Final Graduation Requirements

MA PCS Final Graduation Requirement

In addition to completing all required course work, MA PCS students are required to submit Final Examinations, a Master's Thesis, or an extended Research Paper.

Final Examination

The exam consists of three questions, one for each our three distribution areas—the Social and Cultural Bases of Conflict or Cooperation, Nonviolent Movements and Recovery from Violence, and Violent Conflict. 

Students should confer with their Advisor no later than the start of the semester in which they intend to graduate.  With the adviser, they will select a Primary Reader from our Core Faculty for each distribution area/exam question, and then ask that Professor to be a reader.   The student and the Primary Reader will work to specify the question, and develop a limited number of key readings for preparation.

In consultation with their Advisor and Primary Reader, they should then select a Second Reader, among our Core or Associate Faculty.   (Non-Associate Faculty can be considered with special reasons).   Once the question and readings have been developed with the Primary Reader, the student should send it to the Secondary Reader for approval and suggestions.   The Primary Reader will then be responsible for formulating the specific form of the examination question and presenting it to the student.   A faculty member may be the primary reader for their own distribution area, and a secondary reader for a second examination outside of their own specialty area, but cannot be a reader for more than two examinations.

Exams will normally be given in April or November, for Spring or Fall graduation, respectively.  Exams are to be taken in sequence and each returned within one week of officially receiving that exam question.  Answers should be no less than 1200 words, and no more than 1800 per question, double spaced and paginated.  Citations and full bibliography are required (and are not included in the word count).  Use the American Anthropological Association style guide.  Each answer will be submitted with a signed statement of the Rutgers honor pledge. 

For graduation certification, all exams must be completed no later than December 1 or May 1, for Winter or Spring graduation, respectively.  However, specific due dates should be decided with your readers.

Each Exam will receive a grade of Pass, Fail, or Pass with Distinction.  If a student receives a failing grade for an exam question, they may take the exam again with a different question.   A student must Pass all three exams to be certified for the MA.

For graduation certification, all exams must be completed no later than December 1 or May 1, for Fall or Spring graduation.  However, specific due dates should be decided with your advisor and readers.

Grading will be Pass, Fail, and Pass with Distinction.

If a student wishes to complete their examinations after they have finished all their other graduation requirements, they may obtain an extension by paying the matriculation fee (recently about $98) for an additional semester.

MA Thesis

As an alternative to a final examination, students may write a final Master’s Thesis.  This option involves more work, and should be carefully considered in discussion with the Advisor.

A Master’s Thesis should reflect the three distribution areas of our program.  Although the topic may focus strongly in one, the selected issue should include consideration of Social and Cultural Bases of Conflict and Cooperation, Nonviolent Movements or Recovery from Violence, and Violent Conflict.

Students should discuss their ideas with their Advisor, and at least one Core Faculty member, who would serve as the First Reader and Chair of the thesis committee.  The First Reader should be consulted regularly to discuss the thesis’ progress.  (The First Reader may or may not be a student’s adviser).  In consultation with the First Reader, the student should identity and ask two other faculty members to serve as readers.  The Second Reader should be a member of the PCS Core Faculty, and consulted as the thesis is researched and developed.  The Third Reader may be Core, Associate, or some other faculty member outside our program with particular expertise in a topic.

A Master’s Thesis is to be 8000-9000 words, not including footnotes and bibliography.  Master's Theses must conform to university style requirements and deadlines.  There is no degree credit associated with submitting a Master’s Thesis. 

Grading will be Pass, Fail, and Pass with Distinction.

If a student wishes to complete write their thesis after they have finished all their other graduation requirements, they may obtain an extension by paying the matriculation fee (recently about $98) for an additional semester.

Final Research Paper

Students who do not wish to work through the formal University requirements and deadlines for a Master's Thesis may instead submit a research paper.  In all respects exept for the official style requirements and deadlines, this is to be the same as a Thesis.  Deadline for a Research Paper is December 1 or May 1, or by agreement with your advisor and readers.