The doctorate requires 72 credits at the graduate level, comprising at least 54 of course work (the remaining 18 may be non-topical research), and the successful completion of a dissertation. Students entering with an M.A. degree can transfer up to 24 credits.
The doctoral requirements reflect the department’s commitment to a critical assessment of the history of anthropology, to an integrated approach across the sub-disciplines (socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics), and to a program flexibly shaped to the particular needs and goals of each student.
During their first year, students take two “common courses” on the history of anthropological theory. Over three years of Ph.D. coursework, each student also takes one course in each of the sub-disciplines of socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology, at a pace of at least one such course per year. (Students who enter the program with a previous M.A. in Anthropology may have one sub-discipline requirement waived on the basis of graduate coursework completed elsewhere.) During the first year of study, each student also prepares a First Year Portfolio consisting of a one-page cover letter, summarizing the student’s research interests and requesting continuation in either the M.A. or Ph.D. track, and three course papers (each 5+ pages), unrevised, from three UVA classes, student-selected to showcase the substantiveness and quality of the student’s coursework during the year.
In their second year, students in the Ph.D. track prepare two essays that critically review the state of the field in two areas of scholarly literature relevant to their planned dissertation research topics. Working closely with their advisory committees and other faculty, they define and develop their mastery of these areas in conjunction with graduate seminar courses and individually-designed Directed Readings courses. For those students continuing on to a Ph.D., the M.A. is awarded upon successful completion of the First Year Portfolio, the two Critical Review Essays, all applicable course work, and demonstrated competency in one foreign language.
In the third year of study, each student in the Ph.D. track is expected to make a public presentation of their doctoral project at a Third Year Symposium, and to defend a Dissertation Proposal. Students whose research involves human subjects are required to gain approval from the University of Virginia Institutional Review Board for the Social and Behavioral Sciences (IRB-SBS) prior to starting the research. An annual IRB Tutorial session guides students in preparing and submitting their IRB Protocols.
Students are expected to advance to Ph.D. Candidacy by completing all pre-dissertation requirements, including the First Year Portfolio, two Critical Review Essays, all applicable coursework, demonstration of competency in one foreign language, a Third Year Symposium research presentation, and defense of a dissertation proposal, by the conclusion of their sixth term of study. Students are guided along this trajectory by enrolling in a 1-credit Graduate Advising Seminar each of their first six semesters.
The Ph.D. is awarded after students conduct their dissertation research, and write and defend a dissertation that makes an original contribution to scholarly knowledge in their chosen topics. Competency in a second foreign language is also required for the Ph.D. (Statistics may be substituted where relevant.)
For students seeking the M.A. degree only, 30 credits are required, consisting of 24 credits of regular courses and 6 credits of thesis research. M.A. students are asked to take only the first two semesters of “common courses.” They must also demonstrate competency in one foreign language and write either two critical review reviews (like the Ph.D. students) or an M.A. thesis under the guidance of two faculty.
A fuller description of the graduate program and the degree requirements is available on-line at anthropology.virginia.edu.