Ohio University

A Successful Timeline & Guide to Departmental Honors in Anthropology

Sophomore Year

  • Apply for the Departmental Honors in Anthropology program.
  • Decide on which subfield of Anthropology best fits your interests and career goals.
  • Begin taking courses for Departmental Honors credit.

FAQ: What are Departmental Honors courses and credit? Any ANTH 3000 or higher course can be taken for Departmental Honors credit, if agreed upon by the instructor. Departmental Honors courses require more work than the standard coursework for the class, usually 10 to 20 percent more work, which may include additional assignments, projects, readings, etc. A course becomes a Departmental Honors course when you complete the Departmental Honors Course Form, which is signed by the instructor and the honors coordinator. You will receive honors credit if you complete the specified work with a grade of “B” or higher.

FAQ: How many honors credits do I need to complete the departmental honors program? 9 credit hours associated with a content course, plus 3 or more additional hours fulfilled by ANTH 4940H.

  • Pick a Departmental Honors thesis adviser (full-time faculty member) in anthropology that best fits your interests.

FAQ: How do I pick an adviser? Your adviser is someone you can turn to for advice. He or she will help guide you through your academic career and your research as it relates to your departmental honors thesis. Pick an adviser whose interests, research and personality mesh with yours. Your honors adviser is may be different than your regular academic adviser; your departmental honors adviser is a professor who can help you the most with your research

FAQ: Do I really need to choose an adviser my sophomore year? No, selecting an adviser as soon as possible is desirable, but not required. The Departmental Honors Coordinator and your general academic adviser within anthropology can answer general questions about the honor’s program.

Junior Year – Decide on Thesis Topic and Look for Funding

FAQ: How do I choose a thesis topic? Your research project and thesis topic will be decided in consultation with your adviser.

FAQ: What makes a good thesis topic? A good thesis involves original research to address a problem or question related to the field of anthropology. A thesis should be analytic rather than descriptive.

FAQ: Will I need funding for my research? Whether you are doing lab work or fieldwork, some funding or supplies are likely needed. After you decide on your thesis topic, you should discuss access to supplies or funding opportunities with your adviser. Most fieldwork will need to be conducted in the summer after your junior year. This means that you may need to apply for funding by the fall semester of your junior year. (See Summer Before Senior Junior Year.)  

Spring Semester, Junior Year – Complete Prospectus

FAQ – What is a prospectus? A prospectus is a statement and outline of your Departmental Honors Thesis. This documents clearly states your thesis topic, the goals of your thesis, and the materials and methods that will be used to in your research. This document allows the thesis committee and the Honors Coordinator a chance to evaluate and approve the project.

FAQ – Will I need special permits or approval for fieldwork? If you are working on private property, you should have written permission from the landowner. Work on state and federal lands also requires permits. All research involving human subjects also requires Institutional Review Board approval prior to the commencement of research. For all summer research, permits or IRB approval must be obtained in the spring. For IRB examples, contact Dr. Smoki Musaraj.

April, Junior Year –  Prospectus Defense

FAQ – What is a prospectus defense? In a prospectus defense, you provide a brief oral presentation of your prospectus (i.e., your thesis topic and description of how you will complete your honors thesis research). During the defense, your thesis committee and the honors coordinator will ask questions about your research. The defense provides feedback on your proposed research and allows the committee to express any concerns about the project. If you successfully defend your project, you may begin your thesis research.

Summer Before your Senior Year – Complete Thesis Research

FAQ – What if I need lab space or equipment to complete my research? To successfully complete your thesis on time, the majority of your research or lab work for your thesis should be completed the summer before your senior year. You should arrange and discuss lab space or equipment use with your thesis adviser before the beginning of summer. Many faculty members travel during the summer or conduct their own research. Only full-time faculty members, not department staff, can grant access to labs or equipment, so please make arrangements early in the spring semester.

FAQ – What if I need to conduct field research to complete my research? To successfully complete your thesis on time, the majority of your field research for your thesis should be completed the summer before your senior year. You should discuss your data collection methods with your adviser to establish a proper timeline for data collection and analysis. (Note: These should already be outlined in your prospectus – you should not be doing research before your prospectus defense.) Again, many faculty members will be gone in the summer, so all advice, access to equipment, signing of approvals and permits should be arranged early in the spring semester.

Fall Semester, Senior Year – Writing Schedule

FAQ – How long will it take me to write my thesis? Writing and revision should be carried out in accordance with a timeline established with your adviser.

FAQ – How much time will I need to revise my thesis? Every student is different and some students will have fewer revisions than others, but your timeline in the spring will be short. You should also allow two weeks for faculty to return detailed comments on your thesis. Writing and revision should be carried out in accordance with a timeline established with your adviser.

Spring Semester, Senior Year

  • Have status meeting with your adviser no later than the Week 2 of the semester.

FAQ – What is a status meeting? Here you should you should confirm your writing/revision schedule with your adviser. At this time, you must convince your adviser that you will finish this semester. You must choose a final title for your thesis. To be to be included in the Ohio University Commencement Program, the departmental honors coordinator must email a student's name and thesis title to the College of Arts & Sciences by the end of the fifth week of the semester; you can remind your adviser of this during this meeting.

  • Schedule a thesis defense date. You and your adviser should decide on a defense date by March 1.

FAQ – Is a Thesis Defense required? A public thesis is optional and decided by your adviser. A thesis defense provides a public forum for you to discuss your research. It is also a good practice for discussing your work with potential graduate advisers or presenting at a professional conference.

FAQ – What is a Thesis Defense? A thesis defense is a public presentation of your research. Here you will present your thesis research. Afterward you will be asked questions by the audience. Some defenses will include a closed-door portion, which includes more detailed questions about your research by the thesis committee. This latter option is decided by your committee. The departmental honor coordinator will attend both the public and closed door portions of the defense.

  • Revise and submit final thesis no later than April 1.

FAQ – Who needs to read and approve my thesis? Your defense committee, which includes your primary adviser will approve the thesis. The Departmental Honors Coordinator also needs to read and approve the thesis.

FAQ – When is the final draft actually due? Your Thesis is due to the college by the last day of classes before exam week. To turn your thesis into the college, you most complete a signed thesis form. This form must be signed by your thesis adviser and the Departmental Honors Coordinator. Your thesis will be read by all signing members of the thesis form, so you most allow these individuals two weeks prior to the last day of class to review your completed and formatted thesis.