Requirements of the Ph.D. Degree in Anthropological Sciences

For a full description of IDPAS requirements and deadlines, please request “IDPAS Rules, Regulations, Requirements, and Procedures” from the Academic Programs Coordinator or download the description at

A. Course Requirements
Completion of a minimum of 48 graduate credits, maintaining a minimum 3.0 average in all graduate courses. Not more than four credits of SPD or equivalent coursework may be applied toward the satisfaction of IDPAS course requirements. All first-years are required to enroll in DPA 525 Research Areas in Anthropological Sciences. 

1. Physical Anthropology: Required courses are (a) DPA 564 Primate Evolution, (b) DPA 565 Human Evolution, (c) DPA 567 Primate Behavior and Ecology. Other required courses toward completion of study in the Evolutionary Morphology track include (a) BEE 551 Principles of Evolution, (BEE 561 Macroevolution, may be substituted for BEE 551 with the permission of the faculty in the student's track), (b) BEE 552 Biometry (an equivalent statistics course, e.g., PSY 501 and PSY 502 may be substituted with permission of the physical anthropology faculty), and (c) DPA 541 Human Evolutionary Anatomy. Students on the Primate Behavior track must take (1) BEE 551 Principles of Evolution, (2) BEE 552 Biometry (an equivalent statistics course, e.g., PSY 501 and PSY 502) may be substituted with permission of the physical anthropology faculty), and (3) BEE 550 Principles of Ecology or BEE 586 Evolutionary Ecology. Additional elective courses may be completed during the second and third years of study under the supervision of the Guidance Committee.

2.Archaeology Program: Required courses that form the basis of the qualifying examination are (a) DPA 515 Theory and Method in Archaeology and (b) a Graduate-level Statistics course, (c & d) two survey courses chosen from  DPA 511 Paleolithic Archaeology, DPA 513 Origins of Agriculture, DPA 512 Comparative Civilizations. Additional requirements include (a) DPA 516 Research Design in Archaeology, (b) one laboratory methods course chosen from  DPA 517 Primitive Technology, DPA 518 Lithic Technology, DPA 519 Zooarchaeology, DPA 526 Remote Sensing and GIS, or additional laboratory course approved by committee, (c) one area course chosen from DPA 560 Ancient Mesopotamia, DPA 562 Long Island Archaeology, DPA 564 African Stone Age, DPA 585 Prehistoric Peoples of the Americas, or DPA 650 Research Seminar in Archaeology (with committee approval). Students must also take one elective course outside the archaeology subdiscipline (e.g. DPA 565 Human Evolution,  DPA 566 Hunters and Gatherers, DPA 582 Human Demography, ARH 541 Topics in Ancient Art, or GEO 521 Isotopes and Trace Element Geology). Students must have had one season of archeological fieldwork (with committee approval) before advancing to candidacy.

3. Cultural Anthropology: Required courses that form the basis of the qualifying examination are (a) DPA 501 Development of Anthropological Theory, (b) DPA 540 Readings in Ethnography and Ethnology, and (c) DPA 520 Principles of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Other courses required for completion of the cultural anthropology program include (a) DPA 620 Research Seminar in Topical Problems, (b) DPA 640 Research Seminar in Ethnography and Ethnology, and (c) three additional credits of DPA 540 Readings in Ethnography and Ethnology. Other courses that may be taken at the discretion of the student’s guidance committee include DPA 509 Seminar in European Ethnography, DPA 561 Peasant Societies and Cultures, and a statistics course.

B. Qualifying Exam
The qualifying examination must be taken after two or three semesters of study (depending upon sub-field) and passed at an appropriate level. The qualifying examination is administered to each student by the examination committee of the IDPAS. The examination varies by subfield. Students in Physical Anthropology are required to develop a publishable research paper, students in archaeology take an oral exam, while students in cultural anthropology take a written exam. The material covered in the qualifying examination comprises that covered in the courses specified above as well as that covered by the prescribed reading list for the selected field.

C. Language Requirement
The language requirement is optional as determined by each student's advisory committee. The student must select the suitable language(s) necessary for the chosen field of specialization with the approval of the guidance committee. Language tests must be passed prior to advancement to candidacy. We accept a passing grade in a University course in academic reading in a foreign language (e.g., GER 500 or FRN 500), or internal language tests may be administered by program faculty. Before recommending that a student be permitted to engage in fieldwork, the guidance committee may ask the student to demonstrate ability to speak the language required for fieldwork.

D. Preparation of Dissertation Research Proposal
The dissertation proposal is prepared under the direction of the dissertation guidance committee which is composed of at least three IDPAS faculty members and an external member. The dissertation proposal will be defended orally at a seminar open to the academic community and to which all IDPAS faculty and students are invited at least two weeks in advance. Students should aim to complete and defend their dissertation proposal during their third year in the program. Upon successful defense of the proposal, the student may be advanced to candidacy. The M.A. may be awarded at this point. Dissertation research, writing, and examination are supervised by the dissertation guidance committee.

E. Teaching Requirement
In accordance with Graduate School regulations, every student must gain some teaching experience. This may involve the presentation of a number of lectures in a course offered by a member of the IDPAS faculty. Upon advancement to candidacy, a student may be assigned greater teaching responsibility in the form of an undergraduate course to be prepared and taught under the supervision of an IDPAS faculty member. This arrangement will be made in consultation with the student and with the approval of the TA committee and the student’s advisor. No student will be required to teach more than one course per year, and credit for teaching assignments will be given under the aegis of DPA 600.

F. Written Dissertation and Defense
The approval of a written thesis and its successful oral defense to the committee and the University community at large are required.

G Time Limit
The candidate must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. degree within seven years after completing 24 credit hours of graduate courses at the University at Stony Brook department or program in which the candidate is to receive his or her degree.