The New School for Social Research

Degree Programs

  • The Curriculum

    The Anthropology graduate curriculum combines core courses in the theoretical and methodological foundations of social and cultural anthropology with an emphasis on the critical exploration of how ethnographic sensibilities matter in the world today.

    The master’s program is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the development of anthropology within the social sciences and introduce them to key concepts and issues that shape contemporary fields of knowledge production. Master’s level students complete a sequence of four required anthropology core courses as well as 18 additional credits, preapproved by their advisor, which may include up to four courses in other departments.

    The PhD program prepares students for creative independent research and teaching. At the PhD level, we encourage students to develop their own theoretical and geographic specializations through participation in a required sequence of three doctoral proseminars and tutorial work with individual faculty.

  • MA in Anthropology

    Anthropology is a discipline in which "knowing that" is intricately entwined with "knowing how." Yet the ratio between substantive knowledge and the discussion of research and writing practices varies in the courses offered by our program.

    All students enter the Department at the MA level. Students must successfully complete 30 credits of course work, of which 18 credits must be listed or cross-listed in Anthropology.

    These must include the following two required courses, and four required electives:

    • Problems in Anthropology (GANT 6065).
    • Critical Foundations of Anthropology (GANT 6051).
    • Two elective courses from the Perspectives category.Perspectives courses provide different points of view on the objects of anthropological research. (GANT 6100-6299).
    • Two elective courses from the Practices courses, on the other hand, emphasize how to approach these objects--from ethnographic fieldwork and other research methods to forms of writing or the discussion of ethical questions as they arise in the course of anthropological inquiries. (GANT 6300-6499).

    Transfer Credit
    A maximum of three credits taken at another university may be granted toward the credit requirements for the master’s degree to students entering the program with an equivalent master’s degree in a cognate field.

    MA Written Examination
    After completion of a minimum of 27 credits, students may petition to sit for the MA written examination, which consists of questions based primarily on the required course sequence. The exam is offered once each year, in the Spring. See the academic calendar for examination dates.

    PhD in Anthropology

    Students matriculated in the Anthropology master's program at The New School for Social Research must apply for entry into the PhD program upon successful completion of the MA written examination and submission to the department of a brief written proposal indicating an area of future research.

    Entry into the PhD program is contingent on faculty evaluation of the applicant's MA exam and overall performance in the master's program, as well as an assessment of the fit of the proposed project within the department and of the applicant's preparedness for doctoral-level work in anthropology.

    Transfer Students
    All students wishing to transfer to The New School for Social Research Anthropology Department for doctoral work are required to apply for entry into the master's program. Before petitioning for entry to the doctoral program, they must complete the same requirements as all other New School Anthropology MA students applying to the PhD.

    Transfer Credit
    After admission into the doctoral program, students with prior master's degrees in a cognate field may petition to transfer up to 30 graduate credits toward their PhD credit requirements.

    PhD Program Requirements
    Students admitted to the PhD program are required to take the sequence of three doctoral proseminar courses offered by the department: a course in project conceptualization, a course in ethnographic research methods, and a grant-writing workshop. In addition, students are also required to take at least one course in the history and one course in the ethnography of the area in which they will be working. These area courses may be taken either at The New School or through the Inter-University Consortium. In all, students must complete 30 doctoral credits. This total may include eligible transfer credits.

    Doctoral students are required to attend the bimonthly department workshop. The content of the workshop is determined by students in consultation with workshop faculty, and has included presentations by anthropology faculty on such topics as publishing, grant-writing, and job talks; as well as presentations by students of research proposals, dissertation chapters, and reports from the field. The workshop is also often the catalyst for student-organized themed conferences. In addition, doctoral students are required to attend the department colloquia series of invited speakers.

    Language Requirement
    Each PhD student, regardless of specialization, must demonstrate reading knowledge of one language other than English by passing a language examination administered by the department. Some area specializations will require further language study to be determined in consultation with faculty. If further study is recommended, arrangements will be made through The New School's foreign language program or the Inter-University Consortium.

    Qualifying Examination and Thesis
    All Anthropology doctoral students are required to pass the Qualifying Examination to advance to candidacy and continue towards the doctoral degree. In general, students are expected to take the exam within two years of entering the doctoral program.

    The Qualifying Examination consists of two parts: a written proposal and a three-hour oral examination. The written component has three elements: a detailed prospectus that describes the student's proposed research project and two bibliographic essays on fields selected and developed in consultation with the student's advisor and Qualifying Examination Committee. Following successful completion of this exam, the PhD candidate normally begins an extended period of ethnographic fieldwork. The written thesis and its defense constitute the remaining requirements for the PhD.

    For more information on the master's and doctoral programs, see the Department of Anthropology Graduate Handbook(PDF).