Admissions Information

History and Purpose

The combined Forestry and Environmental Science (F&ES)/Anthropology Ph.D. Program was first created by former Yale Provost Alison Richard to meet the needs of doctoral students in biological anthropology who wanted to draw more fully on the resources of both the Anthropology Department and F&ES. Recent interest in the combined degree has mainly come from students working in the allied fields of ecological anthropology, social ecology, and political ecology. We envisage this program, however, as open to all sub-disciplines in Anthropology, and students across forestry and environmental sciences fields who wish to combine their studies with Anthropology. The purpose and attraction of the degree is three-fold: (1) it combines the disciplinary identity and strengths of the Anthropology Department with the inter-disciplinary character and possibilities of F&ES, especially in terms of bridging the social and natural sciences; (2) it combines the strengths in ecological and environmental studies of F&ES with the social science strengths of the Anthropology Department; and (3) it combines the Anthropology Department’s strengths in theory with the emphasis within F&ES on linking theory with policy and practice. The combined doctoral degree offers its graduates great flexibility when entering the marketplace: they can represent themselves as anthropologists and/or environmental scientists, as theoreticians and/or practitioners. They have the credentials to apply for policy-oriented positions with international institutions as well as academic positions in teaching and research. The academic program of each student in the combined degree program is to some extent tailored specifically to his or her particular history, interests, and needs, but there are general guidelines that combined students can be expected to follow, and they are laid out here (see below).

Eligibility and Master’s Degrees

In general, eligibility for entry into the combined degree program will be the same as that for either the F&ES or the Anthropology doctoral program (which is detailed in their respective bulletins). Prior award of a Master’s degree is generally preferred for entry into the F&ES doctoral program but not the Anthropology doctoral program. Therefore, the desirability of a prior master’s degree will be weighed on a case-by-case basis among applicants. Combined degree students will receive (upon petition) an M. Phil. degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) after passing their comprehensive exams.

Application

Prospective combined degree students must initially apply either to Anthropology or to F&ES but not to both at the same time. They should, however, as per the current Yale Graduate School application process, indicate their interest in the combined degree by marking the application form appropriately. Once accepted in the initially chosen doctoral program, the student’s file will be considered in the second program and a recommendation made on the combined degree application that will be communicated by the Graduate School. Admitted students will be allocated to the initially chosen program as their primary administrative home but will enter Yale as members of the combined degree program. Being turned down for entry into the combined degree program at this point does not preclude re-application after arriving at Yale the following Fall semester.

It is possible for a student who has entered Yale through either Anthropology or F&ES as a Ph.D. student to then petition to enter the combined degree program. A student interested in the combined degree may apply to the second program, after first securing the support of his/her prospective principal advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for either F&ES or Anthropology, as appropriate. In order to meet the demands of the combined degree in a timely manner, it is best if this second application is made as soon as possible in the student’s doctoral program and ideally no later than the last week in October during the first semester of graduate study at Yale. To help make this possible, such applications to the combined program will be reviewed on an ad hoc basis as they are submitted, without being held to the normal annual calendar for doctoral applications. However, applications to the combined program should in content and all other respects follow the norms of the regular doctoral application (the sole difference being that the applicant should specifically address in the statement-of-purpose why he/she is interested in the combined program). This application will be reviewed by the F&ES doctoral committee or the Anthropology faculty (in the latter case, the Departmental Graduate Registrar must receive the application at least one week before a regularly scheduled faculty meeting). If the applicant is admitted, the applicant will then submit the proposal (counter-signed by both DGSs) to, and meet with, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School (currently Richard Sleight), who will make the final decision regarding admission. A positive decision by the Dean will constitute formal admission into the combined degree program.

