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Undergraduate Programs

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College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 346
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8415
Fax: (808) 956-4893
E-mail: anthprog@hawaii.edu
Web: www.anthropology.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*M. W. Graves, PhD (Chair)—archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, evolution of social complexity, quantitative analysis; U.S. Southwest, Oceania
*A. R. Arno, PhD—legal anthropology, ethnography of communication, kinship and social organization; Pacific
*J. M. Bayman, PhD—archaeology, craft economies; North America; U.S. Southwest; Hawai‘i
*J. M. Bilmes, PhD—linguistic anthropology, social interaction, discourse; Thailand
*C. F. Blake, PhD—critical and interpretive theory, ethnography and biography, popular ideologies, social movements and entrepreneurship in the modern world economy; China, U.S.
*D. Brown, PhD—physical anthropology, medical anthropology; Polynesia
*A. G. Dewey, PhD—economics, kinship, Javanese conceptual frameworks; Southeast Asia, Pacific
*N. L. Etkin, PhD—biological and medical anthropology, ethnobotany, diet, ethnopharmacology, CAM; West Africa; Pacific; Indonesia
*P. B. Griffin, PhD—archaeology and ethnology of hunter-gatherers, technology; Southeast Asia
*T. Hunt, PhD—archaeology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, evolutionary theory, archaeometry, ceramics; Oceania
*M. Pietrusewsky, PhD—physical anthropology, skeletal biology, forensic anth; Oceania; SE and East Asia; Australia
*B. V. Rolett, PhD—archaeology; Pacific Islands, Southeast China
*L. E. Sponsel, PhD—ecology (primate, cultural, historical, spiritual, Buddhist); ethnoprimatology, sacred places; peace, war, rights, advocacy; Thailand; Amazon
*M. Stark, PhD—archaeology ecology, early village economics, ceramics, ethnoarchaeology; Southeast Asia, U.S. Southwest
*T. P. K. Tengan, PhD—archaeology, culture contact, lithic analysis, ethnohistory, Polynesia, North Pacific, North America
*G. M. White, PhD—cultural anthropology, history and memory, self and emotion, ethnographic methods; Pacific Islands; America
*C. Yano, PhD—cultural anthropology, popular culture, ethnomusicology, cultural nationalism, emotions; Japan, Japanese Americans
*H. Young Leslie, PhD—medical and feminist anthropology, culture and health, medicine and modernity, health professionals;Tonga, Oceania

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

R. Cann, PhD—physical anthropology, anthropological genetics, human populations
W. Chapman, PhD—historic preservation, historic archaeology, architecture; Asia, Pacific
E. Drechsel, PhD—historical sociolinguistics, ethnohistory, North American Indians; North America
S. Falgout, PhD—cultural and historic anthropology; Micronesia
D. Gladney, PhD—ethnicity, nationalism, public culture, religious ideology; China, Central Asia, Turkey
G. G. Maskarinec, PhD—anthropology of language (Nepalese oral texts), western biomedical clinical medicine, medical education and indigenous medical systems of S. Asia; religions (belief systems, ritual and performance)
P. Mills, PhD—Archaeology, culture contact, lithic analysis, ethnohistory; Polynesia, North Pacific, North America
J. Y. Okamura, PhD—ethnicity and ethnic relations, Asian American studies; Philippines; Hawai‘i

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

M.W. Allen, PhD—archaeology, cultural resource management, cultural complexity, chiefdoms, archaeology of warfare, hunter-gatherers; California, New Zealand
M.S. Allen, PhD—archaeology, method and theory, paleobotany, faunal analysis, geoarchaeology; Oceania
R.A. Bentley, PhD—Complexity theory, the prehistoric spread of agriculture into Europe and the effects of human interaction on cultural evolution
R. Borofsky, PhD—the anthropology of anthropology, public anthropology, Pacific history; Oceania
C.K. Cachola-Abad, PhD—archaeology, oral traditions, historic preservation, evolution; Hawai‘i and Polynesia
M. T. Douglas, PhD—physical anthropology, skeletal biology, bioarchaeology, paleopathology; Oceania, Southeast Asia
J. Fox, PhD—land use, forest resources and management GIS and spatial information technology; South Asia; SE Asia
T. D. Holland, PhD—physical and forensic anthropology, skeletal biology; U.S. Midwest, Southeast Asia
T. Ladefoged, PhD— archaeology, evolution, landscape, social complexity, agricultural development, remote sensing, GIS; Polynesia
D. Yen, PhD— ethnobotany; Oceania, Southeast Asia

