Concentration, Paleoanthropology

Ph.D. Concentration, Paleoanthropology

The Ph.D. in Archaeology with a concentration in Paleoanthropology is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the prehistoric record of a chosen area, as well as a solid background in related disciplines, providing training that enhances understanding of aspects of human evolution.

You are encouraged to examine the long-term dynamics of culture change within the context of evolutionary biology and ecological changes in prehistory, by means of an interdisciplinary perspective. Our program is designed to help you develop a solid background in this field of study, enabling you to carry out research in the archaeology of human origins.

If you are interested in pursuing this concentration, you should follow a course of study that provides you with a general background in the discipline of anthropology. You will cultivate a broad knowledge of the field of archaeology and world prehistory, examining theoretical issues and learning methods and techniques for working in both field and laboratory enabling you to carry out research in the archaeology of human origins.

General course requirements

All students are expected to take a minimum of two courses in social-cultural anthropology. These should be chosen to expand your theoretical background and deepen your understanding of a particular culture area or ethnographic specialization, as relevant to your developing research interests in human evolution.

Inside minor

If you are pursuing the concentration in Paleoanthropology, you must define your inside minor as bioanthropology. You should also take Human Osteology (B526) as well as an appropriate set of other courses, to be agreed upon with your major and minor advisors.

Advisory committee

If you are majoring in Archaeology with specialization in Paleoanthropology, you will be appointed an academic advisor at the beginning of your graduate work. With the advise of your academic advisor, you will then form an advisory committee composed of four to five faculty members, at least two of whom must be archaeologists representing your special areas of interest. You typically include your advisors for the inside and outside minors on this committee.

The advisory committee should be chosen by the end of the first year of graduate study, so it can provide advice and evaluate your Graduate Study Plan (GSP).

Graduate study plan + outline of specific research goals

By the end of the first year of graduate study, students pursuing a Ph.D. in Archaeology with a concentration in Paleoanthropology are required to submit a concise statement of goals and plans for study and research while in graduate school to their academic advisor and advisory committee.

This statement, called the Graduate Study Plan (GSP), should present:

  1. Succinct statements regarding major areas of development of his or her graduate training. These are:
    1. The projected topic and geographic area of focus for graduate work, at least in general terms but as specifically as is possible at this point in your graduate school career
    2. The plan for pursuing the inside minor in bioanthropology
    3. The choice for an outside minor
    4. A plan for fulfilling your Language and Research Skill requirements
  2. An initial outline of specific research goals, which synthesizes and expands upon the above items. This should:
    1. Discuss in general how your research interests are developing. How do your completed and projected coursework, special projects, and any outside field or laboratory work or training fit into your larger goals?
    2. Give a specific plan for your future coursework in archaeology and general anthropology
    3. Outline your plans for pursuing a course of study for the inside minor
    4. Outline your plans for coursework and study in the outside minor
    5. Discuss a preliminary or pilot project, one that could lead to the doctoral project
    6. Give a preliminary annotated bibliography for the developing research focus in archaeology

This Graduate Study Plan should be discussed with your academic advisor before final registration is made for courses in the fall semester of your second academic year.

After your first year, you should submit a yearly report of your current specific research goals (as described above) giving an up-to-date assessment of the progress of your coursework and research. In this report, you should describe how you are proceeding toward your stated goals, refining or revising your research interests and objectives if necessary. This yearly report on specific research goals should be submitted to your advisory committee and discussed fully with your advisor before the start of coursework in each academic year.

Qualifying examination

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination consists of the following:

  1. A written examination in archaeology, prepared by the academic advisor in consultation with other departmental archaeologists. The examination will address the general preparation of the student within anthropology and archaeology, as well as the specific topic and geographic area of competency developed by that student in preparation for dissertation research. The written exam is of approximately eight hours duration.
  2. A written examination composed by the inside minor advisor, of approximately four hours duration.
  3. An outside minor examination to be given by and at the discretion of the outside minor advisor.