The PhD program is completed under the guidance of a Supervisor plus a Superviory Committee composed of department members and/or professors in other departments, tailored expressly to the research focus and needs of the student. Students can choose and are sometimes encouraged to concentrate their study and thesis work in the areaof interest of their supervisor (see the list and the description of research interests and recent publications of Faculty members).
- Course Work
Normally, each incoming doctoral student will enroll in Anthropology 701 (Reading course in the student's substantive area) taught by the Supervisor, during the first semester. Beyond that, each student's course work requirement will be individually tailored to the student's particular needs by the Supervisory Committee. It is the expectation that doctoral students should be capable of mastering many subjects through self-study under the guidance of members of the Supervisory Committee, although in some cases it may be more effective to take courses, possibly in other departments. In any case, the supervisory committee should have completed its assessment of the student's needs and decided on the full extent of course requirements prior to the second registration.
- Supervisor and Supervisory Committee
The Supervisor will have been approved by the Dean upon the written recommendation of the Department Head prior to commencement of each student's program of studies. The Supervisor will recommend a specific course program, ensure that the student is familiar with the requirements and procedures for completion of the degree, and recommend the composition of a Supervisory Committee.
The Supervisory Committee will be set up by the Supervisor in consultation with the student, no later than 6 months after initial registration. This Committee must include the Supervisor (as Chair) and at least two others, recommended by the Department Head and approved by the Dean.
The Supervisory Committee is intended to play an active and important role in assessment, guidance and monitoring of progress throughout the student's program. To this end, the Supervisory Committee must be decided upon and convened well before the end of the first semester of registration so that it can begin its task of evaluating the student's needs with respect to courses.
Meetings of the Supervisory Committee will be chaired by the student's Supervisor or, in the absence of the Supervisor, by another member of the Committee whose function as chair shall be designated by the Supervisor in a signed and dated memorandum. Every Supervisory Committee meeting should result in a report, over the signature of the chair, to be lodged in the student's departmental file, and copied to the student. The accumulated committee reports should enable anyone reading them to reconstruct a clear picture of: a) the student's progress through the program, b) the committee's active involvement in the student's program, and c) the advice which the committee has provided.
Particularly during the first year of program, the committee will meet as often as necessary to assess the student and determine the student's course requirements and to help the student to produce a research proposal; it is the responsibility of this Committee to examine the Research Proposal. In the second year, the Supervisory Committee will meet as often as necessary to prepare the student for the candidacy examination.
Post-candidacy, the committee is mandated to meet and file committee reports at least once every six months, with the following exceptions: 1) during periods of six months or more when the student may be out of Calgary and actively engaged in fieldwork, and 2) after the actual writing of the thesis has begun.
- Field Research
Normally students in social and cultural anthropology engage in fieldwork outside their broad cultural milieu. This experience is critical to the intellectual perspective that distinguishes social and cultural anthropologists from other professionals and lays the foundation for the profession's own contribution to knowledge of human societies. Fieldwork should be of one year in duration at minimum.
Primatology students in the doctoral program will usually be required to collect primary data, for a period of not less than 12 months, via experimental and/or observational research on wild or captive primate populations.
- Full-time Study
A minimum of two academic years.
- Language Requirement
In the course of the PhD program, the student will demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English relevant to their field of study. The requirement may be satisfied prior to the candidacy examination, either by demonstration proficiency in an international research language (e.g. German, French, Russian), or in a written or oral language relevant to the student's research site (e.g. Blackfoot, Twi, Melanesian Pigdin, etc.). The method for evaluating this proficiency, or any request for exemption, shall be proposed in writing to and must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee in writing, no later than three months prior to the date of the evaluation, and the results of the evaluation shall be communicated in writing by the evaluator to the Graduate Studies Committee.
- Research Proposal
As early as possible, and not later than fourteen months after initial registration as a full-time graduate student, all students registered for the PhD degree must present a Research Proposal on their thesis subject which will be presented for examination before the Supervisory Committee.
In the Research Proposal, which is not to exceed 20 pages double-spaced, the student will:
- isolate and state the research problem with clarity and precision;
- summarize briefly the literature and history of the research problem and present a critical evaluation of previous work;
- specify the means and methods by which they intend to pursue their research;
- indicate the contribution to scientific knowledge expected to result from the research.
Notification of the date and title of the Research Proposal must be posted at least seven days prior to the examination. Copies of the notification will be posted on the Departmental notice board, as well as sent to members of the Supervisory Committee, the Department Head, and the Chair of the Committee of Graduate Studies.
Copies of the Research Proposal will be circulated to the members of the Supervisory Committee at least two weeks in advance.
At the Research Proposal Examination, the student will be required to present in seminar form a review of the general area of his/her research program plus the aim of, and the methods proposed to be used in their research problem. The Supervisory Committee will ask a range of questions to the student.This is globally referred as to the Defense of the Research Proposal.
During the Defense of the Research Proposal, the Supervisory Committee will determine whether (a) the research project is suitable in terms of scope, depth and originality for the PhD degree; and (b) the student is qualified to proceed with the research.
