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Anthropological Sciences

  • Program Overview

    Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences

    The Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences (IDPAS), in the College of Arts and Sciences, is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program leading to the Ph.D. degree that draws upon faculty and resources from the departments of Anatomical Sciences, Anthropology, Asian and Asian American Studies, Ecology & Evolution, Geosciences, History, Sustainability Studies Program and the Turkana Basin Institute. The goal of the IDPAS is to train students for careers in research and teaching in physical anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. Students in the Ph.D. program who have already been advanced to candidacy may, upon petition, receive a master’s degree without submitting a master’s thesis. The IDPAS is not accepting any applications for cultural anthropology at present.

    Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences

    Amy Lu, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, S-529

    Academic Program Coordinator
    Tara Powers, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, S-503, (631) 631-7606

    Degree Awarded
    Ph.D. in Anthropology

    Web Site


  • Admissions

    Admission Requirements for Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences 

    Application procedures and requirements determined by the University at Stony Brook, as set forth in this bulletin, must be followed. Applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee of the IDPAS, and successful applicants will be considered for financial assistance through the award of a teaching assistantship (TA) by the TA committee of the IDPAS. All rules, regulations, and requirements of the Graduate School, Stony Brook University, must be satisfied in addition to those described in this section. Interested students should request information as early as possible, especially if they plan to apply for financial aid.

    In addition to the admission requirements of the Graduate School, the IDPAS requires:

    A. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in all undergraduate coursework and 3.25 in the major field of concentration;

    B. Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test;

    C. Acceptance by the IDPAS and the Graduate School.

  • Degree Requirements

    Requirements of the Ph.D. Degree Anthropological Sciences

    For a full description of IDPAS requirements and deadlines, please request “IDPAS Rules, Regulations, Requirements, and Procedures” from the Academic Programs Coordinator or download the description at

    A. Course Requirements
    Completion of a minimum of 48 graduate credits, maintaining a minimum 3.0 average in all graduate courses. Not more than four credits of SPD or equivalent coursework may be applied toward the satisfaction of IDPAS course requirements. All first-years are required to enroll in DPA 525 Research Areas in Anthropological Sciences. 

    1. Physical Anthropology: Required courses are (a) DPA 564 Primate Evolution, (b) DPA 565 Human Evolution, (c) DPA 567 Primate Behavior and Ecology. Other required courses toward completion of study in the Evolutionary Morphology track include (a) BEE 551 Principles of Evolution, (BEE 561 Macroevolution, may be substituted for BEE 551 with the permission of the faculty in the student's track), (b) BEE 552 Biometry (an equivalent statistics course, e.g., PSY 501 and PSY 502 may be substituted with permission of the physical anthropology faculty), and (c) DPA 541 Human Evolutionary Anatomy. Students on the Primate Behavior track must take (1) BEE 551 Principles of Evolution, (2) BEE 552 Biometry (an equivalent statistics course, e.g., PSY 501 and PSY 502) may be substituted with permission of the physical anthropology faculty), and (3) BEE 550 Principles of Ecology or BEE 586 Evolutionary Ecology. Additional elective courses may be completed during the second and third years of study under the supervision of the Guidance Committee.

    2. Archaeology Program: Required courses that form the basis of the qualifying examination are (a) DPA 515 Theory and Method in Archaeology and (b) a Graduate-level Statistics course, (c & d) two survey courses chosen from DPA 511 Paleolithic Archaeology, DPA 513 Origins of Agriculture, DPA 512 Comparative Civilizations. Additional requirements include (a) DPA 516 Research Design in Archaeology, (b) one laboratory methods course chosen from DPA 517 Primitive Technology, DPA 518 Lithic Technology, DPA 519 Zooarchaeology, DPA 526 Remote Sensing and GIS, or additional laboratory course approved by committee, (c) one area course chosen from DPA 560 Ancient Mesopotamia, DPA 562 Long Island Archaeology, DPA 564 African Stone Age, DPA 585 Prehistoric Peoples of the Americas, or DPA 650 Research Seminar in Archaeology (with committee approval). Students must also take one elective course outside the archaeology subdiscipline (e.g. DPA 565 Human Evolution,  DPA 566 Hunters and Gatherers, DPA 582 Human Demography, ARH 541 Topics in Ancient Art, or GEO 521 Isotopes and Trace Element Geology). Students must have had one season of archeological fieldwork (with committee approval) before advancing to candidacy.

