How fast to an Anthropology Ph.D.?

It seems universities everywhere are looking to cut down the amount of time it takes to earn a graduate degree. A story in Inside Higher Ed reports on the latest effort:

[Russell Berman] and five other professors at the university have produced a paper that calls for a major rethinking at Stanford — a reduction in the time taken to graduate by Ph.D. candidates in the humanities, and preparing them for careers within and beyond the academy. The professors at Stanford aren’t just talking about shaving a year or so off doctoral education, but cutting it down to four or five years — roughly half the current time for many humanities students.

This includes getting an MA (they suggest a two year review to decide “which students will advance to candidacy, and which will receive a terminal M.A.”). Now I can’t remember where I read it, but I believe that the average time to Ph.D. in anthropology is roughly what they say it is in the humanities: about nine years. How feasible is it that this time could be cut in half?

Part of their plan involves making better use of the summers: “Unfunded summers impede progress.” I can see how this might have speeded things up for me, maybe shaving off a year or even two, since not only would I not have had to work summers, but funding would have made it possible to start my fieldwork sooner. Lets say students receive full funding and aren’t required to teach (as I was) and I think one could go from an average of 9 years to 7. Of course, the reality is that funding is getting cut these days so I remain skeptical that we’ll see many universities increasing funding even if it means getting students out sooner.

Can we get it below 7? At my four-field program I took three years of courses. The only way I can see that being cut down is if they eliminated the four-field approach. That would be unfortunate. While I resented it at the time, I’ve really come to appreciate my four-field training in subsequent years. Actually five fields because we also had a visual anthropology program with its own requirements. But even if we are talking about a straight cultural anthropology program anthropologists still need pretty broad training. Usually we need additional courses on the language, culture and history of the region we intend to study – often outside of our own department. Language study alone can take at least an extra year (or two). On top of that we might need to brush up on an area of study related to our research topic, such as immunology, second language education, environmental science, etc.

And then there is fieldwork. I’ve seen some recent Ph.D. thesis from universities which have instituted drastically reduced time-to-Ph.D. constraints and you could really see it in the mismatch between the theory and the ethnography. It might be possible to do fieldwork in a few months if you’ve already spent a year or two somewhere during grad school, but I don’t think it works for graduate research. And if you don’t get a chance to really “be there” as a graduate student when will you have that opportunity? As a professor trying to get tenure?

Three years of course work, a year of language study, a year in the field, plus at least a year or two for exam prep, proposal writing, etc. not to mention the dissertation… I just don’t see how anyone could do it in less then seven years unless they were doing the research in their own backyard, already spoke the language, and had already gotten more than enough specialized training in the culture and topics they are studying before starting an Anthropology degree. And remember, seven years is predicated upon 12 months of full funding for each of those seven years. Have to work summers and part-time to make ends meet and we get back up to the current average…

28 thoughts on “How fast to an Anthropology Ph.D.?

  1. This is great food for thought. However I do wonder, often, about the 3 years of coursework. I see our students mired in so much coursework that they don’t move towards developing their own projects in a timely manner. I also attribute the excessive coursework demands with the problem of the misuse of theory and the lack of attention to evidence that I see in many dissertations.

  2. Here was my schedule:

    Fall ’01 – Spring ’05 = 8 semesters of course work
    Summer ’05 – Fall ’06 = 18 months of field work
    Spring ’06 – Fall ’09 = 8 semesters of analysis and writing the diss

    That’s BA to PhD in 8.5 years, with kids. I was a TA or instructor for at least 5.5 of those years. If anything I wish I did more course work and was quicker to write up, but I didn’t budget in enough time after fieldwork to stare around, blinking and saying “What just happened?”

    Legend has it that in our department one student did it in five years because she was an international student and her visa was set to expire. That’ll motivate you!

  3. I believe Australian PhD programs give you a PhD in 3-4 years, as do British ones. I asked an Aussie anthro PhD student what the expectations for expertise in the background of your field site, and literature, language were. She explained that the Australian BA is much more in depth than the US counterpart, so students are expected to enter the program with a deeper understanding of the subject than we. They do research design/literature review the first year, a year of fieldwork and then a year or two of writing it up.
    But I have a hard time imagining how, even with a more focused BA, you could get the same degree of comprehensiveness in your background understanding in such a short time. As far as whether its necessary, that’s a different question entirely.

