Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)

Overview

The Department of Anthropology advances the study and constructive understanding of human diversity and commonality, across the globe and throughout the long span of human existence. We pursue this aim through excellence in research, teaching, and community collaboration, grounded in multiple analytical and interpretive methods that share a commitment to field-based inquiry. Interdisciplinary contacts are encouraged, and links are maintained with departments and programs such as Asian Studies, the Institute of Asian Research, Linguistics, History, Geography, Sociology, and the Centre for Women's and Gender Studies.

What makes the program unique?

We are the second oldest anthropology program in Canada, with more than six decades of research and teaching to our name. Our students are supported by a dedicated staff and faculty and access to outstanding research resources, such as the Museum of Anthropology and Laboratory of Archaeology. Today, UBC anthropology faculty and students conduct original research throughout BC and around the world.

Program Structure

The PhD program provides students with the opportunity to structure a course of study towards specific intellectual and practical interests. A student first gains full standing as a doctoral candidate within the Department by completing the following requirements:

  • 24 months residency
  • 18 credits of coursework
  • an acceptable research proposal
  • satisfactory performance in a comprehensive examination

Once they have attained candidacy, students then proceed with research and preparation of a PhD dissertation. The candidate completes the degree upon successfully defending their dissertation in the University examination. Students are expected to attain their degrees within six years.

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Program Enquiries

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Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

25

Writing

25

Speaking

22

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.5

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

Applicants should have completed a MA in Anthropology, although the program may in special circumstances admit students with a Masters degree in a related subject.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 16 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 16 December 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 16 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 16 December 2020

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 09 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 09 December 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 09 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 09 December 2021

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

The most important first step in applying for admission to our graduate program is finding and approaching a potential supervisor in the department. This gives you an opportunity to discuss the research you are interested in completing as a graduate student and to determine if there is a good ‘fit’ with faculty expertise. Please be aware, however, that all admissions decisions are made by committee and are only communicated after the application deadline following full review of all submitted applications.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Focus

UBC offers graduate study in the fields of socio-cultural anthropology (including legal, medical, and ecological anthropology, oral and expressive culture, religion, globalization, and applied anthropology), linguistic anthropology, anthropological archaeology, biological anthropology, and museum studies. Faculty research interests include North America, Asia (Russia, India, Japan, and Korea), Mesoamerica, South America, Oceania, Europe, and Africa. The program provides training in quantitative, qualitative, archaeological and museum methods.

Research Facilities

Extensive research facilities are available in the Museum of Anthropology, and in the Laboratory of Archaeology. The UBC Library has excellent collections to support program interests, as well as a large collection of microform theses and dissertations, and the Human Relations Area files. Anthropology has a dedicated graduate computer lab with a wide range of software to support quantitative and qualitative research.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

18 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 17 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (2)
University of Dhaka
Universite de Montreal
Douglas College
Sungkyunkwan University
Simon Fraser University
University of Tsukuba
University of British Columbia
Carleton University
University of Alberta
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Gitxaala First Nation
Sto:lo Research and Resource Management Centre
Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation
Alaska Marine Conservation Council
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Researcher
Research Director
Heritage Research Coordinator
Director, Senior Archaeologist
Consultant
Program Director
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications4245413928
Offers71110107
New registrations69694
Total enrolment5047434346

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 80% based on 20 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 18 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 2.33 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 6.02 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Blackburn, Carole (relationship between Indigenous peoples and settler states; how Indigenous nations assert their rights and sovereignty in struggles over land and political recognition, and the consequences for Indigenous people of engaging states in legal and political arenas.)
  • Bloch, Alexia (Social sciences; migration; Gender; Eurasia; Russia; ethnography)
  • Creighton, Millie (Japan, Japanese descent communities (Nikkei or Nikkeijin), Korea, Inter-Asian Relations, Identity, Consumerism, Popular and Mass Culture, Gender, Minorities, Work and Leisure)
  • Davis, Wade (Latin America, passionate defender of all of life)
  • Gordillo, Gaston (Space and violence, affect, ruins and ruination, critical theory and continental philosophy, object-oriented ontologies, resistance to agribusiness, Latin America, Argentina, the Gran Chaco)
  • Heatherington, Tracey (Environmental anthropology; Anthropocene studies; Political ecology of nature conservation; Multi-species ethnography; Power & resistance; Critique of neoliberalism; Sustainable food systems; Ethnographic writing and reflexivity; Anthropological engagements with fiction)
  • Jing, Zhichun (Archaeology of Early China Archaeology Geoarchaeology Ancient Civilizations, Archaeology of early China, geoarchaeology, human impact on ancient environments, archaic states and early complex societies, systematic regional survey and analysis, quantitative analysis, environmental archaeology, provenance of archaic jades)
  • Kamat, Vinay Ramnath (Global Health and Emerging Diseases; Medical Anthropology; Global Health; ethnography; India; Outsourcing of Clinical Trials; Tanzania; Malaria; East Africa; marine conservation; Dispossession; Extractive Industry; political ecology)
  • Kramer, Jennifer (Visual culture and art of the First Nations)
  • Levell, Nicola (interdisciplinary folds of anthropology, theoretical museology, material culture and critical curatorial studies)
  • Martindale, Andrew (Archeological Data Analysis; Archeological Excavation Methods and Techniques; Prehistory; History of Major Eras, Great Civilisations or Geographical Corpuses; Indigenous Archaeology; Northwest Coast; Oral Traditions; Spatial Analyses; Archaeology and the Law; Political economy; Radiocarbon Dating; Indian Residential Schools)
  • McKellin, William (Medical, linguistic and cultural anthropology; socio-linguistics and discourse analysis; clinical medical anthropology; genetics and society; international health; cognitive anthropology; kinship and social organization; Papua New Guinea; Canada.)
  • Menzies, Charles (Social sciences; Indigenous studies; Natural Resource Management; Maritime Anthropology; Western Europe; Ethnographic Film)
  • Miller, Bruce (Anthropology of Law, ethnography, ethnohistory of Coast Salish of BC and Washington, Indigenes worldwide, state-Indigenous relations)
  • Moore, Patrick (Anthropological linguistics, languages of North America, sub-Arctic ethnography, ethno-history, gender, First Nations Languages, Literacy and Orality, Oral Traditions, Dene (Athbaskan Languages and Cultures), Codeswitching, Gender, Indigenous Activism, and the Anthropology of Media)
  • Muehlmann, Shaylih (Environmental politics, linguistic anthropology, drug trafficking, indigeneity, water scarcity, the anthropology of the awkward, US-Mexico borderlands, Mexico)
  • Robertson, Leslie (Indigenous and settler historiographies, colonial regimes of difference, spectacle and narrative, and political histories of resistance in settler nations, afterlife of historical colonialism, forms of power and representation in the context of urban marginalization (drug use, sex work, health, and violence) )
  • Rosenblum, Daisy (multi-modal documentation and description of indigenous languages of North America, with an emphasis on methods, partnerships, and products that contribute to community-based language revitalization)
  • Rowley, Susan (Anthropology, n.e.c.; repatriation; museums; material culture; Cultural Heritage; arctic archaeology; heritage management)
  • Shneiderman, Sara (Social and cultural anthropology; Indigenous issues; Disaster response and preparedness)
  • Speller, Camilla (Archeological Data Analysis; Molecular Genetics; Bioarchaeology; Ancient DNA Analysis (paleogenetics); Ancient proteins (paleoproteomics); Environmental Archaeology; Marine Ecosystems; Animal Domestication)
  • Turin, Mark (Cultural Institutions (Museums, Libraries, etc.); Lexicography and Dictionaries; Language Contact and Linguistic Changes; Language Rights and Policies; Language Interactions; Political Culture, Society and Ideology; Nepal; Tibet; Sikkim; Bhutan; First Nations; Bella Bella; Heiltsuk; Indigeneity)
  • Weston, Darlene (Archeological Data Analysis; Biological Anthropology; Bioarchaeology; Osteoarchaeology; Paleopathology; Paleodemography)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2020 Dr. McGuire conducted an ethnography of expensive rare disease drug access disputes in Canada. Through fieldwork with affected families, public drug plans, and pharmaceutical companies, she explored how high drug prices depend on particular framings of suffering that artificially separate rare disease patients from issues of collective concern.
2020 Dr. Waber designed and built open-source technologies to study the past use of stone tools. This research helps archaeologists better understand tool design and use in past societies, and sheds light on how humans engage with their technological environment.
2020 Dr. Robertson improved sex prediction in the adult human os coxa (hip bone) to 98-100% by accounting for sex-based shape, body size, and fluctuating asymmetry. Her methods can be applied with confidence in forensic or biological anthropological contexts.
2019 Dr. Parmasad studied Type 2 diabetes among Indian Trinidadians in Debe, Trinidad and Tobago. She examined reasons people did not follow medical advice. These included structural inequities in healthcare access and incompatibilities with local sociocultural contexts. Her findings highlight the importance of tailoring standardized treatment regimens.
2019 Dr. Diaz studied the prehistoric diet of dogs and other animals over the last 3,000 years in British Columbia. She identified regionally specific patterns in diet that generally don't change through time. This research provides some of the first data of its kind to B.C. archaeology and highlights the importance of understanding locally-oriented past relationships between humans and animals.
2019 Dr. Gan conducted multi-sited anthropological research amongst educated Russian migrants in Moscow, Paris, Berlin, and New York, showing that Russian state strategies have historically relied, and continue to rely on migrant discourses in defining Russian national identity.
2018 Dr. Docot studied the effects of migration in her hometown in the Philippines. She investigated dimensions of everyday life including ritual and the family. By studying lives in labor-exporting communities, headed to migrant-recipient countries like Canada, she argues for the need to push against the deepening inequalities felt in the Global South.
2018 Dr. Solomonian explored the relationship between culture and photography amongst the shishalh Nation, showing how photography is connected to, and shaped by, place, history, memory, as well as politics and power. This research highlights the importance of family photograph collections to communities, as an often-overlooked aspect of Indigenous visual-material culture.
2018 Dr. Gomez-Ramirez examined on-street sex work and transgender politics in Mexico City. She used a critical trans and sexual labour lens to understand how social class and informal vending practices shape the realities of low-income trans women. Her work contributes to rethinking common understandings about the key issues that affect transpeople today.
2018 Dr. Letham studied the intersections of human settlement and shoreline change over the last 15,000 years around Prince Rupert Harbour, British Columbia. He reconstructed sea level history to identify early archaeological sites and studied how ancient human use and modification of shorelines transformed social organization on coastal landscapes.

Pages

Further Program Information

Specialization

UBC offers graduate study in the fields of socio-cultural anthropology (including legal, medical, and ecological anthropology, oral and expressive culture, religion, globalization, and applied anthropology), linguistic anthropology, anthropological archaeology, biological anthropology, and museum studies. Faculty research interests include North America, Asia (Russia, India, Japan, Korea and China), Mesoamerica, South America, Oceania, Europe, and Africa.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-BN
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 December 2020
International Applicant Deadline
15 December 2020

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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