Advice from the Faculty and Current Students

You may want to learn more about programs and fellowship opportunities directly from one of the area studies programs of the University Center for International Studies. Of most relevance to anthropology are the Center for Latin American Studies, the Asian Studies Center, and the Center for Russian and East European Studies.

Each year, about a dozen students embark upon graduate study in anthropology at Pitt. Nearly half of these students are concentrating their studies in one of the three programs described elsewhere in this site: medical anthropology; Latin American archaeology; and ethnicity, nationalism, and the state. We consider these three our flagship programs, but graduate study in anthropology is by no means limited to them. Altogether, around 100 graduate students, currently representing over 15 countries, are in various stages of their programs of study. Minority students are especially encouraged to apply.

As you pursue your investigation of what graduate program is right for you, I urge you to pay close attention to the faculty and graduate student colleagues with whom you will be studying. I invite you to make any inquiries you may have concerning your special interests directly to the faculty members with whom you would most closely work.

Our faculty can all be reached by mail at:

University of Pittsburgh

Department of Anthropology

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Individual e-mail addresses for faculty are listed in the faculty section of this site. If you do not get a quick response it may be because someone is away in the field. Don't hesitate to let me know if I can help you contact someone. In the section below, you will find advice from current graduate students. They will be happy to answer questions you may have, as well as to put you in touch with other graduate students with interests related to yours. Administrative questions about the application process can be directed to the Graduate Administrator, Lauren Murn, at  We would be very happy to see you if you are able to visit the department, and Brian will be glad to help you schedule appointments to see the people you would like to meet. Your visit can be most productive if you contact him in advance.

You have my best wishes for success in your search for the program that will best meet your needs (and in gaining admission and the necessary financial support). If there is anything that any of us can do to help you in the process, please let us know.

Sincerely, on behalf of the faculty

Tomas Matza

Associate Professor
Director, Graduate Studies

From Current Graduate Students

Our Web site and information packets can provide you with an overview of both the Anthropology Department and the University of Pittsburgh, but we think you might well have questions about the program, the University, and the city of Pittsburgh that are best answered by other graduate students. Please feel free to use the email addresses listed at the end of this letter if you have more specific questions.

The program at Pitt is academically rigorous while at the same time personally supportive. The Department has students working in three sub fields, from a variety of theoretical perspectives in a wide range of geographical areas. For example, some of the regions in which we are currently conducting research are Colombia, Mexico, Scotland, Mainland China, Ecuador, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North America, Indonesia, and Japan. This diversity provides an environment that is both challenging and stimulating in which to pursue your own research goals.

The Department provides as much support as possible, both personal and financial. Faculty members are accessible, and the more advanced graduate students are always more than willing to provide advice and support. The core courses, required for everyone, provide a solid grounding in the sub fields of anthropology, as well as creating opportunities for intellectual and social interactions with students outside your specialty that will continue for the duration of your program. The Department’s colloquium series also provides another informal opportunity for students, faculty and visiting scholars to present and discuss their current research interests.

Pitt’s extensive library system is a wonderful asset for any graduate student. Hillman Library, the primary social science resource center of the University, is conveniently located next to Posvar Hall, home of the Anthropology Department. Examples of the Library’s resources include the Eduardo Lozano Collection, ranked as one of the top Latin American collections in the country, an extensive Asian collection, and the Stark Audio Center. Pitt’s reciprocal agreements with many of the nearby colleges and universities, such as Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne, provide additional archival resources. The Library also maintains an extensive electronic information network, accessible through the campus-wide computer system. All students have a computer account that includes access to any of the many computer labs, a generous printing allowance, and e-mail service. The Department also maintains additional computers and software specifically for graduate student use. We also have fairly extensive archaeology and biological anthropology laboratories.

The urban setting of the campus provides the advantages of nearby, affordable housing, a decent public transportation system which we can generally use for free, easy access to grocery and other shopping, and a wide range of cultural and entertainment choices. Pittsburgh has a long history of ethnic diversity which can still be seen in the many small neighborhoods, each of which has retained its own distinct character. The rivers, parks, and the extensive Carnegie museum and library system all contribute to the unique flavor of the City.

We all have an appreciation for the many personal and academic considerations that are involved in choosing a graduate program. We want you to know that we are available to discuss this process in general, to specifically discuss why we chose the University of Pittsburgh, or to address any other concerns you may have. If you would like to visit the campus to speak to the professors and students, we will be happy to find you a place to stay. If you would like to speak to one of us personally, please e-mail or leave a message with the Department office (412-648-7500) and one of us will contact you.

We wish you success in your efforts and look forward to hearing from you soon.


Graduate Student Representatives and Admissions and Recruitment Committee

Graduate Admissions Student Liaisons

Ian Roa

Carolina Forgit-Knerr

Gretchen Zoeller