PhD Program

The emphasis in the Graduate Program is on training candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This degree certifies that, in addition to having a sound knowledge of anthropology as a whole, the holder has been trained to do independent research at a professional level of competence in at least one of the major sub-disciplines of anthropology: archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, or linguistic anthropology.

Course Requirements
The PhD degree requires a minimum of twenty course units (one unit per course); a normal full-time program consists of four units per term. Of these units, at least twelve must be taken at this University. Up to eight course units may be transferred from another institution. Requests for credit transfer are made by the student to the Graduate Group Chair any time after the first year of residence.

All PhD students must complete successfully a core program of four courses in the first year. The first-year courses cover the four subfields of anthropology and are mandated by the Graduate Group (GG) - they are: Anth 600, 602, 603, and 617. Failure to complete the first year core courses with a final grade by the end of the second semester disqualifies a student from continuing in the program. The Graduate Group will determine the action to be taken.

Time Limitation
Students must complete all course requirements, the foreign language requirement, written PhD Preliminary Examination ("Comprehensive Exam") and the Final PhD Examination ("Oral Exam") for the PhD within a period of five consecutive years. The granting of a leave of absence or research leave does not extend this limit. Foreign Language Requirement Candidates for the PhD (and MA) degree in Anthropology are required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language used in written source material or scientific literature relevant to the student's professional career. Examinations may be taken in French, German, Spanish, or Russian (other languages with permission of the Graduate Group). All examinations are arranged by the Department. Students are strongly urged to take the examination at the first opportunity but, in any case, are encouraged to complete the requirement by the end of their second year. Students whose first language is not English are exempt from the requirement.

Comprehensive Examinations (PhD Preliminary)
This examination is taken during the last week of May of the student's first year, following completion of the four first-year core courses. The exam, eight hours on two consecutive mornings, will cover the field of anthropology as presented in the first year core program and will focus upon an integration of the material discussed.

In addition to formal course work, further opportunities for preparation for the Comprehensive Examination include: departmental colloquia and lectures, the basic anthropological references in the Van Pelt Library and the University Museum Library, ethnographic and archaeological collections of the University Museum.

The Comprehensive Examination and the student's first-year academic record are evaluated by the Department faculty within two weeks after the exam. Faculty approval is necessary for candidacy for the PhD, and/or the MA Degree.


At the time of matriculation, students shall work together with the GG Chair to determine an appropriate advisor, if they have not already done so. The advisor will work with the student on a regular basis in order to determine the shape of the student's program from semester to semester. As the student gains familiarity with additional professors within the graduate group, he or she may invite those professors to serve on his or her committee. While the dissertation committee does not have to be finalized until the student is defending the dissertation, it is expected that the core members will be in place by the time the student is defending his or her field statements and dissertation proposal (in most cases, by the end of the third year). When special expertise is required, extra committee members may be appointed from outside the GG or the University. The Advisor is responsible for initiating regular meetings with the student for the purpose of guidance. These meetings occur at least once per semester, at least until the student has passed the oral exam.

When the specialized program has been completed and the recommendations of the student's committee satisfied, the candidate is eligible to stand for the oral examination. At least one year must have lapsed since the Comprehensive Examination.

The oral examination will concentrate mainly on the candidate's specialized fields of interest, theoretically and geographically, and on his/her program of proposed research. The student, in conjunction with his or her advisor, and the GG Chair, will determine the appropriate fields of examination. (See attached list for examples of approved fields). At least one semester in advance, after consulting with her/his Committee, the candidate should reserve a slot and petition the GG Chair to take the examination. Two weeks prior to the exam the candidate is required to submit a written proposal and three statements on areas of concentration for distribution to the exam committee, which must consist of at least five members of the graduate group, including the GG chair. The oral exam is open to all members of the GG.

Within one month following successful completion of the Exam, the candidate, in consultation with the dissertation committee, must produce a final version of the proposal for approval by the Department faculty.

Examples of Approved Subfields for the Final Oral Examination

Geographical Areas
Africa - Sub-Saharan
Asia - East and Central
Asia - South and Central
Asia - Southeast (Mainland and Insular)
Caribbean (including either US or European South American & relevant European & African history/ethnology)
Europe and Circum-Mediterranean
Middle East (Muslim Central Asia to Northern Africa and
Pacific Islands and Australia
United States (including Canada) and Western Europe
Culture Areas
Africa - East, Central, Southern, West
Central America (Native)
Middle East - Central
North America (Native) - West, including the Plains
North America (Native) - Far North
North America (Native) - Northeast and Southeast
South America (Native) - Andean and Circum-Caribbean [archaeology only]
South America (Native) - Tropical Forest, Southeast and South
South Asia (India)
Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking societies
(In some cases an ethnic/linguistic or national group can be considered as a Culture Area)
Ethnographic Types
Complex Societies
Hunters and Gatherers
Acquisition of Language and Culture
Aesthetic Anthropology
Agriculture (all types of food production)
Analysis of Speech and Narrative Styles
Biomedical Anthropology
Cognitive Anthropology
Cognitive Anthropology and Ethnoscience
Complex Societies (including the 'rise of the state')
Corporate Anthropology
Culture and Symbols
Cyberspace and Virtual Communities
Dental Anthropology
Descriptive Linguistics
Economic Anthropology
Environmental Anthropology
Ethnography of Communication
Evolution of Intelligence
Food & Nutrition, Anthro of
Gender Studies
Growth and Development
Historical Archaeology
Historical Linguistics
History of Anthropology (with focus on one subdiscipline)
Material Culture (including 'technology and culture')
Metal Ages
Neurological Basis of Behavior
Old World Pleistocene
Political Anthropology
Primate Behavior
Psychological Anthropology
Public Interest Anthropology
Religion and Symbols
Semiotic Anthropology
Skeletal Biology
Skeletal Population Analysis
Social and Cultural Change
Social Movements
Social Organization
Spatial Organization (including locational analysis)

The PhD dissertation proposal should demonstrate the candidate's ability to plan and execute independent research in accordance with professional standards and to present its results in a manner that is coherent and readily intelligible to fellow professionals. The dissertation is based on the candidate's own field investigation and is written under the direction of a Dissertation Committee appointed by the GG Chair. The Dissertation Committee will consist of an advisor, and two readers normally appointed at the time the candidate passes his/her oral examination. A draft of the dissertation must be submitted to the Dissertation Committee for review before the final copy is prepared. The final copy (consisting of two copies for the University and one copy for the Department) is to be submitted to the GG for final acceptance, according to Graduate Division guidelines. Program Planning

Each student's program of study and research is an individual one and the timing will vary from person to person. Total years to degree has traditionally ranged from 5 (for students transferring in) to 9 (with allowance for MA degree and/or additional time in the field). The following may be used as a general schedule in planning. While this schedule reflects the five year funding package, it is expected that students will apply for external research funds during the fall semester of their third year, which will extend their Ben Franklin funding by a year.

First Year
Fall Semester
Archaeological Core
Cultural Core
Elective Seminar
Spring Semester

Biological Core
Linguistic Core
Elective Seminar

Second Year
Fall Semester

Elective Seminar
Elective Seminar
Elective Seminar
Spring Semester

Elective Seminar
Elective Seminar
Elective Seminar

Third Year
Fall Semester
Proposal Writing Course
Elective Seminar
Elective Seminar
Spring Semester

Independent Study with Advisor (Developing Statements)
Independent Study (Developing Statements)
Elective Seminar

Fourth Year
Field Research

Fifth Year
Dissertation Writing

Comprehensive Exams: End of First Year
Language Exams: End of Second Year
Oral Exams: End of Third Year