Graduate Program Requirements

 

The Department of Anthropology offers a Doctoral degree in Anthropology.  We offer training in archaeology, biological, sociocultural, psychological and linguistic anthropology.  The program is designed to provide theoretical background and methodological skills necessary for a career in research and teaching anthropology at the university level, and for the application of anthropological knowledge to contemporary problems.

Students chose one program (archaeology, biological, sociocultural, psychological or linguistic) to specialize in.  Despite the small variations in requirements for each program the only degree title is "Anthropology".  To learn more about each program visit:

 
Program Descriptions
To learn more about the different research and fieldwork our students are particapting in visit their profiles
 
Time to degree

The first two to three years is devoted to coursework, including completing the first year core course sequence, MA requirements and passing the pre-candidacy requirements.  Many of our students conduct fieldwork or laboratory research in the summers and as doctoral candidates during their fourth or fifth years, most often supported by a combination of external and departmental funding.  The final year(s) in the program should be devoted to analyzing and writing up the results for their dissertation. The expected time to complete and defend doctoral dissertation research for the Ph.D is eight years. 

 
First Year Mentors

Each first year students are assigned a faculty Mentor based upon their program interest.  Students meet regularly with their Mentors for course planning and guidance.  To learn more about Anthropology's faculty and their interests visit the Faculty page

 

Foreign Language

Unless a student is planning on fieldwork in English-speaking areas, knowledge of one or more foreign languages may be essential for the successful completion of a Ph.D. in anthropology at UC San Diego. Students will determine specific language requirements for their degree in consultation with the faculty and their doctoral committee.

Master of Arts Degree

Program Requirements for the Masters of Arts Degree


The Anthropology Department does not offer a Master's degree as a terminal degree.  Our students receive a Master's degree en route to their doctoral degree. Students entering the doctoral program must complete a master's degree before continuing toward the doctorate.

Entering students who already have a master's degree in anthropology are not permitted by university regulations to receive a second social science or related field master's degree, but are required by the department to complete the requirements for the master's degree. 

Required Courses:

  • ANTH 230: Departmental Colloquium (4 quarters, 1 unit each)

  • ANTH 281A-B: Introductory Seminars (1 unit each)

  • ANTH 295: Master's Thesis Preparation (1-12 units)

  • Four core courses, as specified in the following sections below for your subdiscipline

  • Six core courses are offered in the graduate program in Anthropology:

    • ANTH 280A. Core Seminar in Social Anthropology (4 units)

    • ANTH 280B. Core Seminar in Cultural Anthropology (4 units)

    • ANTH 280C. Core Seminar in Psychological Anthropology (4 units)

    • ANTH 280D. Core Seminar in Anthropological Archaeology (4 units)

    • ANTH 280E. Core Seminar in Biological Anthropology (4 units)

    • ANTH 280F. Core Seminar in Linguistic Anthropology (4 units)

All students must take at least four of these six core courses by the end of their second year in the program (and preferably during the first year) as a requirement for receiving the Master's degree or for equivalent advancement in the program. The subfields specify particular choices among these core offerings for the students admitted to their respective tracks, as detailed below. The department strongly encourages all students in all subfields to take additional core courses as elective seminars to complete their program.

 

Anthropological Archaeology Core Requirements:

  • 280D (Anthropological Archaeology); and

  • 280E (Biological Anthropology); and

  • Two of the remaining four core courses in Anthropology, selected in consultation with the student's assigned mentor
 

Biological Anthropology Core Requirements:

  • 280E (Biological Anthropology); and

  • 280D (Anthropological Archaeology); and

  • Two of the remaining four core courses in Anthropology, selected in consultation with the student's assigned mentor.
 

Sociocultural Anthropology, Psychological/Medical Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology Core Requirements:

All students in Sociocultural Anthropology and its allied fields of Psychological/Medical and Linguistic Anthropology will take at least four core courses, selected as follows and with the consent of the individual student's faculty mentor. Students identifying two or more areas of concentration must satisfy the requirements of each of these areas.

Core requirements for students in the Sociocultural track:

  • 280A (Social Anthropology); and

  • 280B (Cultural Anthropology); and

  • 280C (Psychological Anthropology) or 280F (Linguistic Anthropology); and

  • 280D (Anthropological Archaeology) or 280E (Biological Anthropology)

 

Core requirements for students in the Psychological/Medical Anthropology track:

  • 280C (Psychological Anthropology); and

  • 280D (Anthropological Archaeology) or 280E (Biological Anthropology); and

  • Two of the following:

    • 280A (Social Anthropology)

    • 280B (Cultural Anthropology)

    • 280F (Linguistic Anthropology)

 

Core requirements for students in the Linguistic Anthropology track:

  • 280F (Linguistic Anthropology); and
  • 280D (Anthropological Archaeology) or 280E (Biological Anthropology); and

  • Two of the following:

    • 280A (Social Anthropology)

    • 280B (Cultural Anthropology)

    • 280C (Psychological Anthropology)
 

Elective Courses

Four elective, letter grade courses are required. These courses can be undergraduate or graduate seminars.  At least two of these elective courses must be within the anthropology department. Other electives may be taken outside of the department with the approval of the department chair or the graduate adviser.

