program provides seasoned professionals and recent B.A. and M.A. graduates alike an opportunity to earn a Doctorate.
  • Cultural heritage studies analyzes 'heritage' as an archaeological, ethnohistorical, social, biological, linguistic, and legal construct. Heritage reflects a socially and personally important set of cultural, linguistic, and biological attributes that has developed through historical processes, which have social and legal meanings and consequences. The concept recognizes diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds while grounded in principles of the unity of heritage for all people. Different notions of heritage are explored from a theoretical perspective using various anthropological and other relevant paradigms. The course of study covers topics such as cultural resource management, social impact assessment, the interaction between cultures, invention of tradition through time, cultural landscapes, cultural property, biological heritage issues, and retention of culture and language. An overlapping concern of the Ph.D. program is applied anthropology, the use of the anthropological perspective to solve real-world problems, including cultural heritage, medical anthropology, and a host of international development issues.
  • At the heart of our program is a strong commitment to employ anthropological theory to engage contemporary relevant issues with focused research for communities. While some that are awarded a Ph.D. in Anthropology from University of Montana will look toward teaching careers, a goal of the program is to produce applied anthropologists who will serve in government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), tribal and ethnic associations, and businesses.

Degree Requirements

The General Option requires coursework, a reviewed portfolio, a comprehensive examination, and a defended dissertation. The faculty expects completion of the Ph.D. within three years of earning the master’s degree. All students entering the Ph.D. program must have the equivalent of an M.A. degree before they can proceed to Ph.D. status. For students accepted into the program with only an undergraduate degree, they must complete the requirements of an M.A. degree prior to moving into the Ph.D. program. Students initially accepted into the M.A. program can continue into the Ph.D. program, but they must complete the M.A. degree prior to continuing; those students must also apply for the Ph.D. program during the regular application cycle (even though they are extant M.A. students).

The Cultural Heritage Studies and Historical Anthropology Ph.D. program requires coursework, a reviewed portfolio, a comprehensive examination, and a defended dissertation. The faculty expects completion of the Ph.D. within three years of earning the masters degree.


Students are expected to complete the following course requirements: