Combined Doctoral Degree with Anthropology
The student who successfully completes the combined program receives a combined doctoral degree in Anthropology and YSE
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The School of Environment (YSE)/Anthropology combined doctoral degree combines the disciplinary identity and strengths of the Anthropology Department with the inter-disciplinary character and possibilities of YSE, especially in terms of bridging the social and natural sciences. It combines the strengths in ecological and environmental studies of YSE with the social science strengths of the Anthropology Department, and it combines the Anthropology Department’s strengths in theory with the emphasis within YSE on linking theory with policy and practice.
The School of Environment (YSE)/Anthropology 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.
History and Purpose
The combined School of Environment (YSE)/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 YSE. Initial 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 – including biological anthropology and archaeological studies – and students across environmental 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 YSE, especially in terms of bridging the social and natural sciences; (2) it combines the strengths in ecological and environmental studies of YSE with the social science strengths of the Anthropology Department; and (3) it combines the Anthropology Department’s strengths in theory with the emphasis within YSE 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.
Eligibility and Master’s Degrees
In general, eligibility for entry into the combined degree program will be the same as for entering either the YSE 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 YSE 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.
Prospective combined degree students must initially apply either to Anthropology or to YSE 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 in the following Fall Semester.
It is possible for a student who has entered Yale through either Anthropology or YSE as a Ph.D. student to then submit a 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 YSE 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 and in no case later than the end of the first semester. 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). The YSE doctoral admissions committee and the Anthropology faculty would review the application. In the latter case, the Departmental Graduate Registrar must receive the application at least one week before a regularly scheduled faculty meeting. If admitted, the applicant will then submit the proposal (counter-signed by both DGSs) to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final decision regarding admission. A positive decision by the Dean will constitute formal admission into the combined degree program.
Requirements of the Combined Degree
The requirements of the combined doctoral degree are the same as those of the doctoral degrees of YSE 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 12 units/courses which will be apportioned among Anthropology, YSE, and other university departments as appropriate, based on consultations with the student’s committee. The 12 courses include one exam-oriented independent study, and students are encouraged to take additional independent study courses (beyond the 12 courses) as needed and in consultation with committee/Co-Chairs. During their first three semesters in the program, combined degree students must take a) the one-semester doctoral seminar at YSE (taken in year one), and b) any additional required coursework in YSE and Anthropology as outlined by each subfield for combined degree students. Please see Appendix A for coursework requirements for combined degree students.
The teaching fellow requirements of the combined program vary depending upon whether the combined student first entered into Anthropology or YSE. Combined students receiving their stipends from Anthropology are expected to serve as Teaching Fellows for four semesters, as required by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The exact timing of teaching depends on the scheduling of PhD research. Students are eligible to work as TFs starting in year two of their program of study. The GSAS expectation is that they will teach mostly during years three and four, but students in the combined program who conduct field research during some of this time can defer their teaching requirement accordingly. If students receive a sixth year of support, then they will be expected to TF for an additional two semesters. The total teaching requirement is effectively reduced for those students who are awarded fellowships supported by non-Yale and non-GSAS Yale funding sources.
Students receiving their stipends from YSE are also expected to serve as TFs for four semesters during their first five years in the program, and they become eligible to do so during year two. If students take the available sixth year of support, then they will be expected to TF for an additional two semesters (one of which must be at a level of 20 hours/week as opposed to the normal 10 hours/week). With the permission of the Director of Doctoral Studies (DDS), the total teaching requirement may be reduced for students who are awarded fellowships supported by outside funding.
Combined students will be assigned an advisor in both YSE 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 of their first year in the program, each student must constitute a formal doctoral committee. The student’s principal advisors in YSE and Anthropology will serve as co-chairs of the committee. The committee should have one additional member drawn from tenure-track Yale faculty; one more member from Yale or even from outside Yale can be added if that is deemed necessary by the student and Co-Chairs.
Exams, Prospectus, Dissertation
The combined degree students will take their comprehensive exams during their 4th semester of study. 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 required sequence of seminars taken in YSE 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 a world area and/or topic (for example sub-Saharan Africa, or global climate change) 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. Both parts of the written examination will consist of 6-8 questions, of which 3-4 questions will have to be answered. Both the first and second parts of the exam, 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. 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.
All combined students must prepare a comprehensive dissertation prospectus and a field paper in close consultation with their committee, and following current Anthropology and YSE guidelines. The prospectus document is typically 1500-2000 words in length, and the field paper is 8,000-10,000 words long. These documents also form the basis for dissertation research grant proposals for Yale sources and external competitions. The student must defend this prospectus in a formal oral defense before the entire committee (and other interested faculty members). The oral defense is held within the department that serves as the student’s administrative home. There are several possible outcomes to the defense: unconditional Pass, Pass conditional upon specified revisions to the prospectus, or Fail. If the student fails the examination, 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. A successful defense of this prospectus/field paper satisfies the oral defense required by YSE and the Department of Anthropology, and is required for admission to candidacy.
