Many anthropology majors who are double majoring consider writing two Undergraduate Theses. An Undergraduate Thesis cannot be submitted for credit to two or more departments or programs. In rare cases, under special agreement between the Undergraduate Thesis advisor and Undergraduate Chair in the Department of Anthropology and equivalent individuals in another department or school, you may petition to use your library or research data (or data set) for two separate Undergraduate Theses, provided that your individual theses are framed within the theory and methods of the individual disciplines and/or departments. We encourage you to read the section
There is no set page length for the Undergraduate Thesis in Anthropology. Since the goal of the Undergraduate Thesis is a formal presentation of a research topic, your thesis must show evidence of substantial research on an issue or problem in Anthropology. In past years, Undergraduate Theses have ranged from 20 pages to 120 pages.
The School of Arts and Sciences administers a number of competitive grants for undergraduate research. These funds can offset costs involved in doing research and analysis related to the Undergraduate Thesis in Anthropology. Detailed information on funding sources for undergraduate research is available through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, >.
Each year the Department of Anthropology awards a prize for the best Undergraduate Thesis. A special committee made up of members of the Anthropology faculty will judge the submitted theses based on writing ability, originality of research, clear presentation of the problem or issue, research design, methodology, theoretical framework, and interpretation. Most of the previous awardees have based their theses on original primary research rather than secondary research or library-based research. The THESIS PRIZE DEADLINE IS the last Friday in March, each year an exact date will be emailed to all anthropology majors. Please contact the undergraduate coordinator with any questions.
The Undergraduate Thesis must include a formal abstract (summary) of 100-200 words at the beginning, immediately following your Title page. Your thesis abstract presents a concise summary of the thesis (research problem or issue, the methods or approach used, and results). The abstract section is not paginated. Do not cite references in the abstract.
Prepared under the close supervision of a faculty thesis director, a senior thesis presents the results of independent research or creative projects. Unlike most term projects, papers and lab reports written in undergraduate courses, the Senior Thesis address questions or issues for which no known or generally accepted answers exist. The goal of the thesis is to contribute something original and valuable to the scholarly, scientific, and/or artistic community. Students who are writing a thesis enroll in UNIV 401 & 402 during their senior year, and are generally awarded either a Degree with Distinction or an Honors Degree with Distinction after the successful defense of their theses.
Please note that there are advantages to completing your Undergraduate Thesis by the end of the Fall semester of the Senior year. If you’re applying to graduate or professional school, post-graduation jobs, or internships, you should consider submitting a complete or near complete version of your thesis by mid-Fall of the Senior year. Having completed (or nearly completed) an original thesis project may improve your chances for admission to graduate or professional programs or establishing a career. The due dates for most graduate or professional schools, graduate scholarships, and internships are mid to late Fall. A completed or near complete Undergraduate Thesis can be emphasized in your letters of application and faculty members’ letters of recommendation, thereby increasing your chances of success.
For her senior thesis, Ice and the Apparent Seasonal Variation of GPS Positions for Alaska, Kelly Kochanski worked with Professor of Geophysis Thomas Herring.
"Many GPS stations show non-tectonic seasonal movement due to seasonal changes in atmospheric pressure, tidal forces, and crustal loading due to snowfall. Although these motions are usually consistent between neighboring stations, we found several stations in western Alaska that appear to move out of phase with the motion of the rest of the state and rise upwards by several centimeters each winter. After detailed analysis of the position time-series of these stations and the local weather conditions, we concluded that these apparent motions are caused by ice accumulating on the station and delaying the GPS signals."
Kochanski will go to graduate school in the Geology Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Midway through Spring semester of the Senior year: Submit the final version of your Undergraduate Thesis to be considered for the Department of Anthropology prize and University-wide prizes.
For her senior thesis, First Autonomous Telescope at Wallace Observatory: Impact and Preliminary Results, Molly Kosiarek worked with Professor of Planetary Sciences, and MacVicar Faculty Fellow Richard Binzel, together with Research Scientist and Director of the Wallace Astrophysical Obseravtory Michael Person
"Building and automating a telescope system, the Small AUtonomous Robotic Optical Nightwatcher (SAURON), I spent Summer 2014 building the dome and choosing all of the other components, Fall 2014 doing preliminary testing on the telescope system, and IAP 2015 gathering data. I gathered data on an eclipsing binary star in order to characterize the system; the data gathered was surprisingly good and I then used it to calculate the R magnitude, delta magnitude of primary and secondary peaks, and the period of the binary system."
Molly plans a gap year in the Boston area before attending graduate school.
Spring semester of the Senior year: Register for ANTH 301: Senior Thesis this semester or the previous semester. We encourage you to submit a revised draft (or if necessary, drafts) to your thesis advisor. Contact the Undergraduate Coordinator if you would like to be considered for the Thesis Prize or Graduating with Honors.
For her senior thesis, Variable Star Photometry in a Secondary School Curriculum, Hollie O'Brien also worked with Professor Richard Binzel.
"I wrote my thesis with the intent to combine my two loves: astronomy and education. My thesis proves that anyone can be a "real" scientist with a shoestring budget. I proved that photometry of variable stars can be performed by anyone using the shoestring budget of only a digital camera along with a laptop. Extrinsic variable star Algol was observed using a 14’’ telescope as well as CCD and had its light curve plotted. In direct comparison, V474 Mon was observed using only a low cost $200 digital camera. Armed with a laptop for data analysis, I plotted V474 Mon's light curve. Lastly, the whole process of research astronomy was applied to a classroom final project setting. Future work includes expanding this thesis into a full semester long astronomy course for high school students."
In the fall Hollie will begin teaching High School Physics at Uplift Hampton Prep in Dallas, Texas. She is looking forward to starting an Astronomy Club where students can perform original variable star research using the process she outlined in her thesis.