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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2017-2018

Last Updated 2017-02-24

Anthropology MA

Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:


Academic Performance

The primary responsibility for monitoring academic performance rests with the student. However, the department, college, and the College of Graduate Studies will monitor a student's progress and may dismiss any student if performance standards or academic progress as specified by the Anthropology Department, College of Sciences, or university are not maintained. Satisfactory academic performance in the program includes maintaining at least a 3.0 graduate status GPA in all graduate coursework taken since enrolled in the program.

Classroom and Professional Conduct

Students must be aware that their behavior in the classroom is a reflection upon the Anthropology program, its faculty, as well as incoming students.  Therefore, the Anthropology program holds high standards regarding classroom conduct. These standards apply to any student enrolled into classes within the Anthropology Department or Anthropology graduate students enrolled in courses outside the program. In other words, the following applies to non-degree seeking students, senior undergraduates enrolled into graduate classes, etc.

Classroom behavior, at a minimum, should encompass the following:

  • Professional: positive professional demeanor and presentation in interpersonal relations and professional activities with faculty, peers, and colleagues.

  • Adjustment: positive personal and professional behaviors such as self-confidence, maturity, sensitivity, responsibility, cooperation, etc.

  • Ethics: personal behaviors that reflect adherence to Code of Ethics for Anthropologist (American Anthropology Association, Society of American Archaeologist).

Anthropology MA students may forfeit financial support from the department, college and university as well as current/future field opportunities if found to be violation of the above mentioned standards.  Student can reference the GTA Offer of Appointment in order to review the similar standards.

Non-degree seeking students as well as any other student not in the Anthropology MA program may be administratively dropped from their courses if the above standards are not met. 

Inappropriate Behavior

Examples of Inappropriate Behaviors – although many of these examples may seem obvious to some, it came to our attention that some students need to pay special attention to these examples of unacceptable conduct.

  • As a general rule, professors should be approached and treated with respect. Unless told otherwise, always refer to professors by “Dr.” Even if you have been told that you can address your professor by their first name, when talking to professors around staff or undergraduates, professors should be referred to by “Dr.” Avoid using sarcasm with professors (this is not appropriate professional behavior). Do not expect professors to be your “friends” (this is different than “mentor”). It is not necessarily appropriate to discuss your social/personal life with your professors unless it is impeding your ability to attend class or complete work.  

  • There are times when graduate students coming in and out of the office may hear private conversations occurring over the phone or between other staff members. Graduate students are to respect the privacy of these events and not repeat information they may have overheard to their peers. Intentionally repeating information that was overheard could be a violation of that student’s FERPA rights, which will result in a report being made to the Office of Student Conduct.

  • Talking during another student’s presentation or while the professor is talking is not appropriate behavior. Engaging in this behavior is disrespectful to your fellow students (undergraduate or graduate) and your professor. If you are in a class that has combined undergraduate and graduate students, remember that as a graduate student you are suppose to set the example for the undergraduates because they may look up to you as a role model. 

  • Although it is okay to use your computer to take notes, Internet use during class such as answering emails, chatting or IMing is not acceptable. Text messaging on your cell phone is not appropriate. Choosing to be in a graduate program requires your focus in the classroom and contributing to a positive learning environment; doing other things in class other than what you are supposed to be doing is unacceptable.

  • Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and Reddit are very popular. However, you need to think of what impression you want to make when you have one of these pages. Don’t be naïve and think that your professors or prospective employers never visit these sites.  Be careful of what you have on display for the whole world to read. It is completely inappropriate to have comments about other students or professors on your site.

  • In the Department of Anthropology, all the professors are colleagues and do not like to hear unwarranted negative comments about their colleagues. Key things to remember is that faculty work together and communicate with each other. In the event you have a serious complaint (serious does not mean, for example, that you do not like the way a course is being taught), please bring it to the attention of the Graduate Coordinator or the Chair of the Department.

  • Students must maintain appropriate social conduct at Department functions. Even though these are social occasions, students must refrain from getting intoxicated or displaying obnoxious behavior. If the party is winding down (i.e., most faculty have left), observe this signal and follow suit. If you are one of the last people at the party, be courteous and assist in some of the clean-up. In addition, when asked to RSVP for a dinner, please make sure you RSVP as it is a necessary request to ensure enough food and beverages are available.

  • Students must maintain appropriate social conduct at Professional functions. Remember at all times that you are representing your advisor, the Department, and UCF when you attend professional functions (e.g., conferences). The rule also applies when you are off campus conducting research. When you are at these functions you may make an impression on someone who in the future could be a potential PhD advisor, or a reviewer of a grant or publication. Don’t burn any bridges or lock yourself out of a future opportunity. How do you behave appropriately? Stay sober, dress appropriately, and at all times conduct yourself in an appropriate manner that is befitting a professional. Although we don’t like to think about it, many times “books are judged by their covers.” Students must remember that many times our colleagues are from different countries, and what they think is appropriate behavior may be different than your own ideas. Be culturally aware.

  • When students complete their undergraduate work and enter a professional realm, it requires them to portray and maintain a professional image. Dressing appropriately is essential.

It is really important for all graduate students to remember that any negative conduct can have long term repercussions (and can even result in your dismissal from the program). If you are planning to go on for a PhD program or into the work force, remember that you will need letters of recommendation from numerous faculty in the Department. Fostering positive relationships with faculty and doing well in your program will contribute to not only successfully completing your program but also further advancing your career.


Degree-seeking students in the Anthropology MA program may elect to follow either a thesis or a nonthesis program of study.

The thesis option is designed for students who plan to enter doctoral programs, while the nonthesis option is more appropriate for students entering or continuing professional careers following the MA degree. Both options require 30 hours of course work, of which half must be at the 6000 level.

The MA degree is conferred when students have fulfilled the requirements of either the thesis or nonthesis option. No graduate credit will be given for any grade lower than a B- (2.75), but the grade will be counted toward the GPA. Courses may be retaken to achieve a better grade; however, the unsatisfactory grade will remain on the transcript since there is no grade forgiveness at the graduate level. In order to stay in good academic standing, students must maintain a minimum Graduate Status GPA of 3.0 in all coursework taken since entering graduate status and a 3.0 in their program of study.

Upon acceptance into the program students will be assigned a faculty adviser. Together the students and their advisers will determine the student’s preliminary program of study, either in the thesis or nonthesis option. Students should maintain close contact with their faculty adviser in order to develop a viable program of study and avoid graduation delays.

Research studies are required in the required courses, and at the conclusion of all course work, an assessment of students independent research projects and papers is completed. The research study will focus on reviewing and analyzing contemporary research in a particular specialization within anthropology in order to help students acquire knowledge and skills pertaining to research-based best practices in that specialization area.

Required Courses—12 Credit Hours

These courses provide an in-depth understanding of the epistemological foundations of the discipline. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of anthropology at a level of synthesis that will prepare them for future doctoral study should they wish to pursue it. These courses also establish the foundations of understanding that will prepare students for nonacademic careers that employ anthropological perspectives and knowledge.

  • ANG 6110 Archaeological Theory and Method (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6587 Seminar in Biological Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6930 Seminar in Cultural Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6002 Proseminar in Anthropology (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—12 Credit Hours

A minimum of 12 additional credit hours must be selected from the list below in conjunction with the faculty advisor and/or the advisory committee members and approved by the program graduate coordinator. With prior approval, the student may take one elective (3 credit hours) in another department. Additional electives may be selected as they become available.

Under special circumstances, students may enroll in a graduate-level Directed Independent Study course or a Directed Independent Research course to fulfill their non-required elective course requirements. These courses, like most graduate seminars, require written research reports. Enrollment in these courses requires written approval from the student’s adviser. No more than 6 hours of graduate-level courses in Directed Independent Study or Directed Independent Research may be included in a student’s program of study.

  • ANG 5166 Problems in Maya Studies (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5167 Maya Hieroglyphs (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5228 Maya Iconography (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5486 Quantitative Research in Anthropology
  • ANG 5742 Problems in Forensic Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5525C Human Osteology (4 credit hours)
  • ANG 6520C Advanced Human Osteology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6740C Advanced Forensic Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5822 Field Research in Maya Studies (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5272 Culture, Power, and Development (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5307 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5301 Anthropology of Tourism (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5531 Nutritional Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5620 Language and Culture (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 5738 Advanced Medical Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6168 The Ancient Maya (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6821 Forensic Archaeology Field Methods (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6181C GIS Applications in Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6324 Contemporary Maya (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6701 Seminar in Applied Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ANG 6801 Ethnographic Research Methods (3 credit hours)

Thesis Option—6 Credit Hours

The thesis and oral defense are the culmination of the course work for those students who have elected the thesis option. Students electing to write a thesis must select a Thesis Advisory Committee. The student’s faculty adviser will chair the Thesis Advisory Committee. The committee will consist of three members. All members must be approved graduate faculty as cited in the most current UCF Graduate Catalog. Qualified individuals from outside the Department and also the University of Central Florida may be eligible to serve as the third member of Thesis Advisory Committees. The committee needs to be established prior to enrolling in thesis hours.

Students may enroll in thesis hours after they have successfully completed the four required courses. When a topic has been selected, students, in conjunction with their faculty adviser, will develop a thesis proposal. Copies of the proposal will be routed to members of their thesis committee and a proposal hearing scheduled. All students must pass a proposal hearing as well as a final oral defense of their thesis. Students who elect to write a thesis should become familiar with the university’s requirements and deadlines for organizing and submitting the thesis. The thesis option is highly recommended for students interested in graduate work beyond the Master of Arts degree.

The completion of the thesis must be followed by an oral defense before the Thesis Advisory Committee. A successful format review, oral defense, and electronic submission of the thesis to the College of Graduate Studies for review completes the program requirements. Students are required to follow all procedures and timetables specified by the College of Graduate Studies.

  • ANG 6971 Thesis (6 credit hours)
  • Successful Oral Defense of Thesis

Nonthesis Option—6 Credit Hours

Students selecting the nonthesis option take an additional 6 hours of elective course work for a total of 18 credit hours of electives.

  • Electives (6 credit hours)

Comprehensive Examination

At the conclusion of course work, nonthesis students will be given a comprehensive examination. In consultation with the faculty adviser, two additional faculty members shall be selected to serve on the Examination Committee that will be chaired by the faculty adviser. This committee must be selected by the semester prior to the semester in which the student will take the exam. The comprehensive examination will consist of two phases.  The first phase requires the student to write three (3) papers to answer a question from each member of their Examination Committee.  Each paper will be 7-10 pages in length and will be due one week (7 days) from the date the student is provided the questions.  The second phase will be a 90 minute comprehensive oral examination with two formal rounds of questions from the Examination Committee.  A successful comprehensive examination completes the requirements for the degree. Students are required to follow all procedures and timetables specified by the College of Graduate Studies. The examination will be based on the course work in the student’s program of study. Students must notify the department’s graduate program director in writing of their intent to take the exam at least one week before the date fixed for the examination. A committee composed of three faculty members will conduct the examination. The grading system for the examination is as follows: 1) Pass with Distinction, 2) Pass, 3) Conditional Pass, and 4) Fail. Students who receive a grade of Conditional Pass will be required to complete additional work as determined by the grading committee. Students who fail must retake the exam. Failure to pass the examination on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program. Students who indicate their intent to take the examination but do not take the exam will be awarded a failing grade.