A final version of this prospectus must be filed with the DGS and the student’s advisory committee’s endorsement of this document must be brought before the entire Anthropology faculty for approval. Depending on their progress and readiness, combined degree students may complete these prospectus/field paper requirements in their fourth, fifth, or sixth semester of study. Passing qualifying examinations and approval of the prospectus and field paper by the home Department after a successful defense before the committee complete requirements for the student to attain candidacy or All but Dissertation (ABD) status. At this point the student can petition for the M Phil degree from the GSAS.
The completed dissertation must be defended, following YSE guidelines, before a meeting of the entire committee (and other interested faculty members). The defense will consist of a brief 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 YSE. At least two of these must come from tenured Yale faculty, and at least one must come from the YSE faculty and at least one from the Anthropology faculty. The readers must be recommended by the appropriate DGS and approved by the GSAS.
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 18 months, but varies from 12 to 24 months. Combined students receiving their stipends from YSE generally leave for the field after the 4th or 5th semesters, and those receiving their stipends from Anthropology after the 5th or 6th semesters.
The Ph.D. program to which the combined student first applied is entirely responsible for his or her stipend and tuition. Students in the combined program who receive their stipends through Anthropology are guaranteed five years of funding from the GSAS. This includes two years of funding while they take courses, two years while they teach, and one year during which they receive a stipend while writing. All such students are potentially eligible for a sixth year of funding; to be eligible, they must meet the requirements of the GSAS sixth-year funding policy. Students who receive their stipend from YSE are guaranteed six years of support, with the sixth year contingent on the afore-mentioned service as a TF.
Combined students are eligible for one-time research award from the MacMillan Center, contingent only upon passing their comprehensive exams and advancing to candidacy, which currently amounts to $18,000. But in addition, most combined students fund a year or more of their field work through competitive external grants. Combined students have been very successful winning awards for this purpose from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, Wenner-Gren, SSRC, and NSF, among other sources. For students receiving their stipends from Anthropology, external awards can be used to defer up to a year’s worth of funding from the first five years for use in the sixth year of registration, which frees them from the requirements of the GSAS sixth-year funding policy. Students who receive their stipends from YSE and win external awards can either add $4,000 to their annual stipend or go off stipend and defer up to one year for later use during the write-up period (see the YSE Doctoral Student handbook for further details). In either case, bringing in one full year of stipend recovery allows YSE students to reduce TF obligations by one semester.
Funding for summer pre-dissertation fieldwork, language study, and attendance at professional meetings is available from a variety of sources. Combined students are also eligible for a wide range of intra-Yale grants for research and language study, including the Enders grant, funds from the various area studies councils, and a number of other topic-specific grants. Combined students also are eligible for in-house grants from both Anthropology and YSE. In the case of Anthropology, these include the Smith Fund for research and the Schwartz Fund for conference travel. In the case of YSE, these include research grants from the Tropical Resource Institute and conference travel grants from the Doctoral Program.
Winning of outside awards that apply to stipend/living expenses is subject to GSAS regulations. No funding from the GSAS can be used in a seventh year of registration, though such registration is possible if recommended by the student’s committee and the DGS in both YSE and Anthropology. Finally, any additional work as a TF, done while the student is still on stipend and in order to supplement that stipend, is subject to GSAS regulations as well
The student who successfully completes the combined YSE/Anthropology program receives a combined doctoral degree in Anthropology and YSE, not two separate degrees.
Interested parties may contact Program Coordinators, or respective DGSs, as follows:
Director of Graduate Study, School of the Environment
Director of Graduate Study, Anthropology Department
General Schedule for Combined Anthropology/YSE Students*
|APPLICATION (2 Paths)
Path 1 - At the Time of Application to Graduate School
Application to YSE OR Anthropology as primary home with Combined Degree option
|Path 2 - After Admission to either the YSE or Anthropology Ph.D Program
Apply to the second program to which one did not initially apply, then to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School
|Semester 1, Year 1
Form committee with co-chairs from Anthropology and YSE
End of Year 1
Prospectus writing, defense, and final submission
4th, 5th, or 6th Semester
Pre-dissertation fieldwork/language study
Summers after 1st & 2nd years
Proposal writing for field funding
4th or 5th Semesters & Summers
TF 4 Semesters (when not in the field) Years 2-4
TF 4 Semesters (when not In the field) Years 2-5
TF 2 Semesters for optional 6th year funding (when not In the field) Year 6
Years 5 or 6
* This schedule lays out the schedule for the combined program in general terms. For more detail, see the 4-page “Guidelines for Combined YSE/Anthropology Doctoral Degree Program” and the YSE manual “Procedures and Practices Relating to Doctoral Student Work.”