Research Degrees in Anthropology

  • [From MT 2018: 1. Special provisions for part-time students

  • Candidates are required to meet the following attendance requirements for their period of part-time study: attendance for a minimum of 30 days of university-based work each year, normally coinciding with the full terms of the academic year, to be arranged with the agreement of their supervisor, for the period that their names remain on the Register of Graduate Students unless individually dispensed by the Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. During a candidate's probationary period the attendance arrangements must take account of relevant induction and training events scheduled by the School.]

  • [Until MT 2018: 1. Transfer from M.Phil. status to D.Phil. status

  • A student who has obtained an M.Phil. may only be admitted direct to D.Phil. status on condition that the research topic is a development of the research contained in the M.Phil. thesis or if the student can otherwise demonstrate his or her competence to undertake the proposed research, and that appropriate supervision can be provided.]

  • 2. Transfer from Probationer Research Student status to M.Litt. or D.Phil. status

    For transfer of status, the student should submit two copies in typescript of a substantial piece of written work relevant to the proposed thesis. The work should not exceed 20,000 words excluding bibliography and any appendixes, but including notes, and should consist of, or incorporate, a detailed research proposal. The student will be required to show that the research already undertaken shows promise of the ability to produce a satisfactory M.Litt. or D.Phil. thesis, as the case may be, on the intended topic. [Until MT 2018: Students should submit their work to the Departmental Office, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, not later than the end of Trinity full term after the Michaelmas Term in which they were admitted. An extension of one term (i.e. to the end of the Michaelmas full term in the year after the student was admitted) may be granted in exceptional circumstances. In the case of students admitted in other terms, submission should take place by the end of the third term (i.e. full term) after admission, with the possibility of an extension for a further one term (i.e. to the end of full term) in exceptional circumstances.][From MT 2018: Students should submit their work to the Departmental Office, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, not later than the end of the third Full Term (or sixth Full Term for part-time students) after admission. An extension of one term (or two terms for part-time students) may be granted in exceptional circumstances.] (NB: alternative provisions apply to probationer research students with coursework, as described in paragraph 3, below). The student’s submission will be assessed by two assessors appointed by the Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, to which they will submit a written report. A student whose first application is unsuccessful may be given one further opportunity to apply for transfer of status, for which an extension of one term [From MT 2018: (or two terms for part-time students)] is automatically granted.

    All probationer research students must give presentations on their proposed research projects to the class designated for that purpose or an agreed equivalent to qualify for transfer of status. They will also be expected to attend relevant courses on training and methods, as agreed with, and directed by, their supervisor(s).

  • 3. Probationer research students with coursework

    Probationer research students entering the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology should normally have a prior, full taught-course degree in social or cultural anthropology at either the graduate or undergraduate levels before being admitted to this status. Exceptionally, however, students who have earned a distinction in either (1) a degree in a closely related subject that includes some social or cultural anthropology, or (2) a mixed degree in social or cultural anthropology and another closely related subject may be admitted directly to the status of probationer research student in anthropology. In addition to the standard requirements for probationer research students in anthropology (and except as varied below), students entering the above Institute via this route should satisfy the following conditions:

    • (1) they enter the Institute as research students in the Michaelmas term of their first academic year and not in any other term;

    • (2) the topic of their proposed research lies in the general thematic or geographical area covered by their prior degree;

    • (3) they undertake a full course of eight tutorials in general anthropology, with essays, in the [Until MT 2018: first Michaelmas term] [From MT 2018: first term (or first two terms for part-time students)] of their admission as probationer research students. Three of the essays produced for these tutorials are to be submitted for assessment as described below;

    • [Until MT 2018:(4) they follow a course in an option (area or topic) offered to master’s students in the above Institute in the first Hilary and, where provided for, Trinity terms after their admission as research students. The option must be relevant to their proposed research if one is available (area or topic), except that they may not repeat an option in which they have been examined as part of a prior degree in the University of Oxford. If the student cannot take such an option for either of these reasons, a free choice may be allowed with the agreement of the Director of Graduate Studies for Anthropology or his or her delegate. The student shall write one essay of tutorial standard on the option for assessment as described below;

    • (5)] [From MT 2018: (4)] the proposed supervisor has given his or her approval of this course of action in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies for anthropology or, in case the latter is the proposed supervisor, to the Director of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology.

