Image of the Tempietto in Kogan Plaza during cherry blossom season

Hominid Paleobiology

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

The hominid paleobiology doctoral program is the graduate education and training effort of the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology, which promotes interdisciplinary research on human evolution. Because fossils, artifacts and genomes are complex and mostly indirect sources of data for testing evolutionary hypotheses, research questions in human evolutionary studies exemplify the importance of an interdisciplinary approach.

The Ph.D. is a five-year program featuring rigorous core training in hominid paleontology, archaeology, molecular biology, genomics, behavior, and ecology.  The program emphasizes problem-based learning and training and internships in how science is communicated to the public—for example, through TV, news, museums and the Internet.

The first two years of the program primarily consist of coursework, a professional skills and ethics seminar, and participation in two problem-based learning tutorials that integrate original research and coursework from the earliest stages of graduate training. During the second and third years, students participate in two topically distinct laboratory rotations to broaden their research skills. Following the second year, students begin directed research on their doctoral dissertations while participating in a capstone seminar. Students are encouraged to submit their dissertation in a ready-to-publish format by the end of the fifth year.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – December 15

Standardized test scores:

GRE general test (institutional code 5246). Waived for applicants who hold a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.

Recommendations required:

Three (3) recommendations

Prerequisite requirements:

A bachelor’s degree in anthropology, biological sciences, geological sciences, psychology, or other cognate discipline from an accredited college or university. Advanced undergraduate coursework in one or more of the following subjects is desirable: chemistry, biochemistry, physics, geoscience, and calculus.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents and English language requirements.

Please note: The minimum English language test scores required by this program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0, with no individual band score 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on the paper-based test or 100 on the Internet-based test.
  • PTE Academic: 68

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
askccas@gwu.edu ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday