The First and Second Years
Each of the IDPAS subfields has its own core curriculum and method of qualifying examination. All share the same requirement for a dissertation and its public defense. Students are generally accepted into a track, but it is possible to combine course-work from different tracks, and to move between tracks after admission.
The first three semesters of the program are designed to provide, through course-work, a fundamental background in the student's principal area of anthropological inquiry. The archaeology and physical anthropology tracks have several formal courses that require the student to prepare and orally present research comparable to that required for presentation at professional meetings. Students are required to design and implement a research topic or proposal, depending on the class, and then provide a 12-20 minute talk complete with slides. This procedure helps students prepare for dissertation-level research, and students often develop dissertation topics out of these initial investigations. Students are assigned a faculty advisor for these first three semesters, but they may change advisors at any time if they wish.
Each area's designated core courses form the basis of the Qualifying Examination, which is given by the end of the third semester. The form of the Qualifying Examination varies by track.
Upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, the student forms a Dissertation Guidance Committee, composed of a chair and at least two members of the Program faculty. The student may also pursue elective course work. The Dissertation Guidance Committee plans an appropriate course of study for the student, which may include elective course work and/or demonstration of in-depth knowledge in the area selected for dissertation research.