UCLA » College » Social Sciences » Anthropology
Ph.D. Degree

Students enter the Ph.D Program, based upon a vote of the faculty, at the time the M.A. degree is conferred or, if entering with a master’s degree, when all requirements demonstrating basic knowledge in the field of anthropology are completed.

The Ph.D Degree Program

The Ph.D degree requires further study in a more specialized branch of anthropology, requiring at least one further year of academic study.  Students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the discipline by successful completion of: (1) the Written Qualifying Examination administered by a three-member Departmental Doctoral Committee, (2) the Oral Qualifying Examination administered by a four-member Ph.D Doctoral Committee and, (3) the writing of an original dissertation based on original research.  The dissertation is expected to be a significant contribution to anthropological literature and knowledge.

Students entering the program with an M.A

Students entering the program with an M.A degree, whether or not in anthropology, are required to demonstrate basic knowledge of the discipline before being advanced to the Ph.D Program.  It is expected students will accomplish this during their first year of academic residence through, and in accordance with the procedures and regulations stated in the M.A. Degree Requirements, the following:

  • Nominating a three-member departmental advisory committee
  • Taking the graduate proseminar
  • Completing the core course requirements for their subfield
  • Taking a graduate core seminar only in the student's field of specialization
  • Submitting a prior master's paper or a research paper that was written while in graduate status in their former M.A. program to the student's departmental advisory committee for evaluation.

Only when these requisites have been met are students permitted to begin the requirements for the Ph.D degree.

Students who completed the M.A in Anthropology at UCLA

Students who received their M.A. degree from the Department are expected to enroll in three seminars, each with a different faculty member, between receipt of the master's degree and taking the doctoral qualifying examinations.

Foreign Language Requirement

The department requires proficiency in a second language for all students in the Ph.D. program in Anthropology. It is the responsibility of the student's three-member departmental doctoral committee to determine what language(s) are required for their particular program of study and proficiency requirements, and if the requirement may be waived.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying examinations for the Ph.D degree consist of a written and an oral examination.

The three-member departmental doctoral committee administers the written portion of the qualifying examination. The oral portion of the doctoral qualifying examinations is primarily a defense of the dissertation proposal. Upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations, the student is advanced to doctoral candidacy.

Doctoral Dissertation

Doctoral candidates must complete an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research, and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination

The department does not require a final oral defense of the dissertation, however individual doctoral committees can institute this requirement if they deem it important to do so.

Time to Degree

Students are expected to advance to doctoral candidacy in four years (12 quarters) and complete the doctoral program in six years (18 quarters) from the time since entering the doctoral program, whether or not they received a master’s degree from the department. Full-time students admitted without deficiencies normally progress after receiving the M.A. degree is as follows:

  • Selection of three internal members of the doctoral committee: During second quarter
  • Completion of foreign language requirement, unless exempted: End of third quarter
  • Nomination of four-person doctoral committee: End of third quarter
  • Written and oral qualifying examinations: End of sixth quarter
  • Advancement to candidacy: End of sixth quarter
  • Final oral examinations, if required: End of 18th quarter
  • Filing of dissertation: End of 18th quarter