    3. Cultural Anthropology: Required courses that form the basis of the qualifying examination are (a) DPA 501 Development of Anthropological Theory, (b) DPA 540 Readings in Ethnography and Ethnology, and (c) DPA 520 Principles of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Other courses required for completion of the cultural anthropology program include (a) DPA 620 Research Seminar in Topical Problems, (b) DPA 640 Research Seminar in Ethnography and Ethnology, and (c) three additional credits of DPA 540 Readings in Ethnography and Ethnology. Other courses that may be taken at the discretion of the student’s guidance committee include DPA 509 Seminar in European Ethnography, DPA 561 Peasant Societies and Cultures, and a statistics course.

    B. Qualifying Exam
    The qualifying examination must be taken after two or three semesters of study (depending upon sub-field) and passed at an appropriate level. The qualifying examination is administered to each student by the examination committee of the IDPAS. The examination varies by subfield. Students in Physical Anthropology are required to develop a publishable research paper, students in archaeology take an oral exam, while students in cultural anthropology take a written exam. The material covered in the qualifying examination comprises that covered in the courses specified above as well as that covered by the prescribed reading list for the selected field.

    C. Language Requirement
    The language requirement is optional as determined by each student's advisory committee. The student must select the suitable language(s) necessary for the chosen field of specialization with the approval of the guidance committee. Language tests must be passed prior to advancement to candidacy. We accept a passing grade in a University course in academic reading in a foreign language (e.g., GER 500 or FRN 500), or internal language tests may be administered by program faculty. Before recommending that a student be permitted to engage in fieldwork, the guidance committee may ask the student to demonstrate ability to speak the language required for fieldwork.

    D. Preparation of Dissertation Research Proposal
    The dissertation proposal is prepared under the direction of the dissertation guidance committee, which is composed of at least three IDPAS faculty members and an external member. The dissertation proposal will be defended orally at a seminar open to the academic community and to which all IDPAS faculty and students are invited at least two weeks in advance. Students should aim to complete and defend their dissertation proposal during their third year in the program. Upon successful defense of the proposal, the student may be advanced to candidacy. The M.A. may be awarded at this point. Dissertation research, writing, and examination are supervised by the dissertation guidance committee.

    E. Teaching Requirement
    In accordance with Graduate School regulations, every student must gain some teaching experience. This may involve the presentation of a number of lectures in a course offered by a member of the IDPAS faculty. Upon advancement to candidacy, a student may be assigned greater teaching responsibility in the form of an undergraduate course to be prepared and taught under the supervision of an IDPAS faculty member. This arrangement will be made in consultation with the student and with the approval of the TA committee and the student’s advisor. No student will be required to teach more than one course per year, and credit for teaching assignments will be given under the aegis of DPA 600.

    F. Written Dissertation and Defense
    The approval of a written thesis and its successful oral defense to the committee and the University community at large are required.

    G. Time Limit
    The candidate must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. degree within seven years after completing 24 credit hours of graduate courses at the University at Stony Brook department or program in which the candidate is to receive his or her degree.

  • Facilities

    Facilities, Anthropological Sciences

    Extensive laboratory space as well as desk space is available for all graduate students. The archaeology and physical anthropology labs housed in the Department of Anthropology provide facilities for the analysis of artifact collections, especially stone tools, faunal and botanical remains, application of remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), analysis of primate or human remains, and advanced electron microscopy (EM), and primate endocrinology. Housed in the department are archaeological collections from Africa and the Near East. A fully equipped preparation lab provides opportunities for state-of-the-art mineralized tissue research. Laboratories also contain 3D state-of-the-art scanning/ and digitizing equipment and analysis software, for example for the analysis of micro-Computed tomography (uCT). The laboratory for endocrine analyses contains a gamma counter and a plate reader necessary for most immunoassays.