  4. Well, I think the question is, how long does it take to do a good Anthropology Phd, and the answer is, generally speaking, longer than the 4 years the British system now allows. So beware, the result will be a shift in the profession towards the first solid piece of research and analysis being post-doctoral, if ever.

  5. In Argentina:
    5 years Licenciatura –would be like a BA, but it differs in its lenght + 2 years Maestría
    5 years Doctorado
    This is 12 years without taking into account fieldwork, whic us up to one’s possibilities -e.g. in between courses, during summertime, during holidays, adding more years, etc.
    Note: the 3 levels include mandatory final monograph (i.e. Thesis)

  6. I find it strange that in the American system a student goes straight from a BA to a PhD. In Canada anyways, one typically enters into an MA program and then decides from there whether or not they want to apply to carry on into a PhD. Considering many students want the MA and aren’t sure they want the PhD, this seems more sensible. There’s no “walking away with a terminal MA” because you can’t hack it, or you are wussing out. You get the degree you committed to and can be proud of that and not be ashamed for choosing to drop out, or for being pushed out early. A really keen student who is fit for it can be “fast-tracked” into the PhD if the program. Coursework in the PhD tends to be one or two years, definitely not three. MA’s can be one or two years, although two does tend to be the norm, one year options are becoming more common so it’s easy to rip right through into the PhD if that’s what the student wants to do.

    The American 7 year minimum PhD straight out of a BA seems a bit heavy. And what an absurdly big commitment to make coming out of a BA, when the student barely knows what they want to do. It seems better to chop up commitments into two degrees, where the standalone MA is a chance for the student to test the waters and see if they really want to pursue and academic career. From there, it’s easier to narrow down the timeline for a PhD because students come in ready for it, familiar with graduate level coursework and having already had experience writing a substantial piece of research work.

    How did this whole skipping the MA thing happen in the US anyways? A one year MA followed by one year of coursework in the PhD, moving on to completed proposals by the end of the second year seems like it’s really the best way to go.

  7. a nice discussion so far about about an important and timely issue. several things come to mind:

    1) the 9 year figure seems off to me. is this a mean or a median? the latter would be a better measure.

    2) i imagine for readers who aren’t at private insitutions and/or “top school” programs, the notion that it’s somehow a stretch to go from BA to PhD in cultural anthropology in 7 years will be a bit hard to take. it’s not uncommon for students in many programs to either finish or be cut off from internal funding opportunities after 5-6 years (including fieldwork).

    3) a more general point relates to the skewed incentive structure that permeates “time to degree” discussions. departments are often under much pressure to cut down on the time it takes its students to finish. administrators tend to worry less about things like departments’ job placement. at the same time, hiring committees rarely care about time degree and will instead reward the candidate who took the extra year or three to write a more polished dissertation and develop a publication record. an outcome of all of this is that we now have professors who took 9+ years to finish–and whose lengthy graduate careers may have helped them secure good jobs–exhorting students to “finish on time.”

    4) i endorse the the “two year review” option as a means of quickening the process and i know many anthro departments, public and private, have gone this route. a downside is that it eliminates an important opportunity for students to do real research (and potentially publishable research) before their dissertation work.

  8. @Jen. I agree with all of your points and am speaking within the context of the actually existing U.S. system.

  9. A few comments:

    1) While some of my colleagues went through the PhD fast (they’d worked before and didn’t need the TA to pay for school, or they had fellowships) – they had a tough time getting jobs because they didn’t have the experience in the classroom or the publications yet. So it didn’t really speed up the employment process. That extra time as a museum tech or a TA/Instructor can help to boost a CV in this market.

    2) I’m glad for my 3 years of coursework as well, thought it took time. I use that information all the time as I teach now. But if you are going to use your PhD to work on development projects for the gov’t, and not teach, you probably don’t need the breadth of coursework. However, you can’t know what someone will actually do with a PhD until they’ve done it, so I think 2-3 years of coursework is impt. That being said, it could be done as an MA, and then you could have a pure-research PhD.

    3) I think we need to reconsider the way we do PhD projects. When you look in the hard sciences, people are working as part of a lab on a larger project the whole way through. In Anth we require each student to develop an independent research project. What if, instead, your advisor said ‘I study gender and identity in this village in India. I could use some more data on teenage women there.” and that was what you did for your research? There are pros and cons to this – you don’t get the experience of creating your own project from scratch – but is that really ness. for the PhD? Or could you just join in on the project, collect the new data, analyze it and move on to create your own project for your new job? This gets back to funding – how do we get NSF to pay for grad assistants in Anthropology the way they do in Biology, so you can spend your out-of-class time reading the literature and working on data your advisor already collected during year 1, rather than grading quizzes. Sure you should get some teaching in, but shouldn’t the bulk of your semesters be spent as an RA rather than a TA?

  10. In my experience, my graduate work required a lot more repetitive coursework than I really needed. When I started my PhD program, the first year of coursework was almost a direct repetition of my masters coursework. And I suspect that, if I had done an undergrad degree in anthro (mine were in psych and biology), that I would have found some of the masters coursework to be repetitive as well. I think it would help if course requirements were cut down, and instead, students were encouraged to focus more on developing their projects and grant-writing earlier in the process (which is something you often have to do on your own time in between working on course work and teaching responsibilities).

    In my program, the students that do their MA here have about a year less coursework than those that come in with an MA from elsewhere (mostly because they make us repeat the four-field theory courses as well as some others). Students that are doing either short periods of fieldwork or lab work are able to finish pretty quickly. However, one of the big things that delay people that are doing extended fieldwork (ie primatologists and cultural anthropologists) besides the fieldwork itself is the time it takes to amass sufficient funding to afford the fieldwork. Some of this is unavoidable, but I think it would help cut down this time if students were encourage to take grant-writing classes and independent study early on in the program to develop their projects.

  11. I wrote about the raw data on time to complete a PhD for anth a little while ago-

    The 9 yrs is an average but actually 25% of university anth departments manage to have an average of under 7 yrs. Some though have an average of 12yrs. (with averages some people have to be finishing in under 5 years)

    The difference between the US and UK/Auss system is the number of postdocs. The US has very few while the UK/Auss/NZ systems have lots (relatively still not a cake walk). Most PhD’s there go on to a postdoc or two which ends up adding 2-5 years more of work. Also, many take 4-5 years not the three they are suppose to. So you add 4-5 + 2-5 and you get a similar career.

    While in the US you kind of jump out of the plane and hope you land in a job after the PhD. I know quite a few people who drag out their PhD’s for an extra of couple of years to up their publications so they can compete for academic jobs.

    In the UK though there are very few TA jobs to pay for a PhD so while you might get 2-5years of paid post doc the majority of PhD students pay for their PhD (not too bad if you are UK/EU). It is a bit of a trade off but for the most part the systems are more similar then people think.

  12. It’s an interesting question. the UK and Australia follow the traditional British model, where the Ph.D. is given after you complete a dissertation. America follows a ‘German’ model where you do additional course work in order to pass a comprehensive exam, and then proceed on to the dissertation. I had dinner recently with an Up And Coming British Anthropologist who was bragging about how incredibly learned they were because of the massive literature review they did in their up and coming book and all I could think was “yeah, you basically finally got around to doing your comps. I did that shit in 1998”. But of course I didn’t because that wouldn’t be nice. Of course in the US (unlike Germany and France) we don’t have to habilitate. So there are national differences:

    There are also differences in terms of what we expect Ph.D.s to be able to do. People like Margaret Mead and Marshall Sahlins did their Ph.D.s in four years (or less!) and did no fieldwork — the standard back then was a library thesis. It was after you got your Ph.D. you did fieldwork!

    People have been giving doctorates for almost a thousand years now, and the standards on what counts as ‘qualified for a Ph.D. varies widely. At times it is scandalously low — at others times you had to wait until the middle age to finally pick one up.

    My guess is that with the decline in the numbers of the professoriate we will start turning back into a gentlemen’s club with low standards — we don’t have the numbers and institutional incentives to keep up the level of professionalism that the cold war university eventually produced. But maybe I’m pessimistic.

  13. I think there is real benefit both to the 3 years of coursework that accompanies four-field anthropological training and extended ethnographic fieldwork. The broad nature of Anthropology is part of its strength, but is only maintainable with rigorous and lengthy training. Extended ethnographic exposure, meanwhile, allows for the kind of deep evidence that characterizes the best of Anthropology and, again, serves to distinguish it from other disciplines. Graduate schools certainly impede the progress of their students in multiple ways, and I can imagine the average time to completion for socio-cultural dissertations to be diminished from 9, to 6-7 years. But many graduate programs have a goal of 5 years, which seems not just impossible, but undesirable for the field as a whole.

  14. I’m set to finish in 5 years. To do this, I juggled completing my qualifying requirements while writing grants in this, my third year, after two years of required coursework (not a 4-field dept)
    I’ve done preliminary fieldwork and intensive language training during my summers, and I’m off to fieldwork for an additional year now. I’m going to try to write up in a year, but if I don’t finish in a year, so be it. We don’t have any teaching or service requirements in my dept., and I came in with 6 years of college teaching experience already.

    More caveats- I also had two MA degrees before coming in, and thus my total years in grad school WILL look more like 8, with 4 years of coursework. (This included language training, so I was able to accelerate through the PhD.)

    My point is that I can actually see others who come in with language competency completing their PhD in 5-6, in departments that aren’t four-field.

  15. I finished by PhD in a 4-field department in 7 years. That included 28 months of fieldwork (3 semesters plus summers) and a semester when I taught at a community college. So I come to this discussion skeptical of arguments that it cannot be done. I did use every summer for fieldwork, so I would agree that having sufficient financial support year round should be automatic. That’s why now, I use my own research funds for my own grad students to bridge summers.

    Obviously, this implies fewer semesters of coursework before candidacy (I took my exam in fifth semester so I could go back to the field in sixth semester). Did I lose something? Sure. I joke that my first job was my self-funded postdoc when I did reading I did not get to do as a student. But for me, this is the key thing: a doctoral program is about forming your own research and doing it. I think overall, faculty are too interested in having smart advanced students as an audience, and as a result we encourage students to take more coursework than they need. Learning to formulate your own research questions and defend how you understand your own data can be done even in a program that encourages or insists on maintaining familiarity with a broader range of anthropological knowledge.

    What seems clearly to be missing in the US is a commitment to the systematic production of transitional postdoctoral appointments that allow you to go back and deepen your understanding after that first transformational experience of research formulation and completion (and I mean that utterly unironically. Managing to write a dissertation based on your own research transforms you, and that is what it is for.) Remember my “self-funded postdoc”? I started in a museum position where I had a little cushioning during the slight delay in moving forward in publishing (consequent on needing to read things I could not have predicted needing to read before my encounter with the fieldwork-to-dissertation process). Without that I truly believe I would not still be a faculty member today.

    In fact, anthropology currently has a de facto doctorate-“postdoc”-final employment career structure for a very large number of people, although again, the postdoc piece is simply not being acknowledged or developed systematically. A report on PhDs in the social sciences six years after receiving the PhD published by the University of Washington demonstrates this. So does anecdotal experience. Most of the “postdoc” positions in anthropology, of course, are like mine: jobs on contract without much/any support for continuing research and writing. But despite that lack of support, the number of people who either were in a few years of temporary teaching, worked in the public sector or museums, or otherwise persisted being the PhD who then enter academia in assistant professor jobs is striking.

    What I do not think is actually true is something repeated several times here: that hanging on longer while doing some miscellaneous teaching or other activities we might think of as professional development makes the longer PhD a good thing. All the employment data I have seen still says that after 7-8 year PhD length, the proportion of people being hired into tenure track jobs declines, rather sharply. Teaching as the sole instructor still counts in a way that being a teaching assistant does not. Finishing a project (which the PhD is) shows you can finish other projects (which is what tenure requires).

    I do not personally think that it is feasible to sharply cut the time to degree in field-based disciplines, but I do think we could pull back from the 8 year plus time frame to something more like 7 plus or minus 1. This also has the value of being about the amount of time a tenure-track faculty member has to get the next project to shape, so the goal would actually prepare those who go on to academia better for that challenge. And in the non-academic world, I have never worked on a project with more than a five year timeline.

    Then we could start talking with foundations about how to increase postdoc opportunities.

    Whether humanities scholars– who are the focus of the article that started this thread– need to stay so long is another thing entirely. If we accept the argument that the focus of a doctoral student should, after some basic framing work, be the process of becoming a researcher, then I think coursework could be shorter, the project could still be multi-year and rigorous. What I see encouraging incredibly long humanities time to degree is too much coursework (treating doctoral students like undergrads), too little funding (making people teach too many semesters and too many hours in those semesters), and asking people to polish the literary qualities of a dissertation. Much better to fund people better, give them more room to develop their own ideas, and emphasize that the polishing comes in turning the diss into the book.

