As the Graduate School Bulletin states, the "dissertation is expected to be a mature and competent piece of writing, embodying the results of significant and original research." You are expected to work closely with your Ph.D. committee chair and committee members in the course of researching and writing the dissertation.


  • Work out a schedule for submission of chapters with the committee chair.
  • Provide the committee chair and one additional committee member with a complete dissertation draft at the end of the first month of the semester of the scheduled dissertation defense, and hold a one-hour meeting with these two members to brainstorm last steps toward completion.
  • DGS must inform all Cultural Anthropology faculty members of the time and place of the defense. All PhD committee members must participate in the defense, with no more than one member participating via conference call. Defenses are open to the public. 
  • In accordance with Graduate School regulations, a student who fails the examination may request permission to take it a second time. For the time limitations and other specifications governing the writing of the dissertation, the student is referred to the Graduate School Bulletin and the Guide for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations.

Deadline & Extensions

In keeping with the guidelines of the Graduate School, we require students to finish their PhD work, including defense of their dissertation, by the end of the 8th year. Any student seeking an extension must submit a petition for approval to the Cultural Anthropology Director of Graduate Studies explaining any extraordinary circumstances that would make such an extension necessary. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, following the general guidelines set by the Graduate School, in the Ph.D. Degree Requirements. The department will do whatever it can to assist international students with visa issues during their time in the program and after they graduate, but will not be able to grant extensions beyond the 8th year for visa reasons alone.