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    Aug 20, 2022  
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Anthropology Major, PhD

In addition to the Graduate Council requirements, requirements for the PhD with a major in anthropology, in the appropriate sequence of completion, are as follows.

Admission to the PhD program is contingent upon completion of all requirements prior to that level. Master’s thesis candidates at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who are conditionally accepted into the PhD program can enroll as doctoral students the semester following conferral of the MA. Students holding master’s degrees from other institutions must apply by January 15 for admission the following fall and must begin their studies in the fall semester.

Admission to the PhD program is based upon the applicant’s academic record and credentials and also on the fit between an individual’s interest and faculty areas of research. Applicants will not be admitted to the PhD program unless appropriate faculty members are available to chair and serve on the doctoral committee. Doctoral program applicants should communicate directly with the potential chairperson and two additional members of the anthropology faculty who will be asked to serve on the committee.

Applicants to the PhD program should meet the same academic standards as MA program applicants and furnish the same materials (see Admission under Master of Arts). Admission to the program requires either

  • Acceptance of a master’s in anthropology.
  • Acceptance of a master’s in another discipline with the provision that the student will follow the first-year program with entering MA students, i.e., complete the core courses (ANTH 510 , ANTH 560 , ANTH 590 ) and pass the graduate evaluation examinations.


Doctoral Committee

A doctoral committee is appointed following admission to the program. In consultation with this committee, the student defines the future program of studies. When the student and committee have agreed upon the specific fields of specialized competence over which the student will be examined, a brief delineation of the fields by the student, approved by the members of the committee, is presented to the department head and the student’s major professor. As early as possible, but no later than a full semester after admission to candidacy, the student must formally present a written dissertation proposal to the department head and advisor.

Residence and Course work

Every potential PhD candidate must complete two consecutive semesters of full-time residence prior to taking the doctoral comprehensive examination. The student must complete the minimum course work requirements of the Graduate Council, including at least 9 hours of 500- or 600-level courses outside of anthropology, chosen in consultation with the doctoral committee, particularly the outside member who represents the cognate area. Outside course work may be taken in a single discipline or be distributed across two or more disciplines as appropriate to the individual’s program of study.


Demonstration of competence in statistics by completing STAT 537  and STAT 538  with a grade of B or better is required.


Students must demonstrate knowledge of one foreign language. This language should normally be French, German, Russian or Spanish, but another language may be substituted at the committee’s discretion. This requirement may be met by either

  • Successful performance on a language examination administered by the appropriate language department. A student electing this alternative should consult with the advisor.
  • Completion of the second semester of specialized reading courses for graduate students with a grade of B or better.

The department does not accept completion of the intermediate (200 level) sequence of a language as a formal option for fulfilling the language requirement.

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

Students must successfully complete a written and oral comprehensive exam.

  • Comprehensive Written Examination – When the PhD aspirant has completed all of the foregoing requirements and is judged by the committee to be prepared in the field(s) of concentration, the student will be required to take a comprehensive written examination. The exam will consist of three sections and be given by the student’s committee. All three sections must be taken within seven consecutive days. 
  • Comprehensive Oral Examination – This examination follows shortly after successful completion of the comprehensive written exam. The major professor acts as chairperson of the committee.

Admission to Candidacy

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam and with the formal approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, the student is admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree. The formal dissertation prospectus must be filed no later than one full semester after advancement to candidacy.

Dissertation Research
This period of research and writing will be under the direct guidance of the candidate’s major professor. The major professor will act as chairperson of the candidate’s committee. The candidate must earn a minimum of 24 hours in ANTH 600  and maintain continuous registration until the dissertation is accepted. The option of presenting publishable papers as a dissertation is not a formal option for the Anthropology Department.

Defense of Dissertation Examination

When the dissertation has been tentatively accepted by the committee, a final oral examination will be held. The committee conducts the exam, which is ordinarily held as a colloquium in which the candidate will expound on the nature and significance of his/her contribution to anthropological knowledge as set forth in the dissertation.