A major desiring to become a candidate for honors in anthropology must apply in writing to the department at the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year. Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.2 and a GPA of 3.5 in all course work taken in the major at the time of application. In order to receive honors, a student must, in addition to maintaining this level of performance, complete Ant. 498 during the fall semester and receive a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis (499), as well as a departmental recommendation. The department may, upon awarding a thesis grade of A and given evidence of continued high academic achievement, recommend departmental high honors.
The Honors Thesis Committee
Before submitting a thesis proposal, the candidate should identify the major advisor for the thesis. This must be a current member of the department and need not be the candidate's academic advisor. As soon as possible, another department member should be asked to be the second reader, though not necessarily before the proposal is submitted, . The candidate may also, in consultation with the thesis advisor, invite the participation of a third reader, who may be from outside the department.
The Thesis Proposal
The 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 is the topic and the major questions about it that you plan to address. This could be a thesis statement or a summary of the research question or problem.
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 might 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 wax personal and specify 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 advisor.
6. A bibliography. This should be thorough, but not padded, and in the proper format.
The overall length of the body of the proposal need be no more than about 4-7 pages, plus a bibliography.
Although the department as a whole evaluates the thesis proposal, the final evaluation of the thesis is the responsibility of the thesis committee alone. 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 the thesis by the candidate 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. Four or five complete printed versions will be necessary, one for the department, one for the library, and one for each member of the committee.
If you have questions, please contact us.