Anthropology PhD Program
The PhD program in Anthropology at UIC is focused on candidates that have a solid theoretical foundation and who not only have a strong research base, but also can translate this knowledge and experience to the classroom.
The PhD Program Heading link
Core Course Requirements
All students regardless of entering the program with a bachelor’s or master’s degree must complete a series of five core courses in the first year. These courses provide a foundational knowledge of cultural theory, archaeology, biological anthropology, and career development. These courses must be successfully completed in order to move forward in the program.
- Required Courses:
- ANTH 500- Social and Cultural Theory I
- ANTH 501- Social and Cultural Theory II
- ANTH 502- Theory and Method in Archaeology
- ANTH 503- Hominid Phylogeny and Adaptations (Biological Theory and Method)
- ANTH 595- Graduate Seminar in Anthropology
Students must complete ANTH 500, ANTH 501, ANTH 502, and ANTH 503 with grades of B or better and ANTH 595 with an S. Courses must be completed within the first two semesters of the program. A grade of C is unacceptable and the course must be repeated. If a student earns two grades of C or lower in core courses, the student will be dropped from the program.
Students admitted with a prior MA in Anthropology may be granted advanced standing (Grad II status). Students with advanced standing must also complete all core courses by the standards stated above.
- Required Courses:
MA in Anthropology
In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must complete program requirements to qualify for a Master of Arts:
- Minimum Semester Hours Required 36
- 18 hours of core courses (see section above) passed with grade of B or better
- additional elective coursework at 400 or 500 level; 12 credit hours of electives must be in anthropology
- Comprehensive Examination Required. The final examinations in ANTH 500, ANTH 501, ANTH 502, and ANTH 503 constitute the four sections of the comprehensive examination.
PhD in Anthropology
PhD students must complete at least 96 semester hours.
Our MA is 36 hours. An additional 60 hours is required beyond the MA.
Students admitted with a prior MA in Anthropology may be granted advanced standing (Grad II status). Students with advanced standing must also complete all core courses by the standards stated above. Those granted advanced standing are credited 32 hours, so must complete an additional 64 from their admission into our program.
In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:
- Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 from the baccalaureate, 64 hours from the Master of Arts.
- Course Work 18 hours of core courses (see section above) passed with grade of B or better. Additional elective coursework at the 400 or 500 level.
- Preliminary Examination Required, written.
- Dissertation Required.
- Other Requirements Students must demonstrate competence in their field research language.
Anth 508 (Research Design and Grant Writing) is recommended for all students, and is typically best taken after passing the preliminary exams.
Up to 12 credits of independent study (Anth 596 or equivalent) and up to 32 credits of thesis research (Anth 599) may be counted toward the total credit hour requirement.
- Minimum Semester Hours Required 36
Advising and the PhD Committee
Advisors (sometimes referred to as chairs) are faculty members with similar research interests who serve as mentors and educators throughout the PhD journey and beyond.
The PhD committee consists of at least five members, of whom at least three must by within Anthropology. One member must be external, which may mean either outside the department but at UIC, or outside the institution.
Students are assigned a first year advisor at the time of admission. Students are required to obtain a signed agreement form from their proposed committee chair by the time they complete the MA requirements. The full committee must be in place by at least four weeks before beginning the prelim exams, and are most useful if they are formed at least one semester before the exams take place.
There are both departmental and Graduate College forms that must be completed for this process. Committees are officially appointed by the Graduate College on the recommendation of the program. The Graduate College specifies requirements for committee composition: for preliminary exams, the committee consists of at least five members, of whom at least three are UIC Graduate Faculty with full membership, and two of whom must be tenured. The chair of the Committee must be a full member of the UIC Graduate Faculty. (http://grad.uic.edu/doctoral-degrees)
The purpose of the Preliminary Examination is to determine the candidate’s readiness to undertake dissertation research, and passing it constitutes formal Admission to Candidacy. The examination serves as the last major step toward the PhD degree except for the completion and defense of the dissertation. The examination provides the student with timely feedback of the faculty’s views of their potential for completing the Ph.D. Program.
Foreign Language Requirements
All students are required to show competency in their field research language.
The specific language needs and the method for demonstration of competency are determined by the chair. Depending on the specific research needs, students may be asked to show verbal language fluency, ability to translate a written resource, or both. The language examiner may be the chair, another member of the committee, or an external specialist. In some cases, passing a graduate level language course has also been used to show the language requirement has been met. For students who are conducting research in their own native language, the chair may document that as satisfying the language requirement.