Degrees Offered: BA (including Minor) in anthropology, MA in anthropology, PhD in anthropology

The Academic Program

Anthropology (ANTH) is the study of humankind, of the origin and evolution of our species, and of the ways of life of ancient and modern people. It is divided into four main subdisciplines: physical anthropology, archaeology, anthropological linguistics, and cultural anthropology. While physical anthropologists focus upon our biological nature, cultural anthropologists deal with the ways of life of past and present ages. Anthropological linguists look at language as a part of human behavior, while archaeologists study the remains of past cultures to reconstruct former lifestyles.

Students of anthropology gain a basic understanding of the origin and development of humanity useful both for understanding the human condition and as a preparation for work in many fields, not just in anthropology. For example, the department offers a uniquely broad range of courses on the cultures of Asia and the Pacific, as well as on aspects of American society, that provide students with a fund of cultural knowledge and insights upon which to build a career in law, medicine, public health, teaching, business, and other professions. While some BA graduates in anthropology do find employment in anthropology, normally an MA or PhD is required to work as an anthropologist in a university, museum, or other institution. The department has a long-standing graduate program, which trains students in all aspects of anthropology, focusing especially on Asia and the Pacific region. The training emphasizes field research; in any one year students are engaged in such projects as excavating an ancient religious temple on Tahiti, recording ritual life in rural Java, or analyzing the social system of a Japanese factory.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete 31 credit hours, including these required courses:

  • ANTH 200, 210, 215, 215L and 305
  • Six 300- and 400-level courses

Three of the 300- and 400-level courses may be from related disciplines with prior approval of the student’s adviser.



Students must complete 15 credits of upper division Anthropology courses which include one Theory course and one Methods course. It is highly recommended that students take ANTH 300 (Contemporary Problems) to complete the Theory requirement. Alternatively, they may take any 400 level course designated as a Theory course by the Department of Anthropology. Students must also take one upper division course designated as a Methods course by the Department of Anthropology. Courses will be chosen by the student, in consultation with the undergraduate adviser, to suit the student’s needs and interests. Courses must be completed with a grade of C (not C-) or better.

Graduate Study

Intended candidates for the MA or PhD need not have an undergraduate background in anthropology. All applicants must submit to the department GRE General Test scores and three letters of recommendation at the time of application. Lack of previous training in anthropology may result, however, in study to fill gaps in knowledge. Before being considered for an advanced degree, a student must present evidence of having passed with a B (not B-) or better at least one undergraduate course in archaeology, physical anthropology, social or cultural anthropology, and linguistics. All incoming students are required to enroll in a one-unit Anthropology Colloquium Series Proseminar in the first two semesters.

Applications for admission will be considered for the fall semester only. The deadline for submission of applications, including international students, is January 15.

The MA program ensures that graduates grasp fundamentals in their elected subfields, while the PhD program provides an opportunity for further specialization.

Master’s Degree

Admission to MA candidacy is based upon a candidacy conference with the student and his or her three-person committee held sometime prior to the end of the student’s second semester in residence. At that time the student submits in writing, a proposed program of study that the committee must accept before the student is admitted to candidacy.


A candidate for the MA must take two out of four core courses (archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology, and cultural anthropology) and one upper division or graduate level course in a third subfield. A core course may be repeated once. A student may take additional core courses to fulfill other course requirements.

An MA candidate must also pass two courses in each of the following categories: method or technique, theory or topic, and culture area. If a candidate needs a course from one of the three categories in his or her program of study and that course is not offered by the department on a timely basis, he or she may petition the graduate chair to substitute a course from outside the department, provided petition is made prior to registration for the course in question. A candidate is required to earn 32 credit hours. Normally, at least 18 credit hours must be taken in the department. In special cases, a candidate may petition the graduate chair to waive this latter requirement. Of the required course work, both plans require at least 20 credit hours in courses numbered 600 or above and approved by the candidate’s committee.

