Anthropology Graduate Program
The Department of Anthropology is a medium-sized department with excellent faculty, high national visibility and a reputation for a first-rate graduate program. Each student contracts a unique course of study and research directed towards understanding aspects of human nature, culture, and biology, past and present. Except for certain specializations within Archaeology where a terminal MA degree is offered, graduate students are admitted to an MA/PhD program in one of three fields: Archaeology, Sociocultural Anthropology, or Integrative Anthropological Sciences.
The archaeology program is committed to providing students with a broad understanding of anthropological archaeology while also providing opportunities for the development of scholarly expertise in particular theoretical, methodological, and geographic areas. Faculty research interests include political economy, identity politics, empires, culture contact and interaction, secondary state formation, cultural ecology, and human behavioral ecology. Student and faculty researchers pursue these interests globally with particular emphasis placed on the archaeology of Andean South America, southern Germany, northern Africa, eastern North America, Coastal California, and Mesoamerica. Methodological interests include epigraphy, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, ceramic analysis, lithic analysis,and architectural and spatial analysis.
Our program uses the theories and methods of social and cultural anthropology to examine contemporary processes related to the changing global order. Our goal is to prepare students to participate in these matters both as scholars and as engaged citizens. Our programmatic emphases center on the cultural and social dimensions of such issues as distribution and inequality, production and reproduction, citizenship and statecraft, human-environmental interactions, religion, and media from the perspective of an engaged anthropology. Core and affiliated faculty conduct research in Asia, including India, Japan, and China, and the Americas, from the Brazilian Amazon and Central America to the United States, Mexico, California, and “borderlands.”
Integrative Anthropological Sciences: Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
Graduate study in UCSB’s IAS program offers a unique combination of strengths conducive to discovery in areas of human behavior, culture, psychology, and health. First, an emphasis on past selection pressures illuminates the evolutionary bases of human phenotypic design and variation. Second, more than any other social science, anthropology is in a position to capitalize on rich ethnographic fieldwork to catalyze fruitful interactions between theory development and empirical data. Third, life-history perspectives offered at UCSB provide a powerful framework for analyzing variation in human growth, development, reproduction, aging, and mortality. Fourth, psychological approaches are emphasized to highlight the cognitive underpinnings of behavioral adaptations. Finally, a commitment to a fully interdisciplinary approach, and ties to other Centers throughout the University, allow both first-rate anthropological research and genuine contributions across the broad range of human sciences.
Optional Interdisciplinary PhD Emphases
Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. emphases are available in Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Cognitive Science, Environment and Society, Feminist Studies, Global and International Studies, Demography, Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS), and Technology and Society.