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Degree Requirements

THESIS PLAN (36 Semester Hours)


  1. ANTH 6300 – Seminar in Anthropological Theory, ANTH 6310 – Anthropological Research Design, ANTH 6325--Computer-Based Data Analysis (9 Credits). These courses MUST be taken in that order, beginning with the first Fall Semester.
  2. Two courses must come from the following: ANTH 631163126313631563226330. One of these must be in the student’s major area of concentration.
  3. Additional approved course work (15 semester hours) at the 6000 level; 6 semester hours of these may be taken outside the department.
  4. ANTH 6399/7399 – Thesis (6 semester hours). Note: These hours are to be taken only when the student is actually working on a thesis. They can be taken the semester the student takes the comprehensive examination, but cannot be taken before then.
  5. Satisfactory completion of Comprehensive Examination.
  6. 3.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average, and the student must earn at least a “B” in all required courses and those courses to be used in comps.
  7. Adherence to the Four-C Rule – if a student earns a total of four C’s during their graduate career; he/she is automatically dropped from the graduate program

Major Considerations for Master’s Students

  1. Students should be sure to complete the required course work and must be sure to have 30 course hours and 6 thesis hours.
  2. You must take the required courses in the order recommended and as quickly as possible. ANTH 6300 and ANTH 6310 will be taught concurrently in the Fall semester and ANTH 6325 in the Spring semester. You may not take ANTH 6325 unless both 6300 and 6310 have been satisfactorily completed.
  3. Chair – Choose a chair for your thesis/practicum committee from the departmental faculty and develop a topic of interest. Ideally, this decision should be made at the end of the first year of academic study.
  4. Formation of Committee – The thesis/practicum committee must be formed the same semester as taking the comprehensive examination. This is done by a form for the college, available from the Anth office.
    1. This committee must be approved by the graduate advisor.
    2. All changes in the make-up of the committee must be approved by the graduate advisor.
  5. Comprehensive examination – you must formally petition to the graduate advisor to take the comprehensive exam at least two weeks prior to the scheduled examinations. Results of the Comprehensive Examinations will be submitted in writing to students (see section III – part C).
  6. Thesis Proposal – Thesis proposal (preliminary orals) must be approved by the thesis/practicum committee (see sections V and VI). The preliminary orals should be completed no later than the same semester as taking the comprehensive examinations.
  7. Final Thesis Defense – The scheduling of the defense takes place when the chair of the thesis/practicum committee decides the document is ready (see section V). Each semester the date at which a thesis/practicum must be defended for graduation will be posted during the semester.
  8. The student should also be prepared to make a presentation on the thesis to the Department.
  9. Final Draft – The final draft of the thesis/practicum report should be in the committee’s hands preferably 30 days prior to the University deadline for submission of the thesis.
  10. Submission of Thesis – Due at the Graduate Office by the posted deadline (see Academic Calendar).
  11. Copies of Thesis – Deliver a copy of the thesis to each committee member. One formally bound copy must be given to the Department.

Graduate Advising

All queries and requests concerning the graduate program should be directed to the graduate advisor of the Anthropology Department. The graduate advisor serves as the counselor for all graduate students before and upon entry into the graduate program. In addition, students entering the graduate program will be assigned a faculty member who will act as a provisional advisor at the beginning of the semester. The provisional advisor may become the student’s committee chair, but in some cases the interests of the student may lead to another faculty member becoming the chair of the thesis committee. The main functions of the provisional advisor are to provide advice and feedback to allow students to quickly focus on an anticipated thesis topic. The following petitions must be submitted to the graduate advisor: (1) course approval, (2) scheduling of comprehensive examinations, (3) formation of committees, and (4) certification for graduation. A student may select the chair of their thesis committee after completing 9 hours of course work, but must do so the same semester as the taking of the Comprehensive Examination. Thereafter, most questions that arise about an individual student’s course selection or other curriculum matters will be handled by a student, through consultation with their committee chair; decisions are subject to review by the graduate advisor.

Comprehensive Examination

Master’s Comprehensive Exams.  Twice a year (Fall/Spring) students may sit for the Comprehensive Examinations. The exams are held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the 5th week of the semester. Each student must submit a “Notice of Intent to Take Comprehensive Examination” form, designating the three areas to be examined and the full-time, permanent faculty who will submit the questions.  This form must be submitted at the beginning of the semester the students wishes to take the exams. The dates for the comprehensive will be posted during the first week of classes for the semester.  These exams are mandatory and must be passed to receive the degree.

