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Requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees printed in this Guide are those specific to the Department of Anthropology. Students admitted to the Department of Anthropology are subject as well to University degree requirements as described in the Graduate School Record. To acquaint yourself with University requirements, consult the Graduate School Handbook.

Departmental degree requirements change periodically. Assume that the requirements in force when you began your course of study are the set of requirements to be satisfied, except when one chooses to follow more recently established requirements. Procedural changes occur only with the approval of the faculty and the Departmental Chairperson.
A. THE PH.D. (First Stage)

Students admitted into the graduate program are admitted for the Ph.D. degree. The situations under which the M.A. degree is awarded are discussed below.


New students’ initial consultant is the Director of Graduate Studies. Upon arrival in Chapel Hill, new students should contact him or her to work out the first semester’s program of study. Students should feel free to contact any faculty member for advice and help throughout their work here. Students should begin to explore the intellectual interests of each faculty member with the goal of choosing an appropriate person to serve as an advisor during the students’ tenure in the department. This decision does not have to be thought of as permanent in any way, but should be made as early in the first year as seems feasible. The prospective advisor should agree to serve as such, and the student should notify the department by completing the form entitled “Composition of the Graduate Committee.” The form should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies or Ms. Cheek, Student Services Manager.


Incoming students are required to complete a two-semester core course sequence in (1) Sociocultural Theory/Ethnography and (2) Evolution/ Ecology. These courses are to be taken during the student’s first year of graduate study in the department. Core course numbers are 701 (Fall), 202 (Spring) – Sociocultural Theory and Ethnography and 703 (Fall) and 704 (Spring) – Evolution and Ecology. All students (whatever their disciplinary background, and including transfer students) are required to take these seminars, and to do so with the cohort of students they enter the department with.


The remaining requirements are grouped into three categories: (1) Concentration or Program Courses, (2) Area Courses, and (3) Professional Preparation Courses. The student should consult with his or her faculty advisor when choosing which courses to take. The requirements are set out in more detail below.

(1) Concentration or Program Courses. Requirement, minimum of three. Consult the individual concentration and program descriptions to see which courses will satisfy this requirement.

(2) Area Courses. Requirement, minimum of one. The area course should be selected from among the following:

205 Anthropology of the South
126 Africa: Peoples and Culture
127 Aboriginal Cultures of Mexico and Central America
128 African/Afro-American Cultural Heritage
429 Southeast Asia: Peoples and Cultures
230 Native North American Cultures
132 Latin American Cultures
574 Chinese World Views
377 European Societies
733 Advanced Seminar in Caribbean Studies
770 Seminar on Anthropological Perspectives on Latin America

Occasionally a student may have a compelling reason to substitute a reading course or a course from outside of the department for this requirement. Substitutions must be approved in advance by the  Director of Graduate Studies; they must be limited in their geographical scope and predominantly ethnographic in their content.

(3) Professional Preparation Courses. Requirement, one. The Professional Preparation Course must be selected from the following list:

710 Writing and Publishing in Anthropology
817 The Concept of Teaching of General Anthropology
827 or 828 (When taught as Research Design courses)

[While any of these courses will satisfy the Ph.D. requirement, please note that successful completion of Anth 817 is a prerequisite for students who wish to serve as Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs) in the department, Summer School, or Continuing Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies can grant exemptions to this policy in individual cases, if the student can provide evidence of experience and proficiency in undergraduate teaching of Anthropology.]


At the end of the first year, the student will be evaluated for continuation in the Ph.D. program. The evaluation will be formulated by the faculty as a whole on the basis of (1) the recommendations of the professors in the student’s first year core courses who meet to discuss the student’s performance, and (2) on additional information supplied by other faculty who have taught or otherwise interacted with the student.


Students interested in the Program in Medical Anthropology or the Program in Archaeology should identify that interest to the Director of Gradutate Studies upon entering the department their first year. Other students are advised to choose their Concentrations early in their studies, and no later than the end of their third semester. The choice of Concentration should be indicated in the Ph.D. Study Plan. Students are expected to take at least three courses in their chosen Concentration and, in consultation with their advisors, select other courses according to the guidelines listed in the descriptions of the Concentrations (Section II, A). The choice of a particular Concentration should serve to focus the student’s advanced training and preparation for the Ph.D. examinations. The issues and information which form the particular subject matter of each of the three Concentrations should not, however, be thought of as separate or mutually exclusive. Within any particular Concentration, the choice of a specific subfield or topic will define the focus for the student’s subsequent specialization and dissertation research.