Guidelines for Combined F&ES/Anthropology Doctoral Degree Program


Requirements of the Combined Degree

The requirements of the combined doctoral degree are the same as those of the doctoral degrees of F&ES and Anthropology (which are detailed in the bulletins of the respective institutions), with the following exceptions or clarifications. First, the combined students are required, upon acceptance into the combined degree program, to draw up a program of coursework. The combined degree program requires doctoral students to take 16 units/courses, which will be apportioned between Anthropology and F&ES, and other university departments, based on consultations with the student’s committee. During their first three semesters in the program, combined degree students must take a) the one-semester doctoral seminar at F&ES (taken in year one), and b) required coursework in Anthropology as outlined by each subfield for combined degree students. Please see Appendix A for coursework requirements for combined degree students specializing in sociocultural anthropology.

The teaching fellow requirements of the combined program vary depending upon whether the combined student first entered into Anthropology or F&ES. Combined students receiving their stipends from Anthropology are expected to serve as Teaching Fellows (TFs) during their 3rd and 4th years of study. Some teaching may be deferred for student needing to perform fieldwork in their 3rd and/or 4th years. Those receiving their stipends from F&ES are expected to serve as TFs for 2 semesters and research project/assistant (R.F.) for 2 semesters for a 4-year F&ES stipend, and to serve as TFs for an additional 2 semesters (one of which must be at a level of 20 hours/week as opposed to the normal 10 hours/week) if they wish to receive a 5th year of stipend support for writing-up. Winning of outside stipend and tuition support reduces these requirements commensurately.

Doctoral Committee

Combined students will be assigned an advisor in both F&ES and Anthropology upon admission to the combined program. As soon as possible thereafter, but in no case later than the end of the 2nd semester, each student must constitute a formal doctoral committee. The student’s principal advisors in F&ES and Anthropology will serve as co-chairs of the committee. The committee also must have one additional member drawn from each department. Further committee members, beyond the four specified here, may be drawn from the rest of the university, or from beyond the university according to the student’s needs. If the student invites to his/her committee a member of the faculty jointly appointed between Anthropology and F&ES, the student in consultation with co-Chairs can determine which department that faculty member would count for, so as to select a fourth committee member from the other department to maintain the committee composition specified.

Exams, Prospectus, Dissertation

The combined degree students will take their comprehensive exams during their 4th semester. This will be a written examination comprised of two parts. The first part of the examination will be taken over four or five hours on a single day. It will be based entirely on the core sequence of seminars taken in F&ES and Anthropology. The second part of the examination will also be taken over four or five hours on the next day or within a week of the first part. It will be based on elective courses and bibliographies of anthropological and inter-disciplinary environmental studies research pertaining to the world area (for example sub-Saharan Africa, or Southeast Asia, or Latin America) that the student has chosen for conduct of dissertation field research. Both parts of the written examination will be taken starting in the last week of March and the examination will be written by the student’s committee which will include, only for the duration of the examinations, a representative of the Anthropology Department’s examination committee (which draws upon faculty teaching the core curriculum in that year). Both parts of the written examination will consist of 6-8 questions, of which 3-4 questions will have to be answered. These exams, if permitted by the student’s committee, may also be answered as a take home and submitted a week later. The entire committee will sit in an oral examination of the entire written exams within two weeks of the completion of all written examinations. Remote participation by telephone conference call is permitted where necessary (i.e. for outside committee members who cannot attend in person). The exam will consist of a brief presentation/overview by the student, followed by questioning by the committee. There are only two possible exam outcomes: Pass, or Fail. If a student fails, he/she is dismissed from the Graduate School.

