Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology - Archaeology Concentration


The Ph.D. program offers concentration only in archaeology. It emphasizes a sound understanding of archaeological science, inter-disciplinary training and the development of practical skills applicable to both pure and applied research. Rather than dichotomizing pure and applied approaches to archaeological research, the program melds the two within the basic tenets of archaeological science.

The discipline of archaeology has undergone marked changes over the last three decades with a steady decline in traditional university faculty positions balanced by a dramatic growth in applied archaeology/cultural resource management (CRM) employment. Applied positions are broadly distributed within government and private sectors. Recent surveys show 60-70% of the Society for American Archaeology membership belongs to the applied sector and 80% of all archaeology undertaken in North America is related to applied research.

Accordingly, the Ph.D. program is designed to integrate experiences and perspectives of applied research throughout the curriculum. That curriculum provides the strong theoretical and methodological training typical of the best traditional academic programs while exposing all students to the skills necessary to conduct applied research. In this way, the Ph.D. curriculum prepares students for either applied or academic positions upon graduation.

Admission to the Ph.D. program

Admission. Candidates for admission to the doctoral program in anthropology, with a concentration in archaeology, must either hold a bachelor’s degree in anthropology or archaeology or hold a bachelor’s degree in another subject with significant course work in anthropology. Candidates without this background may apply after first strengthening areas of deficiency.  The Graduate Advisor will assist in this process. Applicants for admission should have a minimum grade point average of 3.5. All applicants must submit scores from the General Tests of the Graduate Record Examination. Students with exceptional promise that do not meet one or more of the admission conditions may be admitted on probation with the approval of the Graduate Advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School.

General Requirements. The total hours required for the Ph.D. will include a minimum of 72 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 42 hours beyond the master’s degree. Students who enter the program with a B.A. and want to obtain the Ph.D., will complete 36 hours of M.A. course work and a written qualifying exam. 

 There is no formal language requirement for the Ph.D. degree. Students, however, will consult with their advisors regarding the development of pertinent linguistic and/or computer skills necessary for thesis research and analysis. Students are reminded that many research positions require proficiency in one or more foreign languages.

Program Objectives

After completing the Ph.D. in Anthropology, students will:

  1. Have contributed original, problem-oriented research that will make a significant contribution to the discipline.
  2. Communicated research findings effectively in writing and in oral presentations.
  3. Demonstrated the ability to generate and analyze anthropological data. 

Learning Outcomes

1.  Have contributed original, problem-oriented research that will make a significant contribution to the discipline.

  • Students will design and carry out a research project that will result in a significant contribution to the discipline.

  • Students will read and summarize the literature in an area of study in such a way that reveals a comprehensive and critical understanding of the literature.

  • Students will demonstrate a mastery of research and statistical methods appropriate to inquiry in the field.

2.  Communicated research findings effectively in writing and in oral presentations.

  • Students will participate in teaching assistantships, field school experiences, or other opportunities that develop professional skills.

  • Students will participate in conferences, workshops, or short courses and formal presentations, such as invited talks, posters,technical reports and publications.

  • Students will present critical analyses of research in public forums.

3.  Demonstrated the ability to generate and analyze anthropological data.

  • Students will generate, analyze, and interpret data in a way that adds to the understanding of their disciplinary concentration.

  • Students will successfully master appropriate research methods.

  • Students will demonstrate a mastery of the design and administration of anthropological research.

Ph.D. Curriculum Requirements

 The Ph.D. degree requires completion of a minimum of 72 hours of course work beyond the Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 42 hours beyond the Master’s degree. There is no formal language requirement, although students are strongly encouraged to acquire linguistic competence appropriate to their areas of specialization. Students are required to obtain computer and GIS skills through their coursework.

Group I: Core Courses 
21 credit hours 
18 credit hours minimum at 7000 level       
Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction (ANTH 7243)
Cultural Property, Ethics, and Law (ANTH 7053)
Independent Research (ANTH 7991-3)
Cultural Resources Management (ANTH 7073)
Evolution of Complex Societies (ANTH 7173)

 Group III: 6000-level Elective Courses 
9 credit hours at 6000 level       
Minimum of 6 credit hours

 Dissertation Research  
Minimum of 18 hours

   Transfer Credits. Students with an M.A. degree in a relevant field of study may apply up to 30 credit hours to the Ph.D. program including up to 9 hours of thesis work. Up to 12 credit hours of graduate enrollment not applied to any degree may be transferred. See page 18 of the Graduate Bulletin for more information about transferring graduate credit.

  Advisory Committee. Students in the Ph.D. program will be advised initially by the Graduate Advisor. The student must select a research area and a research advisor or co-advisors by the end of the second semester after enrollment in the program. The student, after consultation with the advisor or co-advisors, recommends the members of the advisory committee to the Dean of the Graduate School by the end of the third semester of enrollment. The advisory committee must have at least four graduate faculty members, consisting of at least two members from the department of Anthropology and one member from outside the department. One member of the advisory committee may be a qualified expert in the research area from outside the University. At least half the total committee must be full time Anthropology graduate faculty members at The University of Tulsa. The advisory committee approves the dissertation and administers the final dissertation oral examination.

  Qualifying Examination. Prospective Ph.D. students entering without a master’s degree in anthropology or archaeology must take the written qualifying exam no later than the end of their second year of enrollment. This exam is based on the core curriculum of archaeology. Students are strongly encouraged to have completed the core curriculum at this time. At the discretion of the faculty, students may be required to do additional course work at the M.A. level before sitting for the qualifying examination. The examination will be given normally in December and May, and it can be retaken only once.
Those entering the program with only a bachelor’s degree and wanting to obtain the Ph.D. must complete 36 credit hours of M.A. coursework and the written qualifying examination. Those passing the examination will continue in the Ph.D. program and are eligible to receive an M.A. degree upon the recommendation of the program to the Dean of the Graduate School. Those failing twice to pass the exam will receive a terminal M.A. degree.

  Dissertation Proposal and Comprehensive Exam. Doctoral students will stand for the comprehensive exam, focused on their research area, at the time of completion of all coursework. The comprehensive exam includes the presentation of a proposal and oral defense of a student’s doctoral research project. The proposal is presented orally before the advisory committee in a forum open to any students or faculty.

  Candidacy. A student in the Ph.D. program is recommended for candidacy by the Graduate Program Advisor after the comprehensive examination has been passed and the dissertation proposal has been successfully defended.

  Dissertation. Ph.D. candidates must write a dissertation on the results of their research. The dissertation must demonstrate the candidate's abilities in independent investigation in the area of interest and must contribute to the field of archaeology. The dissertation must follow the Graduate School's recommended procedures for submission to the student's advisory committee, and before it is finally reproduced it must be presented to the full advisory committee for examination and review and presented orally in a forum open to all students and faculty. The dissertation will be microfilmed and published in Dissertation Abstracts. The dissertation will be graded on a pass-or-fail basis.

  Final Oral Examination. Each candidate must pass a final oral examination before the advisory committee. The examination will consist of a defense of the dissertation, the general field of the dissertation, and other parts of the program which may be chosen by the committee. The advisory committee recommends the candidate to the Dean of the Graduate School for the Ph.D. degree upon successful completion of the final oral examination and acceptance of the dissertation.