Anthropology Honors Program

The goal of the anthropology honors program is to give those students with superior interests and talents in the field to explore both anthropology and personal intellectual interests and themes beyond the limits of typical courses offered. This will prepare these advanced students for possible graduate work or more advanced career prospects. Successful completion of the honors program is shown on the student’s permanent academic record and on the diploma.

Eligibility and Admission

To qualify for the honors program in anthropology, a student should have:

1. 18.5 or more units completed overall
2. At least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average for all courses
3. Excluding coursework primarily for first-year students, 4 or more units completed with distinction in the major field and a 3.5 cumulative grade point average for anthropology courses.

To enter the honors program, the student must submit a letter of intent, with nominating support from one faculty member, by March 15 of his or her junior year.

A student who does not meet these qualifications may be admitted to the program with the special recommendation of all members of the anthropology program.

Students may request consideration by the department, or the department may invite a student to apply.

Program of Study

To receive credit for the honors program, the student must:

• Fulfill the normal BA requirements for anthropology, with required methods and theory courses (Anthropology 211 and 290) completed by the end of the junior year to facilitate work on the senior thesis (see below). The program of study for Honors is 12 units (10 units for the BA plus 2 units – one for Honors Independent Study and one for the Honors Thesis).

• Complete a senior thesis that addresses an original question or issue and that produces some original research (so as not to be a pure literature review of existing work). The thesis should be data-driven, ethnographic in nature, and demonstrate a grasp of existing literature and theory related to the issue at hand. In preparation for undertaking the senior thesis, the student must agree with a faculty member, whose interests and expertise have the best possible fit with the student’s intended thesis topic, to be his or her advisor for the thesis. The student and advisor should devise a basic plan for the project by the end of the spring semester of the junior year. The student and his/her advisor should develop a schedule for meetings and assessment they find most appropriate.

• For credit for the thesis, the student will take two one-unit Honors courses in the senior year, both involving work on the senior thesis: Honors Independent Study (Fall) and Honors Thesis (Spring). This will involve at a minimum meeting once a week with the thesis supervisor to discuss and monitor progress in data collection, analysis, and write-up. The former will involve monitoring and assessing progress in data collection and analysis through regular reports – the timetable depending on the particular project, in agreement with the student and advisor. Assessment for the latter will be the thesis product itself. The thesis will be due in time for a final grade to be submitted to the registrar – preferably the Friday before the School of Arts & Sciences Student Symposium. The grade for the Honors Thesis course is that for the senior thesis. The department encourages students who are prepared sufficiently early to apply for a summer grant to facilitate research.

• The senior thesis will be assessed and graded by the student’s thesis advisor and one other member of the anthropology program. If one person fulfills both these roles, an outside person whose expertise is sufficiently close to the thesis topic will be asked to aid with assessment. In case of disagreement, another member of the department will be asked for his/her opinion on the appropriate grade to resolve the disagreement.

• The student must take two standard one-unit upper-level courses for Honors credit that include additional extra work agreed upon by the student, the course instructor, and the student’s thesis advisor. One of those must be related to the intended senior thesis topic. This one course may be in any department, but in any case it should meet with the approval of the student’s thesis advisor.

The student may withdraw at any time. Should he/she not complete required additional work or maintain an overall 3.3 grade point average and a 3.5 grade point average for Anthropology coursework, the student will not receive credit for the Honors Program.

The anthropology faculty will encourage students in their junior year who appear qualified to consider the honors program seriously as soon as possible, to facilitate preparation for the senior thesis and any required summer work/research.