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Stony Brook University
Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences
(Established 1982)
Educational Program
Web Site:

Director: Dr. Erik Seiffert
Phone: (631) 632-7606   Fax: (631) 632-9165   E-Mail:
Circle Rd, SBS Bldg. S-501, Stony Brook, New York 11794-4364 UNITED STATES
Department: Anthropology
Institution: Stony Brook University

Mission: The IDPAS is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program leading to the Ph.D. degree that draws upon faculty and resources from the departments of Anthropology, Anatomical Sciences, Asian and Asian American Studies, Ecology and Evolution, Geosciences, and History. The major purpose of the IDPAS is to operate a graduate training program with an emphasis upon training the student to be a first-rate researcher and teacher at a research university. Most IDPAS students have gone on to postdoctoral or tenure-track positions at major universities. Training of students emphasizes the theoretical constructs that govern research and the methods of research in the various fields of anthropological endeavor. This training is accomplished through coursework combined with research. The IDPAS fosters training in research by helping students gain research experience through participation in faculty projects, and then assisting students in the formulation of new cutting-edge research of their own design.

Principal Research Programs: The program began in the 1980s with world-renowned strengths in functional morphology as well as primate and human evolution, and since that time has experienced growth in other areas explicitly designed to complement this foundation. A primate behavior program was built that covers lemurs to apes, Africa to South America, and an archaeology program which specializes in the archaeology of the Near East and East Africa and with focuses in the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and early complex societies.

Training Opportunities: 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 research facilities for the study of lithic technology, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), dental structure and microwear. The physical anthropology laboratories house extensive primate and hominin fossil cast collections, as well as a number of modern human skeletons. In addition, the Institute for Long Island Archaeology (ILIA) maintains a large collection of library and archival materials relating to the history and archaeology of coastal New York.
The Department of Anatomical Sciences has a variety of research facilities based within faculty laboratories and in special laboratories. The facilities cover preparation and molding/casting of fossil material, analysis of comparative anatomy and functional morphology, and microscopic analysis of tissue samples. The Division of Laboratory Animal Resources provides adequate facilities for housing and maintenance of experimental animals. It provides equipment for administration of anesthesia and renders excellent veterinary care. Surgical suites and radiographic equipment are available in the facilities. In addition to the research facilities listed above, the Department of Anatomical Sciences houses an anatomical museum containing an assortment of comparative osteological material and an extensive collection of fossil casts documenting primate and human evolutionary history.
The primate behavior faculty and students are working in Argntina, Central Africa, Indonesia, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Thailand. The archaeology faculty has active field sites in Ethiopia, Long Island, Kenya, Sudan, and Turkey. Paleontological field research is current in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, North America, and South Africa. In addition, the Department of Anthropology is housing the Turkana Basin Institute; an international research institute to facilitate research and education in paleontology, archaeology and geology in the Turkana Basin of Kenya.

Financial Aid: The IDPAS supports ca. 20 students on state teaching assistantships (TA lines). These are awarded on a competitive basis, and the annual stipend in the academic year is $15,145. These awards (and others noted below) come with a tuition scholarship. Teaching responsibilities vary and include assisting in Anthropology and Anatomical Sciences courses, and in the various museums, libraries, and laboratories in the Program. Continued appointment as a teaching assistant requires satisfactory performance of the assigned TA duties. Research Assistantships are available with support comparable to a TA line. The IDPAS also offers competitions for funds for pilot research and for travel to meetings. In addition, the University offers various awards such as e.g., the W. Burkhardt Turner Fellowship for minority students and the Turkana Basin Institute offers graduate fellowships for research in paleontology, archeology and geology in the greater Turkana Basin. The IDPAS has an excellent record in attaining NSF predoctoral fellowships. Students have had great success at attaining NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants, Leakey Foundation Grants, Wenner-Gren Foundation Grants, and many other sources of external funding. For more information contact the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment at (631) 632-6840.

Number of Staff: 40

Associated Field Sites: The International Research Station at Ranomafana National Park called Centre ValBio located in the southeastern part of Madagascar was established by Patricia Wright. The 43,500 hectare National Park contains lowland rain forests, cloud forests, and high plateau forests. The research station consists of a modern campus with laboratories, classrooms, research libraries and a dining hall. Dormitories and computer laboratories should be completed in 2008. The satellite camps in Mangevo, Vohiparara Vatoharanana, and Valohoaka are in pristine forests and several hours walk from the main field station and have no permanent structures. Five genera and 12 species of lemurs occur in this rainforest. A Study Abroad Program of 20-35 students organized by Stony Brook University is based here.

Last Updated: 2011-07-25

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