  16. Caveat: my experience may be quite different than others.

    I have often wondered if graduate programs had ever thought about what they students will do in the future. For example, professors teach, research, and do service to the profession. I really do not think most programs have thought “How can we prepare students to succeed in these three activities?”

    My three years of coursework did not prepare me to do any of these activities. If we want to shorten the time to a Ph.D., we can drop or vastly shorten coursework.

    The summer I spent reading for my preliminary exams was an amazing and transformative experience. I read a lot of the literature that I cite and assign in this period. Useful. We can partially replace coursework with a year of directed reading and writing.

    The two years I spent teaching (during coursework) were amazing and transformative as well. I learned to teach. I also learned to explain methods and theories in simple language. Wonderful. If we are worried about socializing graduate students, they can socialize as instructors. Graduate students can team teach or act as TAs. This is a wonderful place for professionalization.

    So, we could shorten Ph.D. programs to four to five years.

    Year 1: directed readings and teaching.
    Year 2: teaching, exams, and writing grants.
    Year 3: research.
    Year 4 (and year 5, if necessary): writing and possibly teaching.

    P.S. This problem might be related to the post earlier this week on anthropology’s suicide. Coursework might be useful to mastering Continental philosophy. Continental philosophy is not helpful in teaching about culture, doing research about culture, or doing service to the profession.

  17. Just finished a PhD in Ethnomusicology which is very similar in its requirements and structure to Anthropology. Our funding is cut off after 4 years so… you just make it happen.

    Bob Roberts , well put:
    “I have often wondered if graduate programs had ever thought about what they students will do in the future. For example, professors teach, research, and do service to the profession. I really do not think most programs have thought “How can we prepare students to succeed in these three activities?” ”

    Here’s our schedule:
    Year 1: coursework
    Year 2: coursework in Term 1/ Major field & language exams in
    Term 2
    Year 3: Fieldwork, research and writing
    Year 4: Fieldwork, research, writing and finishing

    We TA throughout for the dough and experience. It’s breakneck and basically requires that your have a head start on your languages or fieldwork before beginning. It’s difficult to publish much or do additional teaching and still get through.

    5 years seems like a saner pace.

  18. So, from reading all the comments it seems that it is possible to graduate in 5 years if (a) you are in a school system which specializes earlier and offers more opportunities for post-graduate study or (b) your personal biography means you don’t need as much specialized training or financial support.

    My mom took 20 years to get her Ph.D. in Art History, but she raised a family and ran a business while doing so. I personally think there should be more opportunities to take a very slow approach which allows people to have a life and a career outside academia. Rather than assuming a Ph.D. is always a first step towards an academic career. I doubt my mom would be allowed to complete her Ph.D. if she started now.

  19. Especially in light of Berkeley’s Rosemary Joyce’s comments, I think we also need to factor in the ways in which people mat take a long(er) time to complete their doctorates because of the issues of non-support raised by the AA article “Anthropology as White Public Space?”. (Non-) support is not simply a financial issue, as confirmed both by the aforementioned article and the 2010 AAA report on the state of minorities in anthropology. And one of the very ways that programs need to ‘support’ all students–including minority graduate students–is to address these issues, instead of sweeping them under the proverbial rug. So here’s to being more honest about what support and non-support truly entail and look like.

  20. I’ve been thinking about this more, and I think it bothers me to say that an anthro PhD MUST take more than 5-6 years to complete. Because the truth seems to be, that it depends. It depends on your background coming in, your certainty about your topic, the amount of graduate training you may have already had, etc. I’ve seen too many friends languishing on the “10 year plan”, not because they need to earn money, but because their programs don’t force them, or even encourage them to buckle down and focus sooner- and some depts even draw out requirements that could be completed more expediently. Barring complications, some parts of anthro training don’t need to take as long as they do. Fieldwork is not one of them- I’m in favor of the one year, minimum, model in that case- as that’s what differentiates us from other fields and makes our insights as significant as they can be. But I think your base assumption that fieldwork is what gets truncated in a faster timeline is not necessarily correct.

