Master's Thesis

Upon admission, first year students will be assigned a provisional advisor. During the first semester in residence, each new graduate student working toward the MS degree should formally select a major professor and (in consultation with the major professor) an advisory committee. In order to select a committee, a student must articulate an idea for a Master's thesis and begin to develop it in consultation with the primary advisor. The theoretical basis and research design for the project should be further developed with the committee during the meeting. This meeting should take place no later than the end of the second month of the second semester.

MS Prospectus

At the end of their second semester, the student will work with their advisors to hone in on a research topic and then submit a brief 2-page research prospectus to their committees. The prospectus should be approved by the students committee by the end of the semester.

Before the end of the second semester, the student will give a brief 15-minute presentation of their MS prospectus draft to the department. The presentations will be a brief overview of the student’s research questions, research site and methods.  (Department Policy 03/28/11)
In order to facilitate the exchange of ideas among the graduate students and faculty in anthropology, as well as to assist Master's students in developing their proposals for their theses, all first year students are required to present their Master's topic during an informal working group meeting of the Anthropology section faculty and graduate students. Presentation dates for individual students will be scheduled in consultation with the Graduate Committee Director at the beginning of the second semester. The meeting is intended to assist the student in further developing the theoretical basis and research design for the MS project.

In consultation with the committee, the initial MS prospectus will be expanded into a thesis/final project proposal that includes methods to be used during the research and a provisional plan for the analysis and thesis/final project write-up. 

Once the proposal is accepted by the student's committee, the student proceeds toward the completion of the thesis (which may account for up to 9 credit hours of thesis research), or the final project (which may account for up to 3 credit hours of MS research). Any necessary IRB or PACUC approvals should be obtained prior to any data collection. The student must be aware of, and comply with, the various format requirements and deadlines for the Master's thesis/final project and Final Examination as laid out by the Graduate School.

Oral Examination

At the completion of the Master's thesis or non-thesis research project, all students are required to make a formal presentation of findings and discussion of the Master's research process. The brief presentation may include frank discussion of ethics issues relevant for the research. It may also be appropriate for the student to discuss any the problems encountered during the research, what the student might have done differently in hindsight, and what the student might do given the opportunity for further work on this topic. This presentation functions as the public portion of the thesis or research project defense, and is followed by a closed- door final examination meeting of the student and committee.

This department must report the result of a "final examination" for the MS candidate to the Graduate School. For the MS student in anthropology, the final examination will consist of the closed-door oral examination in defense of the thesis/final project.

MS Thesis/Final Project

All theses must be prepared according to both departmental format requirements (consult your faculty advisor) and University format requirements as described in A Manual for the Preparation of Graduate Theses. Our department has chosen to adopt the "Purdue Format" as detailed in A Manual for the Preparation of Graduate Theses. The format requirements are checked in the department currently by the Graduate Secretary who has been designated as thesis format advisor.

These are examined in the Thesis/Dissertation Office, (Room 170, Young Hall). Appointments may be made by completing the appointment scheduling form at Theses must be deposited before the end of the last day of classes. However, appointments for depositing should be made early in the semester and you will schedule your deposit appointment well before the last day of classes.

The thesis deposit fee will be charged to all master's and doctoral thesis-option candidates as part of the thesis deposit process. The following fee rates will apply: Master's Thesis Fee $90.00; Ph.D. Dissertation Fee $125.00.

A final print copy of the thesis should be provided to the major professor, your committee members, and the Anthropology Graduate Program Office.

*Information on this page might not be current. Please contact us for questions about the program.

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