Majors desiring to be a candidate for honors in anthropology must apply in writing to the department at the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year.  

Requirements and additional information about the Anthropology Honors Program can be found in the College Catalog.

Honors Thesis Committee

Before submitting a thesis proposal, you should identify a major adviser for your thesis. This must be a current member of the department and need not be your academic adviser. As soon as possible, another department member should be asked to be the second reader, though not necessarily before your proposal is submitted. You may also, in consultation with the thesis adviser, invite the participation of a third reader, who may be from outside the department.

Thesis Proposal

Your proposal should normally be submitted within the first two weeks of the fall semester. It should be as specific as possible about what it is that you hope to accomplish, as well as demonstrate that your plans are feasible. There is no fixed format for the proposal, but below are some suggested topics you may wish to address.

  1. What are the major questions about your topic that you plan to address. This could be a thesis statement or a summary of the research questions or problems.
  2. How will you go about your research, both generally and specifically? How will you connect specific questions with specific methods?
  3. What is the previous scholarship on the topic? This may take the form of a standard review of the literature and should include theoretical writings that will help frame your own thinking. What in your opinion are those works of most importance to your topic? How will these inform your research? This review need not be exhaustive at this point, nor need you necessarily have read them all completely, but you should have some general sense of the scholarship in your area.
  4. A statement on the potential significance of your research topic. Here you would address issues of academic significance, i.e. how your thesis might contribute to the existing literature. You can also include issues of praxis, i.e. how your study might contribute to real world issues. Finally, you can indicate why this study will be important to you and your future plans.
  5. A rough timetable of the steps toward completing the thesis. This should be done in consultation with your thesis adviser.
  6. A bibliography. This should be thorough, but not padded, and in the proper format.

The overall length of the body of your proposal need be no more than about four to seven pages, plus a bibliography.


The department as a whole evaluates your thesis proposal and your thesis, although the opinions of your advisers necessarily carry more weight. The evaluation will be made not only on the basis of the finished project, but also on evidence of steady progress throughout the academic year and on a satisfactory oral defense. The oral defense will be scheduled following submission of a final complete draft. The defense ranges anywhere from 30-60 minutes and will consist of a brief overview of your thesis followed by questions from the audience.

The committee will then indicate necessary revisions for the final version. We have no fixed due date for the thesis, but it must be completed early enough to accommodate the defense, necessary revisions, and the early deadline for senior grades. Digital (PDF) versions of the final version are to be provided to the department and to the library.

If you have questions or would like additional information about the Anthropology Honors Program, please contact Prof. Bowles at