Our PhD program
Our PhD program distinguishes itself from other Anthropology PhD programs where the focus is on the traditional anthropological subfields of cultural and biological anthropology, and archaeology.
Our unique program aims to bring together faculty and doctoral students into research areas that transcend these traditional sub-disciplinary boundaries, and which are also of interest to the wider university community. The program is built around four broad research foci that cross cut traditional subfield boundaries:
- Inequality, Culture, Health
- Evolution and Ecology
- Indigenous Peoples
- Visual Anthropology and Materiality
Applicants are normally required to have completed a BA or BSc and Masters degree in Anthropology (thesis or non-thesis) from a recognized academic institution.
Students will be assessed on a case-by-case basis at admission and will be advised of suggested or required pre- or co-requisite course requirements deemed necessary by the Admissions Committee to ensure their success in the program. If the Departmental Graduate Committee deems it necessary for an incoming student to make up a deficiency, the student will be required to register in no more than 3.0 units (two one-semester courses) of pre-requisite coursework.
Normally there will be one entry point in an academic year, in September.
Applicants will be expected to have achieved a minimum GPA of 7.0 (or equivalent) in their master's program, have good letters of reference, present a clear statement of research interests, and submit an example of scholarly work, including publications, if any.
All applications will be reviewed by the Departmental Graduate Committee (chaired by the graduate advisor) and students will only be accepted into the program if there is at least one faculty member able, interested, and available to supervise the proposed topic of research.
Please note that: "All applications (including supporting documents) must be submitted ONLINE through the graduate studies admission system."Before applying please go here.
Residency requirement is two years
During residency, PhD students will take four one-semester courses:
- ANTH 600 Professional Development in Anthropology
- One of the ANTH 690 series: Specialized Directed Study in Inequality, Culture, and Health, Evolution and Ecology, Indigenous Peoples, or Visual Anthropology and Technology, which will be offered in 2012
- One of the following seminars:ANTH 611 Advanced Research Seminar in Socio-cultural Anthropology: Inequality, Culture, and Health,ANTH 641 Advanced Research Seminar in Indigenous Peoples in Prehistoric, Historic, and Contemporary Contexts, or ANTH 651 Advanced Research Seminar in Ecology and Evolution (ANTH 661 Seminar in Visual anthropology and Technology offered in 2012)
- Breadth of Knowledge requirement (a course from another academic department or another theme within Anthropology)
PhD students are also expected to attend and participate in ANTH 612: Department of Anthropology Graduate Colloquium during their two year residency.
After completion of all course requirements, PhD students will register in:
ANTH 697/698 and Candidacy Examinations and Dissertation Proposal Defense
To advance to candidacy, the student, in consultation with their Ph.D. committee, will craft three important and original questions related to their particular research area, and answer those questions in a written format (three comprehensive papers), drawing upon pertinent literature. The three comprehensive papers will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis by the student’s Ph.D. committee. In the case of Visual Anthropology, students may be required to create a photographic exhibition or film (visual project) as one of the three comprehensive papers.
The students’ dissertation research proposal will be defended orally and separately from the comprehensive examination requirements. Students will make a 20-30 minute presentation on their proposal topic and then answer questions posed by the examining committee, on theory, method, and significance of the proposed research. The oral defense will also be evaluated on a pass/fail basis. The Ph.D. committee will be comprised, at minimum, of the supervisor, a departmental committee member and a member from another department as per UVic. Graduate Calendar regulations
Ph.D. students must also complete a Language Requirement (either a course or courses in another language, or demonstrated proficiency in a translation of a passage from an academic work in a non-English language to English)
Once candidacy is completed and the dissertation proposal is accepted by the student’s committee, the student may begin their dissertation research.
In the past, we have accepted the transfer of a few graduate students (both Masters and PhD) who have begun their graduate degree at other institutions. These kinds of situations may arise when a supervisor or other committee members depart or where the research project coincides closely with work being done at UVic.
In these situations, the students apply through our regular admissions channels. If accepted, they may be given transfer credit for their coursework at the original university, according to regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. For most students, this has meant completing their dissertation requirements and candidacy examinations here. The department may continue this practice on a case-by-case basis.
