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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 – in two parts:  one written, and one an oral defense.  The student submits a written thesis prospectus, elaborating the proposed research.  The prospectus will receive feedback from the thesis Chair, and may be subject to revision; then, upon the Chair’s approval, the prospectus will be circulated to the student’s other examining committee members.  If all examining committee members agree that the written document is of sufficient quality as to merit an oral defense, the oral exam will be scheduled.  During the oral exam, the committee evaluates the written and oral formulation of the project and the degree to which the prospectus demonstrates sufficient knowledge of the thesis topic.  The examining committee also assess the extent to which the prospectus comprehensively integrates an understanding of pertinent aspects of the program’s three required courses (addressing theory, research methodology, and data analysis) as well as all other relevant coursework.
  6. 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.
  7. The student should also be prepared to make a presentation on the thesis to the Department.
  8. 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.
  9. Submission of Thesis – Due at the Graduate Office by the posted deadline (see Academic Calendar).
  10. 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) formation of committee, (3) scheduling of the comprehensive examination, and (4) certification for graduation. A student may select the chair of her/his thesis committee after completing 9 hours of course work, but must do so, at the latest, by the start of the semester of the Comprehensive Examination. Ideally, the student will have identified a provisional advisor and/or thesis Chair earlier in the program than the semester of the Comprehensive Examination, and most questions that arise concerning an individual student’s course selection or other curriculum matters will be handled by the student, in consultation with the committee chair; decisions are subject to review by the graduate advisor. 

Administrative Forms

  1. “Notice of Intent to Take Comprehensive Examination” (Departmental Form) – This form should be completed and submitted to the graduate advisor by the second week of the semester in which the oral defense of a thesis prospectus is to be scheduled.
  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.

Recommendations for Completing the Degree in a Timely Manner

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 an MA in Anthropology is contingent not only upon the student’s successful completion of coursework, but more importantly choosing a thesis topic early, and orienting the whole program to a thesis-driven project of study and original research. 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 3 required courses and all other thesis-relevant courses as soon as possible. 
  2. You should plan to take the comprehensive exam 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 comprehensive exam is 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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.