General Thesis Details

The Honors Thesis
In the spring, the Department will invite those rising seniors with strong academic records to pursue honors. They may opt to complete either a (full year) honors or a regular (second semester) thesis. Students interested in honors but not invited may still petition the department for permission.  In such circumstances, the advisor’s support and a well-crafted proposal about a well-planned project are requisite for departmental approval.   Honors rules and deadlines are set each year by a college wide committee; hence they cannot be listed here by specific date. The Honors Committee expects no more than 10% of any department’s seniors to pursue honors.

Former Students’ Senior Projects
Download a PDF containing honors thesis abstracts from 1996-2008 (123kb PDF)

Ethical Research and the Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Any student conducting independent archaeological or ethnographic research is expected to practice ethical research methods, including informed consent, as outlined by the American Anthropological Association Code of Ethics. That code, along with other statements on ethical issues, can be found at the following website: Your thesis advisor will assist you in navigating these issues. Anthropology thesis writers are also expected to meet the college’s Institutional Review Board requirements, which often include a formal review of the project and the completion of an online course on human research from the National Institute of Health. These “deadlines” are rolling. See the IRB website at

Thesis Advisors

If you would like to write your thesis with the guidance of a particular faculty member, you should speak to that individual directly – the sooner the better.  Though the department will decide who will become your thesis advisor, we take into account your preference. Please note that the Anthropology department generally will not allow you to choose a thesis advisor outside of the Anthropology faculty.  Consult with the department chair before you approach a faculty member outside of Anthropology to advise your thesis.




March 15 Hamill Family Fund for Fieldwork Application Due (Optional).
April Department faculty will hold an informational meeting for all junior majors.
May 15 Written description of likely topic and method. Each student should be in ongoing discussions with faculty advisor(s) concerning possible thesis topics and methods. These conversations should continue over the summer.



September  15 Honors petition (Optional). Honors candidacy is contingent upon Department approval. By this time, we also need to know which spring invitees wish to pursue honors.
October 1 Year long (including honors) thesis prospectus (plus IRB). Circulated to all anthropology faculty for comments and approval. May require resubmission by Dec. 1st. IRB issues to be addressed.
November 1 Regular (winter semester) thesis prospectus (plus IRB). Circulated to all anthropology faculty for comments and approval. May require resubmission by Dec. 1st. IRB issues to be addressed.
Revised prospectus for year long/honors theses (if required).
December 1 Revised prospectus for regular (Winter term) theses (if required). Every effort is made to assign students the department advisor of their choice, but we must distribute advising responsibilities evenly. Advisors set parameters for process and progress, including deadlines, with the following exceptions:
January Department revisits all honors candidacies. Official honors nominations go to College Honors Committee.
February Department revisits all honors candidacies.
Honors thesis abstract due to College Honors Committee. December graduates with full year theses submit thesis prospectus by early February with revisions due in early March.
March/April Honors due dates and panels set by College Honors Committee. December graduates with fall one semester theses need to get their thesis prospectus to the department in early March with final revisions due early April.
Regular theses due by the last day of Winter classes.