The combined degree students will take their comprehensive exams during their 4th semester. This will be a written examination comprised of two parts. The first part of the examination will be taken over four or five hours on a single day. It will be based entirely on the core sequence of seminars taken in F&ES and Anthropology. The second part of the examination will also be taken over four or five hours on the next day or within a week of the first part. It will be based on elective courses and bibliographies of anthropological and inter-disciplinary environmental studies research pertaining to the world area (for example sub-Saharan Africa, or Southeast Asia, or Latin America) that the student has chosen for conduct of dissertation field research. Both parts of the written examination will be taken starting in the last week of March and the examination will be written by the student’s committee which will include, only for the duration of the examinations, a representative of the Anthropology Department’s examination committee (which draws upon faculty teaching the core curriculum in that year). Both parts of the written examination will consist of 6-8 questions, of which 3-4 questions will have to be answered. These exams, if permitted by the student’s committee, may also be answered as a take home and submitted a week later. The entire committee will sit in an oral examination of the entire written exams within two weeks of the completion of all written examinations. Remote participation by telephone conference call is permitted where necessary (i.e. for outside committee members who cannot attend in person). The exam will consist of a brief presentation/overview by the student, followed by questioning by the committee. There are only two possible exam outcomes: Pass, or Fail. If a student fails, he/she is dismissed from the Graduate School.

The completed dissertation must be defended, following F&ES guidelines, before a meeting of the entire committee (and other interested faculty members). The defense will consist of a presentation/overview by the student, followed by questioning by the committee. There are three possible outcomes to the defense: unconditional Pass, Pass conditional upon specified revisions to the dissertation, or Fail. In the event of failure, the committee and DGSs will together prescribe the remedy, which may include scheduling a second defense. If the student fails a second time they will be dismissed from the Graduate School. Following a successful defense, three formal reader’s reports must then be prepared for presentation to the DGSs of Anthropology and F&ES. At least two of these must come from tenured Yale faculty, and at least one must come from the F&ES faculty and at least one from the Anthropology faculty. The readers must be recommended by the appropriate DGS and approved by the GSAS.

Scheduling

Combined students will preferably schedule their comprehensive exams and prospectus defenses during the fourth and fifth semesters (and no later than the sixth), respectively. Most students find it preferable to schedule the prospectus defense after the comprehensive exam. Combined students should also write funding proposals during the 4th or 5th semesters (and intervening summer) so that they can depart for fieldwork after completing their exams and defenses. Combined students typically employ the summers after the 2nd and 4th semesters for pre-dissertation fieldwork and/or language study (and/or, in the case of the second summer, proposal writing). The principal period of fieldwork averages perhaps 18 months, but varies from 12 to 30.

Funding

The Ph.D. program to which the combined student first applied is entirely responsible for his or her stipend and tuition. Funding for summer fieldwork, language study, and attendance at professional meetings, and funding for the principal period of fieldwork, are available from a variety of sources. Combined students are eligible for in-house grants from both Anthropology and F&ES. In the case of F&ES, these include research grants from the Tropical Resource Institute, conference travel grants from the Doctoral Program, and F&ES/YIBS research grants. In the case of Anthropology, these include the Williams and Albers Funds for research and the Schwartz Fund for conference travel. Combined students are also eligible for a wide range of intra-Yale grants for research and language study, including the Enders grant, and awards from the Agrarian Studies Program, the MacMillan Center, the various area studies councils, and a number of other area-specific grants. Five years of twelve-month support is available from the Graduate School to those students who first applied to Anthropology, and fixed summer support grant is available from F&ES (for a maximum of two years) to those students who first applied to F&ES and have not secured external support.

Combined students typically fund their summer pre-dissertation research and language study from these Yale sources but fund most of their major period of fieldwork from sources outside Yale. Combined students have been very successful winning awards for this purpose from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, and NSF, among other sources. Students who first applied to F&ES (but not Anthropology) and who win outside awards for their major period of fieldwork may (if they wish) go off stipend for the duration of the outside award and partly “bank” that stipend support for use as needed during the write-up period (see the F&ES Doctoral Student handbook for further details). Combined students who first applied to Anthropology are eligible for a dissertation writing fellowship from the Graduate School to support them while writing up during the 5th year or 6th year. Students who first applied to F&ES are not eligible for this support from the Graduate School but are eligible for a 5th year of support from F&ES on the condition of serving as T.F. (at some point during the 5 years) an additional 2 semesters. Any additional work as a T.F. or R.F., done while the student is still on stipend and in order to supplement that stipend, is subject to Graduate School regulations. Winning of outside awards that apply to stipend/living expenses also is subject to Graduate School regulations.

