Current Students


The graduate program transforms scholars into professional anthropologists who will variously engage in research, teaching, policy-related and/or administrative activities that benefit the peoples with whom they work. It focuses on how peoples living in a variety of settings participate in and adapt to processes of change and transformation, both historically and in the contemporary world. The faculty is committed to an integrated, socially engaged concept of the discipline. The traditional subfields are crosscut by a series of concentration that constitute areas of strength. The department has close working relationships with other programs on campus.

UCR is dedicated to educating the next generation of professional anthropologists. The faculty consists of active research scholars with solid records of publication, conducting original research, obtaining extramural grants, and placing graduate students in regional, national, and international labor markets. Aware of the current structures of employment, faculty prepare students to pursue both academic and non-academic careers. While the training program is organized largely for scholars seeking the Ph.D. degree, the department also awards M.A. and M.S. degrees upon the satisfactory completion of requirements. If you are interested in the M.A. or M.S., we urge you to contact us well in advance as to the availability and suitability of the program.

The Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. program is designed to provide each student with a basic knowledge of anthropology and specialized knowledge within the subdiscipline of the student's choice. Following is a summary of program requirements. Complete information may be found in the Student Handbook linked to the right. Because some important theoretical concepts of Anthropology depend on findings in more than one of the subdisciplines, students are expected to acquire a basic understanding of three of the four subdisciplines. Entering students are assigned temporary advisors, with whom they can review their previous training and general plans for graduate work. During their first quarter students should also become acquainted with other members of the faculty with whom they share common interests. The Ph.D. degree is awarded to scholars who (a) have completed all coursework with a grade of B or better (including a methodology course); (b) demonstrated at least a reading knowledge of a language other than English; (c) presented a paper at a professional meeting; (d) passed written and oral examinations on their areas of specialization; (e) submitted an acceptable dissertation research proposal; and (f) carried out original research and prepared, presented, and defended its results in the form of an acceptable Ph.D. dissertation. Each scholar selects three topics or areas of specialization that intersect with the dissertation topic; these form the basis for the written and oral examinations. The dissertation research proposal sets out the research problem, theoretical approach, forms of data collection and analysis, and the expected outcomes of the investigation. The faculty expects scholars to be advanced to candidacy--i.e. to have completed all requirements except the research and dissertation--by the end of their third year in residence.

First Year

Advising: students will be given an interim advisor upon entering the program. Students must then select a faculty advisor by the end of the 2nd quarter.

Language and Methodological Skills Requirement Plan: students must submit the plan they intend to follow to complete their language and methodological skills requirements by the end of the 2nd quarter.

200 sequence and M.A. Exam: students will complete the year long 200 theory seminar by the end of the 2nd quarter and take the M.A. exam during exams week. The exam will be based on the material covered in the 200 sequence.

Second Year

Preliminary Research Statement and Designation of Dissertation Committee: students must complete a preliminary research statement outlining intended area, theory, and method, and must also constitute their dissertation committee, by the end of the 5th quarter. Students must meet with their dissertation committee at this time and develop reading lists which will be the basis of the Written Qualifying Comprehensive Exam.

Advanced Coursework in Subfield and Area(s) of Specialization: students, building upon the 200 sequence and other graduate courses taken in the first year, should significantly advance their knowledge in their subfield of specialization by taking several graduate level courses in their subfield by the end of the 6th quarter.

Breadth Requirements: students should have fulfilled some, possibly all, of the 4 courses required for breadth (one course in two of the subfields outside the student's subfield of specialization) by the end of the 6th quarter.

Third Year

Research Proposal: students, in consultation with their advisor and dissertation committee, should generate an acceptable research proposal by the end of the 7th quarter, preferably in time to submit to granting agencies.

Written Qualifying Comprehensive Exam: the faculty advisor, in consultation with the dissertation committee and the student, will generate the exam question which will be directed to three areas of expertise; generally, but not always, one of these will be related to a geographic area and two will be related to topical areas or different bodies of theory. Students will have two weeks to answer the question. Because the Written Exam should be developed in conjunction with the Research Proposal, it is strongly recommended that the Written Exam be taken at the beginning of the 7th quarter.

Oral Presentation: Students, drawing on their Research Proposal and Written Qualifying Comprehensive Exam, must make an oral presentation at the James Young Colloquium, and/or at a national or international meeting, by the end of the 9th quarter.

Language Requirement: students must fulfill the language requirement by the end of the 9th quarter.

Methodological Skills Requirement: students must satisfy the methodological skills requirement by the end of the 9th quarter.

All Breadth Requirements: students must fulfill all breadth requirements by the end of the 9th quarter.

Orals Qualifying Exam: students must constitute their orals exam committee and complete their orals qualifying exam by the end of the 9th quarter.

Advanced Coursework in Subfield of Specialization and Related Disciplines: students, building upon the graduate courses taken in the first two years, should continue to advance their knowledge in their subfield of specialization.

Advancement to Candidacy: by the end of the 9th quarter.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Years

Dissertation Field Research: students, usually with external funding, should carry out one to two years of dissertation field research.

Completing the Dissertation: students, upon completing the field research, should spend one to one and a half years writing up their research results in the form of a dissertation, which is acceptable to the members of their dissertation committee.

Oral Defense of Dissertation: students must provide a public oral defense of the dissertation to the Department of Anthropology.

Completion of Ph.D. Degree: students should complete the dissertation and obtain the Ph.D. degree no later than the end of the seventh year.

The M.A. and M.S. Programs

The M.A. degree is awarded to scholars who (a) have completed with a grade of B or better 36 units, at least 18 of which are at the graduate-level; and (b) passed the written comprehensive examination prepared by a departmental committee.

The M.S. degree is awarded to scholars who (a) have completed with a grade of B or better 56 units, at least 24 of which are at the graduate-level; and (b) written an acceptable masters' thesis.

Important Note

All paperwork/petitions that require approval of the Graduate Committee must be submitted to the Student Affairs Assistant one week before the Graduate Committee's monthly meeting which is generally held the second Wednesday of each month.

Contact Information

Program Name: Anthropology
Contact Address: Anthropology Department
1334 Watkins Hall
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521
Contact Phone & E-Mail João Vargas, Professor and Graduate Advisor

Anna Wire, Graduate Affairs Assistant
Phone: (951) 827-5145