Preliminary and Comprehensive/Capstone Examinations

This section describes the timing and requirements for exams.

Preliminary Exam

Evolutionary Wing

In spring quarter of the first year, each student takes a written preliminary examination that is based on courses taken during the student’s first year. The exam is comprised of two questions from the student’s primary concentration, one question from the student’s secondary concentration, and one general evolutionary question. The exam is evaluated by the Evolutionary Wing faculty. Outcomes for this exam include: High Pass, Pass, Marginal Pass, and Fail. Marginal Pass generally requires follow-up coursework or submission of a research paper(s). Students may no repeat this exam. Should a student fail the exam, s/he is recommended for disqualification from the graduate program. 

Sociocultural Wing

At the end of spring quarter of their first year, each student takes a written preliminary exam in the form of a paper in which they must grapple with key concepts and themes within the discipline. Each student defines the topic in coordination with the Interim Major Professor and the Graduate Advisor. Two randomly selected faculty evaluate the paper on the basis of pass/potential fail. In potential fail cases, the entire faculty reads and evaluates the exam. All papers will be discussed at a Sociocultural Wing faculty meeting. Students may not repeat the exam. Should a student fail the exam, s/he is recommended for disqualification from the graduate program. 

 

Comprehensive/Capstone Exam

Evolutionary Wing

By spring quarter of the second year (6th quarter), each student will give a formal comprehensive/capstone presentation, and prepare a written report.

Students choose the topic of this presentation in consultation with their adviser(s).

The presentation and accompanying document will first be reviewed by subfield faculty associated with the student’s major emphasis, and evaluated according to subdisciplinary standards and categories of pass, no pass, fail.

All Evolutionary Wing faculty will have the opportunity to observe and evaluate the capstone presentation, and written report, and will discuss the results at a later wing meeting that takes place in June, where a final decision will be made and grade assigned.

Should a student receive a “no pass”, they can reattempt by the end of Fall quarter of their third year of study. Students who fail a second time are recommended for disqualification from the graduate program. 

Sociocultural Wing

At the end of spring quarter of the second year (6th quarter), each student will complete a capstone written report in the form of a proposal on a theoretically and methodologically comprehensive topic, supported by their core course work.

The two-stage exam process (a preliminary written exam and a capstone written report) offers students the coursework and faculty feedback necessary to grasp the theoretical, methodological, and empirical embrace of the subdiscipline of Sociocultural Anthropology

Students develop their capstone proposal in conjunction with their Major Professor and two other faculty members. These three faculty members and the Graduate Advisor evaluate the proposal on the basis of pass/fail. Should a student fail, the student can redo this report by the end of Fall quarter of their third year of study. Students who fail a second time are recommended for disqualification from the graduate program.