Timeline for Completion

Plan of Study

The plan of study is a listing of course work agreed to by the student and the Anthropology program which specifies course degree requirements. Students are responsible for completing the Plan of Study form in consultation with their Academic Advisor and submitting it to the Graduate Coordinator for approval after completing nine graduate credit hours. Failure to submit a plan of study in a timely manner will result in a hold being placed on your records which will prevent you from registering for any further classes until your plan of study is submitted and approved. Failure to submit your plan of study may also lead to suspension and revocation of current and future funding (e.g., graduate teaching assistantships).

After the student has met with his/her advisor and submitted the completed form to the department, the Graduate Coordinator reviews the plan of study for department approval. Provided the Graduate Coordinator approves, the plan of study form is forwarded to the College of Sciences Graduate Services Office and the College of Graduate Studies for final approval.

Once approved, students must adhere to their plan of study. Any deviation from the plan of study form will reinitiate the process of approval. Poor performance is not a valid reason for altering an approved plan of study. In the rare case that a change may be warranted, students must file a written petition stating the rationale for the change to the Graduate Coordinator.

Incomplete Grades

The department requires that students resolve their Incomplete (I) grades in the semester following the one in which they received the “I” grade.  Students with excessive “I” grades not resolved within one semester will also have a departmental hold placed on their account and will not be allowed to register for further classes. Any registrations existing at the time of this hold may be administratively dropped by the department. A student will be able to register for additional classes once the “I” grades are resolved. See the Financial Support section for details on “I” grades related to departmental financial assistance.   


Students are responsible for being aware of registration deadlines noted on the Academic Calendar. While the department intends to have open enrollment into their graduate courses, if a student is unable to register for a course for any reason, it is that student’s responsibility to notify either the Office Coordinator or Graduate Coordinator of the issue for assistance. A failure to notify the department of registration difficulties more than a full 24 hours before the registration window closes will not constitute an error on the department, but of the student. This also includes the failure to clear “holds” in enough time to register. Additionally, a failure to enroll by posted deadlines will result in additional fees.

The Academic Advisor

Upon admission to the program, and in consultation with the Anthropology Graduate Committee, the student will be assigned an Academic Advisor who will assist in developing the student’s plan of study (this advisor will be identified in your letter of admission), and who will direct the student’s progress. The student’s Academic Adviser will normally chair the Thesis Advisory Committee or the Oral Examination Committee depending or whether the student chooses the thesis or nonthesis option. The student’s advisor will guide the student on issues related to research, professional guidance, socialization, and other areas of academic and professional interest. Once formed, the additional two members of the committee will assist the committee chair in these matters. It is important for students to understand that both the Thesis Advisory Committee and the Oral Examination committee are also referred to as the MA Advisory Committee.

The Graduate Coordinator, Office Coordinator, and Academic Advisor are important resources for students and will provide guidance on overall academic and program requirements, as well as University policies and procedures. However, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to keep informed of all department, college, and university policies and procedures required for graduate studies. Graduate program policies and procedures will not be waived or exceptions granted because students plead ignorance or claim their advisor neglected to keep them informed. Students are encouraged to reference the General Policies section of the UCF Graduate Catalog frequently and to seek out advisement when in doubt.

MA Advisory Committee

The MA Advisory Committee will consist of at least three members, including the student’s academic advisor. For students pursuing the thesis option this committee will serve to assist and guide the student through their research and thesis defense, and will also be known as the Thesis Advisory Committee. For students pursuing the non-thesis option, this committee will guide the student through the oral defense process and will also be known as the Oral Examination Committee. Students are required to form their committee by the end of their first academic year, typically end of spring semester (note: students cannot enroll in thesis hours until their committee has been formed and accepted by the College of Graduate Studies). If the committee has not been formed by the end of the student’s first academic year, the student may have a “hold” placed on their enrollment capabilities until the committee is formed. Once formed, students are required to have their committees approved by the Graduate Coordinator. Only faculty approved by the department and the College of Graduate Studies are eligible to serve on graduate committees. These individuals are referred to as Graduate Faculty and a full list is published annually in the Graduate Catalog. While students can elect to have one outside member on their committee, from either another department or outside the university in general, the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the Anthropology Graduate Committee must approve the request. To request an outside committee member, students should submit that individual’s full Curriculum Vita to the Graduate Coordinator immediately upon notice.

To have their committee reviewed, a Thesis Committee Approval form must be completed by the student to indicate the formation of the committee. Provided that the Graduate Coordinator and College of Sciences approve the committee, the department will notify the student of when to begin enrolling in thesis. If the committee is not approved, the Graduate Coordinator will notify the student of why the committee was not approved and the student will be required to form a new committee.

To form a committee and find committee members, the student must contact potential graduate faculty to determine if they are willing to serve. The Committee should include faculty who can contribute, advice, and give direction, especially to the student's research. To determine suitability, the Anthropology Graduate Committee will review Curriculum Vitae of potential off-campus committee members.

Graduation Checklist

When an Intent to Graduate (ITG) is filed through myucf, several academic requirements are confirmed, including the following:

  • Graduation Check Appointment with Graduate Coordinator- This can be scheduled by phone (407-823-2227) or email (

  • Enrollment in semester of graduation or student receiving a “waiver of enrollment” from Thesis/Dissertation Editor for completed document upload

  • Transfer course limits, which includes courses taken at UCF or other universities prior to program admission

  • Total hours required in plan of study have been met

  • Courses used in plan of study are not more than seven years old 

  • Half of required plan of study credit hours are taken at 6000-level or higher

  • Limits on independent study credit hours used toward plan of study are not exceeding six credit hours

  • Graduate Status GPA (at top of degree audit) is at least 3.000

  • Plan of Study GPA is at least 3.000

After the graduation check is completed, the department will communicate the approval to the COS Graduate Services Office for final processing. 

Thesis students must additionally meet the following:

  • Format Review deadline to Thesis Editor

  • Submit Defense Announcement to program office two weeks in advance

  • Defense Deadline

  • Final Submission Deadline

Course Schedule

The following are suggested timelines towards completion of the MA in Anthropology degree.

2-Year Schedule of Course Requirements for Thesis Option

Year 1

  • ANG 6110 Archaeological Theory and Method (3)
  • ANG 6002 Pro-Seminar in Anthropology (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • ANG 6587 Seminar in Biological Anthropology (3)
  • ANG 6930 Seminar in Cultural Anthropology (3)
  • Elective (3)

Optional Semester

Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 9 credit hours 

Year 2

  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Thesis (3)
  • Thesis (3)
  • Thesis Defense


Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 3 credit hours 

Total Hours: 30

Note: All electives should be selected with the assistance/advice of the student’s academic advisor to ensure that course scheduling will not interfere with the student’s timeline towards graduation.

2-Year Schedule of Course Requirements for Non-Thesis Option

Year 1

  • ANG 6110 Archaeological Theory and Method (3)
  • ANG 6002 Pro-Seminar in Anthropology (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • ANG 6587 Seminar in Biological Anthropology (3)
  • ANG 6930 Seminar in Cultural Anthropology (3)
  •  Elective1 (3)

Optional Semester

Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 9 credit hours 

Year 2

  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3)
  • Final Oral Examination


Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 3 credit hours 

Total Hours: 30

Note: All electives should be selected with the assistance/advice of the student’s academic advisor to ensure that course scheduling will not interfere with the student’s timeline towards graduation.

Examination Requirements

Completing and Graduating—Non-thesis Option

In consultation with the Academic Advisor, two additional faculty members shall be selected to serve on the Examination Committee, otherwise known as the MA Advisory Committee. To learn more about the formation of this committee, please review the MA Advisory Committee portion in the Timetable for Completion of Degree Program section.

The comprehensive examination will consist of two phases. The first phase requires the student to write three (3) papers to answer a question from each member of their Advisory Committee. Each paper will be 7-10 pages in length and will be due one week (7 days) from the date the student is provided their questions. The second phase will be a 90 minute comprehensive oral examination with two formal rounds of questions from the Advisory Committee.

The department will use the semester schedule for Thesis submittals, as published by the College Graduate Studies, to determine deadlines related to the comprehensive examination. Students must complete the written portion of the examination by the Format Review Deadline as noted in the Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) schedule. The oral examination will be completed by the Last Day for Thesis Defense. A student may need to meet additional requirements if the committee determines the student did not adequately answer either the written or oral exam questions.

Students are given two opportunities to successfully complete both phases of the comprehensive examination. If a student does not pass the examination, they will be required to enroll for the upcoming semester and will be given the second opportunity to pass the exam. Students will be dismissed from the program if they fail to pass the comprehensive examination on their second attempt. A successful comprehensive examination completes the requirements for the degree. Students are expected to follow all procedures and complete all their requirements in the semester of graduation.

The members of the examination committee must sign all forms that will be made available by the student at the time of the oral exam when passed. 

Department of Anthropology Guidelines for Completing the Non-thesis Option

The Non-thesis option of the MA in Anthropology is designed for students who do not want to include a research component in their degree (recommended for students that do not plan to pursue a PhD, or for those that are pursuing the degree for job enhancement, etc). The Non-thesis option is more course intensive, and culminates with an oral examination that is structured to test the student’s knowledge of Anthropology, and the specialized knowledge within their chosen focus. Students that focus their studies on archaeology and want to become a Registered Professional Archaeologist cannot pursue the non-thesis option. This registration requires an advanced degree that culminates in either a thesis or dissertation. 

Policy and Procedures for Completing the Non-thesis Option

Regardless of your interests or the focus you have chosen for your MA in Anthropology, all students who have opted for the non-thesis route must complete the following requirements:

1.  Courses – The non-thesis option is course intensive, and students must complete 30 hours of course work. Students must complete the core, required, and elective courses – seek advice from your advisor or the graduate coordinator regarding the choice of courses for your degree path. 

2.  Plan of Study (POS) Form _ Upon completing 9 credit hours in the program (if you are full-time this will occur during your 2nd semester), you must complete the Plan of Study Form with your advisor. This form helps you to plan out the remaining courses for your degree, and is considered to be a contractual obligation that can only be changed with the consent of your advisor or the graduate coordinator.  This form is required by the Department of Anthropology, the College of Sciences, and the University of Central Florida’s College of Graduate Studies.  This form can be obtained from the Coordinator in the Department of Anthropology and must be returned back to her after completion for filing in the Department and College of Sciences.

3.  Examination Committee – By the end of your 3rd full time semester, you, together with your advisor, must select an examination committee.  Your examination committee must consist of three members – your advisor and two other faculty members.  All three of the committee members can come qualified faculty from the Department of Anthropology at UCF (your committee members should represent those faculty with whom you have taken most of your program courses). However, if you select a committee member from outside the university, they must meet certain criteria to be considered a graduate faculty (i.e., they must hold a Ph.D. in a relevant field).  Once the committee is selected, an Examination Committee Form must be completed and signed by all members of the committee and the student. If a committee member is selected from outside UCF, a copy of their C.V. must accompany the form.

