M.A. General Examination
To continue in the Ph.D. program, you must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the M.A. General Examination taken at the end of your second year of coursework. A bibliography of key works in cultural anthropology can be found by clicking here, and a list of 24 M.A. General Examination questions for you to consider in preparation for the M.A. exam, as well as a set of guiding statements to structure your reading can be found by clicking here. The bibliography, together with material covered in courses during the first two years, will provide the foundation for the M.A. General Examination.
The exam normally will be offered on the first day of the spring semester examination period. When you enter the program, you will be given a comprehensive list of M.A. Exam Questions, from which your specific exam questions will be chosen by the Faculty. You will answer two of three possible questions during the morning of your exam and two of three possible questions during the afternoon. There will be a 90 minute time limit for each question. The questions will be synthetic in nature and broad enough so that you can bring your special knowledge (e.g., in medical anthropology, in a particular world region) to bear in answering the questions.
Your exam will be graded by two members of the Cultural Anthropology faculty in residence at the time that the exam is administered. Each question will be graded "Pass with distinction," "Pass," "Low Pass," or "Fail" by each faculty member. In the case of a difference of opinion, a third faculty member will read the entire exam. The Cultural Anthropology faculty in residence at the time of the exam will gather as a group to assess and assign the overall grade on each student's exam.
Your advancement in the Ph.D. program is contingent on achieving a grade of "Pass" or higher on the exam as a whole. Students who receive a grade of "Low Pass" on their exam will be awarded a Masters of Arts in Anthropology, but will not be admitted into the Ph.D. program. Students who fail the exam will not receive any degree and will not be allowed to continue in the program. Students will not be allowed to retake the examination, either in part or in whole.
Note: Failure to take this exam at the speficied time can result in dismissal from the program. Only serious extenuating circumstances will be considered as a reason for postponement, and these must be presented in the form of a well-documented petition to be approved by a majority of the anthropology faculty. No written exam will be given during the summer.