    So yeah, forcing someone out in 5 years who came in with little background in anthro and is set to graduate ill-prepared= not good
    Forcing someone who is best served by completing a program in 5 years for whatever reason to prolong their progress artificially? Also not good.

    I’m also not personally in favor of mandatory four-field training (IMO, that’s great for the undergrad years, but the PhD is about specialization), so I chose my department accordingly.

  21. If you’re specialized, and life doesn’t get in the way, I dont see why this 5-year plan is unreasonable. Similar to Bob, but a little more coursework:
    1: courses (summer fieldwork)
    2: courses (summer fieldwork)
    3: exams/language
    4: fieldwork
    5: dissertation

  22. 5 would have been great and do-able. 4 was super-stressful. And ye, I think it entirely depends on hoe much coursework one is expected to do, and how prepared one is coming in.

  23. Working in an interdisciplinary department, I notice that there are two things that people (students, faculty, and administrators) often don’t understand about time-to-degree with an ethnographic research program. First, that time in the field is essential to establishing credibility. Even if “you can do it in less,” I advise students that a year of fieldwork is necessary to be taken seriously. Second, that the process of writing (sometimes called gestation) is long, and that the work benefits from this. People who try to “write up” in 8 months tend to produce thinner dissertations, imho. I took two years after my main stint of fieldwork, teaching for one semester of that.

  24. I did my PhD in a little over 4 years, but there are a number of caveats about that time frame. I had an MA going in – none of the course credits transferred, but they allowed me to use my extant thesis towards an MA at the new program. I had to repeat all the coursework, but I did independent research over the summers in between to set me for my doctoral research. I took my language proficiency at the end of my first year, did my comps at the end of my third, did my preliminary case studies in my third year. I taught as both a TA and as an adjunct to help support myself (putting daughters through college). I was one of the lucky ones, I decided after my first semester of courses what the topic of my research would be, and I had an amazingly supportive and helpful faculty member encouraging me the entire way. Not all students are that lucky. I was a definitely non-traditional student, age-wise. No small children to worry about, not much of a social life (been there, done that), I had a large background of life experience and contacts before even hitting the degree program. The 4 year total is deceptive – it took a lifetime of experience and study to do that.

  25. All of these comments are, shockingly, leaving out, or only gesturing at, the two most important reasons for why anthro PhDs are so long. When you say “it could be done in less but quality would suffer if coursework/language work/background cultural knowledge/fieldwork/writeup time were cut” what you mean is LESS QUALITY RELATIVE TO WHAT YOU NEED ON THE JOB MARKET.

    1. If one program allows its students to stay longer, it puts pressure on students in all over programs to stay longer. Even if we could pretend that instruction and initial quality of students were equal at a school with a 9 year program versus one with a 5 year program, those graduates of the second program are simply on average not competitive with those of the 9 year program.

    2. The pressure for lengthening programs increases as as the job market tightens. And it tightens both through the overproduction of graduates and the decreasing number of good jobs. There are simply too many graduates a year for all but a fraction of them to get jobs at all (I can’t remember the stats, but something like half of graduates leave the profession, and are swiftly forgotten), yet the low-ranked programs continue to produce graduates. It would be good for the discipline if they simply shuttered their PhD programs. Then the number of not only tenure track but also full-time jobs is descreasing. Long time to graduation is the flip side of the growth of adjunct and non-TT jobs, the casualization of the professorial job market.

    This is why, if my anecdotal evidence isn’t misleading me, the current career path for someone who would like to land a TT job at a top tier research university is something like 8-10 years in the PhD then a postdoc or two, and then the actual TT job (plus the usual contacts, publications, proper markers of pedigree, teaching experience, and luck).

    So if you want to decrease time to graduate, you need 1. collective action among graduate schools so that they ALL enforce decreased time to graduate, AND/OR you need 2. either more anthropology jobs or less anthropology graduates. Or all of the above.

    If you want to talk about what graduate students “need to know before they graduate…” finish the sentence “…and get a job.”

  26. I am currently heading towards the first draft of my anthropology thesis, 3 yrs 5 months in. I am in South Africa and I think the system is probably similar to those of Australia and the UK. We generally do:

    Bachelor of Arts – 3 years

    Honours – 1 year

    Masters – 1 – 2 years

    Doctorate – I think on average about four years.

    I completed a Masters in Zulu so had the language competency. Honours and Masters degrees both entail a research component.

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