Sociocultural Anthropology

All the procedures and regulations of the overall Anthropology PhD apply to students specializing in sociocultural anthropology. 

Handbook for the Sociocultural Graduate Program 


Applicants for the Anthropology Ph.D. are required to specify that they wish to apply in Sociocultural Anthropology. Applicants are required to name at least two faculty with whom they wish to work.

Required coursework

In the first year of the program students in social cultural anthropology are required to take a two-semester sequence, Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory, Anthropology 240A-240B. The goal of these courses is to cover classical and contemporary debates in the field and their genealogy in earlier philosophical anthropologies, in classic sociology and political economy, and in terms of intersecting frames of modernity, colonialism, nationalism, and biopolitics. Social cultural students are also required to enroll in Anthropology 290 (departmental lecture series) each semester they are registered before advancing to candidacy.

First Year Examination

At the end of the first year progress of each student is assessed and students may be given an oral examination by a group of faculty members. The decision about continuation within the graduate program is made on the basis of performance during this examination and on the student's academic work throughout the first year. A student may be requested to leave the graduate program, even though the oral examination was judged as passing, if the student's academic work was judged weak and the department's faculty is concerned that a student will not complete the program satisfactorily.

Departmental Review of Graduate Students

At the end of the fall semester, an annual mid-year review of graduate student progress is conducted by the Graduate Advisor and faculty. This is generally a review of first-year students' progress but may include reviews of advanced students as well. Each student's progress is assessed and recommendations are made as appropriate.

At the end of spring semester a similar year-end review is conducted. This is a more general review of all graduate students in the department.

Second and Third Years

Students, in consultation with their advisors, elect other seminars, courses, or language training as appropriate to individualized plans of study. The seminars and individual research work during this period are directed toward preparing the student's three field statements and fulfilling the language requirement--both which are necessary in the preparation for the Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination.

Field Statements

Field statements are bibliographical essays on areas of specialization that are to address substantive areas of anthropology. Each field statement is a critical summary and analysis of issues and debates in a field of knowledge. Social cultural students will write two field statements on topics such as kinship, religion, linguistic anthropology, history of anthropology, economic anthropology, etc. The third field statement is most often on the student's chosen ethnographic or research area. Faculty sponsors will work with the student in the preparation of these fields. Sociocultural students may choose to work with a professor outside the department on one of their field statements.

Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus is an intellectual justification and research plan for the dissertation. Sociocultural students must get their prospectus signed by all three dissertation committee members and file it at the end of their third year, either before or after the Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination. There is no designated length for a sociocultural dissertation prospectus.