Before the end of the third semester of graduate study, the student, in consultation with his or her advisor, will select a three member advisory committee. Members of the committee must be members of the Department of Anthropology faculty, adjunct faculty, or senior faculty associates. All are listed in the Graduate School Record. To formally constitute the committee, complete the “Composition of the Graduate Committee” form and submit it to the  Director of Graduate Studies.

A faculty representative from one or more departments in this University, other than Anthropology, may be added to the committee of three when his or her interests or competencies are relevant to the student’s program of study. It is not necessary for the student to have taken a formal minor in the department of such faculty representative.

The committee should meet whenever necessary to consider the student’s progress. The meetings should be both advisory and evaluative, and the committee chairperson should file a report in the student’s folder after each meeting. Reports could include open-ended comments, as well as evaluations of the student’s achievements and potential in theoretical sophistication, methodological competence, diligence, creativity, or knowledge of the field.


Each student is required to research and write a Fourth Semester Paper (FSP), to be presented to the department during the fourth semester of graduate study.  In collaboration with a three member Advisory Committee, the student prepares the paper during the third and fourth semesters.




1)  Selection of Advisory Committee.


The student’s Advisory Committee will oversee preparation of the FSP. Students should select a primary advisor and two other faculty members to form a three-person advisory committee by the end of their second semester.  Although the advisory committee may form a portion of the dissertation committee (which is normally established in full by the end of the fifth semester), the student is free to choose different members for the two committees.  A form identifying the student’s Advisory Committee must be filed with the department by the last day of classes of the student’s second semester.  Note that it is possible to change the members of the committee should there be good reason to do so.


2) Option to Substitute.


If a student has already completed a writing project that is equivalent in content and scope to an FSP (as outlined below in section 3), the student may formally petition the department to accept this work as a substitute for the FSP requirement.  Normally, this substitute is either a Master’s thesis already accepted by another university department, a paper accepted for publication, or one that is already published.  No later than March 1 during the student’s second semester, the petition is made in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies, who then refers the matter to the student’s Advisory Committee.  It is the student’s responsibility to formulate this committee prior to submitting the petition. The committee then reviews the submitted work and comes to a decision as to whether it constitutes an acceptable substitute.  The chair of the Advisory Committee must communicate this decision in writing to both the student and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) by the last day of classes in that semester.  The committee’s decision must be made on the work as submitted; if revisions are necessary in order to make the work acceptable, then these may be done in the context of submitting a regular FSP.  If the substitution is approved, the student is expected to use the time that otherwise would have been devoted to the FSP making significant progress toward the PhD.


3) Preparation of the Paper.


In many cases, data collection will form part of the student’s FSP activities.  In those cases, planning must be early in order to facilitate arrangements for the summer, and (if needed) for obtaining Human Research Ethics clearance in advance of data collection.  Thus, students are advised to begin thinking about and making preliminary plans for the paper well in advance of the fourth semester.  The topic should be finalized by the end of the second semester or the beginning of the third.  Many students take a reading course with their primary advisor in the second or third semester for the purpose of conducting research toward their FSP.


The topic for the FSP is chosen by the student in consultation with the student’s Advisory Committee.  While not required, it is often the case that topics for research and writing spring from work done in the Core courses or other of the student’s courses.  FSPs are a gauge of a student’s ability to discuss anthropological research and to write at a graduate level. Therefore, while students might choose to write on topics not explicitly anthropological by convention, FSPs must relate their thesis and argument to theoretical, methodological, or factual issues characteristic of some branch of anthropology.


FSPs may follow several formats: (1) an analytical essay/paper with a central thematic focus (or research question) based on existing research (or literature), (2) an analytical paper which includes a research question, original data collection, analysis, and interpretation, or (3) a publishable article or book chapter that can be a revision of an existing Master’s thesis.  For any of these options, a length between 20 and 60 pages (double spaced) of text (excluding bibliography, tables, figures, footnotes, etc.) is typical.  Students are encouraged to examine previous FSPs on file with faculty members or fellow graduate students.