4.  Apply for Graduation – At the beginning of the semester that you expect to graduate, complete the Intent to Graduate form online through your myUCF account. This form must be completed by the end of the regular registration period if you wish to graduate that semester. When you complete the form you will need to notify the department. At this time, the Coordinator will conduct the Department of Anthropology Check for graduation. Provided that the student is approved to graduate the term of filing, they will receive communication from the College of Sciences directing you to a final semester website to complete a brief questionnaire about your graduate experience.

5.  Oral Examination – This program is designed to take 2 years to complete, and as such your oral examination should occur at the end of your 4th semester in the program (not including summers). 

Checklist for Non-Thesis Option Students

  • Complete core requirement course
  • Complete elective courses
  • Complete Plan of Study (POS) form with advisor (after completion of 9 credit hours).  Submit to the Department Administrative Coordinator.
  • Select Examination Committee and fill in form
  • Submit an “Intent to Graduate” form prior to the close of regular registrations
  • Complete Department Graduation Check with Graduate Coordinator
  • Complete “Exit Questionnaire” on COS Graduate Services website
  • Set Examination time at end of last semester in program
  • Submit Examination signature form to Administrative Coordinator

Thesis Requirements

University Thesis Requirements

A thesis is optional for this program; the following information is intended for those choosing to complete a thesis.

The College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page contains information on the university’s requirements for thesis formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-step completion guide is also available at Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation.

All university deadlines are listed in the Academic Calendar. Your program or college may have other earlier deadlines; please check with your program and college staff for additional deadlines.

The following requirements must be met by thesis students in their final term:

  • Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadline
  • Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defense
  • Defend by the defense deadline
  • Receive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)
  • Submit signed approval form by final submission deadline
  • Submit final thesis document by final submission deadline

Students must format their thesis according to the standards outlined at Formatting the ETD. Formatting questions or issues can be submitted to the Format Help page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. Format reviews and final submission must be completed in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. The Thesis Approval Form is also available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site.

The College of Graduate Studies offers several thesis and dissertation workshops through the Pathways to Success program. Students are highly encouraged to attend these workshops early in the thesis process to fully understand the above policies and procedures.

The College of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation office is best reached by email at

Completing and Graduating-Thesis Option

It is vital for students to understand the department, college, and university procedures necessary to successfully complete and graduate when pursuing a thesis option. A failure to complete any step or meet any posted deadlines will result in a delay of graduation and degree certification.

In consultation with the Academic Advisor, two additional faculty members shall be selected to serve on the Thesis Advisory Committee, otherwise known as the MA Advisory Committee. To learn more about the formation of this committee, please review the MA Advisory Committee portion in the Timetable for Completion of Degree Program section.

Once students have completed all their required coursework, and have successfully proposed their Thesis, three hours of thesis will constitute full-time status. Also, the university recognizes that thesis research is on-going and does not follow the typically time constraints of an actual live class, therefore, once students begin enrolling into thesis hours, they are not permitted to skip thesis hour enrollment of any semester—including summer (see Continuous Enrollment Policy).

When planning on graduating, it is important for the student to, first, discuss with their Thesis Advisory Committee the plans to complete. If the committee is confident that the student can complete by the anticipated date, an Intent to Graduate must be filed through the student’s MyUCF account by the posted university deadline found on the academic calendar. Due to several of our faculty being off-contract and out of the country conducting field research, the department does not usually permit summer graduations. In rare cases with evidence of extenuating and exceptional circumstances, a summer graduation request may be considered.

Timely filing ensures the availability of the Advisor and Graduate Coordinator for required signatures, as well as allows the program staff to ensure the student’s records are in order. While the department staff reviews the graduate records regularly, students are encouraged to monitor their own progress by referencing their degree audit. Before filing an Intent to Graduate, the student must ensure that all requirements are showing as completed on their degree audit (see MyUCF Navigations), other than defense of thesis. An Intent to Graduate with any requirements, other than thesis defense, showing as incomplete will be denied by the Graduate Coordinator. Provided that the Graduate Coordinator approves the student’s Intent to Graduate, it will be reviewed by the college and university for final approval.

After the college and university have approved the student’s Intent to Graduate, the Editor of the College of Graduate Studies will begin sending regular correspondence of thesis format workshops and upcoming deadlines. It is very important  students pay attention to all correspondences sent by this office. A failure to read emails will not be grounds for an exception to any procedure or deadline.

There are several steps after filing an Intent to Graduate that, if missed, will prevent graduation. The following list is meant to provide a quick reference for students, however, should not be understood as inclusive. Students are encouraged to reference the College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation website, where the current Thesis/Dissertation manual can be downloaded.

  • Contact the thesis committee chair and ask for deadlines on submitting your draft to the committee. Each faculty member may vary on the amount of time needed to properly review and respond to student thesis. Students may want to plan on giving each committee member a month to review their thesis and respond with feedback.

  • Schedule a thesis defense date with your Academic Advisor and notify the department by completing the Notification of Thesis Defense (see Thesis/Dissertation Manual)—ensure the defense date is before the university deadline to complete.*

  • Submit a draft of the thesis to the College of Graduate Studies Editor for a format review.**

  • Complete a Thesis and Dissertation Release Option eForm in their myUCF Student Center to declare your thesis title, defense date, whether patent disclosures apply or not, and release option choices.  Students should meet with their thesis committee chair prior to submitting the form.  The Release Option form should be submitted at the time the student submits their thesis to the College of Graduate Studies Editor for format review.**

  • Submit a Thesis Defense Announcement (see Thesis/Dissertation Manual) no later than two weeks from actual defense date to the Department Administrative Coordinator for release.

  • Defend before or on the university deadline to graduate and have the Thesis Advisory Committee complete the Thesis Approval Form. The form can only be accessed through the Thesis and Dissertation Services Website by the graduate student.  Students are responsible for obtaining all signatures including all committee members, the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Anthropology, the Chair of the Department of Anthropology and the Dean of the College of Sciences.***

  • Upload the final thesis by the College of Graduate Studies Editor’s posted deadline.**

  • Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Approval Form to the College of Graduate Studies.**

*It is understood that on the rare occasion, committee members are unable to meet before the university wide defense deadline. If this situation arises, students are responsible for notifying the department Graduate Coordinator to request an extension from the College of Graduate Studies. Only those students granted extensions will be allowed to defend after the posted university deadline.

**Deadlines with this notation are particularly important. A failure to meet these deadlines will cause the student to be immediately removed from the graduation list.

***All theses must be submitted through to ensure originality of material. Any material that is deemed plagiarized will result in serious academic consequences for the student.

Department of Anthropology Guidelines for Writing the Thesis

The goal of the graduate-level thesis is to demonstrate a student's ability to work independently and to think critically. Thoroughness, accuracy and a working knowledge of the research methodology to be employed are indispensable. A thesis provides the student with an opportunity to collect data, conduct analysis, and construct theory. All research for theses must be original work for the project and draw from graduate study.  Graduate students researching and writing a thesis are expected to grow in the spirit of research under the guidance of graduate faculty in Anthropology. Through this process, the student will become fully capable of scholarly research, defense and peer review.

Policy and Procedures for Completing the Thesis Option

Regardless of the sub-discipline you have chosen for your MA in Anthropology, all students who have opted for the thesis route must complete the following requirements:

  1. Courses - Complete core, required, and elective courses – seek advice from your advisor or the graduate coordinator regarding the choice of courses for your degree path.

  2. Plan of Study (POS) Form - Upon completing 9 credit hours in the program (if you are full-time this will occur during your 2nd semester), you must complete the Plan of Study Form with your advisor.  This form helps you to plan out the remaining courses for your degree, and is considered to be a contractual obligation that can only be changed with the consent of your advisor or the graduate coordinator.  This form is required by the Department of Anthropology, the College of Sciences, and the University of Central Florida’s College of Graduate Studies.  This form can be obtained from the Coordinator in the Department of Anthropology and must be returned back to her after completion for filing in the Department and College of Sciences.

  3.  Selecting a Thesis Topic - During your 2nd semester you should be meeting with your advisor to decide on a thesis topic (if you already have one before this, all the better!).  At this point it is also advised to choose a thesis format – the traditional or the “journal article” thesis format.

  4. Thesis Committee – By the end of your 2nd semester, you, together with your advisor, must select a thesis committee.  Your thesis committee must consist of three members – your advisor and two other faculty members.  One of the other faculty members must be from the department, while the other is an external member (this is someone from outside the Department and they can be from another UCF department or from another institute).  If you select a third committee member from outside the university, they must meet certain criteria to be considered a graduate faculty (i.e., they must hold a Ph.D. in a relevant field).  Once the committee is selected, a formal Thesis Committee Form must be completed and signed by all members of the committee and the student.  If a committee member is selected from outside UCF, a copy of their C.V. must accompany the form, so that the Associate Dean for the College of Sciences can approve of their participation.  This form must be received and approved by the College of Science before you can register in thesis hours (ANG6971 Thesis).  

  5. Thesis Proposal – After a topic has been chosen and your thesis committee is formed, the next step is to start your thesis proposal.  The Department of Anthropology has a set of guidelines (below) that outlines what your proposal should look like. Your proposal must be submitted to all your committee members at least two weeks (i.e. 14 days) before a formal committee meeting is scheduled to discuss your proposal.  All committee members must sign off on your proposal before you can proceed with the thesis.  A copy of this document must go to the department to be included in your student file.  If necessary, a copy of this proposal should be used to seek IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval if your thesis will include collecting any data that utilizes human subjects.

  6.  Data Collection, Analysis, and Thesis Writing – This part of your program should begin by or in your 3rd semester.  Keep in regular contact with your committee to advise them of your progress.  Keep, barring unforeseen circumstances, to the timeline that you established in your proposal.

  7.  Review for Original Work - To ensure originality of material, all theses are submitted to before formal submission takes place.  Students should check with their advisors on when their thesis is due to each committee member for review and feedback.  Once the thesis is final, with all committee members agreeing to revisions, the chair of the thesis committee will submit the thesis to

  8.  Apply for Graduation – At the beginning of the semester that you expect to graduate,complete the Intent to Graduate form online through your MyUCF account.  This form should be completed by the last day of classes in the term preceding the graduation semester. When you complete the form you will need to notify the department so the Coordinator can conduct the Department of Anthropology check for graduation.  An example of the Department Graduation Checklist can been seen in Appendix C. Provided that the student is approved to graduate the term of filing, you will receive communication from the College of Sciences directing you to a final semester website to complete a brief questionnaire about your graduate experience. 

