Honors Program in Anthropology

Spear throwing exercise

The Departmental Honors Program in anthropology permits students who have demonstrated ability in their coursework to pursue an independent study and research project of high excellence and receive recognition for this accomplishment. Projects leading to anthropology honors are normally completed in the senior year, although a project may be started in the junior year. Honors students will work through a faculty member who is willing and available to advise them, with the concurrence of the department chair. The Departmental Honors Program in anthropology can be completed separately from or in coordination with General Education Honors and College Honors.

Program Details

Admission Requirements

  1. You must be a declared anthropology major. 
  2. You must have achieved at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average at Rhode Island College and at least a 3.25 grade point average in the major. 
  3. You must submit an application to the department chair, secure a faculty sponsor and produce a preliminary proposal to be reviewed by the Departmental Honors Committee. Note: Due to the possibility of faculty leaves, you should anticipate obtaining decisions from the Departmental Honors Committee only during the normal academic year from September to June. 
  4. You must submit proposals that have been reviewed by your advisor to the Departmental Honors Committee by April 15 for work beginning in the fall semester and by Nov. 15 for work beginning in the spring semester. This date coincides with deadlines for independent or directed study. 

Honors Project

The honors project is flexible to provide opportunity for initiative. 

  1. The project may be centered on a single investigation or be in two or three phases of either related or unrelated directions.
  2. The project may be built on classroom experiences, previous personal experiences or represent totally new directions.
  3. The project may be based primarily on library research, field research or both.

Normally, six semester hours of directed study distributed over two semesters are earned within the major. A reading course or internship may be substituted. Any additional hours earned may be credited toward the degree requirements outside the major.

In order to enhance the possibility of a successful application, you should initially write the proposal in such a careful manner that it will reflect acceptable standards of method, scope and scientific inquiry. This includes special attention to the requirements of the college Committee on the Use of Human Participants in Research.

The Departmental Honors Committee will make copies of drafts and final versions of each honors project available to interested faculty within the timetable described below and at least one week prior to any final vote on that project. Members of the department are encouraged to take an active role in the activities of this committee.

Honors Proposal

A proposal for anthropology honors should include the following:

  1. An abstract of approximately 200 words for public dissemination.
  2. A clear statement of the topic, identifying the key research questions(s) or topic(s).
  3. A clear statement regarding the relationship of the proposal to current theory in the discipline.
  4. A clear statement of the materials and/or methods to be used.
  5. A bibliography of completed preliminary readings supporting the proposal and additional bibliographic material yet to be examined.
  6. An outline of the sequential development of the proposed project(s) with a timetable for completion of each phase, which will include:
  • A date for submission of the final draft to the advisor that is no later than March 1 (spring) or October 1 (fall).
  • A date for submission, in its final form, to the Departmental Honors Committee that is no later than April 1 or November 1.

A student can fully participate in the College Honors Program activities (late April) and have "graduating with honors in anthropology" published in appropriate college graduation publications if these dates are met. However, students are strongly encouraged to establish deadlines that are realistic – reflecting the time constraints of their project, their advisor, the Departmental Honors Committee and various college programs that require notification. Proposed projects should be designed to be submitted and completed well in advance of the deadlines listed above.

Departmental Honors Committee

Every three years, in April, the faculty shall elect or nominate for appointment by the department chair a Departmental Honors Committee of three persons. Each person shall serve for three years. Duties shall begin at the opening of the college year and continue for the academic year. 

The department chair will be an ex-officio non-voting member of the Departmental Honors Committee. 

Other individuals, including the student's advisor and individuals from other programs in or outside Rhode Island College, may be invited to serve on the Departmental Honors Committee for the duration of an honors project as voting members. 

Administration of the Departmental Honors Committee 

The Departmental Honors Committee shall respond favorably or unfavorably to each proposal which is appropriately submitted. 

The Departmental Honors Committee is charged with accepting only those proposals that demonstrate: 

  1. Depth of analysis. 
  2. Capability of excellence of execution. 
  3. High standards in the written presentation. 
  4. Compliance with requirements set forth in section III, above, regarding specific project components. 
  5. Conformity to deadlines as established in sections II and III above. 

The Departmental Honors Committee has the responsibility to require any improvements necessary for the student to have a reasonable expectation of achieving honors if the final project plan is approved by the Departmental Honors Committee. 

A majority vote of the Departmental Honors Committee is required to approve the final project plan. 

The Departmental Honors Committee chair shall be responsible for maintaining a record of proposals and required revisions. Five copies of this record and the final decision regarding the proposal shall be made: one each for the committee, the student, the advisor, the department chair, and the Honors Program. 

The completed project will be evaluated as follows: the project advisor will attach a note of transmittal and a review of the written project report will be prepared by the Departmental Honors Committee. A majority vote of the committee is necessary to approve the final project. 

The Departmental Honors Committee will communicate to the student its decision regarding the final written report in writing and signed by all three members, by April 8 or November 8. This notification will be sent to the chair and to the Honors Program. 

Upon approval of the completed project the student will make an oral presentation in a departmental colloquium convened for that purpose or in an equivalent public forum. This presentation will normally be given after submission and acceptance of the honors project. 

One copy of the final report will remain in the department files, one copy will be returned to the student with official approval noted and two copies (following an opportunity for necessary or desired grammatical or spelling – but not substantive – revision by the student) will be submitted to Adams Library for the College Archives. 

If the Departmental Honors Committee reaches a negative decision, their communication of that decision to the student by April 8 or November 8 will be accompanied by explicit and specific requirements concerning required revisions. The student may then resubmit the report for reconsideration by the Departmental Honors Committee by April 15 or November 15 or follow the regular college appeal process. The Departmental Honors Committee will reach its final decision and communicate that decision to the student by April 22 or November 22. 

The Departmental Honors Committee will advise the department at the first regularly scheduled department meeting each semester and may report occasionally to the department concerning the status of honors projects.