    Outside of the Anthropology Department, interested students have access to the research facilities for comparative primate morphology, human anatomy, and human and primate evolution housed in the Department of Anatomical Sciences, which are at present unparalleled at any other institution. The collections include primate fossils; primate osteological material from Africa, Asia, and South America; and living nonhuman primates, including New and Old World monkeys and lemurs.

    Students interested in experimental animal models for the study of functional morphology or morphogenesis have access to core facilities, including modern small animal facilities, micro-Computed tomography (uCT) imaging, and confocal imaging systems.

    The Department of Geosciences houses several mass spectrometers capable of measuring many isotopes and elemental abundances, as well as petrographic and dissecting microscopes with digital cameras. Students have access to excellent libraries and collections and to campus computing services.

    Field work opportunities are available in primate behavioral ecology, paleontology, and archaeology. Primate behavior research is conducted in Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. Paleontological field research is current in Argentina, Kenya.

    Madagascar, South Africa, and Zambia. The archaeology faculty have active field sites in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, France, Madagascar, Maine, and Bolivia,. The Turkana Basin Institute provides IDPAS students with access to field opportunities for paleontology and archaeology in northern Kenya.


  • Faculty

    Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences

    Distinguished Professors

    Fleagle, John G.,1 Distinguished Professor, Ph.D., 1976, Harvard University: Primate and human evolution; primate behavior and ecology; functional morphology; growth and development.

    Grine, Frederick E.,2 Distinguished Professor, Ph.D., 1984, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa: Hominid evolution; functional morphology of the masticatory apparatus; diet reconstruction; dental anthropology; mineralized tissues.

    Wright, Patricia C.,2 Distinguished Service Professor, Ph.D., 1985, City University of New York: Primate behavior and ecology; rainforest conservation; Madagascar.


    Davalos, Liliana M.,3 Ph.D., 2004, Columbia University: Phylogenetics, tropical deforestation.

    Hicks, David,2 D.Phil., 1973, Oxford University, Great Britain: Politics; ritual; literature; East Timor; Insular Southeast Asia.

    Koenig, Andreas,2 Ph.D., 1992, Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany: Primate behavioral ecology; social evolution; reproductive strategies; Asia.

    Lynch, Heather, Ph.D. 2006, Harvard University: Quantitative ecology, geospatial modeling, remote sensing and GIS

    Martin, Lawrence B.,4 Director of TBI, Ph.D., 1983, University of London, Great Britain: Hominoid evolution; enamel thickness; enamel microstructure and development.

    Shea, John J., Ph.D.,2 1991, Harvard University: Paleoanthropology, archaeology; lithic analysis; Southwest Asia; Eastern Africa; human dispersals.

    Associate Professors

    Harmand, Sonia.,2,4 Ph.D., 2005, Paris X, France: Early stone age archaeology; lithic technology; cognition; primate archaeology; Africa.

    Hildebrand, Elisabeth,2,4 Ph.D., 2003, Washington University: Origins of agriculture; paleoethnobotany; ethnoarchaeology; Africa.

    Lu, Amy,2 Ph.D., 2009, Stony Brook University: Behavioral endocrinology, socioecology, sexual selection, growth and development, life history

    Markham, A. Catherine,2 Ph.D., 2012, Princeton University: Behavioral ecology; maternal care; spatial ecology; wild primates.

    Newman, Elizabeth Terese,5 Ph.D., 2008, Yale University: Zooarchaeology; historical archaeology; household archaeology; gender; Mexico.

    Rasbury, Troy, E.,6 Ph.D., 1998, Stony Brook University: Sedimentary geochemistry; chronostratigraphy; geochronology.

    Rossie, James B.,2 Ph.D., 2003, Yale University: Primate evolution; miocene hominoids; cranial anatomy; East Africa.

