MA Applied Anth Comprehensive Exam

The following information/syllabus pertains to ANTH 691 Comprehensive Exam for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

INSTRUCTOR

The instructor for this course is your faculty advisor - please contact them with any questions.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Students work toward the completion of the comprehensive examination with guidance from faculty. Comprehensive exams are generally completed during student’s final semester in MA program. (Credit/No Credit)

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

HSU graduates at the master’s level will be able to:

  1. elucidate the major theories, research methods and approaches to inquiry and/or schools of practice in the student's field of study; articulate their sources and illustrate both their application and their relationships to allied fields;
  2. disaggregate, adapt, reformulate and employ principal ideas, techniques or methods at the forefront of their field of study in the context of a written product or project;
  3. provide adequate evidence (through papers, projects, notebooks, computer files or catalogues) of contributing to, expanding, assessing, and/or refining knowledge within their field of study;
  4. create sustained, coherent arguments or explanations and reflections on their work or that of collaborators (if applicable), to both general and specialized audiences;
  5. apply the ethical framework(s) appropriate to their field of study; and
  6. employ the tools, concepts, and methods appropriate to their inquiry in a project, paper or performance.

Upon completing this degree, students are expected to demonstrate competence in Program Outcomes:

  1. substantive knowledge of the field of applied anthropology, and an advanced ability to apply disciplinary principles, theories, methods, and approaches to address complex issues within academic and non-academic settings.
  2. professional-level expertise in a concentrated area, an advanced ability to comprehend, conceive, design, and execute meaningful research in that area
  3. display knowledge and competency in anthropological ethics and embrace social responsibility in research, teaching and service
  4. a wide range of graduate level practical and professional skills enabling one to function efficiently in academic and non-academic settings, including research and problem-solving skills, effective multi-modal communication, initiative, adaptability perseverance, and capacity to proactively market skills and expertise
More specifically, the Course Outcomes students are expected to achieve are:
  1. Articulate a sub-disciplinary and individual area of specialization within the field of anthropology by generating a 75 entry annotated bibliography comprised of relevant scholarly literature
  2. Conform to professional academic standards of writing, honesty, and attribution of sources using the American Psychological Association format and citation guide
  3. Pass a three-part comprehensive exam that tests the following: a) knowledge of the field of applied anthropology, b) application of disciplinary principles, theories, methods, and approaches to addressing complex issues within academic and non-academic settings, c) expertise in a sub-discipline and individual area of concentration, d) effective communication of complex ideas, theories, and arguments relevant to the field of applied anthropology

COURSE STRUCTURE

This is an independent modality course – the time needed to prepare and pass the comprehensive exam will depend on your prior knowledge of anthropology and your preparation in your area of interest. 

Part 1: Establish Areas

Students on the Comprehensive Exam Track shall build an annotated bibliography and take exams in three areas of anthropology. Area 1 shall be, for all students, Applied Anthropology in general. Area 2 shall be sub-discipline specific (e.g., archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, bioarchaeology).  The third area shall be focus-specific (e.g., historic preservation, skeletal biology). The student shall select Areas 2 and 3 in consultation with their MA advisor - this should be done early on in the program, and no later than one semester prior to enrolling in ANTH 691.

  • Area 1: Comprehensive, covers material broadly applicable to Applied Anthropology
  • Area 2: Sub-discipline specific
  • Area 3: Focus-specific (individual area of research/career interest)

Part 2: Generate an Annotated Bibliography

  • Students should begin working on their annotated bibliography early in the program so they are prepared to submit a solid draft at the beginning of the semester in which they enroll in ANTH 691.
  • After establishing exam areas and gaining advisor approval, the student shall compile an annotated bibliography on the subject matter, with at least 25 entries per exam section unless otherwise specified by the advisor. It will be primarily the responsibility of the student to search the literature and populate the bibliography with sufficient sources as to demonstrate competence in the subject matter, but the advisor may also assign specific sources that must be included.
  • Use peer-reviewed books or journals (periodicals). Primary literature (journal articles) should be your primary sources. The HSU library catalog and Google Scholar are good places to start searching. Internet: Be very cautious of non-peer-reviewed information. It is generally not acceptable to cite non-peer-reviewed information to support claims in your academic work; however, such information can be used to demonstrate other things, such as state of general knowledge on a topic. In some cases, non-peer-reviewed sources, such as ethnographies, are appropriate to include. Please consult your advisor if you have any question as to the appropriateness of specific sources.
ANNOTATION FORMAT: Compile the annotations three documents (one per exam area). For each annotation:
    1. Begin with a bibliographic citation (in a style used in your discipline – consult your advisor).
    2. Summarize the reading and the key point(s), argument(s), or topic(s) covered. The summary is not an abstract or list (“it covered A, then B, then C”), but instead will require you to engage with the reading enough to be able to clearly identify the key elements, with an emphasis on those most relevant/interesting to you (“key topics covered were A & B, especially the X, Y, Z aspects of A, which are such and such…”). The summary should be at least half of your annotation.
    3. Assess/Reflect on the reading with regard to its purpose/goal/relevance within the discipline and your current/future work. The assessment can be integrated with the summary or be placed at the end.
    • Tips:
      • Make it concise: Be specific and detailed - remove vague/redundant/unhelpful statements.
      • Avoid excessive critique: These annotations are not meant to be critiques of the author's writing style, but rather a consideration of the material.
      • Avoid quotations: This should be your thoughts & words. If you do use quotes, include "quotation” marks and page number(s).
      • Write well: Demonstrate growth in skilled analysis of literature and professional-level writing.
      • Avoid fluff: It is not necessary to repeat the citation, article title, or indicate the employment position of the author in the annotation summary/reflection, unless for some reason the latter is directly relevant
      • Each annotation should be 200-400 words
      • Summarize the reading and the key point(s), argument(s), or topic(s) covered. The summary is not an abstract or list (“it covered A, then B, then C”), but instead will require you to engage with the reading enough to be able to clearly identify the key elements, with an emphasis on those most relevant/interesting to you (“key topics covered were A & B, especially the X, Y, Z aspects of A, which are such and such…”). The summary should be at least half of your annotation.
      • Make it useful as a reference for your work. Include details you want to remember.

