Overview of Program Structure


The Human Paleobiology PhD program is designed to be completed in five years. Years 1 and 2 primarily consist of coursework, a professional skills and ethics seminar, and participation in a problem-based learning seminar that integrate original research and coursework from the earliest stages of graduate training.

During Years 2 and 3, students participate in two topically distinct laboratory rotations to broaden their research skills; one of these laboratory rotations is completed at an institution other than GW. Students are strongly encouraged to undertake at least one component of their graduate training outside of the United States. General Examinations in Hominid Paleobiology and Paleolithic Archeology should be taken by the end of Year 2, and must normally be completed by the end of the Year 3.

In Year 3, students begin directed research on their doctoral dissertations (including writing grant proposals) while participating in a capstone seminar, laboratory rotations, and a public understanding of science internship to broaden their research experiences, acquire skills needed for their dissertations, and skills in the communication of science to the public. The final step before being advanced to Candidacy is completion of a third General Examination requirement, which consists of oral and written presentations of the student’s proposed dissertation topic; this is completed by the end of Year 3. Students are encouraged to submit their dissertation in a ready-to-publish format by the end of Year 5.