PhD in Social Anthropology
The PhD Program in Social Anthropology prepares you for a career in teaching, research or as an anthropologist employed in the public or private sector. The program enables you to acquire autonomy in conducting in-depth, full-scale field research projects, and gain mastery in researching, writing, revising, and publishing scholarly manuscripts.Current PhD students in or program are working on a variety of research projects. Alumni have gone on to work in academia as well as a range of other fields.
Each student, on entry into the program, will choose an Advisory Committee of three faculty members. In most instances the three members will be from within the program, but in special instances one member can be from outside. The function of this Advisory Committee is to guide the candidate through to completion of the three required Comprehensive Examinations.
Each candidate is expected to select for special coverage two of the major specializations of the graduate program as listed. It is expected that students will achieve a comprehensive coverage of at least two of the principal specializations in order to qualify for the two PhD Comprehensive Papers and a Comprehensive Research Proposal.
Each candidate must take two and a half full graduate courses, or equivalent, including the two required half-courses listed below: a) Social Anthropology 6010 3.0: Advanced General Theory in Social Anthropology b) Social Anthropology 6020 3.0: Advanced Research Methods in Anthropology Note: In cases where a candidate can demonstrate proficiency in methods through prior graduate work, this requirement may be waived with the approval of the Graduate Director. Candidates may be required to complete a course in quantitative methods if necessary for their research project. c) Two 5000 or 6000 level half courses relating to the topic chosen by the candidate for Ph.D. specialization (e.g., a half-course in ethnicity, medical anthropology, etc.). d) One 5000 or 6000 level half course in a cognate discipline, such as History, Political Science, etc., The course chosen should relate to the candidate’s main interest in Anthropology.
Doctoral students are required to do Comprehensives which consist of two papers:
- one in each of the two areas of the chosen specialization;
- one in the particular socio-cultural region relevant to the research plans. These papers must be completed no later than the end of the sixth term of study and before beginning field work.
- and a Research Proposal.
Examining Committee for Comprehensives
The Advisory Committee functions as the Examining Committee who writes the questions, in consultation with the candidate, and submits them for the prior approval of the Graduate Director.
Grading of Comprehensives
The Examining Committee assigns a grade of ”pass,“ or ”fail.“ A student who fails one paper, may, at the discretion of the Examining Committee and the Program Director, be permitted to retry the paper. Note: Students who fail more than one paper, or who receive a ”fail“ on their second attempt, will not be allowed to continue in the program.
There is no formal language requirement but the Supervisory Committee will require a student to demonstrate an acceptable competence in a language which is considered necessary for purposes of his/her research for proper comprehension of existing literature and/or for use in the course of field research.
After successful completion of the Comprehensive Examinations, a three member Supervisory Committee will be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies for the candidate on recommendation of the Graduate Director. This may or may not be composed of the same members as the Advisory/Examining Committee, depending on the student’s research interests. The Supervisory Committee may also include one member from outside the program, making a four member committee possible. The function of the Supervisory Committee is to guide the student through a dissertation proposal, field research and preparation of the doctoral dissertation.
Each student will be required to undertake an original field research project of approximately twelve months’ duration. Under special circumstances students will be allowed to do archival or library research but field research is definitely preferred. The candidate’s supervisory committee, the Graduate Director, and the Dean of Graduate Studies, must approve a detailed research proposal. In addition, the candidate will normally be expected to make a seminar presentation to the Graduate Colloquium before leaving for the field. On completion of the field research, the student will write a doctoral dissertation, which makes a substantial and original contribution to knowledge and to the discipline of Social Anthropology. After submission of the dissertation, an Oral Examination, or defense, will take place.
- Except in the case of the Qualitative Methods courses (see notation under Courses), no course which was taken as a requirement at the M.A. level may be offered to satisfy a PhD requirement.
- The Social Anthropology program is organized on a twelve-month basis. Students are normally expected to be engaged on a fulltime basis in research and study during the summer terms.
- Any graduate student in the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology who wishes to engage in field research activities involving human subjects utilizing the name or the facilities of York University must do so in accordance with the University’s code regulating the use of human subjects, in compliance with departmental ethics procedures, and only under the supervision of a Graduate Program faculty member .
- All graduate students are expected to attend and participate in the Graduate Seminar. Here students give presentations based on their research; in addition, faculty members and, whenever possible, guest speakers lead the seminar in topics related to student interests.