Program Requirements

Program Requirements

Graduate students work in one of our four research foci:

  • The evolution of cultural complexity
  • The evolutionary biology of humans: fossils, bones, bodies, behaviors and genes
  • The ecological context of humans in the past and present
  • Demography and the responses of human populations to social and environmental changes

Graduate students work closely with their adviser; before you apply, correspond with the faculty member you would like to work with.

Dual-Title Degrees

Please note that we have several formal dual-title degrees. Even if you are not considering a formal dual-title degree program, all anthropology students are encouraged to work with faculty in other departments and colleges as a normal part of their graduate program.

Program Requirements

All first-year PhD and Masters/IUG students are required to take the three core seminars during the first year of study, typically in the Fall semester:

  • ANTH 560: Ecology, Evolution, and Human Behavior
  • ANTH 571: Principles of Human Evolutionary Biology
  • ANTH 588: Method and Theory in Archaeology

In the Spring of the first year, all PhD students will be required to take:

  • ANTH 572: Advances in Anthropological Methods, and
  • ANTH 573: Anthropology Research Practicum

All students are required to enroll in a one-credit literature review seminar during the first six semesters of study (2 for Master’s students).  These seminars, which are also known as “journal clubs,” meet each week and are attended by faculty and the graduate students for the purpose of reviewing and discussing current articles published in key journals or recent books.

  • ANTH 541: Current Literature in Integrative Anthropology

While in residence, all students are expected to participate regularly in the departmental Colloquium.

The core method and theory courses will serve as the basis for the qualifying exam, which will take place at the end of the first year for all PhD students.  A qualifying exam is required of all students in the PhD graduate program. Scheduling is determined by arrangement with the DGS and appropriate faculty members.

The comprehensive exam consists of a written proposal and an oral defense of the proposal. This “exam” determines the student’s readiness to conduct doctoral research in their area of specialty. Students should schedule the proposal defense by the end of their second or beginning of their third year of study. A final version of the dissertation proposal must be circulated by the student to all committee members at least three weeks in advance of the defense. No examination will be administered until the dissertation committee is satisfied with the proposal.

In order to provide a framework for evaluating student progress, the faculty has devised the following model for the graduate program, including both the master’s and doctoral programs. 

All Masters and PhD students:

  1. Complete all required coursework by the end of the 4th semester.
  2. Complete the SARI requirement by the end of their 4th semester.
  3. Complete the MA paper or thesis and all thirty credits required for the master’s degree by the end of the fourth semester.

PhD students only:

  1. Complete and pass the qualifying exam by the beginning of the third semester.
  2. Complete ANTH 509 (with a grade of B or better) by the end of their third semester.
  3. Assemble a full committee including at least one member from outside the department, and three within, at least one of whom agrees to serve as chair by the end of their 4th semester. If there is a minor or dual-title, there must be a representative from that program on your official committee.
  4. Complete two concurrent semesters (summer sessions not included) of full-time study within a twelve month period to fulfill the University residency requirement.
  5. Complete and defend a doctoral dissertation proposal (comprehensive exam) during the 4th or 5th semesters. After passing this exam, students are considered to have ABD (all but dissertation) standing.  In case of failure, it is the responsibility of the doctoral committee to determine whether the candidate may continue in the program and try again to defend the proposed research.
  6. In all cases, the student must make acceptable progress in order to retain funding. This includes satisfactory teaching assistantship or research assistantship performance; maintenance of a viable committee, etc. Failure to have an adequate evaluation in the spring, or if negative issues arise earlier, may lead to termination of funding as decided by the GAC.

The PhD dissertation is intended to be a demonstration of the ability to plan and execute a research program/project, and to present the results in a form consistent with the professional standards of the student’s special field of research.  Although the process is carried out under the supervision of the doctoral committee, initiative, independence, and originality are expected from the student.

An examination in defense of the thesis is scheduled with the approval of the committee chair.  The timing of this examination should be such that final changes in the dissertation that may result can be incorporated, and the dissertation submitted to the Thesis Office, before graduation deadlines.

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