    Ruf, Gregory A.,7 Ph.D., 1994, Columbia University: Social organization; politics and history; cultural ecology; ethnographic methods and writing; China.

    Russo, Gabrielle A.,2 Ph.D., 2013, University of Texas at Austin: Functional morphology of the axial skeleton, primate and human evolution, locomotion, ontogeny.

    Smaers, Jeroen B.,2 Ph.D., 2010, University of Cambridge, England: Brain evolution, phylogenetic comparative methodology, macroevolutionary morphology.

    Turner, Alan H.,1 Ph.D., 2008, Columbia University: Phylogenetic methods, dinosaur and crocodylomorph evolution, morphological data, paleontology

    Twiss, Katheryn C.,2 Ph.D., 2003, University of California, Berkeley: Archaeology of food; zooarchaeology; origins of agriculture and social complexity; Southwest Asia.

    Veeramah, Krishna R.,3 Ph.D., 2008, University College London, Great Britain: primate evolution; genomics; population genetics; sub-Saharan Africa, Ancient DNA.

    Research Professor

    Leakey Meave G.,4 PhD., 1968, University of North Wales: Primate evolution; palaeoecology and evolution of African mammals.

    Research Associate Professor

    Borries, Carola,2 Ph.D., 1989, Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany: Socio-ecology; reproduction; life history; Asian primates.

    Assistant Professors

    Frouin, Marine,6 Ph.D., 2014, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France: Luminescence dating, geochronology, chronostratigraphy

    Henkes, Gregory A.,6 Ph.D., 2014, Johns Hopkins University: Stable isotope geochemistry, paleoclimatology, biogeochemistry.

    Maiolino, Stephanie A.,1 Ph.D., 2015, Stony Brook University: primate evolution, comparative morphology, hands and feet, locomotion

    Percival, Christopher J.,2 Ph.D., 2013, Penn State University: Skull development and evolution, craniofacial disease, geometric morphometrics, computed tomography image analysis

    Smiley, Tara M.,3 Ph.D., 2016, University of Michigan: Diversity dynamics and paleoecology of fossil mammals, biogeography, stable isotope ecology.

    Vitek, Natasha S.,3 Ph.D., 2019, University of Florida: Evolution and intraspecific variation in vertebrate fossils, primarily mammals and turtles.

    Yager, Karina A.,8 Ph.D., 2009, Yale University: Pastoralism; cultural ecology; remote sensing; climate change and society; Andean studies.

    Research Assistant Professors

    Lewis, Jason,2,4 Ph.D., 2011, Stanford University: Paleoecology, paleontology, human evolution, zooarchaeology, Old World Paleolithic archaeology.

    Emeriti Faculty

    Demes, Brigitte,1 Professor Emerita, Ph.D., 1982, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany: Biomechanics; functional morphology; allometry; primates.

    Jungers, William L.,1 Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., 1976, University of Michigan: Primate and human evolution; functional morphology; biomechanics.

    Stone, Elizabeth C.,2 Ph.D., 1979, University of Chicago: Old World archaeology; state formation; ancient economy and society; remote sensing and GIS; Near East.

    Zimansky, Paul E.,5 Ph.D., 1980, University of Chicago: History and archaeology of the Near East; ancient imperialism; Urartian, Anatolian and Mesopotamian civilizations.


    Number of teaching assistants/graduate assistants/research assistants, fall 2019: 16 Number of graduate fellows, fall 2019: 13


    1. Department of Anatomical Sciences
    2. Department of Anthropology
    3. Department of Ecology and Evolution
    4. Turkana Basin Institute
    5. Department of History
    6. Department of Geosciences
    7. Department of Asian and Asian American Studies
    8. Sustainability Studies Program


  • Contact

    Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences

    Amy Lu, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, S-529

    Academic Program Coordinator
    Tara Powers, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, S-503, (631) 631-7606

    Degree Awarded
    Ph.D. in Anthropology

    Web Site