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 Master’s degree

The department does not require any specific courses or number of courses for award of the Ph.D., but students who are entering the graduate program with a Master’s degree, whether or not in anthropology, are required to demonstrate basic knowledge of the discipline before being permitted to begin the requirements for the doctorate. It is expected that students accomplish this during the first year of academic residence through the following:

  • Nominating a three-member departmental advisory committee
  • Completing or demonstrating basic knowledge of the M.A. degree course requirements
  • Submitting to the student's departmental advisory committee, for evaluation, a prior master's paper or a research paper that was written while in graduate status in their former Master’s program.

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. Students will be examined in 3 fields to be determined in consultation with the Doctoral Committee. Students are expected to demonstrate competence in general anthropological theory. 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

Full-time students admitted without deficiencies normally progress as follows:

Entering without a Master’s degree

  • Completion of M.A. degree and approval to begin the Ph.D. requirements: End of sixth quarter
  • Selection of three internal members of the doctoral committee: During ninth quarter
  • Completion of departmentally-monitored foreign language requirement (unless exempted): End of 12th quarter
  • Four-person doctoral committee expected time of nomination: End of 11th quarter
  • Written and oral qualifying examinations (usually taken in same quarter): Expected by end of 12th quarter
  • Advancement to candidacy: Expected by end of 12th quarter
  • Final oral examination (dissertation defense), if applicable: Expected by end of 24th quarter
  • Normative time-to-degree: 24 quarters (8 years)

Entering with a Master’s degree

  • Selection of three internal members of the doctoral committee: During sixth quarter
  • Approval to begin the Ph.D requirements: End of sixth quarter
  • Completion of departmentally-monitored foreign language requirement (unless exempted): End of ninth quarter
  • Four-person doctoral committee expected time of nomination: End of eighth quarter
  • Written and oral qualifying examinations (usually taken in same quarter): Expected by end of ninth quarter
  • Advancement to candidacy: Expected by end of ninth quarter
  • Final oral examination (dissertation defense), if applicable: Expected by end of 21st quarter
  • Expected time-to-degree: 21st quarter (7 years)
  • Normative time-to-degree: 24 quarters

If feasible, students may complete the program before the expected or normative time-to-degree.