If research for an FSP entails study of individual people, then the student’s research must be approved by the Office of Human Research Ethics (Behavioral IRB).  Information and guidelines on the protection of people involved in your research as informants or sources of data, as well as an outline for preparing a report on your research, are found on the university’s web site (see link below).  Forms are available online and in the Department office.  Note that application for IRB approval requires certification of training in ethical and regulatory obligations entailed in the conduct of research involving human participants or subjects (


Students are advised to establish a timeline for FSP completion with their Advisory Committee by September 1st of their third semester, and to circulate outlines and preliminary drafts of the paper among members of their Advisory Committee throughout the process.  Ideally, a complete draft of the paper should be delivered to the student’s primary advisor by March 1, and to the entire Advisory Committee by March 15, so they have a chance to review it and provide comments before final submission.


FSPs should be formatted and prepared in accordance with the guidelines for the preparation of manuscripts of a major anthropological journal (e.g., American Anthropologist, American Antiquity, American Journal of Physical Anthropology).


Each student who submits an FSP must register for at least one credit hour of Anth 901 with the DGS during the semester in which the paper is submitted.


4) Submission of Papers.


The student will place three copies of the FSP on file in the department office on or before April 1st.  If spring break falls on this date, then FSPs must be delivered to the department office no later than the first Monday after spring break.


All department faculty are invited to read and evaluate FSPs. At a minimum, however, each paper will be read by the student’s Advisory Committee and reviewed by the FSP Review Committee.  The Advisory Committee will prepare a brief written report of its evaluation of the FSP and will submit this report to the general faculty, the DGS, and the Chair of the department prior to the faculty meeting at which the FSPs will be discussed. The evaluation will be done with following scale: High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail.  The chair of the FSP Review Committee will also report that Committee’s evaluation to the same parties, focusing specifically on whether each paper meets the minimal criteria for an acceptable FSP.


If the FSP Review Committee finds problems with a paper that would merit a failing evaluation, they will confer with the student’s Advisory Committee and the DGS and develop a suggested course of revision at least one week prior to the scheduled general faculty discussion of the papers.


Continuation in the graduate program and eligibility for funding are dependent upon successfully completing the graduate core courses and satisfying the FSP requirement by the deadline.  However, exceptional cases do occur (illness or unexpected emergencies) and they warrant some consideration.  In such cases, the student will petition their primary advisor at least 48 hours prior to the due date and the advisor will discuss the possibility of an extension with the director of graduate studies.  If an extension is granted, the student should move to rectify any unacceptable or incomplete graduate work as soon as possible to avoid displacement in their funding priorities, as well as to avoid falling behind in their graduate study commitments.


At the end of the student’s fourth semester, the faculty, after reviewing the student’s course work, FSP (if required), and Ph.D. study plan, makes a decision approving or denying the student’s continuation in the graduate program.  The faculty also approves the final grade for each FSP, which is duly recorded by the DGS in Anth 901.



The student should file a Study Plan (prepared with the help of the student’s advisor and advisory committee) no later than March 1st of their fourth semester.  The study plan is intended to provide a design for the student’s final coursework and their intended dissertation topic.  While not a requirement, convening the advisory committee to discuss the construction of the Ph.D. study plan will undoubtedly facilitate the successful plan completion (see the four responsibilities of the committee below).

a.  Construction of the Ph.D. Study Plan

It is the responsibility of the student’s advisory committee, immediately after its formation, to:

·        Review with the student the substance of his or her previous work, the nature of his or her
special interests (both topical and geographic), and any need for additional work,

·        Achieve a clear working agreement with the student as to his or her knowledge of the chosen
specialty and, if relevant, its ethnographic expression,

·        Decide how the student will satisfy language requirements stated below in Section III.C.,

·        Construct, in consultation with the student, the student’s Ph.D. Study Plan: a comprehensive
written schedule of anticipated course work, examinations, field research activity, and a
dissertation project (taking into account as fully as possible the student’s research objectives,
personal situation, and most probable sources of research funds).  See Appendix E for the
suggested form for the Ph.D. Study Plan.

b.  Distribution and Review of the Ph.D. Study Plan:

It is the joint responsibility of the student and the advisory committee to insure that the Ph.D. Study Plan is completed and a copy with the advisor’s signature filed in the main department office by March 1st of the fourth semester.

