Joint Degrees

Joint Degree in Anthropology and Linguistics

In addition to linguistic anthropology as a sub-field within the Department of Anthropology, there is also a joint Ph.D. program available to students who are admitted to both the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Linguistics. Administratively, the student is admitted to, and remains registered in, the primary, or “home” department, and subsequently seeks admission to the second department in joint residence status. Students approved to pursue the joint degree program must complete the requirements of both departments, including the distinct introductory and advanced courses stipulated by each, the departmental qualifying examination in appropriate special fields, and the language requirements, including additional foreign languages for the Linguistics Ph.D. The student’s dissertation advisory committee consists of three or more members of the faculty; at least one must be a member of the Department of Anthropology but not of the Department of Linguistics, and at least one in Linguistics but not in Anthropology. After approval by the advisory committee, the student’s dissertation proposal must be defended at a hearing open to the faculty of both departments.

Generally, an Anthropology student may apply to Linguistics for the joint degree program at the end of the second year or later, after having successfully completed the first-year program in Anthropology and the core (first-year) coursework and examinations in Linguistics. However, students should declare interest in the Joint Degree Program on the initial graduate application to the Department, and should discuss this interest personally with linguistic anthropology faculty soon after arrival on campus.

Other Joint Degree Possibilities

Although Anthropology has no other formal joint degree programs, students admitted to Anthropology may subsequently petition the University to create a joint program with another department. For instance, there is considerable precedent for pursuing a joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and History. To create this joint program, Anthropology students spend their first year taking the required first year courses in the Anthropology Department; in the second year, they take a two-quarter history seminar and write an anthropologically-informed Master’s paper in coordination with that seminar which will be acceptable to both Departments. The Master’s degree is awarded by one of the two departments and is accepted for equivalence by the other. The Anthropology student then applies for admission to History at the end of the second year or later, having already demonstrated a proficiency in both disciplines. Applicants to Anthropology who are interested in a joint degree program with History should declare interest at the time of the initial application.

Also by petition, it has been possible for students to create other joint Ph.D. programs. In recent years, individual programs combining Anthropology and Art History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and Cinema and Media Studies have been created. An M.D./Ph.D. program is coordinated through the MeSH program in the medical school. A J.D./Ph.D. with the University of Chicago Law School or another law school is also possible, and we have facilitated joint degrees with the School of Social Services Administration at the University of Chicago.

Such individually-created joint degree programs begin in the second year of graduate studies or later. In all cases, students complete the separate program requirements for each degree, with no additional residence requirement, and write one Ph.D. dissertation that separately meets the dissertation requirements of each department. The specifics of each joint degree program, such as any requirements that may be jointly met, any overlapping examination areas, and the composition of the dissertation committee, are agreed upon by both departments at the time of the petition.