  9. Thesis Defense – The suggested time of completion for this program is 2 years (although we recognize this may be longer if you are conducting field research), and as such your thesis defense should occur at the end of your 4th semester in the program (not including summers).  When your committee is satisfied that your thesis is in optimum form (you should plan on having a draft to your advisor at the beginning of the semester that you are planning to graduate), you will be required to set a thesis defense date.  Please note that Graduate Studies has very strict deadlines by which your defense must occur in order for you to graduate that semester.  If you plan to graduate in your 4th semester, you must consult these dates in order to plan accordingly for your defense.  These dates are published in the university’s academic calendar.  All the members of your committee should be available for your defense, however, in the case that one member is not available, there must be a majority of your committee present for the defense to occur (see the Virtual Thesis Defense Policy below) .  The thesis defense will be scheduled for 90 minutes in the Department conference room.  Thesis defenses are open to the public, and a formal notification will be issued by the graduate coordinator.  The defense will begin with opening remarks by the thesis advisor, followed by a presentation of no longer than 30 minutes to be given by the student.  Members of the audience will be given the chance to ask questions before the thesis examination begins.  There are two formal rounds of questions from your thesis committee.  After the 2nd round of questions, the audience and the defending student will be asked to leave the room so that the committee can deliberate.  The student will then be called back into the room for the decision.  The student will also be advised at this time regarding any revisions that must be completed before the submission of the thesis.  The members of the thesis committee must all sign the thesis approval forms that will be made available by the student at the time of defense before the thesis can be submitted to Graduate Studies.

  10. Final Draft of Thesis – After your thesis defense, you must prepare a final draft (including any revisions suggested by your committee) of your thesis and present it to your advisor for final approval and signatures.  This draft must conform to the Graduate Studies thesis formatting rules, and must be grammatically correct, free of typographical, spelling and other errors.  Students should reference the Thesis/Dissertation Manual for information on document formatting.  The thesis must be submitted electronically by the required date in order to be eligible for graduation that semester.

Virtual Thesis Defense Policy

Thesis defenses, per university policy, are open to the public and announced two-weeks prior to the defense date. The department strongly encourages students and advisors to find a defense date where all members of the Thesis Advisor Committee can be present on campus for the defense.  It is recognized there are situations where all committee members may not be able to be present on campus due to sabbaticals, field research, and members located outside of the Orlando area.  

Students must obtain prior approval from their committee chair, the graduate coordinator, and the department chair for a virtual defense to occur.  Requests for a virtual defense must be submitted in writing, preferably through email, and should be done at the start of the semester of graduation.  A decision will be sent to the student within two weeks of the formal request.  

A virtual defense must satisfy the following:

  • The student must be present at the on-campus location of the public defense.
  • The committee chair or co-chair must be present at the on-campus location of the public defense.
  • One committee member may virtually attend the defense via videoconferencing.

Web conferencing platforms such as Skype for Business are recommended for a virtual defense.  Students should schedule their defense in rooms that provide the equipment necessary for web conferencing.  The department recommends student schedule time to test the conferencing system prior to the defense date.  Defenses must be scheduled during the normal business hours of 8:00am - 5:00pm to ensure the availability of technical support.

Requests to deviate from the above conditions due to extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Any deviation requests that will result in the student not being present at the on-campus location of the public defense will be denied.  All requests must be approved by the committee chair, graduate coordinator, and department chair.

Checklist for Thesis Students

  • Complete core requirement courses
  • Complete elective courses
  • Complete Plan of Study (POS) form with advisor (after completion of 9 credit hours).  Submit to Department Administrative Coordinator
  • Select a thesis topic with advisor
  • Select thesis committee and fill out Thesis Committee Form.  Submit to Department Administrative Coordinator
  • Complete Thesis Proposal and meet with Thesis Committee for approval
  • If necessary, complete paperwork and receive approval from Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Research on Human Subjects
  • Complete thesis research
    • Submit an “Intent to Graduate” form prior to the close of regular registration
    • Complete Department of Anthropology’s Graduation Check with Department Coordinator
  • Complete “Exit Questionnaire” on COS Graduate Services website
  • After committee approval of your thesis, set up thesis defense
  • Successfully defend thesis
  • Submit corrected thesis to and Graduate Studies through electronic submission

Thesis Format

The Department of Anthropology allows for students to choose from two different thesis formats: the traditional thesis format or the “journal article” format.  The decision of which format you will follow should be made in conjunction with your advisor and/or committee.

1) Traditional Thesis Format

The first choice is the traditional thesis format.  Instructions for thesis formatting for submission can be found at Formatting the ETD on the College of Graduate Studies' website. This format usually includes the following thesis sections (this format may vary slightly depending on topic and committee decision):

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Material and Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • References

Literature Citation Style – Reference citation within your paper and in your “References Cited”, should follow an accepted Anthropological journal style.  These will vary according to your sub-discipline.  Examples of accepted journal formats include (please consult your advisor if you want to use a style that is not listed):

  • Latin American Antiquity
  • American Antiquity
Biological Anthropology
  • American Journal of Physical Anthropology
  • International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
  • Journal of Archaeological Science
  • Journal of Forensic Sciences
Cultural Anthropology
  • Current Anthropology

2) Journal Article Format

The second choice is the “journal article” format where two “publishable"[1] papers are put together to form the thesis. The advantage of this format is that students are able to write their thesis in a format that is conducive to publication.  The thesis should include two papers bound on either side by a short introduction and conclusion chapter to tie everything together.  The introduction chapter should introduce the topic area that the papers cover and provide an overview of the questions that the papers will address and why the examination of these questions is important. The introduction should also provide a brief “road map” to the papers that follow.  Each of the papers should also include sections at the beginning of each that provide an indication of the relationship of the paper to the rest of the thesis in its entirety. The concluding chapter should explore the link between the findings of the different papers, relate the findings of the whole thesis to the literature, and explore the implications of the findings. A good way to think of this approach and the resulting product is to envision your thesis as an edited book, where you, as the editor, write the introductory chapter and the concluding chapter; as the only contributor to the edited book, you also write all the main chapters.

Each article should contain the following sections (dependent also on what journal is chosen for potential publication):

Introduction/Background - What is the big picture? Set the stage for your research by including background material on the current status of your general topic. Make sure you state what you are attempting to explore via your thesis research and why. Does it fill a gap in the current body of literature on your topic? How? State the hypotheses that you will be testing in this study. This section should be no more than a couple of pages.

Materials and Methods - Describe how the research was conducted including the following:

Study population: This section will vary depending on the focus of the student.  What is the study design and how were subjects/artifacts selected? Where is the study site? For Anthropology, a map of site location is particularly appropriate.  If necessary, a statement should be included that the institution's review board has approved the study proposal, as well as the manner in which informed consent was obtained from subjects (if applicable).

Data collection: Provide a detailed description of the variables used in your analysis. Descriptions should include, if applicable, measurements; collection method (interview, med record abstraction, etc.); and validation procedure.  Provide a detailed description of any special methodologies or instruments used to collect your data (e.g. special laboratory methods).

Statistical analysis: Describe in detail how you carried out analysis of the data including methods used (logistic regression, principal components analysis), tests of statistical significance (chi square, Student’s T Test, etc), transformation of data, selection of covariates for multi-variable models and any other details that would allow the reader to reproduce your work.

Results - The results should be a combination of tables, figures and text. Present results in a logical sequence. Usually descriptive data are presented first, followed by results of statistical analysis.  Make sure all tables are labeled such that they could stand by themselves.  Do not repeat in the text all data in a table; emphasize or summarize only important observations.  In the text, talk not only about p-values, but interpret the magnitude and direction of any associations as well.

Discussion - The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and compare the results to the established literature. Be objective; point out the features and limitations of the work. Your opening paragraph should describe your key findings, emphasizing new and important aspects. Do not repeat information given elsewhere in the manuscript. Discuss the limitations of your study. Relate your results to current knowledge in the field and to your original purpose in undertaking the project: Have you resolved the problem? What exactly have you contributed? Briefly state the logical implications of your results. Suggest further study or applications if warranted.

Conclusion – Summarize your study and findings.  Note future work (if applicable).

Literature CitationStyle – Each paper should be formatted in the journal format to which you would most likely submit the paper.  If you are not sure what journal would be appropriate for your subject, talk to your advisor and/or committee for advice.  Also look at the articles in your literature review to see where they are published.  Each journal will have an instruction description such as an “Author’s Guide for Submission” with citation guidelines.  Follow these instructions. 

Thesis Format – The formatting of your thesis MUST conform to the standards set by Graduate Studies.  For a guide to formatting, see The university also has an individual on staff that will work with students on the formatting of their thesis (contact the thesis editor by email at:

Questions of Authorship for Published Papers

Joint authorship on publications in Anthropology is very common, particularly in sub-disciplines such as biological anthropology.  While the papers submitted for publication may have joint authors, the papers that are included in the thesis are, together, considered the work of the student and would not have joint authorship assigned (students should, however, reference their co-authors, either in each of the papers or at the beginning of the thesis). The result is an outcome that is often observed even when the standard thesis format is used – the thesis as a whole appears as the work of the student, while papers that may result from the thesis may have joint authors. This is something that you should talk to your advisor about if you have any questions.  Each professor may have a different perspective on how joint publication should work[2] depending on their academic background and experiences, so it is best to have this discussion early so there are no surprises or problems in the future.

Best Practices for Students Concerning the Review for Original Work

As of the Fall 2008 semester, the university requires all students submitting a thesis or dissertation as part of their graduate degree requirements to first submit their electronic document through for advisement purposes and for review of originality. The thesis or dissertation chair is responsible for scheduling this submission to and for reviewing the results with the student's advisory committee (typically during the student's final semester). Please see the Thesis and Dissertation Policies page for comprehensive information about Originality and using Use the following information to guide you through the Review for Original Work review process.

  • Follow the instructions your committee chair provides regarding best practices for scholarly writing and for using and documenting sources properly for your discipline.

  • Familiarize yourself with what “plagiarism” is and how to avoid it in your writing. The University Writing Center offers guidance on Avoiding Plagiarism.

  • Complete your writing early enough in your final semester to submit it to and allow ample time for your committee chair and advisory committee to review the results and provide their comments to you. Your advisory committee must agree that your writing meets university requirements before your committee Thesis Approval Form, which is required as part of your final submission to the university for graduation certification.

  • If your advisory committee requires revisions, complete these revisions in a timely manner and resubmit your document to your committee chair.

Department of Anthropology’s Policy on Plagiarism

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines PLAGIARISM as:

“…to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own; use (another's production) without crediting the source; to commit literary theft; present a new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source”

Simply put, the act of plagiarism is when an individual represents the work of others as one's own. It is unethical and dishonest to quote a source verbatim without placing the words in quotation marks and giving proper citation or without making a quotation clearly identifiable as another person's words. It is also plagiarism to take an idea or concept and reword it as your own without giving credit to the source. This is a serious offense and will not be taken lightly by the Department of Anthropology. If a student is found to be guilty of plagiarism in their thesis, the Department of Anthropology will seek disciplinary action against the student, following UCF’s Golden Rule.

Department of Anthropology Guidelines for Writing a Thesis Proposal

If you have chosen to take the thesis route for your degree, before beginning the thesis process, you must complete a thesis proposal that must first be approved by your thesis Chair and then accepted by your thesis committee.  The proposal will become part of your student file. 

The aim of the thesis proposal is to convince your committee that:

  • There is a need for the research; it is significant and important.

