2023-24 Edition

Anthropology, Ph.D.

The Department of Anthropology offers a Ph.D. program in Anthropology. The program focuses on social and cultural anthropology, with a strong focus on understanding emergent processes and systems at a number of scales, including the national and transnational level. Areas of teaching emphasis include the anthropology of modernity and development; political, legal, and economic anthropology; ethnographic method; and the anthropology of science, technology, and medicine. In addition, Ph.D. students have the option of enrolling in a Feminist Studies or a Critical Theory emphasis, both of which involve interdisciplinary work with departments and centers in the School of Humanities.

The Department’s faculty members have interests in ethnicity, gender, international migration, science, technology and medicine, law and finance, urban anthropology, youth culture, and social networks. The program also provides rigorous training in ethnographic method. The Department is committed to fostering new and innovative approaches to anthropological inquiry in a pluralistic and intellectually open academic environment. Program faculty take diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to a variety of substantive issues. They are united, however, in a willingness to question taken-for-granted theoretical premises and analytic frames, and to engage in good-faith intellectual dialogue about alternative models and approaches.

Students are admitted to the program based on their application materials and evidence of scholarly potential, including grade point average and letters of recommendation.

Successful applicants to our program excelled in their undergraduate work and have demonstrated strong intellectual capabilities and creativity in pursuit of their scholarly goals. the program does not require nor do we consider the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as apart of the application process. The program gives primary consideration to an applicant's statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and writing sample.

Students must complete a one-year Proseminar in Anthropology (ANTHRO 202A-ANTHRO 202B-ANTHRO 202C) during their first year. In their second year, students are required to complete a three-course sequence in ethnographic methods, research design, and grant writing (ANTHRO 215A, ANTHRO 215B, ANTHRO 215C). Students are also required to complete six elective courses in Anthropology, which are selected in consultation with their advisor and which normally cover a coherent area of specialization within the field. All course work must be completed before a student is advanced to candidacy. Students must demonstrate competence to read one foreign language, in accordance with the requirements of the Ph.D. in Anthropology.

At the end of the first year, students must pass a formal evaluation which is made by the Department on the basis of the first-year course work and examinations to be taken as part of the Proseminar. Students should advance to candidacy by the end of the third year; the advancement to candidacy examination is based on a research proposal, a review of relevant literature, and an annotated bibliography. The fourth (and, in many cases, some or all of the fifth) year is normally devoted to extended anthropological fieldwork. The sixth year (in some cases, also part of the fifth) is devoted to writing the dissertation, in close consultation with the advisor. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is seven years, and the maximum time permitted is eight years.

Program in Law and Graduate Studies (J.D./Ph.D.)

Highly qualified students interested in combining the study of law with graduate research and/or professional qualifications in Anthropology are invited to undertake concurrent degree study under the auspices of UC Irvine’s Program in Law and Graduate Studies (PLGS). Students in this program pursue a coordinated curriculum leading to a J.D. from the School of Law in conjunction with a Ph.D. in Anthropology. Additional information is available from the PLGS Program Director’s office, 949-824-4158, or by email to plgs@law.uci.edu. A full description of the program, with links to all relevant application information, can be found at the School of Law Concurrent Degree Programs website.