Combined Degree

The student who successfully completes the combined F&ES/Anthropology program receives a combined doctoral degree in Anthropology and F&ES, not two separate degrees.

Further Information

Interested parties may contact the Program Coordinators, or the respective DGSs, as follows:

Michael R. Dove and K. Sivaramakrishnan
Coordinators, Combined F&ES/Anthropology Ph.D. Program

David Skelly
Director of Graduate Study, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Anne Underhill
Director of Graduate Study, Anthropology Department


General Schedule

This is a general schedule for students in the combined FES/Anthropology doctoral program.

Application
Either at the time of Application to the Graduate School:
To F&ES OR Anthropology as primary home with Combined Degree option: Year 0

Or after Admission to either the F&ES or the Anthropology Ph.D. Progam:
To other program (to which one did not initially apply), then
To Associate Dean of the Graduate School: Semester 1 of Year 1

Committee
Form committee with co-chairs from Anthropology and F&ES: end of Year 1

Exams
Comprehensive exam 4th semester
Prospectus writing, defense, and final submission: 4th, 5th, or 6th semester

Other Preparation
Pre-dissertation fieldwork/language study: summers after 1st & 2nd years
Proposal writing for field funding: 4th or 5th semesters & summers

Teaching/Service
Anthropology: TF (unless in the field): Years 3-4
F&ES: 2 semesters as TF and 2 semesters as RF: Years 1-4
F&ES: 2 semesters as TF (for optional 5th year funding): Year 5

Dissertation Defense
Oral defense: Years 5 or 6

Program Labs and Collectives

Students in the joint program participate in a bi-weekly ‘collective’ in the Anthropology Department, and a bi-weekly ‘lab’ in F&ES, both of which afford students opportunities to present and comment upon each other’s work, dissertation prospectuses, dissertation chapters; do dry-runs of job talks, etc.  There are also opportunities for collaborative research and publishing.  Joint students have contributed to the following publications:

In preparation. Unsustainability. For: Handbook of Environmental Anthropology, H. Kopnina and E. Shoreman-Ouimet eds. Routledge.

Claus, A., S. Osterhoudt, M. R. Dove, L. Baker, L. Cortesi, C. Hebdon, A. Zhang. 2015. Disaster, Degradation, and Dystopia: Ethnographic Contributions to the Political Ecological Stance. For: Handbook of Political Ecology, R. Bryant and S. Kim eds. Cheltenham (UK)/Northampton (MA): Edward Elgar.

Baker L, Dove M, Graef D, Keleman A, Kneas D, Osterhoudt S, Stoike J. 2013. Whose Diversity Counts? The Politics and Paradoxes of Modern Diversity. Sustainability 5(6):2495-2518, doi:10.3390/su5062495

Dove, M.R., A. Mathews, K. Maxwell, J. Padwe, A. Rademacher. 2008. The Concept of Human Agency in Contemporary Conservation and Development. In: Against the Grain: The Vayda Tradition in Human Ecology and Ecological Anthropology, B. Walters, B. J. McCay, P. West, and S. Lees, eds., pp.225-253. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Dove, M.R., D. S. Smith, M. T. Campos, A. S. Mathews, A. Rademacher, S. Rhee, L. S. M. Yoder. 2007. Globalization and the Construction of Western and Non-Western Knowledge. In: Local Science vs Global Science: Approaches to Indigenous Knowledge in International Development, P. Sillitoe ed., pp.129-154. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Dove, M.R., M. T. Campos, A. S. Mathews, A. Rademacher,  S. Rhee, D. S. Smith, L. S. M. Yoder. 2003. The Global Mobilization of Environmental Concepts: Re-Thinking the Western/Non-Western Divide. For  Nature Across Culture: Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-Western Cultures, H. Selin ed., pp.19-46. Dordrecht: Kluwer.


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