MA in Anthropology pre-Fall 2015

Admission to the program is dependent, first, on the achievement of a satisfactory level of work in a prior degree (with a minimum 3.25 CGPA) and, second, on the ability, interest, and availability of one faculty member to supervise the proposed topic of research. 

Graduate students will be well prepared through course work and independent thesis research to enter Ph.D. programs, to pursue academic careers, and to take professionals positions in public, private and non-profit sectors.

Degree Requirements

The minimum requirements for completion of the degree program are: completion of required and elective course work as specified below; completion and public presentation of an MA thesis prospectus; and a thesis that will normally consist of 75-100 pages, inclusive of bibliographies, appendices and tables. At the discretion of the supervisory committee, the maximum number of pages may be increased, normally only to facilitate the inclusion of large appendices and tables. The student’s supervisory committee and a qualified External Examiner will examine the thesis, and a public oral defense will be held. Thesis Approval pages (with original signatures) are physically submitted to the library, and the theses are submitted electronically to the library for more details please visit: http://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/writing/thesis/submission/online-registration or contact the Graduate Program Assistant at gradsecsa@sfu.ca for more details.

Time Limits and Timelines for MA Degree Completion

The MA program is structured to facilitate degree completion within six semesters (2 years). For exceptions or appeals to this timeline, the student should consult the Graduate Program Chair and the Dean of Graduate Studies’ Graduate General Regulations, see section 1.12.2  https://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current.html.

Our goal in requiring this timeline is to facilitate timely completion of the degree. Timely completion requires a realistic combination of commitment, capacity, and responsibility on the part of both the students and the supervising faculty. Supervisory committees and students should meet at least twice during each semester (once at the beginning and once at the end) to monitor their programs and to encourage course completion and development. These meetings may take place by conference call, Skype, or e-mail, as long as the goal of close collaboration and communication is achieved to the satisfaction of supervising faculty and students.

The Graduate Program Committee strongly suggests that students and their supervisory committees discuss mutual expectations regarding deadlines and respective responsibilities, frankly and concretely, at the earliest possible opportunity. The Graduate Program Committee (GPC) requires that these agreements be set out in writing and signed by all parties. Please complete a Graduate Plan of Study (Appendix ‘B’) and refer to Section 4 for more detailed information.

Students are also urged to attend the defenses of their peers; these opportunities provide immeasurable value in terms of academic and intellectual development.

MA Anthropology Courses

Students must complete a minimum of 10 (8 required and 2 elective) courses including:

  • 6 one-semester graded courses (4 required, 2 elective)
  • 2 one-semester professional development graduate seminars (graded as Pass or Fail)
  • and an MA Thesis, (graded as In Progress or Complete)

Required courses (8 in total):

SA 840-1 (Graduate Seminar 1, Semester 1), Sat/Unsat (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory)

SA 841-1 (Graduate Seminar 2, Semester 2), Sat/Unsat (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory)

SA 856-5 (Qualitative Methodology), graded

SA 857-5 (Research Design Seminar), graded

SA 870-5 (Contemporary Theory in Anthropology), graded

SA 874-5 (Historical Perspectives on Anthropological Theory), graded

SA 898-6 (MA Thesis), IP/CO (In Progress or Complete)

Elective courses (2 in total):

The additional 2 graded elective courses may be chosen from the following courses, subject to availability, and by permission of the instructor, or may be chosen from graduate courses in other departments, including those offered at other BC universities, as per the Western Deans’ Agreement, subject to approval by the supervisory committee and the Graduate Program Committee. See Appendix ‘F’ for the Western Deans’ Agreement process (retrieved at: http://wcdgs.ca/western-deans-agreement.html) and Appendix ‘G’ for the Western Deans Agreement form (retrieved at: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/forms.html). Please note the WDA paperwork must be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies Office at least 6 weeks before the course begins.

SA 871-5 (Readings in Anthropology I), graded

SA 872-5 (Readings in Anthropology II), graded

SA 875-5 (Ethnographic Methodology: Social/Cultural Anthropology), graded

SA 886-5 (Selected Problems in Social Analysis), graded

SA 887-5 (Selected Topics in Sociology/Anthropology), graded

All coursework, except SA 898 (MA Thesis), is normally completed within the first three semesters of enrolment in the MA program and must be completed no later than the end of the fourth semester of enrolment in the MA program.