  • You are contributing something original to the field (ask yourself, “What is my work contributing to the field of Anthropology and other related or integrated disciplines and sub-disciplines?”).

  • The topic you have chosen is feasible in terms of availability of the timing of activities, access to research site, participants or data, funding, equipment, supervisors, and other resources (as applicable to your specific research goals).

  • The research can be completed in the expected time period (the length of this program is designed to be two years).

  • Ethical issues have been considered and, if necessary, approval has been given for the research by the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB[3]).

  • The topic matches your interests and capabilities.

Remember that at the proposal stage you are not expected to have explored all the ramifications of your subject—that is what the thesis itself is for, but you need to convince your committee that the proposed research is feasible, can be completed within established time limits, and that your research will make a contribution to the field of anthropology and related or integrated disciplines, if relevant. 

The Goal of Your Proposal

The thesis proposal helps you focus your research aims, clarify its importance and the need of your proposed research, describe the methodology and/or research approaches, predict problems and outcomes, and plan alternative approaches and potential interventions (as applicable to your specific research goals). The proposal generally follows the outline of what the thesis will become, but it is in itself not the thesis. The principle is that the proposal needs to contain what is necessary to understand the proposal itself, and to provide coherence and continuity to statements of problem, hypotheses or research question/s, and analysis plan.  Students should work with their advisers to develop research proposals and seek feedback along the way.  After receiving guidance from advisers, the committee members should have the opportunity to review and approve the proposal.

Getting It Done

Preparing your proposal should be an iterative process. You should expect to write, rewrite, and edit your proposal numerous times.  You will discuss your proposal with your advisor and committee. You should be writing regularly to have your proposal completed by the due date set by your advisor or committee (due date will vary from student to student).

How Do You Structure Your Proposal?

The following sections are recommended for your thesis proposal. Check with your advisor for optional sections, variations and additional sections that may be needed based on the specific research questions you are addressing.

1. Cover Page

This should be the first full page.  It should include your:

  • Name
  • Contact information including UCF email address
  • Degree for which you are a candidate (MA Anthropology)
  • Thesis proposal title
  • Advisor and committee members’ names and places for them to sign and date
  • Date
2. Introduction and Statement of Topic

Introduce the reader to the recognized general subject area (e.g., cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, archaeology) and how your specific topic is related (in other words, start big, and narrow it down to your topic). Briefly point out why your topic is significant and what contribution your work will make to the wonderful world of Anthropology and interrelated disciplines and/or sub-disciplines.  We recommend dividing the introduction into the following sections:

Overall aims and general questions to be addressed - This section consists of one to two paragraphs of introduction. It briefly defines your research problem, the study you propose to do, and what you hope to determine. It is essentially an abstract, but one that also serves as an outline for what follows. The overall aims and general questions section should ensure that there are no major surprises in the remainder of the proposal. 

Specific research questions/objectives and hypotheses - This section is where you define specifically what issues you are going to investigate and what you expect to find. There need be no more than one major research question, and there should almost never be more than three.  Keep in mind the difference between a research question and a hypothesis[4].

3. Background and Significance—Review of the Literature

This should be the main substance of the proposal and will lay the basis for your discussions of your methods.  This section is a description of the general problem area, what is generally thought to be known about your problem, and the key unresolved issue(s) (e.g., a gap in research or a poorly understood issue) that you will address. While literature should be cited, this section is not necessarily the full literature review to be used in the thesis itself. You should cite enough sources to make clear that you have read widely enough in the field to know what the major issues are. Your readers need to know that other people agree that your issue is important and worthy of research, but not necessarily everything they have ever said about it. At the end of this section, the readers should believe:

  • You have identified a question that is of interest and remains unaddressed in the scholarship.
  • You have the background and resources necessary to successfully carry out the proposed research (e.g., background knowledge, qualitative/quantitative methodology/research approach, grasp on relevant terminology and literature, etc.)

Be careful not to allow the evaluation of previous work to become a large open-ended task. You should consult with your advisor and committee on the types of questions you need to be asking and what boundaries you should place on your literature review. In one sense the literature review for the proposal is incomplete at the state of the proposal. You will continue to expand and update the literature as your research progresses and as you locate new publications. The final literature review will be included in your thesis.

4. Research Approach 

This section should include a description of the materials (e.g., data, skeletal materials, artifacts), research participants (sample population), and/or other data sources (e.g. policy documents, images) that you plan to use for your thesis.  Several questions should be addressed in the research design, as appropriate to your subdiscipline(s): where your data will be acquired, where or how you will recruit research participants or methods for acquiring data, whether your data are primary or secondary, and an explanation of why your method(s) (e.g., surveys, interviews, observation, and/or participant-observation, direct measurement, etc.) are appropriate with enough details that readers can understand the basis of your reasoning.

 5. Analysis Strategy

We realize that there are different kinds of data that might be collected by Anthropology MA students depending on their sub-discipline.  Regardless of your area of study, the analysis strategy tells your committee what you are going to do with the data once you have collected it. For example, if you will be working with quantitative data and hypothesis testing, you should discuss how you will test each hypothesis.  You need to discuss appropriate description and/or inferential statistical analyses that match your variables and will be used during data analysis. 

If you will be working with qualitative data and research question/s, you should discuss how will you code your data to answer your research question/s and still allow for unexpected results to emerge. You need to provide information on how you're going to analyze the data through for example, coding, cross-indexing, grounded theory thematic analysis, etc.

Overall, your analysis strategy plan should make us believe that you are going to be able to get from the data you collected back to your hypotheses or research question/s in some reasonable and logical fashion.

6. Thesis Chapter Outline

This section is the presentation of your research results and normally cannot be drafted at the proposal state, therefore the inclusion of this section should be discussed with your advisor.

7. Limitations and Implications

Instead of ending your proposal with a conclusion (because you do not have one at this time) you should end with a consideration of the limitations and implications of your project. This is an opportunity for you to critically assess what the limitations and implications of your study will be and may help you avoid biased conclusions later. One way of developing this section would be to discuss how you would complete the proposed study if you had infinite funding and time, and then to compare and contrast how your ideal study differs from the study you are proposing to conduct. There is no such thing as a perfect study or model, so you should not be discouraged if you come up with numerous limitations that limit the inferences you can draw from your research. 

8. Research Program Timeline

This will usually be from the date you began your degree to when you expect to submit the completed thesis. The time-line can be formatted as a table or a list. Include when you will start and finish important aspects of your research, such as: literature research, required training or attending courses, relevant travel, research site selection, stages of experiments or investigations and data collection, IRB review, beginning and completing chapters, any meetings you will attend or give presentations at, and completing the thesis.  This will give your advisor and committee a guide for when they can expect to see your progress and completion of the thesis. 

9. References Cited

All the references you cited in the text of your proposal must go in this section.  The citation style used in this section (and throughout your proposal) should be the one that you will use in your thesis.  This, of course, will depend on whether you choose to do the traditional format, or the “journal article” format for your thesis.  If you choose the traditional thesis format, you should decide upon the citation style in conjunction with your committee.  If you choose the “journal article” format for your thesis you will use the citation style of one of the journals that you would most likely submit your article to for publication.    

10. Appendices

This section (if necessary) should include documents such as survey forms, interview guides, informed consent forms if available, data collection sheets, IRB approval letter (if applicable), lengthy descriptions of measurements to collect (e.g. long lists of anatomical landmark definitions), or anything extraneous that is important to your project, but does not really fit under any of the categories defined previously.

Things to Consider When Writing a Proposal

In general, the proposal need be no longer than 20 pages double spaced in total (this does not mean it has to be 20 pages...if you are succinct 10 pages might be sufficient); if a lot more is required, this is an indicator that the problem is probably too large and/or complicated for a thesis project. 

When you have finished an initial draft of your proposal, it is often helpful to let your friends look at it. Peer review works as well among students as it does for journals or granting agencies. The important point is to be sure that you have clearly described things. If it confuses your friends, you can be certain it will confuse your committee.  You may also make sure of the services provided by the University Writing Center to aid you at any point in the writing or proofreading process.    

Your final draft should be completed in a clear and readable font (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman), and in a reasonable font size (e.g. 11 pt. or 12pt.). Before printing, run the spell-checker. After printing, carefully proofread your document; the spell-check cannot pick up an error that is a real word but not the one you intended to use. Check the References section to be sure all entries exactly match the text. The visual impression conveyed by your proposal predisposes the reader to judgments. Sloppy work looks like a sign of a sloppy mind.

The thesis proposal should not be a major stumbling block. If, in your research, things do not turn out exactly as you described in the proposal, your committee will understand, as that is the nature of research endeavors. Every researcher knows that the unexpected things that happen during a project are often more interesting than what s/he set out to look at. The main caution in a thesis proposal is to keep the problem bounded and manageable. Take on only what is reasonable.  Remember what the proposal is really all about -- to let your readers help you define and bound what you are going to look at. Your advisor and your committee are there to help you, and you should feel free to ask them as much as you need to get the task done. Your advisor can also guide you regarding the specific sub-disciplinary differences or overlap that will shape your research proposal content.  As we said, talking with your friends is often an excellent way of sharpening what you are trying to say. They will be honest with you if you are honest with them.  

Institutional Review Board (IRB) at UCF

All researchers at UCF - faculty, researchers, staff, and students - who plan to conduct research that involves human participants, must submit their study proposal to the UCF IRB (Institutional Review Board) for review and approval.  Researchers may not recruit or contact participants or begin research until they receive an IRB approval letter.  This research includes: social/ behavioral research such as, survey research, questionnaires, focus groups, classroom research, and biomedical research, such as, blood draws, etc. 

The researcher cannot determine whether or not the study meets the definition of human subject research.  When in doubt call IRB at 407-823-2901 or 407-882-2012, or send an e-mail to  If data (using human participants) is collected without IRB approval many journals will not publish the study findings.  Master's students, whose theses are going to use data from human participant research, must obtain IRB approval before beginning their research.  The UCF Thesis editor asks for the IRB approval letter and it is placed in a separate Appendix in the document.  IRB approval cannot be granted after the fact.

Before completing the IRB process, researchers must complete a training course concerning the protection of human subjects (CITI).   CITI training is online, and can be found through the IRB web page.  This is a self-paced course that contains modules for Social/Behavioral or Biomedical research.  At the end of this process, the researcher should print out the CITI Completion Certificate for their records (if you register with UCF as your institution, IRB will automatically receive your Completion Certificate).  CITI is good for three years (after this a refresher course is required).

Any researchers working with animals must go through IACUC (this is separate from IRB, but part of the Office of Research & Commercialization and can be found on their compliance web page.

The IRB process at UCF is now completed with a new online submission software system called iRIS.  Once submitted, a proposal must be reviewed by IRB.  Most of the research done at UCF is less than minimal risk and as such does not need to go to the full board meeting of the IRB.  Instead, it can be reviewed by the IRB chair or vice chair.  Depending on the study and how well it has been put together, the review can take a week or so, or even more quickly.   If there are questions that arise the applicant may be asked to respond to IRB and this may add additional time to the process.  When considering your timeline, please factor in the time that it may take to pass your proposal through IRB.

