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Honors Thesis Program


The honors thesis is prepared during two successive quarters (Fall ANTH 196A and Winter ANTH 196B) of a major’s senior year, and can count as two of the five four-unit upper-division elective courses required for a major. Honors students are invited to be anthropology student ambassadors and enroll in ANTH 196C during Spring quarter.

During the first quarter of the program (Fall quarter), students select their research topic and write a preliminary paper. Those who receive a B+ or better are invited to continue in the program and complete a thesis on the chosen topic by the end of the Winter quarter. The thesis will be evaluated by a committee consisting of the thesis adviser and the Director of Undergraduate Studies appointed by the Chair. The reading committee advises the faculty on the merit of the thesis for department honors. A thesis is required in order to be considered for department honors at commencement.

To view Anthropology Award recipients, please see here


ANTH 196A. Honors Studies in Anthropology (4)  (Fall quarter of Senior Year)

Students will be admitted to the honors program by invitation of the department in the spring of their junior year. In this seminar they explore their research topic and write a preliminary paper. Completion of this course with a grade of at least B+ is a prerequisite to enroll in ANTH 196B. Prerequisites: department approval required.

ANTH 196B. Honors Studies in Anthropology (4) (Winter quarter of Senior Year)

Preparation of a senior thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. Students begin two-quarter sequence in fall quarter. Prerequisites: completion of ANTH 196A with grade of B+ or better.

Students can enroll in a recommended (not required) third quarter of the Honors Thesis program (ANTH 196C) to become Ambassadors of Anthropology (participate in community outreach presentations to promote Anthropology), and to prepare a presentation of their thesis findings at the annual Anthropology Honors Thesis Presentations and Awards event.

ANTH 196C. Honors Studies in Anthropology (4) (Spring quarter)

A weekly research seminar where students share, read, and discuss in-depth research findings resulting from ANTH 196A and 196B along with selected background literature used in each individual thesis. Students are also taught how to turn their theses into brief presentations for both specialized and broader audiences. Students will be offered opportunities to present their findings at campus events and outreach events during the quarter. Prerequisites: ANTH 196A-B.

Additionally students are highly encouraged to enroll in the senior seminar ANTH 192 Anthropological Research (1 unit) in the Spring quarter of their junior year to further explore the honors program and opportunities in the department.

ANTH 192. Senior Seminar in Anthropology (1)  (Spring quarter, Junior Year)

The seminar is recommended, but not required, if interested to prepare and find out more about the Honors Program before accepting the invitation. This one unit senior seminar aims to introduce and attract outstanding anthropology students to the honors program. Students will examine honors theses in Anthropology written by their peers over the last few years, learn how to use library resources, familiarize with faculty interests and explore topics to research themselves in the honors program in the senior year. Prerequisites: upper-division standing; department stamp and/or consent of instructor.

Are you eligible?

Eligibility for the program strongly encourages the student to have fulfilled the requirements below by Fall quarter of senior year

  1. Completed eight upper-division courses, including ANTH 101, 102, 103
  2. Minimum of a 3.7 concentration & overall GPA 

Outstanding junior students, who meet some but not all of the above criteria, may also be considered for invitation to the program, if spaces are available. Let the Anthropology advisor know that you are interested in the program.

How to apply?

  1. During the fall quarter of your junior year (or before), identify faculty member(s) with related research interests (take a course, set up a meeting, explore research opportunities.)
  2. Prior to week 3 of Winter quarter of your junior year, contact the Anthropology Advisors to express your interest in the Honor's Thesis Program.  During the Winter quarter, the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Anthropology Advisors will compile a list of interested and qualifying students for consideration.  A preliminary notification will be sent out to student candidates during Winter quarter.
  3. We highly recommend that students enroll in the one-unit senior seminar course, ANTH 192 during Spring quarter, to explore the program and finalize faculty mentor matches.
  4. Students are admitted to the Honor's Thesis program by invitation during the Spring quarter of their junior year.
  5. After receiving clearance, enroll in ANTH 196A for Fall quarter.

Why join the honors program?

The honors thesis program is intense and demanding. However, it benefits students as follows:

  • Improves chances of receiving Departmental Honors and Awards
  • Enriches Curriculum Vitae for professional pursuits after graduation
  • Allows students to work one-on-one with individual faculty members, building current and future mentorships
  • Gives opportunity for productive, interdisciplinary exchange with peers in other subfields of Anthropology
  • Provides a supportive, well-structured environment in which to conduct research in-depth in a topic of interest
  • Develops students’ research skills, applicable at the postgraduate and professional level
  • Enhances excellent oral and written communication skills for a variety of audiences
  • Offers an opportunity to bond with other high-achieving anthropologists through teamwork
  • Helps decide whether research is of interest for paths after graduation
  • Creates a solid foundation of knowledge for students pursuing graduate studies

Annual Honors Thesis Presentations and Awards Ceremony

At the end of each academic year (end of May), an event takes place that showcases undergraduate student achievements, including Honors thesis presentations, recognition of academic achievements by our graduating majors, recognition of activities by the AnthroClub, activities by the Ambassadors of Anthropology, awards to outstanding graduating seniors, and a special salute from alumni. 

Past Event Fliers and Presentations 


honors presentation 2023









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Honors Presentations 2014