    • Note: the work specified in (3) [Until MT 2018: and (4)] above shall constitute Part I of the assessment for transfer from probationer research student to full D.Phil. student, and the text for transfer that the student will be required to prepare on the basis of his or her proposed research (in the same manner as for ordinary probationer research students in anthropology) shall constitute Part II of the said assessment.

      Students following these arrangements must pass an assessment of the work they have carried out under (3) [Until MT 2018: and (4)] above (Part I), which shall normally involve scrutiny of three tutorial essays [Until MT 2018: and the option essay]. This assessment shall be carried out at the same time as the standard assessment of the text on the proposed research (Part II). An extra assessor or assessors, one of whom in special cases may be the student’s supervisor, may but need not be appointed to scrutinise the work carried out for Part I. The extra assessor(s), if any, need not be present at the assessment interview with the student, but should advise the assessors conducting the interview in writing beforehand of the standard of work achieved by the student in Part I.

      [Until MT 2018: Both parts of the assessment, i.e. Parts I and II as specified above, must be passed by the student, though not necessarily on the same occasion. If the student fails in either Part I or Part II, or both, he or she will be required to resubmit materials for, and pass, the relevant part(s) within one term of the original submission. Both elements in Part I, as described under (3) and (4) above, must be passed by the student.

      The deadline for a student following this path to submit materials for assessment for upgrade to full status as a doctoral student shall normally be the fourth term after admission as a research student (i.e. the Michaelmas Term of the second year in the status of probationer research student). Such students are expected to start work on their text for upgrade during the Hilary term after their admission as probationer research students at the latest.]

    • [From MT 2018: Both parts of the assessment, i.e. Parts I and II as specified above, must be passed by the student, though not necessarily on the same occasion. If the student fails in either Part I or Part II, or both, he or she will be required to resubmit materials for, and pass, the relevant part(s) within one term (or two terms for part-time students) of the original submission.

      The deadline for a student following this path to submit materials for assessment for upgrade to full status as a doctoral student shall normally be the fourth term (or eighth term for part-time students) after admission as a research student. Such students are expected to start work on their text for upgrade during their second term (or fourth term for part-time students) after their admission as probationer research students at the latest.]

    [From MT 2018: 4. Transfer from M.Phil. status to D.Phil. status

    A student who has obtained an M.Phil. may only be admitted direct to D.Phil. status on condition that the research topic is a development of the research contained in the M.Phil. thesis or if the student can otherwise demonstrate his or her competence to undertake the proposed research, and that appropriate supervision can be provided.]

  • 4. [From MT 2018: 5. ]Integrated Thesis Format

  • In consultation with their supervisor(s) and the Director of Graduate Studies, doctoral students may opt to submit a thesis in the integrated format. The thesis chapters must be framed by an introduction, a literature review and a conclusion. Such a body of work must address an overarching research question and represent a coherent and focused body of research and must overall be equivalent to what would normally be acceptable for a thesis in the monograph format. There is no formal limit on the number of chapters, but the normal thesis word limits apply.

  • Work that is the product of collaborative effort may be included in the thesis, on condition that the candidate is responsible for the majority contribution to that work, in terms of intellectual development, practical implementation, and writing up, and that their contribution is demonstrated; any collaborators or co-authors must certify in writing to the School’s Teaching Committee what part of the work represents that of the candidate.

  • Candidates who wish to proceed by this route should elect to do so before applying for confirmation of status. Should a candidate subsequently wish to revert to monograph format, they must submit a written application to the Director of Graduate Studies, with the support of their supervisor, detailing the reasons for the change.

  • Specific procedures relating to the integrated thesis format are detailed in the DPhil student handbook.

  • 5. [From MT 2018: 6. ] Confirmation of Status as a student for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

    The provisions of the Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (§4) shall apply, except as specifically provided below.

    Application for confirmation of D.Phil. status shall normally be made not earlier than the sixth term and not later than the ninth term [From MT 2018: (or not earlier than the twelfth term and not later than the eighteenth term for part-time students)] from admission as a research student in the case of a student admitted first to the status of Probationer Research Student, and normally not earlier than the third term and not later than the sixth term [From MT 2018: (or not earlier than the sixth term and not later than the twelfth term for part-time students)] from readmission in the case of a student admitted directly to D.Phil. status from an M.Phil. degree within the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography.

    For students admitted directly to D.Phil. status from an M.Phil. degree within the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography before 1 October 2012:

    (i) Application for confirmation of D.Phil. status shall normally be made not earlier than the sixth term and not later than the ninth term from readmission.

