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ANTH 686 Preliminary Examination

Master of Arts in Anthropology

Master of Applied Anthropology

The preliminary exam consists of questions pertaining to the subject matter of ANTH 501, ANTH 502, and ANTH 503 intended to assess the depth and breadth of student knowledge. A file of sample questions is available for students in the department, which will give you an idea what kind of questions may be asked.

PDF printable copy of the ANTH 686 Preliminary Examination Guidelines

The ANTH 686 Preliminary Exam is taken during the second week of the Spring semester.
1)  The preliminary examination will be administered as a take-home exam.  Students will be given four days to complete the examination.  The examination is to be typed and turned in through the SafeAssign mechanism on the Blackboard site for ANTH 686-001.

  • The exam questions will be given to students on Monday at 8:00 am.  The exam will be submitted to the department by the end of the fourth day (Thursday) no later than 4:00 pm.
  • Students are to answer four questions, one each from ANTH 501, ANTH 502, and ANTH 503 and one additional question from one of the three classes.  Make sure you type out the question you are going to answer.
  • The examination is to be typed, double spaced, in 12 point font.
  • The product of the exam should be a scholarly document referenced in a consistent format with the AAA style guide.

2)  In addition, on or before the examination period, students are required to submit a 3-5 page prospectus/summary of their proposed thesis/project to their advisor.

3)  Within a week of the submission of the preliminary examination the student’s advisor will schedule an oral defense of the examination and of the student’s thesis/project proposal. The defense will be conducted by the student’s advisory committee and chaired by the student’s advisor, although all anthropology faculty members may attend.

Examinations will be read by an examination committee of three faculty members. An additional reader may be selected if deemed appropriate by the committee. The committee will evaluate the student’s examination using a rubric scale (see below).  When the members of the examination committee have reviewed the preliminary exam, they will meet, discuss, and grade the student’s performance. The student will be notified of the result of the exam by the Graduate Program Coordinator within one week following the exam.

Grading of the exam will be Failure, Pass, and High Pass. Failure means the student has not demonstrated depth and breadth by their performance. Pass indicates admission to candidacy having satisfactorily completed the exam, but maybe the basis upon which the department may recommend the thesis or project track to individual candidates. High Pass recognizes a high level of performance on the preliminary exam and permission to begin the MA thesis or MAA project.

A student failing the exam may request in writing of the academic unit head (Graduate Program Coordinator) a repeat of the exam. This request must be submitted within five days of the notification of the student’s failure. If approved, the student must retake the exam within 12 months after the first attempt. If the department does not approve a retake of the exam, the student is withdrawn from the program by the Graduate College.

ANTH 686 PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION EVALUATION RUBRIC

Criteria1 = Retake2 = Pass3 = High Pass
1. Knowledge of subject matter demonstrated through responses to posed questionsDemonstrates minimal knowledge of the subject matter through production of work that meets some established standards. Responses to posed questions:
Demonstrates acceptable knowledge of the subject matter through production of work that meets established standards. Responses to posed questions: Demonstrates in-depth knowledge of the subject matter through production of work that goes beyond established standards. Responses to posed questions:
1.a. Insight Show minimal evidence of insight or original thinkingShow some insight, creativity, and original thinkingAre highly original and creative
1.b. Interpretation of disciplinary readingsExhibit some errors in interpreting disciplinary readingsExhibit reasonable interpretation of disciplinary readingsExhibit reflective interrogation of disciplinary readings
1.c. Analysis and synthesis of central concepts of subjectIncorporate minimal analysis and synthesis of central concepts of the subjectIncorporate some analysis and synthesis of central concepts of the subjectIncorporate critical analysis and synthesis of central concepts or the subject
1.d. Understanding of link between discipline and other disciplinesReflect vague understanding of the nature of the discipline and its links to other disciplinesReflect some understanding of the nature of the discipline and its links to other disciplinesReflect a holistic view of the nature of the discipline and its links to other disciplines
1.e. Use of detail and specific examplesProvide few details and examplesProvide some detail and specific examplesProvide detailed descriptions and numerous specific, vivid examples
2. Clarity of Thought1 = Retake2 = Pass3 = High Pass
2.a. Use of language and vocabularyExhibits adequate but inconsistent facility in the use of languageUses appropriate language/vocabularyUses very precise, skillful language
2.b. Demonstration of connectionsDemonstrates adequate connectionsModerate to strong connections are madeStrong connections are made
2.c. Use of key pointsSome key points are demonstrated, but some lapses in coherence or progression of ideasMost key points are madeSeveral key points are made
2.d. Use of critical ideasCritical ideas are vague or limitedCritical ideas are includedOutstanding demonstration of critical thinking
2.e. Adequacy of responses to questionsNot all parts of question are answeredAll parts of the question are fully answeredAll parts of the questions are fully answered
3. Professional and Presentation Skills1 = Retake2 = Pass3 = High Pass
3.a. Presence of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanicsEssay contains an accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanicsEssay is free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanicsThe essay is free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
3.b. Organization Is limited in organization or focusIs well organized and focusedClear organization is obvious
3.c. Presence of scholarly voiceA lapse in using a scholarly voice is evidentA scholarly voice is used throughout mostA scholarly, thoughtful voice is used throughout. At least 2 citations are used