Graduating seniors and alumni recount that completing a thesis project is the most meaningful and rewarding academic experience of their four years at Bates.

A thesis allows you to examine a scholarly topic from an original perspective, to support a well-reasoned argument through evidence or research, and to write a cohesive paper that demonstrates your intellectual engagement with this topic. The faculty in Anthropology crafted this document to address rising seniors’ questions about their upcoming thesis writing process.

Over the next nine to twelve months you will delve into an anthropological topic that intrigues you, develop a focused research question about this topic, and attempt to answer it through independent archaeological or ethnographic research.  Distilling this research into a well crafted, lucid and cogent thesis paper provides a sense of accomplishment for any student in Anthropology.

You will complete your theses in your final semester (exceptions are exceedingly rare), but the requisite research and writing process will shape your entire final college year. Be prepared for a significant extra workload during your entire senior year. Initiative is left largely up to the student, though the senior seminar (AN441) does include a thesis-writing component and we do enforce some departmental deadlines, listed below.

Starting early is key, especially when seeking thesis research funding whether from the department, the Dean of Faculty, Off-Campus Study, or the Harward Center (note that only the anthropology department deadlines are listed below).

Please click on the  following links to access these pages

Thesis Proposal Cover Sheet
The Shape of an Anthropology Senior Thesis Proposal
Complete Senior Thesis Handout