The Ph.D. Study Plan will be available to all faculty members in the main department office for their information and to enable them to raise questions, make comments, or request further information prior to, or during, the faculty meeting to evaluate the progress of second year students. Former students seeking to re-enter the graduate program are normally required to prepare and distribute a Study Plan for departmental review.  In such cases they may follow the procedures in effect when they entered the program (described in earlier editions of this Guide) or those described here.


Near the end of the second year, the student will be evaluated by the faculty as a whole for continuation in the Ph.D. program. The evaluation will be based on a reading of the fourth semester paper by the student’s committee and other interested faculty members, on the faculty’s review of the student’s Ph.D. study plan, and on any additional statements supplied by any faculty member who has a special interest in the student’s performance. The faculty will decide whether or not to accept the student’s fourth semester paper, and whether or not to accept the student’s Ph.D. Study Plan. In either case approval may be made conditional upon certain amendments or modifications. The Director of Graduate Studies will notify the student in writing of the faculty’s decision as soon as possible after the evaluation. If the decision is positive, the student’s Study Plan will be declared in effect. The student’s advisor is responsible for conveying to the student the details of the review, and the nature of comments and suggestions made by the faculty in their review of the student’s progress.


The M.A. degree can be awarded under the following circumstances:

a. M.A. as completion of the M.A. in Anthropology for Health Professionals curriculum. (See Section II, C, above).

b. M.A. as exit degree. A student who will not be continuing in the Ph.D. program will be awarded the M.A. degree when requirements 2 through 6 are completed to a level of competency that satisfies the faculty that the M.A. is deserved.

c. M.A. as optional degree en route to Ph.D. Students continuing on to the second stage of the Ph.D. will be awarded the M.A. degree if they request it. Students are encouraged to request the award of this degree if they are planning to seek employment before completing the Ph.D.

Students receiving the M.A., either as an exit degree or as an optional degree en route to the Ph.D., must complete the following:

a. the degree requirements set by the Graduate School, i.e., 30 hours of coursework, including a minimum of 3 hours of thesis registration (ANTH. 993). Details are given in the Graduate School Handbook.

b. the language requirement.

c. the submission of an accepted thesis. In most cases this will be a revised version of the Fourth Semester Paper. Please consult the Thesis and Dissertation Guide available from the Graduate School.

d. the M.A. oral examination (it has been the practice of the department to provide the M.A. oral examination in two parts, a defense of the thesis, and an oral comprehensive, a more general examination of the candidate’s understanding of anthropology and the place of the thesis in the wider field).

In order to be awarded the M.A. degree at the next Commencement, the student, after successfully defending the M.A. thesis in the oral examination, should submit the Master’s Comprehensive Exam Reportpdf icon (for the M.A. degree) to the Director of Graduate Studies.   The student should also indicate to the Director of Graduate Studies how the student has met the Language/Skill requirement referred to in 10.b above.  Once notification of successful defense of the M.A. thesis has been received from the M.A. thesis committee chairperson, the Director of Graduate Studies will endorse the student’s Application for Graduation, and forward it on to the Graduate School.

The Application for Graduation must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline for the semester in which the student will complete the M.A.   This deadline falls near the beginning of each semester, and is available from the Graduate School.  It is the student’s responsibility to submit the Application sufficiently early to the Director of Graduate Studies so as to allow enough time for the proper submission of the Application to the Graduate School.
B. THE PH.D. (Second Stage)

The Ph.D. degree requires specialization in a defined area of study, and the completion of an acceptable dissertation based on original, creative research on some problem within this defined area. Our program is quite flexible; any area and problem of interest can be selected for study — provided they meet the approval of your advisor, Ph.D. committee, and the general faculty. Working in consultation with your advisor and committee, students are encouraged to begin the process of seeking funding for their research as early as possible. In addition, you will prepare and submit to your committee, a proposal for dissertation research — this document is the basis of your written and oral examinations. After completing these examinations, you will carry out dissertation research and writing.


By the end of the fifth semester of study, students should finalize their faculty advisory committee which is responsible for planning, scheduling, supervising, and evaluating work leading to the Ph.D. degree.

