PhD Program

This program consists of these sequential steps: course requirements, comprehensive exam, thesis prospectus, colloquium presentation, advancement to candidacy, thesis completion and defence.

Course Requirements

Course requirements are determined in consultation with the supervisory committee. In addition to the comprehensive exam and thesis, normal course requirements consist of a minimum of three graduate courses including ARCH 871 and 876. Students may be required to take additional courses and are must complete ARCH 872/873 each term that the course is offered. ARCH 873 credit does not constitute part of the normal course requirements. Grading for ARCH 872/873 courses will be restricted to satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U).

Comprehensive Exam

Students write a comprehensive examination prior to candidacy to test general knowledge in archaeology and in three regional or topical areas. Grading is on a pass/fail basis but the examination or parts thereof may be repeated once, at the department’s discretion.

Advancement to Candidacy

Formal advancement to candidacy shall take place when the following have been completed.

  • completion of two of the minimum three graduate courses and successful performance in the comprehensive exam.
  • preparation of thesis prospectus. The purpose of the prospectus shall be to discuss the proposed research and general background relevant to the research. The prospectus is expected to be submitted to the supervisory committee and approved before step 3 is taken.
  • after approval of the thesis prospectus, and after consultation between the student and his/her supervisory committee, the student will present a colloquium, the topic of which shall be the substance of the prospectus.
  • The colloquium is not considered a defence of the prospectus, but a means whereby students may benefit from the department’s collective expertise.


After the above, students advance to candidacy, and complete and defend the thesis. The defence topic should be the thesis itself and related matters. The thesis should represent original, problem-oriented research which makes a significant contribution to knowledge.

Language Requirement

A knowledge of a language other than English is desirable, but there are no prescribed language requirements. However, if knowledge of a language is necessary for the field work or reading, he/she will be required to attain the necessary language proficiency.

Graduate Handbook