    For students admitted directly to D.Phil. status from an M.Phil. degree within the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography before 1 October 2011:

    (i) Application for confirmation of D.Phil. status shall normally be made not earlier than the fourth term and not later than the tenth term from readmission.

    [Until MT 2018: The Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography may in addition, and for good reason, permit a candidate to defer for a maximum of three terms his or her application for confirmation of status.

    A student for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy shall cease to hold such status unless it has been confirmed within nine terms of his or her admission if first admitted as a Probationer Research Student, or within six terms from readmission directly to D.Phil. status from an M.Phil. degree within the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (or within a maximum of twelve terms or nine terms respectively where deferral has been approved in accordance with the paragraph above).]

  • [From MT 2018: The Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography may in addition, and for good reason, permit a candidate first admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student to defer for a maximum of three terms (or six terms for part-time students) his or her application for confirmation of status.

    A student for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy shall cease to hold such status unless it has been confirmed within nine terms (or eighteen terms for a part-time student) of his or her admission if first admitted as a Probationer Research Student, or within six terms (or twelve terms for a part-time student) from readmission directly to D.Phil. status from an M.Phil. degree within the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (or for students first admitted as a Probationer Research Student within a maximum of twelve terms (or twenty-four terms for part-time students) where deferral has been approved in accordance with the paragraph above).]

    The student will be required to give evidence confirming that the research already carried out gives promise of the ability to produce a satisfactory D.Phil. thesis on the intended topic. For this purpose the applicant must submit: (a) a detailed outline of the whole of the proposed thesis, including an indication of the topics, theories, arguments etc. to be covered in individual chapters (as applicable); and (b) at least one and not more than two sample chapters. In the latter case, the student is advised to submit one chapter that is basically ethnographic in type (if applicable), the other concerning the more general comparative and/or theoretical issues with which the thesis deals, though this advice may be varied in consultation with the supervisor(s). A student who wishes to proceed by the integrated thesis format must submit instead: (a) the introduction to the thesis together with a statement outlining how the chapters are integrated as a complete text; (b) at least one and not more than two sample chapters; (c) (as front matter) a statement listing any papers published or accepted for publication, or under consideration for publication, linked to the work presented in the thesis, outlining the candidate’s contributions to any collaborative efforts; and (d) (as a separate document) a statement of permission from collaborators to include the work in the thesis, with each collaborator confirming the extent of the candidate's contribution.  The outline should not exceed 4,000 words, and the submitted chapters should not exceed 20,000 words in total. If these materials do exceed these limits, the assessors are under no obligation to read beyond them, though they are permitted to require the student to submit extra materials to help them in reaching a recommendation. The materials should be submitted, in two copies, to the Departmental Office, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology.

    On receiving the application the Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography shall appoint two assessors. The assessors shall read the script and interview the candidate before submitting to the Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography a reasoned written report supporting their recommendation. A student whose first application is unsuccessful may be given one further opportunity to apply, following the procedures laid down, normally within one term of the original application, and may apply for an extension of time for one term if necessary for the purpose of making the application. [From MT 2018: A student whose first application is unsuccessful may be given one further opportunity to apply, following the procedures laid down, normally within one term (or two terms for part-time students) of the original application, and will be granted an extension of time for one term (or two terms for part-time students) if necessary for the purpose of making the application.]

    All D.Phil. students must give presentations on their research projects to the class designated for that purpose or an agreed equivalent to qualify for confirmation of status.

  • 6. [From MT 2018: 7. ] Submission of theses

    [For students starting before MT 2016: D.Phil. theses submitted by the students in Anthropology must not exceed 100,000 words, and M.Litt. theses must not exceed 50,000 words, including notes (but excluding bibliography, glossary, and appendices containing ethnographic material and archaeological evidence), unless for exceptional reasons and on the recommendation of the candidate's supervisor the Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography otherwise determines.]

  • [For students starting from MT 2016: D.Phil. theses submitted by students in Anthropology must not exceed 100,000 words, and M.Litt. theses must not exceed 50,000 words, (including notes and captions to figures within the main text, but excluding the abstract and other front matter, the bibliography, and any appendices, glossaries, etc.), unless for exceptional reasons and on the recommendation of the candidate's supervisor the Teaching Committee of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography otherwise determines.

  • NB: Appendices should only be used to provide data sets or other factual or methodological material ancillary to the thesis proper. The main text of the thesis should contain all the information required to understand the arguments presented within it, without the need to resort to an appendix.]