In most cases the degree committee chairperson, who is primarily responsible for administering the various formal stages of the student’s education, is also the student’s thesis or dissertation advisor, i.e., the member of the faculty whose specialties correspond most closely with the student’s own and who is thus primarily responsible for providing the student with intellectual guidance. It is within University policy, however, to divide the functions of committee chairperson and dissertation advisor between two persons if there is a sound reason for doing so in a particular case.

Along with the committee chairperson, who must be a tenured, tenure-track, or adjunct member of the department, the committee should include two additional members of the anthropology faculty. These three core members of the Ph.D. committee are normally, but not necessarily, the same people who formed the student’s committee during the first stage of the Ph.D. In addition, two other professors will be selected to aid in the development and evaluation of the student’s proposal, Ph.D. examinations, research, and dissertation. An emeritus professor can be a full member of the committee.

The advisory committee is formally constituted when the student submits the “Report of Doctoral Committee Compositionpdf icon” form to the Director of Graduate Studies.


The Ph.D. examination committee must consist of at least five persons who have full, limited, or special appointee status on the Graduate Faculty. The composition of the committee must satisfy the requirements of the Graduate School and the following requirements of the department:

a. At least two members of the committee shall be either

i. tenured or tenure-track faculty members of the department, or
ii. adjunct faculty members of the department who are on the University staff.

b. Of the remaining members, at least two must be either

i. tenured or tenure-track faculty members of the department,
ii. senior faculty associates of the department,
iii. other departmental faculty who have been granted by the Graduate School the status of a “limited” member of the Graduate Faculty, or
iv. some combination of the above.

c. The fifth member may be selected from outside the department or from off-campus.


Prior to, or at the time of initiation of a dissertation proposal, it is the responsibility of the committee chairperson to submit the form Report of Doctoral Committee Compositionpdf icon, to the Director of Graduate Studies. The dissertation committee is nominated to the Graduate School by the  Director of Graduate Studies and appointed by the Dean. All subsequent changes in the composition of a doctoral dissertation committee must be similarly approved. Students proposing a committee, or change in an existing committee, must inform the Director of Graduate Studies.

If it is desirable to have an off-campus member of a Ph.D. committee, the committee chairperson should submit to the Director of Graduate Studies the Recommendation for Fixed Term Appointment for nominating the individual to the graduate faculty and a copy of the nominee’s vitae.


In setting up Ph.D. advisory committees, the department delegates responsibilities to certain colleagues. This implies that it has confidence in them to carry out responsibilities to the student, to the department, to the University, and to the profession to the best of their ability.

The trust placed in the committee must be reciprocated by the committee taking under serious consideration the suggestions or criticisms made by other members of the faculty. The committee should consider itself accountable for the actions it takes, or does not take, in response to faculty comments on the Ph.D. Study Plan.

A student’s Ph.D. committee is responsible for supervising progress and for periodic consulting (formally or informally) as either party feels necessary, but certainly once each semester. When a committee member is absent from the University for an extended period of time, that member is responsible for arranging for a replacement in consultation with the committee, the Departmental Chairperson, and the student involved. Should any changes in the student’s Study Plan become necessary, the committee must discuss them with the Departmental Chairperson and notify the entire faculty in writing. When the student is carrying out research away from the department, hence not in residence, the committee should continue to review the progress of the student’s project.


A student nearing the end of course work will prepare four documents to serve as guides in the design of written and oral Ph.D. examinations:

a. A Curriculum vitae (see Appendix G for the suggested form of a Curriculum vitae). In addition to the usual information, the Curriculum vitae circulated prior to the Ph.D. Examinations should also include a list of all coursework and other academic preparation.

b. A Statement of the background knowledge relevant to the student’s further work.  The statement briefly (five pages or less) but comprehensively will define the student’s area of special interests and competency; and is therefore a suitable basis for determining the content of the written and oral examinations.

c. A proposal for dissertation research, the acceptability of which will be determined independent of decisions of funding agencies to whom the student may have applied by submitting a similar proposal.

d. A statement noting the date of approval of the proposal by the University’s Institutional Review Board on the Use of Human Subjects in Research.  If approval is pending, that should be noted.  Proposals should be submitted to this committee for review well in advance of the examinations (See Appendix 1 and A Guide to the IRB Process for submission guidelines).


With the approval of the Ph.D. committee, the student should be prepared by the end of the sixth semester to distribute copies of the above documents, and announce the time and place of the written and oral examinations by memorandum, to the entire department at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled date of the examinations (see Appendix F for the suggested form for the covering memo to accompany the Documents Preceding the Ph.D. Examinations).

