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Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

Admission to the doctoral program is very competitive and is based on a consideration of demonstrated scholarly excellence, suitability of research interests, availability of appropriate supervision, and availability of openings. Most successful applicants have sufficient background in their area of specialization within anthropology to benefit from advanced training in the field.

Ph.D.Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

Admission to the doctoral program is very competitive and is based on a consideration of demonstrated scholarly excellence, suitability of research interests, availability of appropriate supervision, and availability of openings. Most successful applicants have sufficient background in their area of specialization within anthropology to benefit from advanced training in the field.

Anthropologists work in a wide array of areas, from government to large corporations, to NGO's and education.  A great website to get more information about Anthropology careers is from the American Anthropological Association.

Many employers are interested in the skills, which Anthropology graduate students tend to possess. These include:

  • Knowledge about biological, ecological, cultural and long-term historical factors that influence human behaviour
  • Theoretical approaches and practical methods for enhancing cross-cultural understanding
  • Knowledge of a variety of ethnic and cultural groups living in Canada and abroad
  • Skills in social research, qualitative interviewing and fieldwork, as well as quantitative methods
  • Experience in both writing descriptive and analytical reports
  • The ability to analyze the root causes of social problems, and to work towards solutions with people from diverse  cultural and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Four graduate level courses
  • Participation in the professionalization workshop in first year of program
  • Comprehensive examination
  • Thesis with defense

Criteria of Admission

Admission Requirements for Ph.D Degree

For applicants who hold a Master’s degree, the primary requirements are distinction in their previous graduate work (equivalent to at least a McMaster B+), and strong letters of reference.

Normally a student will have completed the requirements for an MA degree in anthropology before their admission into the doctoral program. Since application for the program is usually made before completion of the MA degree, a student may be accepted conditionally on completion of the MA degree.

For purposes of admission, an MA in anthropology from any other university is considered equivalent to that awarded by McMaster. Equivalence also is recognized between an MA degree achieved by examination, by course work alone, by thesis, or by major research paper. It should be noted, however, that students who have major gaps in their anthropological background will be required to undertake additional work after admission into the program.

A student who is already registered in the MA program at McMaster may apply for the department's PhD program. Registration in the MA program does not guarantee admission into the PhD program.

In some circumstances, exceptionally qualified students holding an Honours BA in Anthropology may be offered direct entry into the Ph.D program.

Admission to the doctoral program is very competitive and is based on a consideration of demonstrated scholarly excellence, suitability of research interests, availability of appropriate supervision, and availability of openings. Most successful applicants have sufficient background in their area of specialization within anthropology to benefit from advanced training in the field. Completion of the minimum requirements for acceptance into the doctoral program does not guarantee acceptance. It should also be understood that all applicants for the doctoral program for a given year, whether already enrolled at McMaster or not, normally will have been considered together during the second term of the preceding year. A discussion of required application materials and procedures can be found in this handbook.

Only under exceptional circumstances will the department consider for admission any student who has taken two prior degrees in anthropology at McMaster.

Important: If English is not your native language:

Applicants are required to submit evidence of their proficiency in the English language as part of their application. The most common evidence is a score on one of the following exams:

  • TOEFL: minimum score of 92 (internet based), 237 (computer based) or 580 (paper based)
  • IELTS (Academic): minimum overall score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each section
  • MELAB: minimum score of 90

Applicants who have completed an academic ESL program through Canadian academic institutions may petition to have this considered in lieu of TOEFL

Funding

  • Students to whom we offer admission are automatically considered for financial assistance from funds available to the Anthropology Department – no special forms need be filled out. Funding is awarded on academic excellence and the availability of funds (amounts vary from year to year.) Funding is open to all domestic students. This fall seventy-one percent (71%) of our returning MA & PhD students and incoming PhD students have won a major external scholarship.  The total of these major external scholarships is just under $457,000!
  • The Harry Lyman Hooker Senior Scholarship: These awards are given to Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents who are entering the first year of a Master's or Doctoral program at McMaster in those Humanities or Social Sciences disciplines or fields of study that receive funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (or its successor).
  • All applicants  should also review the McMaster Ontario Graduate Scholarship process.

Ph.D.

Travel Scholarships

  • Department of Anthropology Fieldwork and Conference Funds. There are two rounds typically October and March.  Application information can be found by clicking here.
  • Funding for conference attendance is open to all full-time graduate students in the department.
  • Fieldwork funding is open to all full-time students in the PhD program.
  • The Schmid Family Travel Fund: Open to Masters or PhD enrolled full time at McMaster.  The funds are to be used to support travel to present at conferences or undertake field research relevant to anthropology.  Number available varies.
  • The Edith M Wightman Travel Scholarships: The award is available to students registered in or, admitted to a McMaster graduate program in ancient history or, archaeology, to help support travel costs associated with thesis research or sponsored archaeological projects in Europe and the Mediterranean. Number available varies.
  • SGS Grant in Aid for Research Travel and Field Work: The School of Graduate Studies Research Travel and Field Work Fund (SGS Grant) is designed to support highly meritorious students whose Ph.D. research and scholarly activity requires travel to, and extended stay at, locations more than 200 km from McMaster. The Fund is intended to support projects that are critical for completion of the PhD thesis and that normally would not be possible through other means. 

Bursaries 

There are some funds available for bursaries, awarded on the basis of financial need. Students should apply directly to Student Financial Aid

  • GSA/SGS Bursary: Bursaries are set at a current value of $500. Applications may be submitted at any time. A maximum of 3 bursaries will be awarded each academic year. Please note that graduate students are only eligible to receive one GSA bursary per academic year. 

All applicants  should also review the McMaster Ontario Graduate Scholarship process.

Academic Calendar the School of Graduate Studies Graduate Handbook Recent Graduate MRP and Theses Awards and Funding Apply Now
For more information:
Graduate Programs Office
CNH-524
905-525-9140 ext.24424
gradmin@mcmaster.ca
Length:
4 Years
Required Credential:
Masters in Anthropology or related discipline
Program Type:
Thesis Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September
Current Deadline:
January 15