There is not a strict deadline of when in the graduate career the language requirement must be met, but we suggest it be completed prior the the bulk of fieldwork.
A proposal (or prospectus) is recommended but not required. This is typically an oral presentation of the proposed dissertation research with an opportunity for the committee or other members of the department to ask questions and give feedback.
Timing is typically after passing prelim exams but before embarking on extended fieldwork.
The PhD dissertation represents the results of a major, original investigation. It must offer a significant contribution to knowledge, be adequately supported by data, and be written in a manner consistent with the highest standards of scholarship. The approval of the dissertation requires a formal defense hearing that is open to the academic community of the University.
The format of the dissertation is specified in the Graduate Thesis Manual. The final draft which the student defends before their committee must follow these instructions. It is strongly recommended that students begin using this style guide at the initial and draft stages of writing the dissertation.
Prior to the Dissertation Defense
Dissertations are major works which are only completed after multiple drafts have been written. The exact manner in which the drafts will be read and commended on, is determined by the Chair and the committee, after consultation with the graduate student. Some committees assign a primary and secondary reader to different chapters. In other cases the Chair may wish to read a complete draft of the dissertation before having it sent on to the other committee members, or the Chair and the other committee members may wish to read each chapter individually as they are produced by the student. Regardless of the exact system developed, the Chair and the student must ensure that all committee members receive drafts in a timely manner so that comments can be made and so that the student will be able to transform those comments into revisions.
Approval of the Final Draft and Setting the Defense Date
Prior to establishing a defense date, the committee must agree that the dissertation is defensible. This means that all committee members have read previous draft(s), made comments, and that the student has incorporated those comments into revisions. A dissertation defense date can not be established if more than one member of the committee does not agree to the defensibility of the dissertation. (The Graduate College requires that there must be a minimum of one year between the successful completion of the Preliminary Exam and the Dissertation defense. However, within the Anthropology Department it has never been an issue.)
Formal approval of the dissertation draft for defense is marked by the completion of the Thesis Approval Form. Committee members must have at least one month to read the final dissertation draft before it is defended. (The student must be registered in the term that the defense takes place.)
The place and time of the defense is established by the Chair with consultation with the student and the committee. However, the department does not allow dissertation defenses to take place during the summer months or in conflict with major holidays. If any member of the committee is unable to attend the defense in person, they must participate in the defense through the use of teleconferencing or other similar technologies. The defense must be open to the academic community of the University and be publicly announced at least one week prior to its occurrence.
Please see the Program Coordinator six weeks prior to the anticipated defense date to ensure proper documents are in place.
Program Plan (a general outline)
Deadlines to degree: The maximum time limits allowed by the Graduate College for the PhD is 9 years from admission with a BA, and 7 years from admission with a prior MA.
Below is an ambitious view of how a student might progress through our program. Students entering with a prior MA/advanced standing have an accelerated path. The advisor should be formalized by the end of the first year; the committee should be in place by the end of the 3rd semester; the prelim exams should be completed one year after passing the core courses.
- Core courses
- Establish relationship with advisor/mentor
- Spend time gaining or honing skills in written and oral communication of complex ideas
- Consult advisor/DGS/or other professors for advice on field training in your subdiscipline, or areas you may need to read more widely
- Additional coursework, completion of MA
- Consider concentrations in GWS, LALS, or MUSE
- Formalize relationship with advisor/chair and begin to formulate committee
- Submit applications for pilot research
- Participate in Second Year Speaker Series
- Evaluate and consider your professional goals- ending with the MA might be the something to think about
- Preliminary exams (if entered from BA)
- Work with committee on shaping dissertation proposal
- Complete course requirements other than 599
- Work toward completion of the language requirement
- Familiarize yourself with funding sources
- Attend and present at regional and national meetings
- Grant writing course (ANTH 508)
- Apply for dissertation research grants
- Present dissertation proposal
- Begin dissertation research
- Consider publication options for pilot research
- Continue dissertation research
- Begin analysis and writing stages
- Apply for writing fellowships
- Take advantage of professional opportunities such as presenting at academic conferences, publishing, lectureships at UIC or other area colleges and universities, work at Field Museum or other institutions outside UIC
Sixth Year +
- Continue activities from fifth year
- Check that all credit hour and requirements other than the defense have been met
- Complete draft of dissertation, incorporate feedback from committee
- Explore the job market, post-doctoral positions, and fellowships
- Defend and submit the final dissertation