Current Graduate Students

Please review the Department of Anthropology Graduate Program Handbook and the UW-Madison Graduate School website for information, policies, and resources for current graduate students.

The goal of our graduate program is to produce scholars and educators of the highest professional caliber in the general field of anthropology. To achieve that goal students are required to complete a series of steps whose general progress is much the same for each of our three sections. Following are the broad outlines of these steps.

  1. Incoming graduate students are expected to take courses within the department, and on occasion with their advisor’s guidance, outside the department. The aim of these courses is threefold: to prepare students for their qualifying exams; dissertation research and writing; and for their future career.
  2. Students must meet the qualifying exam requirements of their chosen area within Anthropology. Successful completion of these exams would advance a student to the next stage of graduate study, which is the preparation of a dissertation topic.
  3. Students must prepare and be examined upon preliminary proposals for their dissertation research. Successful completion of the Preliminary Examination, minor requirements, graduate school requirements and section requirements, advances the students to candidacy as dissertators.
  4. Students must conduct dissertation research and write their dissertations. The conduct of these endeavors, the time spent, data collected, and drafts critiqued, will vary greatly from section to section and from student to student. To be acceptable as a dissertation, the research must constitute an original contribution to that field of scholarship.
  5. Students will defend their dissertation before a faculty committee. By university regulation, “A Ph.D. final examination committee must have at least five current graduate faculty members, and at least one of these must represent a graduate field outside your major”. The Cultural and Archaeology sections have additional requirements (see individual areas for more information).

* A student’s program arranges a committee with appropriate expertise to afford the breadth and depth needed in degree examinations. The responsibilities of individual committee members are determined by the program. The executive committee (or its equivalent) of a program/department is responsible for approving the composition of all graduate committees. Non UW-Madison committee members must be reviewed and approved by the student’s section and the Anthropology Executive Committee. Please review the Anthropology Graduate Handbook for the committee review process.

The Anthropology Graduate Program Handbook summarizes the degree and course requirements and departmental policies and procedures for the PhD program. The Anthropology graduate handbook is updated on a regular basis with program updates and any policy changes implemented by the Anthropology Program or the Graduate School. Anthropology Program information and requirement details are also at the Anthropology Graduate Guide Pages.

*The handbook table of contents is clickable and will navigate you to a specific section of the document. 

Department of Anthropology Grad Studies Handbook — Version 4 of AY2023-2024 — published January 2024

Department of Anthropology Grad Studies Handbook — Version 3 of AY2023-2024 — published December 2023

Department of Anthropology Grad Studies Handbook — Version 2 of AY2023-2024 — published October 2023

Department of Anthropology Grad Studies Handbook — Version 1 of AY2023-2024 — published September 2023

The Department of Anthropology had developed a grievance procedure through which you may register comments or complaints about a course, an instructor, or a teaching assistant. The Department continues to provide a course evaluation each semester in every class. If you wish to make anonymous complaints to an instructor or teaching assistant, the appropriate vehicle is the course evaluation. If you have a disagreement with an instructor or teaching assistant, we strongly encourage you to try to resolve the dispute with them directly. The grievance procedure is designed for situations where neither of these channels is appropriate.

If you wish to file a grievance, use this Course Comment Sheet and then submit the completed form to the Department Chair or Department Administrator. When completing the comment sheet, you will need to provide a detailed statement that describes what aspects of the course you find unsatisfactory. You will need to sign the sheet and provide your student identification number, your address, and a phone number where you can be reached. The department will investigate comments fully and will respond in writing to complaints.

Your name, address, phone number, and student ID number will not be revealed to the instructor or teaching assistant involved and will be treated as confidential. The Department needs this information because it may become necessary for a commenting student to have a meeting with the department chair or a nominee to gather additional information. Name and addresses are also necessary for providing a written response.

In addition to the Department of Anthropology’s procedure, the following UW-Madison Offices and Centers have procedures and resources available for addressing various concerns:

McBurney Disability Resource Center

University Health Services

Graduate School Grievances and Appeals Process

Dean of Students Office

Bias or Hate Reporting