Journal Papers

In order to graduate with a master’s degree in Anthropology, students must complete either (1) a master’s thesis or (2) a journal paper. The latter exercise asks you to rework a course paper as a hypothetical or "mock" submission to an anthropology journal of the student’s choice (such as Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Journal of Archaeological Science, etc.).  Students should revise their papers in accordance with the selected journal’s requirements; they are strongly encouraged to consider actually submitting their papers in consultation with their research director, though not all revised papers will be suitable for submission. No article written for this option shall be submitted to a journal without the written permission of both the student's research director and the reader.

The student selects the reader in consultation with the director; both the director and the reader must approve the journal paper. Readers need not be GW faculty, but, if not, need to be approved by the graduate advisor. Once they are satisfied with the paper, both the director and the reader sign the Report on Culminating Project form, after which it goes to the director of graduate studies.

Tips for success:

  1. Start working with your advisor early, by the end of your third semester at the latest (if you are full-time student) in selecting and shaping your topic.
  2. Select a topic that is of interest to you and has relevance to possible future career or educational objectives. (Some students have used their journal paper as a writing sample in applying for a job).
  3. Consult with Anthropology faculty in the field you are covering for tips about the key literature. Don’t be shy; they want to help you.
  4. Leave plenty of time for revising your draft journal paper. Mentors and readers should receive drafts for review by December 1 (for winter graduates), or April 1 (for spring graduates). Excellent work often goes through three or four serious revisions. The final, approved version must be submitted no later than the thesis submission deadlines, which are January 15 for winter graduates, May 15 for spring, August 15 for summer.


Gelman Library Anthropology Research Guide

Gelman Library Anthropology Research Guide

Studying for a final or working on a research paper? The Gelman Library Anthropology Research Guide can help you find what you need.