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2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  May 29, 2023
2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

Anthropology, Ph.D.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Students will recognize and describe research themes and content area from all sub-fields of anthropology, generalize research findings and approaches across the sub-fields, demonstrate competency in coursework in the four sub-fields of anthropology, and integrate theory and method across at least two sub-fields.
  • Students will be able to describe and evaluate the historical development and contemporary expressions of anthropological theory. They will be able to demonstrate a deeper understanding and more sophisticated use of specific theories related to their dissertation project
  • Students will demonstrate familiarity with theory and/or method of one or more disiplines outside anthropology.
  • Students will engage in the larger community of anthropological professionals by attending conferences, seminars, and other arenas where anthropological theory, methods, and results are presented.
  • Students will demonstrate the skills necessary to engage in professional-level scholarly dialogue, to lead classroom discussions and to present scholarly papers.
  • Students will be able to identify and discuss important ethical issues in anthropology.
  • Students will critically evaluate anthropological research. Through their comprehensive exams and dissertation project, they will demonstrate the skills necessary to design, conduct, analyze, and report the results of a research project.
  • At least 90% of students will find suitable employment in anthropology at the completion of their doctoral degree.  We expect that 80% of anthropology PhD students will complete their dissertations in the median time to degree in the field of anthropology or less (median time to degree post BA: 8-10 yrs.). 

Degree Requirements (30 Post Masters Hours)

Residence and other basic requirements for the degree in anthropology are set by The Graduate School. Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate work beyond the M.A., including 12 hours of dissertation credit (ANTH 899 ). Additional hours may be specified by their advisor and approved by the graduate faculty. Students who enter the anthropology department at USC intending to take the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees will apply for admission to the Ph.D. program upon completion of all requirements for the M.A. (including course work, comprehensive exam, and thesis). Students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.A. in Anthropology or related field from another university must complete the M.A. requirements or demonstrate they have completed similar course work. The required distribution of the 30 hours beyond the M.A. include:

1. Courses required (unless taken at MA level):

2. Subfields are listed below:

One *core course* in each of the three subfields not in the student’s subfield to provide four field anthropological exposure. May be satisfied at the MA level.

3. Coursework within another department or discipline

A minimum of 1 (3-credit hour) course taken in a department/discipline other than anthropology.

4. Course required (unless taken at MA level):

5. Other courses

  • Any other appropriate courses chosen in consultation with the advisor.

6. Dissertation Preparation

A minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation preparation.


Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program will be admitted to candidacy after completing the following requirements: 1) a written and oral exam; 2) demonstration of two research skills (e.g. competency in a foreign language, statistical application, or visual anthropology methods and techniques, etc.); and 3) writing, presenting, and defending a dissertation prospectus. This will normally take place at the end of the first or second year after entering the Ph.D. program (third or fourth year of study after entering the department with a bachelor’s degree).

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