Plan A

  • 26 credit hours of course work
  • Thesis (6 credit hours)

Plan B

  • 32 credit hours
  • Three papers on anthropological topics, one of which shall be a research proposal to the committee as evidence of scholarly ability

Doctoral Degree

A student completing the requirements for an MA may request admission to the PhD program. In such case, the committee will evaluate the MA thesis or three papers and will review the quality of previous graduate work. This evaluation will be made at a meeting of the student’s committee, which may make a recommendation to the graduate chair concerning admission. In addition to the recommendation of each of the committee members, the graduate chair will require written assessments of the student’s course work from each regular faculty member in whose course the student has been enrolled (including 699). The assessment shall include a specific recommendation (or abstention from recommending) to admit or deny admission to the PhD program. Admission to the PhD program requires a two-thirds majority of favorable versus unfavorable recommendations. This final evaluation and decision are made after the meeting to evaluate the MA work. The student receives written notification from the Graduate Dean.


PhD candidates must fulfill the requirements for an MA degree in anthropology as a prerequisite. Requirements for obtaining a PhD include submitting an acceptable program plan at a candidacy conference, passing a comprehensive examination, formulating an acceptable dissertation proposal, writing an acceptable dissertation, and successfully defending this dissertation.

A student entering the PhD program with an MA degree from another department of anthropology must pass the core course in his or her area of specialization with a grade of B (GPA of 3.0) or better. This course may be challenged by examination in lieu of taking it for credit. All students are required to take graduate courses (other than reading courses) from at least four different members of the anthropology department.

After admission to the PhD program, the student’s MA committee will be dissolved and the student will form a five-member PhD committee. More members may be added if deemed desirable and consistent with a candidate’s interest.

At least one person must be a graduate faculty member of another department, but the majority of members must be from the Department of Anthropology. Substitutions may be made at any time if a member of the committee is unavailable.

All students entering the PhD program, including those obtaining an MA from the department, are strongly advised to hold a candidacy conference and gain written approval of their five-member committee for the projected program of study by the second semester.

Approximately one semester prior to the comprehensive examination, the student shall submit a detailed description of the areas to be covered, complete with bibliography. The candidate is expected to have read the items contained in the bibliography and be prepared to discuss them in some depth. It is the responsibility of each committee member to suggest additional readings for the bibliography and to suggest any other changes in the proposed agreement. After all committee members have been duly consulted, the student will prepare a final description to be signed by all concerned, including the student, and to be filed with the graduate chair.

The comprehensive examination shall be administered in two parts: (a) a written examination and (b) an oral exam, at which the student will be given the opportunity to clarify and amplify answers to the written component. The written exam will consist of one essay question submitted by each member of the student’s committee. It will be closed-book; students will not be permitted to use notes or other aids. An allotment of three hours per question will be given.

Scheduling will be flexible, but the total exam must be taken within a two week period.

The oral examination is expected to be scheduled not less than one week and no more than two weeks after the written examination. All members of the committee must be present at the examination. At the oral exam the student will be asked to explain and/or defend answers to the written component. Two hours are to be allotted for this exercise.

If a student fails the comprehensive examination, he or she may be allowed to repeat it. If this examination is failed a second time, the student will be dropped from the graduate program. The committee will provide each student with a written statement detailing the reasons for a negative decision.

After successfully completing the comprehensive examination, the student is required to submit a research proposal for review by the degree committee. A meeting of the committee will be scheduled within two weeks of submission of a final draft of the proposal; the committee will determine whether or not the student is adequately prepared for the fieldwork proposed. A candidate whose field research proposal is approved and who has completed all other requirements is eligible to receive a University ABD certificate.

A student conducting dissertation research among people who do not speak the student’s native language will be required, before leaving for the field, to show evidence of oral competence in the most useful field language or of training in linguistic field techniques.

Following the student’s submission of a final draft of the dissertation, an oral defense will be scheduled. It is the student’s responsibility to see that each member of the committee has a copy of the complete final draft of the dissertation at least four weeks before the scheduled date of the oral defense. The dissertation must be read by no less than three members of the committee, and all members must be present at the oral defense. Procedures for determining final acceptance of the dissertation and awarding the PhD degree are set forth by the Graduate Division. A candidate must complete all the requirements within seven years after admission to the doctoral program. A student unable to meet this deadline may request an extension by written petition to the graduate chair describing reasons for the delay. If approved, the request will be sent to the Graduate Dean for a final decision.

ANTH Courses