An honors thesis is a focused exploration of a research question that synthesizes insight from an original fieldwork experience with an in-depth review of the literature. It must involve at least two semesters of work. For some, the honors thesis will involve planning and employing anthropological field methods to shed light on a research question that they investigate in Gettysburg or nearby. For others, the honors thesis will involve developing a theme explored during a summer field school, a semester or summer abroad, an internship, or a service-learning project. In all cases, the student must expand upon a first-hand experience "in the field" by critically engaging with the appropriate literature.
Only declared anthropology majors meeting the following criteria can begin work on an anthropology honors thesis: Members of Lambda Alpha, the national anthropology honor society, are automatically eligible. Those who have obtained a GPA of 3.33 in anthropology and a 3.0 overall by the end of their junior year are also eligible. Others who are close to meeting these eligibility requirements and who can demonstrate focus, drive, and a sincere desire to work on an honors thesis can petition the department by the end of their junior year (consult with your advisor).
Note that the ultimate decision to award honors is made at the end of the student's senior year and is not an automatic outcome of meeting the eligibility requirements to begin a project. Note also that students who begin their honors thesis before the end of their junior year must nevertheless meet the eligibility requirements by this time in order to proceed (although petitions will be considered).
The honors thesis offers motivated anthropology majors an opportunity to develop and pursue independent research on a topic of their own interest that may be drawn from any sub-field within the discipline.