Two Plans of Study for the Master’s Degree

The student must satisfy the requirements for one of the following two plans of study. Choice of the plan of study must be made by the student in consultation with the MA Committee and the faculty advisor.

Thesis Option

Requirements for this option include: thirty (30) hours of non-thesis coursework, successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, plus a master’s thesis to be completed in conjunction with registration for six (6) hours of ANT599 Thesis Research. This option is counted as Plan 1 in the degree requirements of the Graduate School (see Graduate Catalog). A student electing this plan of study will be required to conceive and execute a research project under the direction of his or her MA committee. A student should present a research project prospectus to the committee for approval no later than the second semester in residence. The student’s advisor will convene the committee as necessary to discuss, refine, and approve this plan. During the second year in residence, the student may enroll in ANT599, Thesis Research. The purpose of this coursework is to provide a structure for supervised contact hours with the student’s faculty advisor. Such coursework, including the decision as to 5 the number of contact hours required, must be pre-arranged in consultation with the faculty advisor. Hours completed in ANT599 must be over and above the 30-hour minimum.

In preparing a thesis, the student consult guidance found on the Graduate School website.

Students who take the thesis option must present and defend their thesis in person at a departmental colloquium based on the results of their research in the final semester in residence. A day for the presentation of colloquia is scheduled in the fall semester and in the spring semester. Summer graduates must present at the spring semester colloquium. There are no exceptions to this requirement. MA students in the thesis plan of study should have the thesis prospectus approved by the thesis committee by the end of the second semester of study. If by September 15 in the third semester of study the student does not have an approved thesis prospectus, the Director of Graduate Studies will inform the student and advisor that the thesis prospectus must be approved by the student’s thesis committee by October 15. If by October 15 the thesis committee has not approved the prospectus, then the student will automatically be placed in the non-thesis plan of study.

With the recommendation of the chair of a student’s MA committee, a student may write a Journal Style Masters Thesis. This is to be a minimum 8,000-word document designed for a specific peer reviewed journal. The student’s committee must accept beforehand the decision for the student to write a Journal Style Masters Thesis, and approve the target journal. If the journal accepts fewer words, the student still needs to write 8,000 words, which includes introductory material, references and appendices. The student can subsequently modify the manuscript to satisfy the journal in question. The Journal Style Masters Thesis also has to follow all of the Graduate School rules and regulations for a thesis of this type.

Non-thesis Option by Examination

Requirements for this option include: thirty-six (36) hours of non-thesis course work and successful completion of written comprehensive examinations. (NOTE: Students planning to go on to a Ph.D. program are urged to take the thesis option.) In general, students in the MA program, in their first year, will register for courses at the 500 level. The exceptions to these are the core seminars for the first year (ANT600, ANT 625, ANT641, ANT670). Courses at the 600 level other than these four core seminars are not appropriate for first-year MA students and require permission of both the student’s advisor and the instructor.

In their second year, other courses at the 600 level may be appropriate for MA students, depending on their plan of study. The appropriate course numbers for MA students for individual investigations and thesis research are ANT598 and ANT599, respectively. Regardless of which option is chosen for the completion of the MA degree, early in the semester in which the student expects to graduate, he or she must submit an application for the degree to the Graduate School. Deadlines for this application can be found at the Graduate School website.

According to the University of Alabama Graduate Catalog, “All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed during the six years (18 fall, spring, and summer 6 semesters) immediately preceding the date on which the degree is to be awarded. There is no provision for an extension of the time limit beyond 6 years for master’s students.”