University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archaeology: PhD Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program in Archaeology requires successful completion of the Master’s requirements at the Ph.D. level. Students with a Master’s degree from another university will be admitted to the Ph.D. program following successful completion of the Qualifying Examinations.

  1. At least 21 additional graduate course credits beyond the 30 graduate credits for the Master’s degree, including the following:
    • At least one course (300 level or higher) in another section of the Department of Anthropology
    • Two seminars in anthropology/archaeology. These courses may be taken before or after the Master’s degree but must be completed prior to taking the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination. (Note: Prior to taking the Preliminary Exam, incoming students with a B.A. degree will have taken a total of five graduate seminars, and incoming MA students will have taken at least two seminars. Anthro 942 on the topic of Research Methods in Archaeology is to be taken after the Qualifying Exam.)
  2. Minor Requirements: These requirements must be fulfilled before applying for the preliminary warrant that is necessary for the preliminary exam. See Ph.D. minor requirements.
  3. Language Requirements: Language requirements are determined on an individual basis by the student’s major professor. In Archaeology, a working knowledge of the language in the area of research focus will be required. The major professor will designate courses, standard examinations, or other means to satisfy the language requirement.
  4. Preliminary Examination: This exam is an oral defense of a written proposal for dissertation research. Successful completion of this exam is required for advancement to candidacy. For all students who enter the program with a B.A., the preliminary proposal must be defended by the end of the eighth semester. For incoming students with a Master’s degree, the preliminary proposal must be defended by the end of the sixth semester.
  5. The proposal is to be written in the format of an NSF dissertation proposal not to exceed 20 double-spaced pages. The oral exam covers the written material itself as well as knowledge of the area, method, and topic involved in the proposal. The purpose of this examination is to evaluate the student’s preparation and ability to conduct Ph.D. level research and to assist in designing research for the dissertation.
  6. The Preliminary Examination Committee will normally consist of departmental archaeologists in residence and additional persons from other fields as needed or desired, a minimum of four. The written proposal should be distributed to members of the committee at least two weeks prior to the examination. Dates for the examination should be arranged through the Major Professor and the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with other committee members.
  7. Ph.D. Dissertation Defense: The dissertation defense is an oral examination covering the written thesis. The purpose of this examination is to evaluate the thesis of the dissertator to ensure that it has been completed at the Ph.D. level in a suitable and accurate manner. The dissertation defense usually requires between one to three hours and takes place before a committee of five individuals, at least three from the Department of Anthropology and one from outside the department; the affiliation of the fifth member will be determined by the student in consultation with the Major Professor. All committee members must be University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty who are of either assistant, associate or full professional rank. Successful completion of this exam is required for the award of the doctorate in anthropology. Following successful defense of the dissertation, the student must satisfy the requirements of the Graduate School for submission of the dissertation. A final copy of dissertation is to be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator to be added to the Department’s library of completed dissertations.