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The doctoral program involves training in theory and methods and an intensive fieldwork component. Graduates are prepared for careers in teaching, research or as anthropologists employed in the public or private sector.

Graduates are expected to have acquired autonomy in conducting in-depth, full-scale field research projects. They are expected to be able to analyse data, write, revise and publish scholarly manuscripts. These objectives are achieved beginning with a first year of formal course work that includes the possibility of internships as well as directed reading courses. The second year of the program is geared towards developing intellectual independence and a comprehensive understanding of theory, method and area, in preparation for the degree requirements of two comprehensive examinations and a research proposal. In the 3rd year of the program, students conduct independent field research in diverse social and cultural settings and locales. Field sites range widely both spatially and temporally and in terms of conceptual approach, including archival and digital sites. The final phase of the program involves writing the dissertation culminating in an oral defense.

All doctoral students are encouraged to gain experience as teaching and/or research assistants and to take advantage of the teaching practicum offered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, as well as workshops offered at the Centre for the Support of Teaching.

The program is designed to be completed in 4 years but often takes longer. All requirements for a doctoral degree must be fulfilled within 18 terms (6 years) of registration as a full-time or part-time doctoral student in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies Registration Policies, including the requirement of continuous registration. Terms that students register as Leave of Absence, Maternal Leave, Parental Leave, or No Course Available are not included in these time limits.

In the first year of the doctoral program, students take 2.5 graduate courses, including two required half year Theory courses and the required half-year Methods course. Two additional half-courses are selected from the theme courses in Social Anthropology, or one from a cognate discipline, with the permission of the Graduate Director. A Reading Course and/or an Internship are also options. All first-year students must also enroll in the required Graduate Seminar, which is held on a weekly basis in both the Fall and Winter terms. Students are expected to have all course work done in the first year.

The two comprehensive exams and the research proposal are designed to help students achieve expertise in specific areas of literature, prepare for fieldwork, and to move towards the conceptual work of the dissertation. During this phase students read broadly and deeply within selected areas of socio-cultural anthropology and related disciplines in preparation for fieldwork; they develop skills in compiling reading lists, framing questions, and demonstrating sustained engagement with questions posed in relation to bodies of literature; they develop analytic and synthetic skills in the writing of the exams; and finally, in the proposal, they conceptualize a research project and detail how it will be carried out.

Candidates write a dissertation under the supervision of three members from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, at least two of whom must be members of the graduate program in Social Anthropology. The final version of the dissertation is submitted to the supervisory committee for approval and then proceeds to a dissertation defence. The oral examination centres on the dissertation and is a public academic event involving an external examiner in addition to the supervisory committee.

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The Graduate Program in Social Anthropology at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.