Culture, Society, and Politics (CSP)

Degree Requirements for the Program in Culture, Society, and Politics (CSP)

The Culture, Society and Politics Program at Florida Atlantic University is designed to foster interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study in the social sciences. It is structured to allow students the opportunity to develop deep expertise in one of three primary areas - sociology, anthropology or political science - and to bring their interests and scholarship related to these areas into conversation with other disciplines both within and outside of traditional social science fields. At the heart of the program is a commitment to the belief that comparative models of inquiry lead to unique advancements in the production of new knowledge and a greater awareness of the larger implications of such knowledge generally.

This program is both interdisciplinary (the integration of different fields) and multidisciplinary (the comparative analyses of different fields). Areas of particular strength include: (Anthropology) sociocultural and medical anthropology; bioarchaeology, ethnoarchaeology, zooarchaeology and primatology; (Sociology) studies of gender, agriculture, adulthood, adolescence, childhood, race, social class and economics; (Political Science) comparative politics, American politics, international relations, public policy and law, post-conflict resolution, democracy and democratization, political behavior and quantitative methods.  The curriculum also draws on such disciplines as Communication, History, Peace Studies, Philosophy and Religion, among others.

This program promotes interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work through a cohesive course of study. All students follow an interdisciplinary core curriculum before developing, in consultation with their advisory committee, areas of specialization that might themselves be multidisciplinary. The program encourages students to address issues in cultures, societies and/or politics from multiple perspectives and to seek the convergence of these perspectives through the insights of interdisciplinary approaches.


It is expected that students will enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A., M.S., J.D., or Ph.D. in hand. The Ph.D. curriculum in Culture, Society and Politics is organized as follows:

1 of CST 7309: Cultural Theory

1 of CST 7912: Research Design in Social Science

2 of CST 7936: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

A minimum of 8 additional graduate courses at the 6000 or 7000-level (from at least two different college programs)

CST 7910: Advanced Research and Study (1-9 credits)

CST 7980 – Dissertation Credits  (a minimum of 18 dissertation credits)

TOTAL CREDITS:  a minimum of 55 credits  

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: By the end of the second year of coursework, the student will ask a faculty member to serve as his/her Major Professor for the dissertation. In consultation with the Major Professor, the student will ask at least two-three other faculty members to serve on his/her committee.

Qualifying Exams

After completing 18 credits (one year) of coursework in the distribution requirements, students will submit an Application for Qualification to the Ph.D. Executive Committee.  This committee will review the applicant's current progress to date through the program, their skills as a scholar/researcher and their progress in planning for the Comprehensive Examination and grant them continuing status in the program.

Comprehensive Exams

Students will take the comprehensive exams at the beginning of their third year of study. The exams consist of a written and oral component. The written exam is based on a reading list that includes, but is not limited to, course assignments. It will consist of a series of written essays. The successful completion of these written assignments will be followed by an oral exam within two weeks.

Satisfactory Completion of a Dissertation

The student will defend his/her Dissertation Prospectus at the beginning of Spring in Year 3. The dissertation will contain original research and will be defended before the student’s committee and others. Only the committee will vote on approval. Student must complete and defend the Dissertation before completion of the program.

The Faculty

Students will study with the notable faculty of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University and with resident visiting faculty, including regular visits from leading environmentalists, bioethicists, journalists, political figures and other public intellectuals.