Senior Honors Thesis Requirements

Requirements to complete a senior honors thesis.

The Anthropology Department's Honors Program is for those students who meet eligibility requirements (see below) and who wish to graduate with departmental honors by completing a significant independent research project during their final year.  Those students who plan to continue studying anthropology in graduate school or who plan to enter a professional school are best served by the honors project, as it will enhance their application to graduate schools and provide practice in the type of work expected there, especially in terms of writing MA and PhD theses.  Even if a student does not plan to attend a graduate or professional school, the honors project can still permit the student to spend time working on a project in depth, an opportunity often unavailable to undergraduates. 

To be eligible, a student must:

  1. Major in anthropology
  2. Have taken a minimum of 30 semester hours in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville
  3. Have earned a GPA of 3.5 in anthropology courses, and an overall 3.0 GPA

To earn departmental honors, a student must successfully complete an honors project under the guidance of a faculty committee as follows.

  1. Establish an honors committee consisting of a chair, another member of the department and a member of an outside department.  The committee chair is chosen by the student, while the other two members are chosen by the committee chair, in consultation with the department chairperson.  The purpose of a non-anthropology faculty member on the committee is that a scholarly piece of work, particularly a thesis, should be understandable to readers outside the discipline.  Normally, the committee chair should be selected and give evidence of consent to serve by signing the application form during the semester prior to that in which the project is to be completed.  Normally, the committee should be established by the end of the semester preceding that in which the project will be completed.

  2. Complete an independent research project and submit it to the committee in sufficient time for it to be graded and revised, if necessary, during the semester.  Since the honors project is more serious than a term paper, more time must be allotted for its evaluation.  Students wishing to earn credit (3 hours) for the thesis should enroll in ANTH 499.  Whether or not credit is sought, upon acceptance of the thesis, the author will be recognized by having their name, thesis title, and other pertinent data entered into the list of Departmental Honor Theses.  Normally, the project must be completed and delivered to committee members by April 5, for the spring semester, and by November 10 for the fall semester.  The exact date should be entered on the Honors Application form at the beginning of the semester in which the project is to be completed.

  3. Complete an oral defense of the thesis with the three committee members.  The defense will normally occur within the three weeks prior to the end of the semester.  The defense date is to be set within a week after establishing the thesis due date.  The purpose of the defense is to encourage students to think critically about their projects (What are its shortcomings and strengths?  How could it be improved?)  In addition, the oral defense tests the student's knowledge of anthropology, particularly as it relates to the specific project.  The student should approach the oral examination as an opportunity to elaborate on the framing of the problem developed within the thesis itself.  In particular the student should be prepared to answer questions about the way the project has used general principles of anthropology, how the project contributes to anthropological knowledge, the value of the project to other members of the discipline, and the utility of the project for the greater public.

Note: specific requirements regarding thesis content and deadlines will be determined by the thesis chair.