Graduate Handbook & Petition Information

A Handbook for the Anthropology Doctoral Program by Pitt Students

The Graduate Handbook is written and revised regularly by the Graduate Committee as a guide to current graduate students. This not only outlines the formal curriculum in Anthropology, it charts a course for successful completion of the PhD program, modeled after recent graduate students. The timeline will help prospective and current students keep on top of credit hours, language requirements, fellowship applications, comprehensive examinations, and scheduled completion of the doctoral dissertation. 


You must petition the Graduate Studies Committee several times during your studies. The GSC accepts the petitions listed below at any time during the year; however, if students have pressing petitions and need approval on a shorter timeline, they will need to have submitted their petitions a minimum of three weeks prior to the scheduled faculty meeting. (Faculty meetings typically fall on Fridays, and the schedule of meetings is available via the Department’s Outlook Calendar.) 

Please send an email to Lauren Murn at with your petition request(s) in the body of the email. Please indicate 'PETITION' in the subject field of your email. 

Course Petitions 

Students must petition the GSC to have courses taken outside of the University of Pittsburgh count toward the 30 credits required for the MA or the 72 credits required for the PhD. Students can transfer up to 30 credits from another approved degree-granting graduate program (12 towards formal coursework and 18 towards informal coursework). Students are no longer required to petition to approve graduate-level courses from other Pitt departments; instead, students should consult with mentors on course selection.  

Method and Theory Requirements 

If students wish to waive or substitute different classes for the method and theory requirement other than those listed within the Department of Anthropology, then they must petition the GSC for approval.  

Master’s Advisory Committee 

Graduate students who would like to earn an MA degree must petition the GSC for approval of a master’s advisory committee.  

Comprehensive Exam Committee 

Graduate students must petition the GSC for approval of a comprehensive exam committee. This must be done for each comprehensive exam.  

PhD Dissertation Committee 

The GSC must also be petitioned for the approval of a PhD/Overview advisory committee. Once approved by the GSC the student’s PhD dissertation committee will go to the full faculty for final approval. 


Please send an email to Lauren Murn at with your petition request(s) in the body of the email. Please indicate 'PETITION' in the subject field of your email.