The IRB website and complete instructions for submission can be found online at:

[1] Publication of your papers is not a requirement of the Department of Anthropology for the completion of the MA degree.  However, the level, and state of your papers should be judged “publishable” by your committee.  We encourage all students to publish the results of their thesis.

[2] Joint publication may be expected by some professors if, for example, you are funded on their grant, you are using their data or materials collected by them, your professor contributes significantly to the ideas and writing of the articles, or you are using their laboratory/equipment for your work.  

[3] UCF’s Institutional Review Board (IRB):  Refer to Appendix A for a description of IRB and whether or not your research will require IRB approval.

[4] Research Question versus Hypothesis: A research question is a brief statement of an unresolved issue in the field that you plan to investigate. They should be couched in terms of the vocabulary of the field that you will describe. They are phrased as open questions, such as "What is the relationship between X and Y?" or "In situations characterized by X, what happens to Y?"  Hypotheses, by contrast, are phrased as declarative statements about particular variables: "X is inversely related to Y." Remember: it is not a sin to state a hypothesis that later turns out to be unsupported; you don't have to do the analysis to prove it.

Graduate Research

Anthropology Labs

Research is an integral part of graduate studies and the Anthropology Department. Graduate students are expected to take an active role in the laboratory and in the classroom, thereby taking full advantage of the department’s outstanding facilities. To access information on the various anthropology labs, please visit the Research section of our website at    

Student Responsibilities

Before students begin their research work, they have the responsibility to familiarize themselves with the university’s policies governing research as detailed on the UCF Research and Commercialization and the College of Graduate Studies websites.

Researchers in every discipline have a responsibility for ethical awareness as the status of the profession rests with each individual researcher. It is important to be honest and ethical in conducting research as well as in taking classes. The ethical collection and use of information includes, but is by no means limited to, the following: confidentiality, accuracy, relevance, self-responsibility, honesty, and awareness of conflict of interest. Students can reference the American Anthropological Association website for further information on responsible research and ethical standards within the field of Anthropology.

In short, as graduate students, each action whether bearing positive or negative results, is a reflection of not only that student, but of the Anthropology Department and university. Therefore, students who commit research ethics violations, UCF’s Golden Rule violations, or do not meet their MA Advisory Committee’s expectations may lose department financial support and/or face possible removal from the program with potential referral to the Office of Student Conduct for university disqualification. If a student is removed from the program or university, an appeal process can be initiated by the student (See Golden Rule Handbook).

Research Guidelines and Resources 

Human Subjects

When planning on conducting research that involves human subjects (i.e. surveys, interviews, etc.), the student must gain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to beginning the study. Students should seek the guidance of their MA Advisory Committee in this process. In order to prepare for this process, it is also highly suggested students access the UCF IRB website for more information and to view sample IRB submissions and sample consent forms. Once the student’s IRB paperwork has been approved, the student is required to submit the approved paperwork to the Admissions Specialist in order to keep their academic and research file current.

Animal Subjects

If the student chooses to conduct research that involves animal subjects, he or she must gain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval prior to beginning the study. As when using human subjects, students should seek the guidance of their MA Advisory Committee in this process. Students can access past IACUC submission forms by visiting the Office of Research website. Once the student’s IACUC paperwork has been approved, the student is required to submit the approved paperwork to the Admissions Specialist in order to keep their academic and research file current.

Office of Research Contact

Students should first address all research questions to their MA Advisory Committee, and only if a question remains unanswered, contact an IRB Graduate Coordinator, at (407) 882-2012.

Patent and Invention Policy

UCF has three fundamental responsibilities with regard to graduate student research. They are to (1) support an academic environment that stimulates the spirit of inquiry, (2) develop the intellectual property stemming from research, and to (3) disseminate the intellectual property to the general public. UCF owns the intellectual property developed using university resources. The graduate student as inventor will, according to this policy, share in the proceeds of the invention.

The full policy is available online from the Graduate Catalog in the Policies section.

Anthropology Faculty and Their Research

Sarah “Stacy” Barber

Dr. Barber is an associate professor specializing in the archaeology of Mesoamerica. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005 and joined the UCF faculty in 2007. The central goal of her research is to understand the various processes that enabled and constrained early political centralization. She focuses particularly on the ways that religion and long-distance economic interaction have shaped early complex societies in Oaxaca in southern Mexico. To that end, her research has included geospatial modeling of trade routes, music archaeology, geophysical remote sensing, and broader examinations of political change in ancient Oaxaca. She has an active research program examining these themes in the lower Río Verde valley and the Manialtepec basin, both located on Oaxaca’s western Pacific coast. Her fieldwork includes archaeological excavation, survey, mapping, and ground penetrating radar (GPR). Dr. Barber has received grant support from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs program to conduct her fieldwork.

Scott Branting

Dr. Branting is an assistant professor and archaeologist with specializations in the ancient Near East and geospatial science. He holds advanced degrees in archaeology and geography from the University at Buffalo and the University of Chicago. For ten years he served as the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. He directs the Kerkenes Dag Project in central Turkey, an enormous ancient city that was built around 600 BC by the Phrygians of King Midas fame and destroyed around 547 BC during the rise of the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great. The Kerkenes Dag Project seeks to understand this ancient city, and aspects of other cities by comparison, through excavations, remote sensing, and advanced simulations.  Dr. Branting is also involved in using satellite images to monitor cultural heritage sites from space, and has worked on archaeological projects around the world.

Michael Callaghan

Dr. Callaghan is an assistant professor and anthropological archaeologist who studies Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies in an effort to understand the origins of social complexity. He graduated with his BS (1998) and PhD (2008) from Vanderbilt University.  His research focuses on the emergence of complexity as it relates to community ritual, social inequality, craft specialization, and long distance exchange. Dr. Callaghan specializes in the study of the ancient Maya with an emphasis on ceramic analysis. He is interested in how ceramic technology, the organization of production systems, and exchange of ceramic vessels contributed to the growth of social complexity. His research is important to scholars who study prehistoric complex societies and who are trying to understand how technology and production contribute to changes in social structure.

Neil Duncan

Dr. Duncan is an assistant professor and archaeologist specializing in paleoethnobotany. He received his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Duncan served as a Fulbright Research Specialist in Ecuador and completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Archaeology Center at Stanford University. Dr. Duncan’s research focuses on the interrelationships of humans and plants in prehistory using micro-remain analyses, starch grains and phytoliths, as well as plant macro-remains. His current research areas include Peru, Colombia, the Caribbean, and China.

Tosha L. Dupras

Dr. Dupras is Chair of the Department of Anthropology and a professor of anthropology specializing in biological anthropology. Her primary focus of research is analysis of human diet and migration through stable isotope analysis, bioarchaeology, growth and development and forensic archaeology. She received her B.A. in archaeology from Simon Fraser University in 1993, an M.Sc. in Human Biology from the University of Guelph in 1995, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from McMaster University in 1999. Dr. Dupras has been part of the Dakhleh Oasis research project in Egypt since 1996, and joined a second expedition at Deir al Barsha in Egypt in 2004. Dr. Dupras also works with local law enforcement agencies on the search, recovery and identification of human skeletal remains. She has been at UCF since 1999 and teaches The Human Species, General Anthropology, Human Osteology, Advanced Forensic Anthropology, Human Origins, Primatology, and Life and Death in Ancient Egypt. She has published her work in journals such as the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Archaeological Sciences, and Journal of Forensic Sciences. She recently published two books titled Forensic Recovery of Human Remains: Archaeological Approaches (with co-authors J. Schultz, S. Wheeler and L. Williams, CRC Press, 2005), and The Osteology of Infants and Children (with co-authors B. Baker and M. Tocheri, Texas A&M Press, 2005).

Vance Geiger

Dr. Geiger is an associate lecturer in anthropology specializing in cultural anthropology. Dr. Geiger teaches Cultural Anthropology, General Anthropology, Peoples of the World, Magic, Ritual and Belief, Sex Gender and Culture, Environmental Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Peoples of Southeast Asia, Southeast Indians, High Plains Indians, Ethnography of North American Indians, History of Anthropological Thought, and Human Species.

Edward Gonzalez-Tennant

Dr. Gonzalez-Tennant is a visiting lecturer specializing in archaeology of the American Southeast and the Caribbean.  He received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Florida.  His research interests include historical archaeology, public history, digital humanities, memory, racial violence, spatial analysis, digital heritage, and serious games.  He currently teaches General Anthropology and The Human Species.   

Amanda Groff

Dr. Groff is an associate lecturer of anthropology who specializes in archaeology and bioarchaeology. Her main area of research utilizes stable isotopes to determine migration and mobility of ancient individuals. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2015. She also completed a certificate in Maya Studies in 2005 at the University of Central Florida. Since 2002, Dr. Groff has participated in many archaeological investigations, including work in Australia, Belize, Egypt, Italy, and here in the U.S. She currently teaches The Human Species; General Anthropology; Maya Archaeology; Australian Archaeology; Archaeology of Complex Societies; Mesoamerican Archaeology; Ancient Incas; Magic, Ritual, and Belief; Peoples of the World; Cultural Anthropology; and Sex, Gender, and Culture.

Shana Harris

Dr. Harris is an assistant professor and cultural and medical anthropologist specializing in drug use and abuse and health politics and practice in Latin America and the United States. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco in 2012.  She was a National Institutes of Health funded-Postdoctoral Fellow in the Behavioral Science Training in Drug Abuse Research Program at the National Development and Research Institutes in New York City from 2013 to 2015.  Her dissertation and postdoctoral research ethnographically examined drug use and the politics of intervention involved in the promotion of harm reduction in Argentina. Her new project examines the use of a psychedelic substance called ibogaine for drug treatment in Mexico. Dr. Harris’s work has been supported by several institutions, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and has been published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Human Organization, and Substance Use & Misuse.

Brigitte Kovacevich

Dr. Kovacevich received her BA from the University of Arizona and PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2006. Before coming to UCF as an assistant professor in 2015, she taught at Southern Methodist University, Yale University, and the University of Virginia. Her interests include the complex interplay between technology, power, economic systems, social action, and culture change in the past and present. She primarily carries out her research in Guatemala, but she has also worked in Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dr. Kovacevich’s recent research has investigated the efficiency of new sourcing techniques on jade and obsidian from Mesoamerica and how that can highlight changes in production and trade patterns. Future research will continue to focus on the household as a unit of production. Specifically this research will address how that unit was integrated into the political system at various times and regions in Mesoamerica, and how the household responded (changed or remained the same) in the face of political change and upheaval.

Leslie S. Lieberman

Dr. Lieberman is an emerita professor of anthropology who specializes in biomedical anthropology. She received her MA in Anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1971 and her PhD in Behavior Genetics from the University of Connecticut in 1975. Her research interests include nutritional anthropology, obesity, diabetes, women's health and child growth and development. She has worked in many US minority populations including Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, Samoans and African Americans and in Croatia. She joined the UCF faculty in 2001 and was the founding Director of the Women's Research Center. She has over 200 publications and has served as President of the National Association of Academies of Science/American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council on Nutritional Anthropology/ American Anthropological Association and Florida Academy of Science. She is a fellow of AAAS and has received numerous awards for professional leadership.

