Anthropology (PhD)

The UO Department of Anthropology offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree with a concentration in one of three subfields: Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, or Cultural Anthropology. While graduate students choose one subfield on which to focus their studies, many follow an interdisciplinary path that bridges between subfields, as well as to different disciplines.  This approach is encouraged in our department, which is distinctive in its commitment to the integration of the anthropological subfields via five Areas of Expertise and Focus.

Students without a relevant Master’s degree (i.e., a Master’s degree in Anthropology or a closely related field) are admitted as Conditional Doctoral Students and first obtain an M.A. or M.S. in Anthropology in the departmental Master’s program before transitioning into the Ph.D. program. Students with relevant Master’s degrees are admitted as Doctoral Students directly into the Ph.D. program.

Department of Anthropology seeks after understanding of humans through the integration of three distinct yet complementary subfields – archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. We are dedicated to better understanding human cultural and biological origins and diversity through education and research. Under this mission, our graduate program prepares students to obtain a degree in a timely manner in preparation for an academic career or for a career as a professional anthropologist doing applied work. Specific learning outcomes are varied by subfields and courses, but we identify the following overlapping fundamentals:

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Gain comprehensive knowledge on intellectual history and theoretical frameworks in anthropology and related fields.
  • Be engaged in understanding recent and historical developments in the world.
  • Familiarize themselves with, practice, and experiment various anthropological/archaeological, ethnographic, field, and scientific methods.
  • Utilize such learning in identifying their research topics and designing the ProJet.
  • Develop concrete skills in professional writing and scholarly communications.
  • Through their research, to bring anthropological perspectives to bear on the problems of current global societies, including ethics in research, decolonization, power-gender-economic imbalance, and impending environmental issues.
  • Accumulate knowledge and prepare themselves for job markets of their preferred fields.

Admission to the doctoral program is contingent on the possession of a valid master’s degree in anthropology from a recognized institution or on the completion of three of the master’s core courses. Those who enter with a master’s degree in another discipline take master’s core courses early in the program.

Formal requirements of time and credit are secondary, but no candidate is recommended for the degree until the minimum Division of Graduate Studies requirements for credits, residence, and study have been satisfied.

The department requires competence in two modern second languages, one language and one skill, or two skills (including those earned for an MA or MS) approved by the department’s faculty. The student’s progress is measured by performance in the core courses and other course work; two comprehensive examinations covering two special fields of concentration in anthropology; a formal dissertation prospectus; and, finally, a doctoral dissertation. The dissertation should be based on original research, which ordinarily involves fieldwork or laboratory work, and should be written in a professional and publishable style appropriate to the subfield of specialization.

For information about general requirements, see the Division of Graduate Studies section of this catalog. More information about programs in anthropology may be obtained from the department.

Museum of Natural and Cultural History

The Museum of Natural and Cultural History and its research division, the Oregon State Museum of Anthropology, provide opportunities for students to gain research experience through field projects and museum experience through the natural history museum’s public programs. The rich resources of the state museum’s collections are available to anthropology students, faculty members, and other qualified researchers.