Ph.D. examinations will not be held between Fall and Spring semesters, or during the summer, scheduled holiday periods or within-semester breaks, except with the prior, unanimous consent of the faculty. It should be noted that the faculty almost never grant exceptions to this policy.

Permission of the full faculty is needed for a student to go beyond the eighth semester in the program without having taken the exams.


It is the responsibility of the chairperson of the dissertation committee to submit the form (see above), if this form has not already been submitted.  The doctoral examinations could be invalid if the composition of the committee has not been approved by the Graduate School.

The committee will compose the written part of the examination (to last no more than 8 hours), administer it to the student, grade it, and place both the examination questions and answers on file in the departmental office. Any non-committee member who wishes to attend the oral examination must inform the committee chairperson within one week after the distribution of the above mentioned documents. It is expected that the committee will consider both written and oral performance in reaching its final evaluation of the student. During the oral examination, the student will be expected to defend any answer on the written examination with which faculty members were dissatisfied and to be examined on his or her minor field or fields, if any. The oral examination also includes an evaluation of the quality and feasibility of the student’s dissertation project.

Even though the formal requirements of the Ph.D. program focus around formal examinations and a research dissertation oriented toward a specialty, it is important that the student acquire a sound education in general anthropology.

The committee chairperson will report the results of the written and oral examinations to the Departmental Chairperson as promptly as possible, and the latter will arrange to have the results of the examination reported to the entire department. It is also the committee chairperson’s responsibility to submit, in duplicate, the Doctoral Exam Reportpdf icon form.


Following successful completion of the Ph.D. written and oral examinations, the student should fill out the top half of the Application for Admission to Candidacypdf icon in duplicate, and give these forms to his or her committee chairperson. The committee chairperson should fill in the requested information concerning language requirements, verify that all other requirements have been met, and pass the forms to the Director of Graduate Studies, who is to sign them and forward one copy to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will grant candidacy status only if the student has completed all Ph.D. coursework requirements, passed the written and first oral (i.e., “comprehensive”) exams, and satisfied the Ph.D. language requirement.


Following the successful completion of the Ph.D. examinations, the student normally undertakes research and completes a dissertation under the supervision of his or her Ph.D. committee.

While not a formal degree requirement, it is expected that students engaged in writing their dissertations will make a presentation based on their research in the Departmental Seminars.

After completing the dissertation, it must be defended during a final oral examination attended by a five-person examination committee constituted according to the above defined principles.

The committee chairperson should announce the time and place of the final oral examination, by memorandum to the entire department, at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled date of the examinations. The student is responsible for placing one copy of the final draft of the dissertation on file in the departmental office at least one week before the final oral examination. Any non-committee member who wishes to attend the final oral examinatihn must inform the committee chairperson at least three days before the date of the defense.

Students will not be permitted to defend dissertations between Fall and Spring semesters, or during the summer, scheduled holiday periods or within semester breaks, except with the prior unanimous consent of faculty. Similarly, only dates on which the University is in session can be counted in the required two week period between the announcement and the final oral examination.

The final oral examination should be held with respect to the final draft of the dissertation. The dissertation is not registered with the Graduate School prior to the oral examination. The committee chairperson is responsible for determining that the manuscript is in a form appropriate for evaluation. It is the student’s responsibility to distribute sufficient copies of the dissertation to the committee to allow each member the opportunity to evaluate the document well before the defense.

After the final oral examination, it is the responsibility of the committee chairperson to complete and submit the Doctoral Exam Report (see above), in duplicate, to the Student Services Manager. This form is forwarded to the Graduate School.

It is the student’s responsibility to deposit two copies of the dissertation with the Graduate School, in final form, along with two extra copies of the abstract. The title page must be signed by at least three members of the committee.

These submissions complete the student’s Ph.D. program.

The language requirements for the Ph.D. may be met by completing any two of the six tasks described below. The language requirements for the M.A. may be met by completing task “a”, “d”, or “f”. Completion of one of these tasks counts as completion of one of the two tasks required for the Ph.D.

