FAQs about the graduate program

Here is a list of the most commonly asked questions concerning applications and the admissions process our graduate program.

I am confused about the online application process. Are there additional instructions or information? 
The Office of Admissions website has an extensive FAQ section that should address your questions. You can find additional information on the Grad College website.

I did not see an address for mailing my transcripts. Where should these be sent?
With the new online application system, you should upload copies of your transcripts. These will be used by our admissions committee as they review your application. If you are offered admission to our department and choose to accept it, at that time you will be required to submit official transcripts to the Office of Admissions. 

Where can I find an application?
The application can be found on the UIC Graduate College website, or here through the Office of Admissions. We provide advice and information on applications for the Anthropology program within this website.

When is the deadline for submitting my application? 
Students should apply online and submit all supporting documents by December 15 for the Fall term (we do not admit students for Spring or Summer entry).

Why is the deadline so early? 
The UIC campus observes reduced mail services towards the end of December. We want to get all the applications in before that happens so that we can use the December holiday to begin processing applications.

I know that graduate school is competitive. How many students apply to the Anthropology program, and how many are accepted each year?
We generally receive over 60 applications each year and accept around 8.

Should I apply for the MA or PhD program? I do not have an MA yet, but I ultimately plan to get a PhD.
Our program is designed for students who intend to obtain a PhD, so you should make clear in your statement of purpose that this is your goal. But to help with processing, if you do not yet have an MA, you should check the MA box on the Office of Admission application.

I only want to earn an MA. Can I still apply for the program?
Although doctoral students must complete an MA during their course of study (or receive credit for an MA degree earned at another institution), we generally do not admit to students who solely seek an MA. 

My BA is in a different field than Anthropology. Will I still be considered for admission into the graduate program?
Yes, we encourage students with BAs from any field to apply to the graduate program. 

I see that you require GRE scores. Is there a required minimal score for my application to be considered? 
We have no required minimal score and will give all aspects of your application careful review. Nevertheless, a high score is considered a strength, and we encourage students to study for the GREs and retake the test if they are not satisfied with their scores.

How much does a graduate education cost at UIC? 
The tuition and fees costs for graduate students are published online by the Admissions Office.

I know that graduate school takes a long time and costs a lot of money. How do your students support themselves? 
Most early students support themselves through teaching assistantships (commonly called TAs). Our advanced students also teach courses in their areas of specialties. Several of our students have national fellowships. The number of TA and lecturer positions varies from year to year. The teaching assistantships are awarded on the basis of several factors including seniority, teaching experience, evaluations and progress towards degree. They are awarded on a semester-by-semester basis.

Do you offer any funding beside Teaching Assistantships?
UIC offers several different fellowships, awards, and scholarships for graduate students. Learn more information about the awards and their requirements.

I am interested in UIC, but I want to learn more about the program and the research of your individual professors. Should I email them directly? 
Absolutely. We encourage students to contact the professors with whom they want to work.

I am a little overwhelmed with trying to find a graduate program. What is the best way to start? 
Perhaps the most important thing that you should do is review the specific professors in the department to see if any of their work matches your interests and might be a good fit for your own study and work. 

Do you accept foreign students into the program?
Yes, as many as 25% of our students are foreign born. They are generally supported through grants they have earned (such as Fulbright fellowships) and teaching assistantships. 

Does your department have "special funds" to support foreign students? 
No, we have no unique funding sources to support the foreign students who wish to study in our program. 

Are there opportunities to take courses as a student-at-large within the Department of Anthropology?
UIC does have a student-at-large program, however, those courses are generally offered at the undergraduate level.  We do not recommend that students who are interested in our graduate program enter UIC as non-degree students.

I would like to take classes as a non-degree student, is that possible? 
UIC does offer opportunities for non-degree students. The program is established for individuals who do not wish to pursue a degree, but want to take courses for professional or scholarly reasons or for personal enrichment. Such individuals may have been out of school for several years, or hold a BA in a different field of study and wish to take a few courses before deciding whether to apply for a degree program. The Anthropology Department does not recommended that students who are interested in an advance degree to enter into the non-degree program as a way to sidestep the graduate degree application procedure. 

I want to learn more about the program. Who should I contact? 
Review the information provided on the faculty pages. In addition the Graduate Program Coordinator (Melanie Kane) can provide information on the application progress and on the general administration of the department. The Director of Graduate Students (Dr. Brian Bauer) can help answer academic questions concerning graduate training. Individual professors can answer questions concerning their research and other training opportunities.

How does the admissions committee work? 
Your admission materials will be read by all members of the admissions committee (around 5 faculty members). The composition of the committee changes each year, but there are always representatives from both UIC and the Field Museum. The committee members will look at your college transcripts, GRE scores, letters, personal statement, and any other materials that you have sent in (i.e. CV or writing samples). Some faculty place more emphasis on previous field work than others, while some look for language skills or unique experiences, and others stress test scores and grades. Regardless, all members of the committee look for evidence of academic excellence and a clear match between your interests and those of our faculty. We have no maximum or minimum number of students that we accept each year.

When will I know if I am accepted? 
The review process generally concludes in early March, and letters are sent in mid-March. Following guidelines accepted by most large Universities, the deadline for acceptance is generally April 15.

Why does it take so long to review the applications? 
There are many steps to the admissions process. Your application will first be reviewed by the Director of Graduate Students to check for completeness and to identify your central academic interests. The Admissions Committee reviews all applications and frequently forwards them to two to four other members of the department for comments. The Admissions Committee then meets to discuss your application, as well as the comments provided by other professors within the department. The Admissions Committee then selects what they feel are the best matches between the applicants and the research and teaching interests of our Department. In short, your materials may well be read by eight different faculty and staff members during the course of the review, and discussed in two to four different meetings.

Are there any articles that you would suggest future graduate student read? 
Yes, there are lots insightful articles online. Here are just a couple to get you started:

- http://m.chronicle.com/article/Welcome-to-Graduate-School/148775/