The Department of Anthropology confers graduation honors on students who possess distinguished records in Anthropology and in overall academic performance. To graduate with Honors in Anthropology, a student must have grade point averages of at least a 3.3 in all work and at least a 3.5 in Anthropology. The student must propose, carry out, write, and defend in oral examination a research project. The process of the research proposal, faculty approval, conduct of the research, writing of the results and defense of the research typically requires most of the senior year. Honors designation is contingent on the student’s final grade point average.
Honors Thesis Schedule and Procedures (Target Deadlines)
By the Beginning of the Senior Year
- Choose your Honors Thesis Advisor (a fulltime member of the Anthropology Department). Begin the process of regular communication with your advisor, and think about additional members to serve on your Thesis Committee (see below).
- Discuss your research interests with your advisor and frame your problem. Evaluate possible
methods for investigating your topic, and begin the literature review.
By November 1st of the Senior Year
- Submit a three to five page proposal outlining your Honors Thesis project to your advisor. This
proposal should have four parts.
1. Brief Background and Literature Review: Evaluate the existing information pertaining to
your area of interest.
2. Research Design: Explicitly state the goals of the research, the hypothesis to be evaluated
(if appropriate), and what the research is expected to accomplish. Outline the theoretical
stance and methods that will guide the proposed research. Describe how data will be
collected, analyzed and interpreted. If human subjects or live animals are to be used in the
research, certify that the appropriate procedures have been followed for approval of the
3. Research Significance: Identify the novel elements of your research and concisely state the
importance of your research both to the specific subject and to the discipline of
4. Timeline: The final page of your proposal is a detailed schedule for completion of the
various parts of the research project.
- After your advisor approves the draft, Submit a digital version of your proposal to each full-time member of the Anthropology Department for evaluation and comment.
By November 30th of the Senior Year
- Schedule a feedback meeting with your Honors Thesis advisor. The advisor will communicate
faculty feedback for your proposal, and discuss necessary revisions or additions to the research
- If appropriate, the student may register for as many as three (3) hours for academic work done in support of the honors project during their final semester.
- If the proposal is approved, the student will then begin assembling the Honors Thesis Committee. The student and the advisor will then select two other faculty members to serve with the advisor as members of the student’s Honors Committee. At least two of the three members of the Honors Committee must be full-time members of the department. The third Committee Member should not be a full-time member of the Anthropology department; students usually select a professor associated with another academic department or the Medical School. Confirm with committee members how often they would like you to check in or share your work with them.
Mid-October through March
- Complete your thesis project under the supervision of your advisor. Check in with other
committee members, as agreed. Prepare the thesis as a research paper written in American
- Schedule a date (must be before April 25) for your oral defense with your committee. On this date, you will present your research to the committee and hold an oral examination on the topic. The entire faculty will be notified and invited to the examination. The remaining weeks of the semester (post-defense) should be devoted to revisions.
Two Weeks Prior to Your Presentation and Defense
- Circulate a draft of your research paper to all members of your committee. Ask if they would
like a printed or digital version, and accommodate their requests.
By April 30th
- If your presentation and oral examination are approved, make revisions and submit final copies of your final thesis (prepared for binding) to the Department by April 30th. You should also plan for presenting bound copies to your advisor and Committee members who request one.
- Submit an abstract of your Honors work to be published for Commencement weekend.
Upon successful completion of the paper and examination, the advisor will certify the student for Honors. The Department Major Advisor will advise the Registrar of the student’s graduation with Honors in Anthropology.