Senior Theses and Honors
Conducting original research is central to the field of Anthropology. By undertaking original research in Anthropology students develop core skills in critical thinking, research, and written and oral communication. These skills, rooted in the holistic discipline of Anthropology, are widely applicable regardless of your career choice.
Original research for the Senior Thesis may be based on library, laboratory, or field research on a topic that the student has chosen in consultation with their faculty adviser. The Senior Thesis is an opportunity for students to explore a topic of their interest in Anthropology.
Majors with an interest in pursuing original research in anthropology during their senior year identify a thesis topic and advisor during their junior year and submit an application to write a senior thesis to the Honors Coordinator by spring of junior year. The thesis requires:
- Completion of 399 in the Fall quarter of senior year
- Completion of 398 in Winter quarter of senior year
398 may be counted toward the 300-level requirements for the major. 399 is in addition to the 300-level requirements for the major
Honors in Anthropology
Students interested in pursuing honors in Anthropology are required to (1) prepare a 1-2 page project proposal and (2) secure a project advisor during their junior year. The proposal and an email from the advisor attesting to their work with the student should be sent to the Honors Coordinator, Prof. Erin Waxenbaum (firstname.lastname@example.org), by July 1 of the student’s junior year.
Students who write a thesis and whose theses and grades meet university criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors.
Eligibility for honors includes:
- Writing an outstanding senior thesis
- 3.3 GPA overall
- 3.5 GPA in Anthropology
Honors and awards
Students who prepare an outstanding honors thesis will be nominated for honors in anthropology to the Weinberg College Committee on Undergraduate Academic Excellence, which has the final authority to grant the honors degree. All students writing an honors thesis are also eligible for following departmental awards:
- Oswald Werner Prize for Distinguished Honors Thesis in Anthropology
This prize honors Professor Emeritus Oswald Werner’s research, teaching, fieldwork training and administrative contributions. He was a faculty member for 35 years, a department chair, founder, and director of the Northwestern University Ethnographic Field School, and an ardent supporter of undergraduate research.
- Friends of Anthropology Award for Distinguished Honors Thesis in Public Anthropology
This prize recognizes outstanding research that matters to the communities in which the researcher works, addressing important social issues and helping to foster change. The award was established in 2005 with funding from the "Friends of Anthropology at Northwestern" (FAN) Alumni Group.
- Elizabeth M. Brumfiel Award for Distinguished Honors Thesis in Archaeology
See a list of award-winners who have won scholarships and other prizes.
The Honors Coordinator for Anthropology is:
Prof. Erin Waxenbaum