Immediately following the defense, the Supervisory Committee discusses the student's performance in theabsence of the student who will remain available while the Supervisory Committee deliberates. Afterward the student will be advised of the results and, if necessary, informed of any modifications that may be required to the proposal. When the Research Proposal has been accepted by the Committee, a memo must be sent to the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee confirming the successful defense.
If modifications are necessary, the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee must be informed, and the student should circulate, no later than two weeks following the examination, a summary of any revisions of the proposal. When the amended Research Proposal is accepted by the Supervisory Committee, the Supervisor will so inform the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee in a letter signed by all members of the Supervisory Committee and a copy of the finalized proposal lodged in the student's departmental file. The Supervisory Committee shall also finalize the candidacy areas at this time.
7. Candidacy Examination
After all required course work and the language requirement have been completed, and the Research Proposal accepted, doctoral students are eligible to sit their Candidacy Examination. In the Department of Anthropology, the Candidacy Examination consists of two parts in sequence, as follows: (1) a written component and (2) an oral component. Once a student has received a "pass" on the second (oral) component, she or he is promoted to the status of "doctoral candidate", a status which (among other things) makes the student eligible to have full responsibility for teaching courses.
The candidacy examination is required by University regulations be held no later than twenty-eight months following initial registration as a full-time graduate student.
However, students entering the doctoral program with a bachelor's degree, or transferring into a doctoral program from a master's program before the master's program is completed, must attempt the candidacy examinations no later than thirty-six months after initial registration in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
The Candidacy Examination consists of a written plus an oral examination administered by the Candidacy Examination Committee, composed of the Supervisory committee plus two additional members, one of whom must be external to the Department if an external is not already a member of the Supervisory Committee.
The Candidacy Examination is not an examination of the student's proposed research, which, in order for the student to be eligible to sit candidacy, must already have been examined and approved (see above, "Research Proposal"). Rather, the Candidacy Examination is an examination of the student's knowledge and abilities to reason, utilize the relevant literature, and to solve problems within the two fields or areas which have been set out.
In consultation with the student, the Supervisory Committee will determine two areas of knowledge for which the student will be responsible in the Candidacy Examination. These topics will be communicated (in writing) to the student at this time, with copies to other members of the Committee, and to the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee. These topics will also be communicated to the two other members of the Candidacy Examination Committee, who must be selected no later than four weeks prior to the examination.
The student's Candidacy Examination Committee will meet no less than six weeks prior to the Candidacy Examination to formulate the structure of the examination and to coordinate the questioning. At this meeting the Committee will set two questions in writing. The two questions will be presented in the form of a take-home, open-book examination, along with suggestions about length, to the student, who will have two weeks to hand in answers to the two questions. At the end of the two weeks, copies of the completed examinations will be distributed to all members of the Committee. The Committee will meet with the student to conduct the oral examination no later than one week after receiving the copies of the written completed examinations. The oral examination is conducted in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations.
In the oral component of the Candidacy Examination, the written examinations are understood to serve as the basis from which the examination shall proceed, but examiners are not limited to the written component in framing the questions asked, and questioning may range into cognate areas, at the discretion of the Chair.
The result of the written and oral candidacy examination must be either PASS or FAIL. A student who fails the Candidacy Examination may, upon recommendation of the Examining Committee, be reexamined after a period of not less than two months and not more than six months. No more than one retake is permitted.
If the Candidacy Examination is failed again, the PhD student will be required to withdraw from program.
No further course work will be required of a student who has successfully completed the Candidacy Examination.
Upon completion of the research, the doctoral candidate's results will be presented in the form of a dissertation. Before this document is submitted, the student must ensure that the findings of his/her research have been considered by the Supervisor.
The doctoral thesis should embody original work, and constitute a significant contribution to knowledge in the candidate's field of study. It should contain evidence of broad knowledge of the relevant literature, and should demonstrate a critical understanding of the works of scholars closely related to the subject of the thesis. The material embodied in the thesis should, in the opinion of scholars in the field, merit publication.
While it is expected that the thesis could be the basis for a publication, the supervisor and examiners should recognize that even an excellent thesis may not be perfect in all respects. "Perfection" is not a prerequisite for acceptance of the thesis. The thesis is an academic exercise, which, like all such exercises, may vary in quality from passable to outstanding.
9. Final Thesis Oral Examination ("Defense")
Following submission of the thesis the student will be examined by the Final Examining Committee. The thesis Oral Examination Committee shall consist of the student's Supervisory Committee and at least two other examiners, one of whom shall be external to the student's home department and the other external to the University. The composition of the committee shall be approved by the Dean, upon the recommendation of the Department Head. The Supervisor is responsible for the initiation of all necessary steps involved in the setting up of the thesis oral examination.
10. Faculty of Graduate Studies handbook of PhD supervision.
Students registered in the PhD program prior to May 2008 have the choice to follow the archived FGS handbook of PhD supervision or they can follow the new guidelines current FGS handbook of PhD supervision. Students are advised to discuss this issue with their supervisor and the graduate coordinator as soon as possible and most importantly prior to meeting any important program requirements such as candidacy examination and thesis defence. Stuydents registered after May 2008 must follow the revised guidelines.