The curriculum is constructed so that full-time students will complete six required courses during the first year and five required courses during the second year, most in a prescribed sequence. Therefore, students can only be admitted into the program beginning in the fall term. Selection of additional elective courses is encouraged within the context of the program. Students must obtain at least a B grade in each of the required courses. Any classes resulting in a C+ or C grade must be repeated. More than two C's in required courses will result in dismissal from program. Students who earn a grade of B or higher in a repeated course will have their original grade replaced by a PASS on their transcript. The student will be allowed to retake only two courses and any D grade will also result in dismissal from the program. Students dropped from the program may petition for readmission after one year.
At the end of the first year, the student must take a three-day comprehensive examination that is based on material covered in the first-year required courses. Only students with a passing grade on this exam may enter the second year of the program.
Students are also expected to develop a thesis topic approved by their advisor by the end of their first year. Work can begin during the summer after the first year and continue throughout the second year and must be completed within one year after the completion of course requirements. The thesis must involve research that would contribute knowledge to the areas of forensic or biological anthropology, archaeology, or bioarchaeology. The thesis is required to be submitted in a publishable form of an approved journal or book.