Ty Matejowsky

Dr. Matejowsky is an associate professor who specializes in cultural anthropology. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 from Texas A&M University. His research interests include fast food, economic anthropology, globalization, urbanization, culture change and development, disaster studies. Dr. Matejowsky currently conducts his research in Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. Recent publications include “The Incredible, Edible Balut: Ethnographic Perspectives on the Philippines’ Favorite Liminal Food” (Food, Culture and Society) and “Like a “Whopper Virgin”: Anthropological Reflections on Burger King’s Controversial Ad Campaign” (Studies in Popular Culture). He joined the faculty at UCF in 2002 and teaches Peoples of the World, Magic, Ritual & Belief, and Anthropological Perspectives on Fast Food.

Joanna Mishtal

Dr. Mishtal is an associate professor who specializes in cultural medical anthropology focusing on reproductive rights and policies in Poland, Ireland and the European Union. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006, and she was the recipient of the Charlotte Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellowship at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, from 2006 to 2008. Her theoretical and research interests include gender and politics, democratization, political economy, global women’s health, feminism and women’s movements. Her dissertation and postdoctoral research explored the contentious nature of reproductive politics and democratization that emerged since the fall of state socialism in 1989 in Poland. Her new project, launched in 2009, builds on her interest in international politics of gender and health, and examines reproductive health policies from the perspectives of healthcare providers in Ireland. This project also analyzes the power dynamics between the supranational governance of the EU and the Vatican, and the sovereignty of the member nations in the realm of policies that affect access to reproductive and sexual healthcare. Her work has been supported by the Fulbright Scholarship, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Devaney Fellowship, the Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Beatriz Reyes-Foster

Dr. Reyes-Foster is an assistant professor. Her research interests focus on medical anthropology, specifically on the cultural interactions between medical systems and the people who use them. Her previous work focused on suicide prevention efforts in Yucatan, Mexico and most recently on the encounters and disconnects that take place between Yucatec Maya patients and psychiatrists in an acute ward of a public psychiatric hospital, also in Yucatan. Her current research interests focus on issues surrounding birth in Central Florida, particularly on the ways in which women seeking vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) make decisions about their medical care. Dr. Reyes-Foster has written about identity, media representations of indigenous people, personhood and self, cultural constructions of health and illness, and the connections between religion, spiritual beliefs, and biomedicine. She received her PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. She joined the UCF Faculty in 2011.

John Schultz

Dr. Schultz is an associate professor who specializes in biological anthropology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2003. His research interests include forensic anthropology, taphonomy, and ground-penetrating radar methods for forensic and archaeological contexts. Recent publications have focused on the application of ground-penetrating radar for detecting controlled forensic graves, taphonomy of commercial cremations, and taphonomy of skeletal remains from historic contexts. Dr. Schultz also works with local law enforcement agencies on the search, recovery and identification of human skeletal remains.He recently published a book titled Forensic Recovery of Human Remains: Archaeological Approaches (with co-authors T. Dupras, S. Wheeler and L. Williams, CRC Press, 2005). Dr. Schultz was recently featured on the Discovery Channel’s series, “Mummy Autopsy.” He joined the faculty in 2003 and teaches Human Biological Diversity, Forensic Anthropology, Human Osteology, Advanced Forensic Anthropology, and Archaeological Sciences.

Pete Sinelli

Dr. Sinelli is an associate lecturer of anthropology who specializes in archaeology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2010. Dr. Sinelli’s research interests include Caribbean prehistory, migration and island colonization theory, settlement patterns and ecological adaptation, archaeological ceramics, physical anthropology and maritime and underwater archaeology.   Dr. Sinelli has been at UCF since 2006 and teaches The Human Species, General Anthropology, Sex, Gender, and Culture, Archaeology of Caribbean Piracy, Archaeology of Sex and conducts a Caribbean Archaeology Study Abroad program.

Allyn McLean Stearman

Dr. Stearman is an emerita professor of anthropology who specializes in cultural anthropology. She received her PhD from the University of Florida in 1976. Her research focuses on cultures of Latin America, with particular interest in cultural ecology, native Amazonians, problems of developing nations, and women in agriculture. She currently conducts her fieldwork in Bolivia. Among her publications are two books entitled No Longer Nomads: The Siriono Revisited, and Yuqui: Forest Nomads in a Changing World.

John Starbuck

Dr. Starbuck is a biological anthropologist who studies congenital anomalies affecting the face and skull. He is a first generation student, a 21st Century Scholar, and a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholar. Dr. Starbuck was broadly trained in the four-field approach to anthropology at Indiana University (IUPUI) and specifically trained in biological anthropology at Penn State. Following his doctoral studies, Dr. Starbuck spent two years working as a post-doctoral researcher in the 3D Imaging of the Craniofacial Complex Center (3DICC – a 3D imaging and morphometrics lab) in the Department of Orthodontics and Oral Facial Genetics at the Indiana University School of Dentistry. He then spent one year as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Indiana University Northwest. Currently Dr. Starbuck is an assistant professor and graduate faculty of anthropology who teaches courses in quantitative methods, human evolution, and human variation.

J. Marla Toyne

Dr. Toyne is an assistant professor and physical anthropologist who specializes in human skeletal biology, paleopathology, bioarchaeology, and stable isotope science. Her primary area of investigation is Andean South America, where she engages in contextually-based research focusing on the analysis of ancient skeletal and mummified remains, in order to explore broader anthropological interests including: the biocultural identification of violence and warfare, ritual activities, ethnic identity, mortuary complexity in ancient civilizations, and Andean prehistoric and Contact period social interactions. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.  Her Ph.D. degree was awarded from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She pursued anthropological post-doctoral research at the University of Western Ontario in the Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science. She has been awarded research grants from SSHRC, Canada, and the National Geographic Society.

John Walker

Dr. Walker is an associate professor specializing in archaeology. He received his Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include political and social organization, landscape archaeology, common poor resources, the relationship between nature and culture, complex societies and agricultural intensification in the Amazon Basin, the Andes, and Bolivia. Dr. Walker currently works in the Amazon Basin and studies how pre-Columbian farmers engineered that environment, showing that the pristine Amazon has in fact been managed and cultivated for thousands of years. He joined the UCF faculty in 2006 and teaches Archaeology of Complex Societies, History of Anthropological Thought, and GIS Applications in Archaeology.

Ronald L. Wallace

Dr. Wallace is an emeritus professor of anthropology who specializes in biological anthropology. He received his PhD from the University of Florida in 1975. His research is focused on the biology of human behavior with particular interest in computational models of the mind, evolution of language, and bio-social perspectives on sex and gender. He has been at UCF since 1975 and teaches Biobehavioral Anthropology and Old World Prehistory. Among his publications are: Those Who Have Vanished: An Introduction to Prehistory, and The Tribal Self: An Anthropologist Reflects on Hunting, Brain and Behavior.

Sandra Wheeler

Dr. Wheeler is a lecturer specializing in bioarchaeology. Dr. Wheeler received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario in 2009. Her current research focuses on the bioarchaeological analysis of infants and children to shed light on mortuary practices involving the youngest members of society. This research synthesizes information from the social, cultural and natural environments to gain an understanding of children’s lives and deaths in the past. Dr. Wheeler also researches ancient birthing practices, maternal health, growth and development, ancient health and disease, and mortuary landscapes. Her current and upcoming fieldwork examines patterns of health and disease, trauma, and mortuary practices in ancient Egyptian populations.

Lana Williams

Dr. Williams a lecturer and bioarchaeologist specializing in research of human health and diet. She received her PhD in 2008 from University of Western Ontario and was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal in 2009. She has been a member of the Dakhleh Oasis Project in Egypt since 2002, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven project at Dayr al-Barsha in Egypt since 2006, and also works with various archaeological projects in Europe, the Near East, and Mesoamerica. The central goal of Dr. Williams’ research is to better understand the synergistic complexities among biological, social and physical environments in the past. She focuses particularly on isotopic and elemental analysis of hair, seasonality in fertility and disease, musculoskeletal biomechanics and patterns of activity, and placement of the dead in the physical and social landscapes.

Financial Support

Assistantships and Tuition Waivers

The Department of Anthropology is given a set number of tuition waivers each year. Distribution of the tuition waivers is based on fellowship/scholarship, GRE scores and GPA. For complete information about university assistantships and tuition waivers, please see the UCF Graduate Catalog. The Department of Anthropology offers a number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) each year (the number offered will vary depending on the budget situation of the department). Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) may also be offered through faculty members' grants. Students who are employed under these job descriptions will be assigned to a faculty advisor (typically the instructor of the course or the principal investigator of the grant). After the completion of 18 credit hours, students may also be eligible to teach their own course. Students are encouraged to reference the College of Graduate Studies for descriptions of each job category. When granted a tuition waiver, students should understand the waiver only assists in the matriculation fees accrued. In addition to matriculation, students are also charged several university fees (athletic fee, distance fee, etc.) that the tuition waiver does not go towards. Students can reference the UCF website for the breakdown of “tuition and fees.” Finally, out-of-state graduate students should note that out-of-state fees are only waived during periods of full (20 hours per week) assistantship appointments or if awarded university-wide fellowships. For more information on residency requirements, students should refer to Residency for Tuition.

Incomplete Grades:  Students with excessive Incomplete (I) grades (2 or more) that do not resolve those grades within one semester will not be eligible to receive future financial support from the department in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships or Graduate Research Assistantships.  A student will be considered eligible for this support once the “I” grades are satisfactorily resolved and the student is in good academic standing. 

Required Hire Paperwork

First time employees must complete several documents before being processed on payroll. The following is a description of each document.

Confidentiality Agreement: As university employees, graduate students are granted access to personal and academic information about fellow students. While the access is necessary to fulfill duties, using access to obtain information on other students for personal reasons or distributing information to a third party is against the law and could create a legal liability for the university as well as the offending party. Therefore, students must agree to maintain the utmost confidentiality before, during, and after their employment with the department.

Contract: Students will be provided a contract noting the details of the assistantship at the time of hire. Students should read the contract in its entirety before agreeing to the conditions of the assistantship, such as: hours per week, stipend, assignment, supervisor, format of class (live/web), etc. A failure to understand the terms of the contract will not be considered a valid excuse for failing to meet obligations.

Direct Deposit: The University’s payroll system functions on direct deposit, only. Students must associate their paycheck with a bank account or payroll will not be processed. A voided check, not deposit slip, must be submitted with the direct deposit form. A voided check is not necessary when associating a paycheck with a savings account.

FERPA Information/Quiz: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects private information of past and present students of the university. Any employee interacting with student records should fully understand FERPA rules/regulations in order to avoid accidental violations. Students will be required to read information on FERPA and demonstrate understanding by taking a short quiz, which will be kept in their academic file.

Electronic I-9: The I-9 e-verify system is a federal system authorizing individuals that have the right to work in the United States. Employees will be provided instructions on completing their section of the electronic I-9.  All employees must meet with a department staff member to present the original documents accepted by the United States as proof of the right to work.  

