Graduate Anthropology Program

Funding and Awards

The Anthropology Department offers several graduate assistantships for teaching and research. These are nine month appointments at 20 hours a week. These are awarded competitively using information from the graduate applications and annual evaluations. The tuition waivers that accompany graduate assistantship awards are described at Tuition Waivers.

In addition, the Anthropology Department offers annual awards for graduate student research and travel (the Morris E. Opler Memorial Scholarship and the Rain Vehik Award). More information about these scholarships is given below. The Graduate College and the Graduate Student Senate have competitions for research and travel grants as well. For information on tuition and fees, you may use the Office of the Bursar tuition estimator. Also, please let the department's Graduate Liaison know if you are a McNair scholar, as the deadline for McNair applicants is earlier than the OU graduate deadline. For general inquiries about financial aid, visit the website of OU's Financial Aid Office.


The Department of Anthropology sponsors two annual scholarship competitions, which are due on October 15 and April 1. The Scholarship Committee prefers not to fund travel to conferences or research that has already happened. The Rain Vehik Memorial Fund was established to offer assistance to graduate students participating in scholarly conferences and workshops, especially the Plains Anthropological Conference.

To Apply, download and fill out the Application Form.

Morris E. Opler Memorial Scholarships


Dr. Morris E. Opler (1907-1996), a leading scholar of Native American peoples, taught at the University of Oklahoma from 1969 to 1977 when he retired as Emeritus Professor of Anthropology. Dr. Opler received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1933. His dissertation research began his long association with Apachean peoples of the Southwest and Plains. He authored numerous journal articles and several books on the culture and history of the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, and Plains Apache (Kiowa Apache). Dr. Opler also did important research on the Indian sub-continent. Among his many honors, Dr. Opler was past President of the American Anthropological Association. Morris Opler book cover

Graduate students may apply for an Opler scholarship. Lucille Ritter Opler established this endowed fund in memory of her husband, Dr. Morris E. Opler, to provide scholarships to deserving anthropology students at the University of Oklahoma. Morris Opler was a leading scholar of Native North America. A specialist on Apachean people, he authored numerous articles in scholarly journals and wrote several books on the culture and history of the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, and Plains Apache (Kiowa Apache). Dr. Opler was a member of the University of Oklahoma Department of Anthropology faculty for nearly two decades, having served here after a distinguished teaching and research career at Cornell University. Much respected for his knowledge and teaching ability, he retired as Professor Emeritus from the University of Oklahoma in 1977 and passed away in 1996.

The Opler Scholarship competition will be conducted twice yearly and is open to all graduate students in anthropology. Students may submit a proposal for the following:

    • Travel to a conference for paper presentation
    • Funding for a significant component of a research project
    • Partial tuition for a field school
    • Travel for study abroad

Rain Vehik Award

The Rain Vehik Memorial Fund offers grants to Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma, students participating in scholarly conferences and workshops. The grants are designed to encourage anthropology students to actively contribute to professional conferences. The awards are not meant to stand alone but are intended to supplement other resources, such as those provided by the Graduate Student Senate and the Graduate College. Higher priority is given to students attending the annual Plains Anthropological Conference, although awards for other conferences will be granted if sufficient funds are available. Awards may also vary in amount depending on the level of participation. Students not formally participating in the conference (i.e., paper, poster, or workshop participant) are not eligible for awards. Each student is eligible for only one award per academic year.

Eligibility Requirements
The applicant must be enrolled as a graduate or undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma. Preference will be given to anthropology graduate students or anthropology undergraduate majors, although others may be considered.The applicant must be in good standing within his or her department.

Eligible Expenses

  • Conference registration fees.
  • Travel expenses: plane, train, or bus fares, car rental outside Oklahoma, airport parking, and mileage.
  • Lodging at current OU rates.
  • Food at current OU rates.

Awardees must work with the department secretary before any travel is arranged to be certain that university requirements are met.