The curriculum of the proposed PhD Program has been designed in sufficiently general terms so that students who begin their graduate studies in anthropology at the University of Victoria can be assured that the content of the courses they take here will be consistent with that of courses in other Canadian universities offering the same degree. They will therefore be likely to receive transfer credit from other institutions, provided that their institutional policy permits such transfer.
This area recognizes the significance of understanding the role of social inequality and cultural interpretations in shaping human experience and addressing pressing global issues. The Department of Anthropology has eleven regular faculty members with research and teaching agendas in this area. The research specializations include:
- Health (Stephenson, Mitchell, Roth, Botting and Wilson)
- Political economy of social inequality (Matwychuk and Stahl)
- Visual anthropology (Walsh, Mitchell, Nowell, Stephenson)
This theme is further supported by Michael Asch (Adjunct Professor) who has contributed to the training of both masters and interdisciplinary PhD students in our department.
This theme engages both biological anthropologists and archaeologists in research currently of high interest in the discipline, as it addresses broad topics such as the evolution of human behavior, cognition, and morphology, primate and hominin origins, human evolutionary ecology, adaptation to the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, and primate ecology and socioecology. It engages anthropology faculty and students with other departments and schools of the university and with the broader public.
We currently have six faculty members--three archaeologists (Lam, Mackie, and Nowell) and three biological anthropologists (Gould , Kurki, and Roth) whose research interests include this broad area of scholarship. They work in such diverse geographical areas as British Columbia, China, Madagascar, the Middle East, Kenya, South Africa and Peru.
Research interests of the Evolution and Ecology Group:
- Zooarchaeology; palaeoanthropology; taphonomy (Lam) Northwest Coast archaeology, lithic & organic technologies, first peopling processes (Mackie), Paleolithic archaeology, art and modern human cognition, human evolution (Nowell).
- Primate ecology, behavior, behavioural endocrinology, primate parasitology (Gould), skeletal biology, morphological variability and adaptation, human evolution (Kurki), HIV/AIDS, demography, social epidemiology (Roth)
There is potential for links outside the Social Sciences with Biology, Biochemistry and Microbiology, Geography, Environmental Studies, Kinesiology, and Earth and Ocean Sciences (Climate Modeling Group).
Indigenous Peoples are a focal point of the research of faculty members who work in cultural archaeological and biological anthropology both in Canada, and in a more global context (specifically, Africa).
The social justice, health and historical circumstances of First Nations in British Columbia is arguably the principal moral, legal and ethical issue in the province, and is certainly one to which the University of Victoria has completely committed in its strategic plan.
The University of Victoria has one of the highest proportions of Indigenous students and faculty in Canada. This theme transcends many academic units at the University of Victoria, including Political Science, Geography, Law, Environmental Studies, Indigenous Governance, Indigenous Studies, Public Administration, History, History in Art, and the Faculty of Education, providing connections across the university for students interested in this theme.
Visual Anthropology &
A focus that proceeds from the recognition that technology, media and material culture are not merely products of culture but active sites of cultural practice. This research theme connects the work of visual and cultural anthropologists (Mitchell, Stephenson, Walsh) with archaeologists (Mackie, Nowell, Stahl) who are investigating human visual communication and the cultural effects of the production, circulation and consumption of images and objects.
This inherently interdisciplinary theme encourages collaboration among anthropologists and artists, art historians, and scholars of cultural and media studies. Departmental research that connects to this theme includes: collaborative art-based community research centred on the production of digital video and photographic art as both a subject of and method for research; studies of technological style and processes of material culture production; investigations of the role of images in the evolution of human cognition; and research on the diverse ways in which technology mediates and shapes bodies, social relationships, and subjectivities.
- Congratulations to Anthropology's Chair Ann Stahl who is this year's Journal of Anthropological Research Distinguished Lecturer. More here...
- Thank you UVic Donors! Congratulations to Fionndwyfar Colton, Cynthia Korpan and Celeste Pedri who have been awarded UVic Graduate Donor Awards. More here...
- 2014 Field Schools: South Africa Archaeology, Cuba Ethnographic & The Salish Sea - Gulf Islands Archaeology. More here...
- View all events on the UVic Anthropology calendar