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Department Honors Program


The Department’s honors program is designed to enable qualified students to have an opportunity to devote a substantial portion of their senior year’s course work to a research project, culminating in the writing of a thesis and the completion of an oral presentation, much in the style of a conference-paper presentation to an audience of faculty and students. Honors students pursue an original research question developed in consultation with faculty. It is a significant undertaking during the senior year. Thesis projects may vary from highly theoretical to heavily empirical; every thesis is expected to provide a critical overview of the relevant literature and engage in a rigorous analysis of the research question.

The program is limited to a small number of students annually. Admission is competitive and requires an application, transcript, and thesis proposal. Decisions are made by the Department Honors Committee. Working with a faculty advisor, the accepted honors student will enroll in an independent study (Sociology 492/Anthropology 492) in the fall of the senior year and receive course credit while developing a thesis proposal, conducting original research, and drafting at least one chapter of the thesis. Students will then enroll in Sociology 493/Anthropology 493 in the spring to complete the thesis. Alternatively, a student participating in a senior seminar during the fall of the fourth year as preparation for the next semester’s thesis writing may petition the Department for late inclusion in the Honors Program. All honors students will also be required to enroll in the department’s honors colloquium in both the fall and spring semesters (Sociology 490/Anthropology 490 in the fall; Sociology 491/Anthropology 491 in the spring; see details below).

A faculty advisor and a reader must agree by the end of the fall that the student has made sufficient progress toward completing the thesis to continue in the Honors Program. The student will present thesis work at the College Academic Conference held in mid-April and submit the approved written honors thesis no later than May 8. The Department Honors Selection and Review Committee will vote to award the student departmental honors for graduation.