ANNOTATION SUBMISSION:

  • Preliminary drafts (due throughout the program): Students should submit drafts/sections of their annotated bibliography periodically for approval of progress, appropriate breadth and depth, and correct format. This may correspond with assignments in the core courses and should also occur independently.
  • Complete draft (at least 5 business days prior to the drop deadline in the semester in which the student is enrolled in ANTH 691): This should be a substantial (nearly or fully complete) draft that evinces that the student will to be prepared to successfully complete the bibliography and exam in the given semester; otherwise, it may be recommended/required that a student drop ANTH 691 and enroll in a subsequent term.
  • Final draft (at least two weeks prior to the exam date): This should be the final annotated bibliography, properly formatted and evincing competence in the areas of study and readiness to take the exam.

Part 3: Take the Exam

There will be one scheduled exam date and time each semester near the end of the semester, generally over a weekend approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the end of the semester. The specific date of the exam will be communicated with students in advance.

The advisor, in collaboration with the graduate coordinator, will assign exam prompts to each student that represent the three areas (applied anthropology, sub-discipline, and focus). The specific format of the exam (i.e., the number and type of questions) may vary for each student based on their sub-discipline and focus, but the overall exam will be comparable in expected work to complete.

Typically, students will have a total of 72 hours (3 calendar days) to complete the exam once the prompts are provided. However, this is subject to alteration at the discretion of the advisor (with approval from the Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair) if, for example, the exam sections for Area 2 or 3 include an agreed-upon practical component. 

As a general guideline, the entire exam submission should encompass 4,000-8,000 words. However, students should focus on content and quality - meeting the minimum word count does not guarantee a passing score, and excessive length that distracts from a cohesive answer is also not recommended.

GUIDELINES FOR THE EXAM:

  • Length: As a general guideline, the entire exam submission should encompass 4,000-8,000 words. However, students should focus on content and quality - meeting the minimum word count does not guarantee a passing score, and excessive length that distracts from a cohesive answer is also not recommended.
  • Format:
    • Please use standard font and margins.
    • Supporting citations from peer-reviewed sources are expected throughout the exam.
    • Please use and APA citations style for in-text citations and your bibliography.
    • The bibliography at the end of the exam should not be annotated and does not count toward the word minimum or maximum.
    • Begin with a title page, then proceed in order through the areas (1, 2, then 3) - provide a heading for each area and repeat the question before answering (this will not count toward your word count minimum or maximum).
    • Your name and page number should be on each page.
    • Please submit as an MS Word document or a PDF - upload a file rather than providing a link.
  • Submission: Typically, students will have a total of 72 hours (3 calendar days) to complete the exam once the prompts are provided (prompts will be provided 72 hours prior to the due date of this assignment). If you do not have specific instructions (and approval from you advisor and the Graduate Coordinator) to do otherwise, please return your exam according to the due date and time indicated for this assignment.

EXAM EVALUATION:

  • The comprehensive examination assesses a student’s ability to integrate knowledge of the area, show independent and critical thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The results evidence independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis, and accuracy of documentation.
  • At least two faculty members (you advisor and one other faulty member from the program) must certify to the success or failure of the student in the examination.
  • Each portion will be graded separately – you must earn an 80% in each portion to pass exam and to earn a grade of Credit for the course.
  • If a grade of No Credit is earned, the course must be retaken to pass.

The following additional guidelines apply:

  1. Students become eligible to attempt the examination during the semester in which all required coursework will be completed.
  2. A student must have advanced to candidacy before they can be given permission by the department to take the ANTH 691 exam.
  3. If a student does not pass the examination on the first attempt, they will receive a grade of No-Credit for the exam.  If they wish to re-attempt they will be required to register for the examination again the next available term. These additional units may not be counted as units toward the master’s degree.
  4. The second attempt is defined as retaking the entire exam or, at the discretion of the department, a supplementary examination on any part or parts of the first examination that the student failed. Subsequent attempts may also include alternate and/or additional questions that may require additional annotated bibliography entries and other preparation in advance – thus, students are strongly advised to take the first attempt seriously.
  5. Students may not take the comprehensive examination more than twice. Failure of the second attempt of the comprehensive examination results in the disqualification from the program in that department.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

University Deadlines for Culminating Experience Submission

Forms documenting satisfactory completion of comprehensive examinations are due in the Academic Programs/Graduate Studies office by 5 p.m. on the relevant deadline.

  • Fall 2019 graduation: December 12th (check with Graduate Studies to confirm this deadline)
  • The Graduate Coordinator will file the result of each examination with the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Examination questions and responses are kept according to the CSU records retention policy.

University Policies & Resources

Emergency Procedures

MA Syllabus Addendum Website

NEED HELP?

  • Please contact your advisor ASAP if you have questions or concerns, or just want to chat about course material. You can contact your instructor via email, phone, or during scheduled online and in-person office hours.
  • For technical questions, such as the suitability of your home computer for the course, installing plug-ins, problems with your password, etc., contact the HSU Help Desk at help@humboldt.edu or 707-826-4357.