 

Master's Thesis

Students must complete a master's thesis of roughly sixty pages which will be due on the first day of the winter quarter of the student's second year. They must have completed three quarters of coursework in order to begin writing a master's thesis. By the end of the spring quarter of the student's first year, he/she will have a master's committee in consultation with whom he/she will design the thesis. The graduate adviser will be responsible for organizing the masters' committees. The thesis will be literature based but will have its own argument, and will not simply be a review of the literature.

An option open only to anthropological archaeology and biological anthropology students is to make the literature-based thesis (defended by the beginning of the winter quarter of the second year) one component of a larger project involving the collection of original data. Data collection could begin in the summer after the student's first year and analysis of it could continue after the master's thesis has been defended. If the thesis includes the analysis of original data which must be shipped back from the field, the student would write the thesis during the winter quarter and hand it in on the first day of the spring quarter.

Doctoral Degree

Program Requirements for the Doctoral Degree

Continuation in the doctoral program is granted to students who have satisfactorily completed the master's program and who have completed courses and the master's thesis at a level of excellence which indicates promise of professional achievement in anthropology.

Required Courses

  • In order to achieve candidacy, students must complete two additional letter grade electives beyond the four required for the Master's.

Formation of the Doctoral Committee

All students must choose the chair of their doctoral committee by the end of their second year. They must choose two more internal members of the doctoral committee by the end of the fall quarter of their third year. In consultation with the chair of the doctoral committee, two faculty members from outside the department (one of whom must be tenured) should be added to the committee by the end of the winter quarter of the third year.

Anthropologists in other departments who are identified by the faculty may serve as either inside members or outside members of the committee. However, there must be at least two inside members from within the department, and only one outside member may be an anthropologist. The final composition of the committee is approved by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.

The chair of the doctoral committee serves as the student's adviser for the remainder of the student's program.

 

The Fieldwork Proposal

Advancement to candidacy will be based on the submission of two to three position papers and a research proposal.

The position papers are intended as a way for students to demonstrate competence in particular areas of theory, methods, and/or regional studies that are significant to the dissertation research project. The number of the position papers and the specific topics they address is to be formulated in consultation with the student's committee chair and, as appropriate, with other members of the student's dissertation committee. It is expected that the position papers will amount to some 50-60 pages and that the research proposal will be in the 20-30 page range. Students should enroll in directed reading courses (ANTH 298) during the quarters in which they are writing the position papers. Additionally, students should also enroll in ANTH 296A-B during the quarters in which they are writing their dissertation research proposal.

A maximum of three quarters is allowed for the preparation of both the position papers and proposal. The position papers, research proposal, and the oral examination for advancement to candidacy must be completed no later than the end of the spring quarter of the student's fourth year.

 

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to doctoral candidacy must take place no later than the end of the spring quarter of the fourth year. This requires the successful completion of all coursework requirements, the position papers, the dissertation research proposal, and an oral qualifying examination administered by the student's committee. The proposal and position papers must be turned into the student's committee at least three weeks prior to the examination.

Upon petition, students may advance to candidacy as early as the spring quarter of the third year, if all candidacy requirements noted earlier have been satisfied by that time. This requires the agreement of the graduate adviser, the student's dissertation adviser, and other members of his/her committee.

Successful completion of this examination marks the student's advancement to doctoral candidacy. These exams will be open to the extent that university regulations allow.

 

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of the dissertation research project, the student writes a dissertation which must be successfully defended in an oral examination conducted by the doctoral committee and open to the public. This examination may not be conducted earlier than three quarters after the date of advancement to doctoral candidacy.

A full copy of the student's dissertation must be in the hands of each of the student's doctoral committee members four weeks before the dissertation hearing. An abstract of the student's dissertation must be in the hands of all faculty members ten days before the dissertation defense.

It is understood that the edition of the dissertation given to committee members will not be the final form, and that the committee members may suggest changes in the text at the defense. Revisions may be indicated, requiring this examination to be taken more than once.

Acceptance of the dissertation by the university librarian represents the final step in completion of all requirements for the Ph.D.