Loyalty Oath: The Loyalty Oath must be recited by the student in front of a Notary. Students should not complete any part of the form unless in front of the Notary.

Offer of Financial Support: The Offer of Financial Support is an agreement between the employee and department. The offer details stipend amounts, teaching and/or teaching assistant obligations, and additional information relevant to the position. However, the offer can be rescinded at any time by the Anthropology Department if it is deemed the student is not fulfilling their obligations and/or falls out of good academic standing with the department, college, or university.

Personal Data Sheet: The Personal Data Sheet contains contact and biographic information on all employees. A new Personal Data Sheet is required any time an employee’s contact information changes.

W-4: The W-4 is used to declare tax status. Employees within the department are not tax advisors and students should seek out professionals within the field when questions arise. Students may also contact the Human Resources department.

Background Check: All employees, aside from temporary positions, must undergo a criminal background check. Therefore, students will be required to submit the necessary information before their assistantship paperwork is finalized. Failure to provide this information or results questioning employment eligibility will result in a revocation of the assistantship offer.

Graduate Employment Requirements

To be employed and to maintain employment in a graduate assistantship, the student must be enrolled full-time and meet all of the training requirements and/or conditions of employment noted within the current graduate catalog.

The department will communicate training requirements to students at the time of hire, but the onus to fulfill all requirements by university deadlines is solely the student’s responsibility. A failure to meet the requirements will result in the loss of an assistantship and all corresponding tuition waiver funds. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress can also result in the loss of financial support.

GTA Performance Evaluation

At the completion of each semester, students employed as GTA’s (graders, assistants and associates) are required to be evaluated by their faculty advisor. If the student is assisting in a course, the faculty advisor will be the instructor of the course. If the student is serving as the instructor of record, the faculty advisor will be their Academic Advisor. Advisors, in this case, may visit the classroom and observe the student in order to complete their evaluation. These assessments will be used to review strengths and weaknesses in the student’s performance in preparation for future employment. A continuously negative evaluation may cause the student to lose future assistantships. Additionally, a failure to submit an evaluation will also result in a loss of future assistantships. Therefore, students are encouraged to follow-up with their faculty supervisors to ensure a GTA performance evaluation has been submitted each semester of employment.

Financial Aid

Requirements that need to be met for federal loan eligibility override graduate full-time requirements.  A student may be held to other enrollment requirements, as defined by financial awards, veteran status, employment or other outside agencies.

International Students

Several types of employment are available to international students, including on-campus employment. International students are encouraged to contact the International Student Center for more information about the types of employment available and the requirements and restrictions based on visa-type.

Graduate Student Associations

The Central Florida Society (also known by the acronyms AIA CFS and CFS AIA) is your local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), an organization dedicated to the encouragement and support of archaeological research and publication and to the protection of the world's cultural heritage for more than a century. A non-profit cultural and educational organization chartered by the U.S. 

The Graduate Anthropology Association (GAA) is a registered student organization dedicated to providing a setting where students can discuss current research topics and assist fellow classmates in conducting graduate level research.  The primary goals of the GAA is to raise funds to assist graduate students in traveling to professional conferences, to hold public colloquiums with guest lecturers concerning current research topics in anthropology, and to offer workshops that will be beneficial to anthropology students.  In addition, this group works to provide undergraduate anthropology students with opportunities to assist in research and mentoring. 

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students' personal, educational and professional experience. To learn more or get involved, please visit For individual department or graduate program organizations, please see program advisor.

Professional Development

Travel Support and Conferences

Students are encouraged to take every opportunity to attend conferences relating to their research or Anthropology. This not only adds to the student’s curriculum vitae, but also provides the opportunity to network with other Anthropologists in their field of interest. There are several agencies on campus that offer financial support to students wishing to travel to professional conferences in order to present formal papers. Students should join the Graduate Student Association (GSA) to gain access to presentation support opportunities provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Additionally, if students are successful in forming a graduate student organization through the Office of Student Involvement, the club may have access to travel funds distributed through the Student Government Association (SGA) office.

The College of Graduate Studies offers a Graduate Presentation Fellowship that provides funding for master's, specialist, and doctoral students to deliver a research paper or comparable creative activity at a professional meeting. The funding is available to pay transportation expenses only. Students wishing to know more are encouraged to visit

Preparing Tomorrow's Faculty Program

Sponsored by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning this certificate program (12-weeks) consists of group and individualized instruction by Faculty Center staff and experienced UCF professors. Textbooks and materials are provided.

Graduate Research Forum

The Graduate Research Forum will feature poster displays representing UCF’s diverse colleges and disciplines. It is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges. Awards for best poster presentation in each category will be given and all participants will receive recognition.

The College of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Association invite all UCF students, community, and employers to attend the Graduate Research Forum. For more information, contact

Pathways to Success Workshops

Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit

Graduate Excellence Awards

Each year, the College of Graduate Studies offers graduate students who strive for academic and professional excellence the opportunity to be recognized for their work. The award categories include the following:

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant – This award is for students who provide teaching support and assistance under the direction of a lead teacher. This award focuses on the extent and quality of the assistance provided by the student to the lead instructor and the students in the class. (Not intended for students who are instructor of record)

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching – This award is for students who serve as instructors of record and have independent classroom responsibilities. The focus of this award is on the quality of the student’s teaching and the academic contributions of those activities.

Award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis – It recognizes graduate students for excellence in the master's thesis. The focus of this award is on the quality and contribution of the student's thesis research. Excellence of the master's thesis may be demonstrated by evidence such as, but not limited to: publications in refereed journals, awards and recognitions from professional organizations, and praise from faculty members and other colleagues in the field. The university award will be forwarded to a national-level competition sponsored by the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) when the thesis discipline corresponds to the annual submission request.

For the nomination process and eligibility criteria, see the College of Graduate Studies website


Students should take opportunities to present a poster or a topic of research at a conference. To obtain financial support to present at a conference (other than through your program) or to engage in comparable creative activity at a professional meeting, visit the Graduate Travel Fellowship section at

For information about the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) thesis and dissertation awards, see their website: Awards.

For grant-proposal writing resources:

Department Resources

The following resources are reserved for conducting university business only:

Copy Machine

The department copy machines are code protected and are not to be used by any Graduate Students.  Employed students needing to make copies for their courses or other business can submit a Copy Request to the department staff at least 48 hours before the copies are needed.  A late request cannot be guaranteed to be completed by time needed. The department expects that our students will respect the rules governing the copy machine.  However, if students are found to be using the copy machine, particularly for personal reasons, the student will be formally reprimanded and billed for the personal copies.

Office Space

The department maintains a computer lab within the department’s main office space that Graduate Students are welcome to use.  The lab is open as long as the department is open and includes ten computers, a refrigerator, and graduate student mailboxes.  Additionally, the computers within this lab have computer programs such as ArchGIS and Google Earth already installed for student convenience. 

Office Library

The department maintains an extensive library of resource materials including books donated by the community and textbooks.  Students are welcome to use these materials in the computer lab but they may not be removed from the department.  The books should be treated with care so future students have the opportunity to use these resources. 

Phone/Fax Machine

Unless students are using a department phone/fax machine to fulfill Teaching Assistant/Research Assistant duties, these devices may not be used by students to avoid state audit complications.


Students will have a mailbox created for them in the department computer lab.  It is the responsibility of the student to regularly check their mailbox.

Job Search

Career Services and Experiential Learning Center

Career Expo

Held in the fall and spring, this event provides the opportunity for employers to discuss internship, career, and employment opportunities with University of Central Florida students and alumni.

Internship Job Fair

Provides the opportunity for employers to discuss internship, career, and employment opportunities with University of Central Florida students and alumni through the Internship Fair and Spring Career Expo

Statewide Job Fair

Joint effort from all Florida universities to provide the opportunity to Florida students to meet with employers and discuss internship, career, and employment opportunities.

Employment Prep Fair

Held prior to each Career Expo, this event provides students with the opportunity to meet with employers to learn more about job search techniques, resumes, interviewing, and negotiating job offers. Employers are available to critique resumes and offer practice interviews. This event is designed to better prepare students for success at Career Expo.

Externship Information Sessions

Provide students with information on how to participate in winter and spring externships. The Externship Program offers students the opportunity to shadow an employer in their professional area of interest to learn more about the career field as well as the organizations culture, products, and services.

Career Panels

Provide students with opportunities to hear employers talk about potential careers and jobs relative to their majors. These employer panels are ideal for anyone considering a major or already declared in a major relevant to the panel's professional field.


  • College of Graduate Studies Forms
    This web link provides a listing of forms and files for the College of Graduate Studies.
  • Network Operations Control
    The University of Central Florida is equipped with wireless internet. To gain access to UCF’s wireless network, students must register their wireless card through Network Operations Control


Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. Any ideas, data, text, media or materials taken from another source (either written or verbal) must be fully acknowledged.a) A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.b) A student must give credit to the originality of others whenever:

  1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;
  2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;
  3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
  4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
  5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.

When using the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, students must give credit to the original source at the location or place in the document where that source's material is found as well as provide bibliographic information at the end of the document. When students are verbally discussing the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, they must give credit to the original source at the time they speak about that source. In this manner, students must make clear (so there is no doubt) within their written or verbal materials, which parts are gained from other sources, and which are their own original ideas, theories, formulas, graphics, and pictures.The Office of Student Conduct has a set of criteria that determines if students are in violation of plagiarism. This set of criteria may be set to a higher standard in graduate programs. Therefore, a student may not be found in violation of plagiarism by the Office of Student Conduct, but a professor or program requiring higher standards of attribution and citation may find a student in violation of plagiarism and administer program level sanctions. The standard in doctoral programs should be the highest as students earning these degrees are expected to be experts in their fields and producing independent work that contributes knowledge to their discipline.

Example of Material that has been appropriately cited:

Paraphrased Material

Source: Osborne, Richard, ed. How to Grow Annuals. 2nd ed. Menlo Park: Lane, 1974. Print. Page 24: As a recent authority has pointed out, for a dependable long-blooming swatch of soft blue in your garden, ageratum is a fine choice. From early summer until frost, ageratum is continuously covered with clustered heads of fine, silky, fringed flowers in dusty shades of lavender-blue, lavender-pink or white. The popular dwarf varieties grow in mounds six to twelve inches high and twelve inches across; they make fine container plants. Larger types grow up to three feet tall. Ageratum makes an excellent edging.

Use and Adaptation of the Material:

You can depend on ageratum if you want some soft blue in your garden. It blooms through the summer and the flowers, soft, small, and fringed, come in various shades of lavender. The small varieties which grow in mounds are very popular, especially when planted in containers. There are also larger varieties. Ageratum is good as a border plant (Osborne 24).


The writer has done a good job of paraphrasing what could be considered common knowledge (available in a number of sources), but because the structure and progression of detail is someone else’s, the writer has acknowledged the source. This the writer can do at the end of the paragraph since he or she has not used the author’s words.

The above example was provided by Northwestern University.

Northwestern University, Sept. 2016. “Academic Integrity: A Basic Guide.” Accessed 20 September 2017.

For more information about Academic Honesty, Click here.

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