So ultimately I want to become a professor in Anthropology, but I want to get my degree ASAP. The UK has degree programs that run 3-4 years and the US its mostly 5-7. Are UK PhD programs, especially in anthropology, regarded the same as US PhD programs.

  • @AzorAhai Are you speaking from experience? I am currently a postdoc in the UK, and all the British students in my lab enrolled in the PhD programme came straight after their Bachelors. Only the European PhD students (enrolled in the UK), coming from a culture where a MSc is mandatory for enrolling in an PhD, started after their masters.
    – penelope
    May 24, 2019 at 14:27
  • @penelope No, that was just my understanding from reading in other places on ASE, which is why I left a comment. Thanks for clarifying. May 24, 2019 at 15:02
  • @AzorAhai In that case, the full clarification is that most UK programmes I've encountered are integrated Master+PhD programmes, where around a 1-year mark you submit a "transfer request" to fully confirm you are in a PhD programme. Some include (master) courses in their first year (and are a year longer), and some do not. Nevertheless, I am not so familiar with the US system, so it is possible they still expect the enrolling students to have more specialized knowledge.
    – penelope
    May 24, 2019 at 15:08
  • @penelope No, they don't. The first two years are typically coursework, and are pretty similar to a Master's, even if the student doesn't choose to fill out the paperwork to get one. May 24, 2019 at 15:13
  • @AzorAhai Sorry, I just realized I was ambiguous above - when I said "it's possible they expect more specialized knowledge" they was referring to the Universities in the UK (not the US).
    – penelope
    May 26, 2019 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


Most UK doctorates make more assumptions about your prior preparation within your specialty than do those in the US. But they end up at the same place - qualified researchers who have proved themselves through research worthy of publication.

There should be no difference. Also, anthropology is well established in UK and has a very long history.

The UK degree likely requires fewer if any courses prior to beginning research.

In the US you can start a doctorate immediately after undergraduate school and the undergraduate degree is a generalist one here, with much less specialization and research.

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