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PhD in Anthropology

Degree Requirements

MU requires a minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the BA or BS for a PhD degree. The 30 hours required for the MA count towards this total. At least 15 of the required hours must be 8000-level courses and seminars and must include at least one content course (i.e., not a readings or research course). As part of the 8000-level requirement, all students must complete the departmental core courses (or the equivalent) in cultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology. In addition, both basic and mid-level courses in statistics are required (one or both of which can be taken while earning a Master's degree; requirement may also be waived at the discretion of the student's Doctoral Program Committee). A minimum of 3 hours of doctoral research credit (ANTHRO 9090) is also required. 

PhD candidates are required to gain teaching experience by either serving as a departmental teaching assistant or graduate instructor for one semester (stipends for which are awarded competitively) or by assisting a faculty member in the preparation and teaching of a course.

Credit Hours Required for Master’s Degree (Track Two Applicants Only)

Track Two students have the same course and credit requirements for the MA degree as do Track One students. All MA students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the Bachelor of Arts degree. At least 9 of the required hours must be 8000-level anthropology courses and seminars, and must include at least one content course (i.e., not a readings or research course). As part of the 8000-level requirement, all students must complete the departmental core courses in cultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology. Students are also required to take ANTHRO 7950, Introduction to Post-Graduate Anthropology. Students lacking a basic course in statistics are required to take at least one course, preferably during the first year of graduate work. A maximum of 12 hours may be in non-thesis research (ANTHRO 7990/ANTHRO 8990) or reading courses (ANTHRO 7960).

Doctoral Examinations and Program Committee

PhD Qualifying Examination

PhD students must pass an oral qualifying examination during their first year in the PhD program. The main purpose of the 2-hour oral examination is to determine if the student is prepared for doctoral work and to expose any weaknesses that should be addressed in the course of earning the PhD degree.

Doctoral Program Committee

The Doctoral Program Committee is established during the first year of the student's PhD work. It is composed of at least 4 faculty members, at least 3 of whom must be members of the Department of Anthropology, and at least one member of the graduate faculty from another MU department and who holds a doctorate degree that is generally not in anthropology. The student's advisor and at least one other committee member must be members of the doctoral faculty at MU; all other committee members must be members of MU's graduate or doctoral faculty.

Comprehensive Examination

An applicant for the PhD normally takes the comprehensive examination at the end of the 2nd or 3rd year in the PhD program. The comprehensive examination consists of 2 parts: 1) a written examination of up to 5 days consisting of questions submitted by members of the committee, principally, but not solely, based on a reading list and dissertation proposal prepared by the student, and 2) a 2-hour oral examination covering the questions and answers from the written examination (and anything else the committee deems appropriate). The exam must be taken at least 7 months prior to graduation, and is not administered unless classes are officially in session (including Summer session).

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Dissertation

The PhD in anthropology is awarded after an accepted dissertation has been submitted and defended successfully before the candidate’s Doctoral Program Committee and filed with the Graduate School at MU. Following the advice of the committee, students may either produce a traditional book-length dissertation or write 3 or more primary-authored publishable papers that follow a coherent theme and comprise the main chapters of the dissertation. For either option, the dissertation should contain a general introductory chapter, 3 or more chapters (or manuscripts/publications), and a concluding chapter that summarizes the contributions of the individual papers. Effective for students who pursue the second option and completed the comprehensive examination in 2015 or later, at least 2 papers must be submitted for publication as peer-reviewed journal articles or book chapters prior to the defense of the dissertation (evidence of submission required).

Admission Criteria

Track Two (ONLY): PhD Students Required to Complete MA Requirements

Track 2 students will be classified as PhD seeking students with the Graduate School. These students will complete all course requirements for the MA (outlined below and in the Anthropology Graduate Handbook). With the consent of the student’s committee, a Track 2 student will complete either a thesis OR a proposal formatted for a major granting agency that will serve as the student’s PhD dissertation proposal, OR a primary-authored paper submitted for publication. In each of these cases, the student will orally defend the work. Upon successful completion of these requirements, the student will be awarded an MA, and will then be eligible to continue work towards a PhD without the need to reapply to the program or change student status.

Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
80 550
Prior to July 1, 2015 must have a score of 61 Prior to July 1, 2015 must have a score of 500
  • Minimum GRE scores: 
When did you take the GRE? Verbal + Quantitative Analytical
Prior to August 1, 2011 1000 3.0
On or After August 1, 2011 300 3.0
  • Minimum GPA: 3.25 in last 60 hours and in all anthropology courses 

Required Application Materials For Track Two Applicants:

To the Graduate School:

  • All required Graduate Admissions documents
  • 3 letters of recommendation (through online application)
  • GRE scores
  • Statement of purpose
  • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts need to be submitted to the Graduate School upon acceptance.)
  • Writing Sample

Track Three: PhD Students with MA in Hand

Students admitted to this track will be classified as PhD seeking students with the Graduate School. They will not be required to complete the MA requirements and will not earn an MA during their graduate work at MU. Upon completion of the requirements currently listed for the PhD program, including coursework, qualifying examination, comprehensive examination, teaching, and dissertation, the student will be awarded a PhD.

Fall deadline: January 10
Spring deadline: October 15

  • Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
80 550
Prior to July 1, 2015 must have a score of (61) Prior to July 1, 2015 must have a score of (500)
  • Minimum GRE scores: 
When did you take the GRE? Verbal + Quantitative Analytical
Prior to August 1, 2011 1000 3.0
On or After August 1, 2011 300 3.0
  • Minimum GPA: 3.5 in previous graduate work
  • Master's degree

Note: A faculty member who is on the doctoral faculty must agree, as a condition of admission, to accept the student as a PhD advisee. These qualifications apply to all applicants, including those with an MA degree from this department. Applicants whose MA is in a field other than anthropology will be considered under the policies for individuals holding the baccalaureate degree except that the quality of graduate work will be taken into consideration.

Required Application Materials for Track Three Applicants

To the Graduate School:

  • All required Graduate Admissions documents except transcripts
  • 3 letters of recommendation (through online application)
  • GRE scores
  • Statement of purpose
  • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts need to be submitted to the Graduate School upon acceptance.)
  • Writing Sample

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