Completion of task “f”, substitution of appropriate research skills courses, cannot be used to fulfill both of a student’s language requirements; the intent of these requirements is that at least one of the two language requirements be met through knowledge of a natural language.


a. Pass the standard course (102X), test (ETS), or transfer requirement as described in the Graduate School Handbook for one of the following languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Russian.
b. Pass the standard course, test, or transfer requirement for one of the following languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Russian (which was not chosen to fulfill task “a”).

c. Demonstrate advance competence in French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Russian by passing a 100-level course other than 101X or 102X, conducted in one of these languages or whose Required reading primarily is in one of these languages. It is expected that the language selected for task “c” will be the same as for Task “a”.
d. Demonstrate competence in a language other than French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Russian which is demonstrably relevant to the student’s thesis, dissertation, or specialty by passing a course or test in that language, considered by the student’s M.A. or Ph.D. committee to be of a level at least equal to 102X.
e. Demonstrate competence in a language demonstrably relevant to the student’s dissertation research or academic specialty, but for which no formal course or test is available, by whatever means the student can devise which satisfies his or her Ph.D. committee.
f. Pass two research skill courses approved by the student’s Ph.D. committee and the department as integral to thesis or dissertation research. Acceptable courses could be in topics such as these: phonological analysis (for research requiring knowledge of an unwritten language), cartography or soil analysis (for archaeological research), biostatistics (for research in physical anthropology), psychological testing (for research in psychological anthropology), survey methods (for research in social anthropology), statistics and computer science (for quantitative analysis), demographic analysis (for research in population anthropology), epidemiological measurement (for research in medical anthropology), or oral history methodology. In addition to being demonstrably relevant to the student’s research, such courses (with the exception of Anth. 725 and 726) must be offered by departments other than Anthropology, emphasize method rather than fact or theory, and be at the 100-level or above. Courses counted toward the research skill requirements may not be counted toward other M.A. or Ph.D. requirements in Anthropology.


  1. Tasks a and b. Self-explanatory.
  2. Tasks c. By completing task c, the student will be encouraged to develop usable rather than token competence in at least one language.
  3. Tasks d and e. Since anthropologists typically specialize in studying non-Western regions, they must learn non-Western languages. Although a few such languages are taught as standard courses, most of the languages and dialects in which the anthropology student carries out field research are not. The student then, will be allowed partially to satisfy language requirements by competence in a field language not taught in a course. The student must devise the means of demonstrating competence to the satisfaction of the Ph.D. committee. Such demonstration might easily be arranged if a committee member were competent in the language, and could examine the student. Other possible arrangements include examination by a native speaker of the language. The burden of proof of competence is placed on the student, and the burden of assessment of competence is placed on the committee. The committee, however, must submit its final decision for approval by the Director of Gradutate Studies. The Director of Gradutate Studies can rule on the committee’s action or refer the decision to the faculty.
  4. Task f. Each Ph.D. committee will be allowed flexibility in deciding what skills best serve a particular student’s research. The committee must, of course, conform to the guidelines mentioned above, and submit its recommendation to the Director of Gradutate Studies, and faculty, for approval.


International students for whom English is a second language can use English as one of the languages to fulfill their foreign language requirements. Completion of one of the following tasks counts as completion of the M.A. language requirement or as one of the two tasks required for the Ph.D.:

  1. Pass the English English Proficiency Examination which is administered when one enters the graduate program.
  2. Pass Linguistics 116X.
  3. Demonstrate competence in English at a level considered sufficient by the student’s MA or PhD committee. In addition to direct interaction with the student, the committee may consider evidence such as the following as demonstrating proficiency in English: completion of a degree at an institution at which English is the primary language of instruction; employment in a position for which English is the primary language of communication.


For those students receiving the M.A. degree, completion of the first language requirement is reported on the form Application for Admission to Candidacy for A Master’s Degree. This form should be filled out by the student. The committee chairperson should verify the information to the Director of Gradutate Studies, who signs the form before its submission to the Graduate School.

For the Ph.D. degree, completion of language requirements is reported on two forms: Report of the First Doctoral Oral Examination (i.e., oral comprehensive exam), to be filled out, in duplicate, by the committee chairperson, signed by all members of the committee, and submitted through the departmental office to the Graduate School, and Application for Admission to Candidacy for a Doctoral Degree, to be filled out, in duplicate, by the student and the committee chairperson, signed by the Director of Gradutate Studies, and submitted to the Graduate School.