The student may take the comprehensive examination only after all the seminars in which they will be examined have been successfully completed. NO EXAMINATION CAN BE GIVEN IN A SEMINAR FOR WHICH A STUDENT HAS AN “INCOMPLETE”. All students will be examined in the area covered by ANTH 6300. Students will also be examined in the subdiscipline in which they intend to research for their thesis: cultural, archaeology, biological, medical, and applied.  The courses in which comprehensives can be taken are 6311, 6312, 6313, 6315, 6322, and 6330. The third area will be in one of the seminars approved for the exams. Note: ANTH 6310 and 6325 are NOT seminars in which one can take a comprehensive. One exam will be given each day, and the student can choose the order in which the comprehensives are taken.  They generally occur from 9 am to noon and are typed on a computer determined by the graduate advisor.  Generally, students may bring a list of references and rough outline, although professors have the choice to allow the use of books.

The student should consult the professors for guidance on what the exam question(s) will cover. The exam questions are meant to be broad enough to allow the student to draw on the required assignments of the course, as well as other readings that might be relevant to the student’s thesis topic.  Evaluation of the exam is done by the graduate faculty. Each section of the exam is read by two faculty members. If a student fails one section, the student must retake only that section the next time the exam is offered. If a student fails two or more sections of the exam, that student must retake the complete exam, all three sections, when next the Comprehension Exams are offered. If any section is failed again, the student is dropped from the program. Students will receive the results of the examination from the graduate advisor.

Administrative Forms

  1. “Notice of Intent to Take Comprehensive Examinations” (Departmental Form) – This form should be completed and submitted to the graduate advisor by the second week of the semester that Comprehensive Examinations are to be taken.
  2. Appointment of Master’s Thesis Committee (College Form) – The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences should receive this form, once the committee has been formed. This should occur the same semester as the student sits for the Comprehensive Examination.
  3. Graduation Application (College Form) – Students must submit this application the semester of graduation by the date indicated in the Academic Calendar.


The Master’s Degree in Anthropology can be completed in two years, including one summer. However, for a variety of reasons, most students take longer but should be able to complete the program in three years. The following are hints and steps taken by the faculty to help students finish their degrees in a timely manner:

The timely and successful completion of a MA in Anthropology is contingent not only upon the student’s successful completion of course work and comprehensives, but more importantly about choosing a thesis topic early in their program, rather than waiting until finishing course work and comprehensives. Once students have settled on a topic area they should make an effort to consider whom they would want to have on their committee. The committee is two individuals aside from the committee chair, one of whom has to be a member outside the department with at least a Master’s Degree. The sooner the student accomplishes the above, the sooner they will be able to proceed with completing their thesis.

Expectations of the Masters Program

  1. Students should take the required courses and possible comp seminars as soon as possible. Only 6300, 6310 and 6325 will be taught on a yearly basis; all others, especially 6311, 6312, 6313, 6315, 6322, and 6330 will be taught every third semester. That means if you are an archaeology student, for example, and do not take it when first offered during your career, you must wait a year to take it. Doing so only postpones taking the Comprehensive Exams. The following is the current rotation, for planning purposes:
    Fall 2015 Spring 2016 Fall 2016 Spring 2017
    6300 6325 6300 6325
    6322 6313 6310 6322
    6310 6315 6312
  2. You should plan to take the Comprehensive Exams as soon as you have finished taking your three eligible/required seminars. DO NOT PUT THIS OFF, AS THIS MAKES IT MUCH HARDER ON YOURSELF. The comprehensives are easier when the seminars and readings are fresh in the mind.
  3. Students will be assigned a provisional advisor upon entering the program. The student should meet with the provisional advisor at least once a month, to discuss progress and ask any questions. Students may also want to consult with the graduate advisor before thesis/practicum chair is selected. PLEASE CONSULT WITH THE GRADUATE ADVISOR EVERY SEMESTER BEFORE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT COURSES AND OTHER PROGRAM CHOICES, IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SELECTED A CHAIR.
  4. After taking the comprehensives, and before the end of that semester, the student needs to choose a topic and thesis chair, if s/he has not already done so. If possible, the student should also be prepared to defend the thesis or practicum proposal in the preliminary orals. ANTH 6310 can be taken again, if the student wishes to have more help in the preparation of the proposal.
  5. Once a committee chair is selected, the student must meet once a month with the chair to discuss progress and fix any problems. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule and make this meeting.
  6. After Spring semester, and more often if warranted, the Graduate Advisor and Chair of the Department will meet to judge the progress of students in the program. Progress will be judged according to requirements filled, seriousness of the student in meeting with advisor/committee chair, and writing of proposal/thesis/practicum paper. A progress report will be given to the student, and unsatisfactory progress will be noted in the student’s folder. This will be at least a yearly report.
  7. You have five years from the semester you enter the program to complete the degree. This is more than enough time. The Graduate School of the University is not going to easily grant extensions. If you have to move away or take on a full-time job, decide quickly whether it is going to be feasible to finish. The Department will not petition for an extension, except in extraordinary circumstances.