NB:     All graded courses, with the exception of SA 857, are to be completed in the semester in which they are started. 

 Course work deferrals should be seen as exceptional, and requests should be made only with accompanying medical certificates or with obvious grounds for consideration.

MA Thesis Prospectus

A thesis prospectus should present an intellectually and/or empirically manageable thesis topic, and situate such a topic within the relevant literature. The thesis prospectus will consist of a written statement (minimum 10-15 pages double-spaced [i.e., 2500-4,000 words] exclusive of abstract, notes, appendices, and bibliography).

 The thesis prospectus will be developed during the required SA 857 (Research Design Seminar). Topics of the prospectus are to include, but are not limited to, formulation of research questions; literature reviews; development and articulation of theoretical and methodological frameworks; institutional and field site ethical review processes, protocols and practices; issues in the negotiation of collaborative and participatory research relationships; time management; analysis and interpretation of research data, findings and/or experiences; effective written and oral communication.

 The thesis prospectus must contain:

  1. a precise definition of the topic and original research question(s);
  2. a demonstration of a certain critical awareness of pertinent literature;
  3. argumentation concerning the perceived significance of the topic in relation to existing knowledge and/or theory in the area;
  4. a statement and defense of the research methods and general methodology to be employed.

 The thesis prospectus will be publicly presented upon completion of the required SA 857 (Research Design Seminar) course and subsequent approval of the supervisory committee, normally no later than the end of the first month of the fourth semester in the program.

 The thesis prospectus will be prepared in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee, and must meet the approval of this committee and the course instructor of SA 857 (Research Design Seminar).Both requirements must be successfully completed in order to receive a passing grade for SA 857 (Research Design Seminar) and before proceeding to SA 898 (MA Thesis).

Thesis Research

Upon completion of SA857 and remaining coursework, MA students will be enrolled in SA 898 (MA Thesis).

 Students in SA 898 (MA Thesis) must submit a signed Research Plan (see Appendix ‘E-2’) agreed upon by the senior supervisor, the committee members and the student. This Research Plan must be submitted to the graduate program assistant within two weeks of successfully presenting the thesis prospectus. This Research Plan must include dated milestones, planned meeting dates and times, and contact information for the student and committee members. It is the responsibility of students and the committee members to notify each other of any changes.

 Submission of a complete Research Plan and a satisfactory evaluation by the senior supervisor will be the basis for determining the ongoing progress in this course (SA 898 – MA Thesis).

Thesis

The thesis will normally consist of no more than 75-100 pages, inclusive of bibliographies, appendices and tables. At the discretion of the supervisory committee, the maximum number of pages may be increased, normally only to facilitate the inclusion of large appendices and tables. The student’s supervisory committee and a qualified External Examiner will examine the thesis, and a public oral defense will be held. Thesis Approval pages (with original signatures) are physically submitted to the library, and the theses are submitted electronically to the library for more details please visit: http://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/writing/thesis/submission/online-registration or contact the Graduate Program Assistant at gradsecsa@sfu.ca for more details.

 When the first draft of the thesis is nearing completion, the student should consult with the supervisory committee about scheduling an oral defense. The senior supervisor and Committee members must submit a signed Approval of Examining Committee form (see Appendix ‘L’), with the names of the thesis Examining Committee, including the curriculum vitae of the External Examiner, thesis title and abstract, date, time and place, to reach the Dean of Graduate Studies at least four weeks prior to the examination date.

 The defense will be chaired by the Chair (or delegate) of the Graduate Program Committee, who shall be a non-voting member of the Examining Committee. In addition, the Examining Committee shall consist of the student’s supervisory committee and a member of faculty at SFU or a person otherwise suitably qualified who is not a member of the supervisory committee. It is the responsibility of the senior supervisor, in consultation with the student, to select an external examiner (can be internal to SFU) and confirm the defense date.

 The external examiner shall be free from potential conflict of interest that may arise, for example, from research collaboration with the student or prospective employment of the student.