Traditional and Non-Traditional Graduate Academics: Two Models for Consideration

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


As a member of the academic community, I have encountered expectations that I would develop a traditional Master's thesis with very little preparatory instruction and virtually no assistance in initial development. This synthesis project compares the models of two distinct graduate programs using my experiences as a candidate in both programs and the support of secondary literature. Historical Archaeology is used as a concrete example of the traditional program and the Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) synthesis is used as the alternative to hold the dominant paradigm in tension with. In order to help to construct my CCT model, I have solicited suggestions from the CCT community. As a result of the comparison between traditional academia and CCT several techniques emerge. Some techniques like; creativity, assessment, and group-work appear to be shared across disciplines. While other techniques like; free writing, metacognition, and reflection are unique to CCT, but could easily be learned and transmitted to other programs. The results however do not indicate that one program is better than the rest rather the comparison illustrates the need for information exchange between programs. My goal is not to suggest that every graduate student become a candidate in two different programs, but rather make students aware of the variety of techniques available when approaching something as sophisticated as writing a Masters thesis. The CCT program offers tools and techniques remarkably different from those offered under a more 'traditional' framework. However, CCT techniques can be integrated into other graduate programs and can work in a variety of professions.


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