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Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in anthropology is awarded to candidates who have demonstrated specialized competence in one or more of the general fields and who have contributed to the body of knowledge and theory in the specialized field through independent, original research.

Research Skills

In the course of the graduate career, but before the comprehensive examinations, the Ph.D. aspirant must satisfy 1 of the following options:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive reading and speaking knowledge of 1 foreign language relevant to the student’s research interests in which there exists a significant research literature in anthropology.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in the reading of 2 foreign languages relevant to the student’s research interests in which there exists significant research literature in anthropology.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in the reading of one foreign language relevant to the student’s research interests in which there exists a significant research literature in anthropology and demonstrate competence in another research skill relevant to the student’s special research requirements in anthropology. (The latter requirement may be satisfied by a speaking knowledge of a language that the student will employ in fieldwork, but in which there is no written research literature.)
  4. Demonstrate competence in two research skills relevant to the student’s special research requirements in anthropology, provided that the student
  • Has met the undergraduate foreign language proficiency requirement of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of the university as either an undergraduate or a graduate student or
  • Has met at another college or university a foreign language proficiency requirement that is accepted as fulfilling the requirement of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Research skills referred to in options 3 and 4 may be selected from those approved, or the student may propose to the committee a course of study by which he or she may acquire another research skill. Competence in a research skill is certified by the student's advisory committee. Competence in a foreign language is tested and certified by authorized members of the appropriate department.

On completion of a Foreign Language or Other Research Skills requirement, the student should notify the graduate coordinator, who enters it in the student’s permanent record.

Note: Responsible scholarship requirements were approved after this catalog was finalized. Contact your department or program for more information about this requirement for doctoral students.

Residence Requirement

2 semesters, normally consecutive, or 1 semester and 1 summer session must be spent in resident study at KU.

Field Statements

Students must become thoroughly familiar with the literature pertinent to their specializations and doctoral research problems. The student who submits field statements is asserting that he or she has achieved competence in limited areas defined by the subdiscipline, as demonstrated by bibliographies and written treatments of the research problems in those areas. The comprehensive examinations are based on the areas specified in the field statements.

Written and Oral Comprehensive Examinations

The student’s doctoral committee devises and judges the written comprehensive examinations, which may be taken either together or at different times. If the committee is satisfied with the caliber of the student’s field statements and written examinations, it may schedule the oral comprehensive examination, providing all other requirements have been fulfilled.

Dissertation Proposal

From the beginning of doctoral study, the student should plan to conduct a doctoral dissertation project. This is an independent piece of research, usually requiring fieldwork, and leading to a dissertation that contributes to anthropological knowledge.

Defense of the Dissertation

When the dissertation is accepted by the dissertation committee, a final oral examination is held.

Handbook for Graduate Students

Detailed information, application deadlines, and general information may be found in The Graduate Program in Anthropology, available on request from the department (PDF).

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