Department of Archaeology Honors Guidelines

Students majoring in Archaeology may apply to pursue a course of study leading to graduation with departmental honors. A student applying for departmental honors must be able to work independently and possess the intellectual maturity and self-discipline needed to complete a demanding project in the limited time available. For this reason, this opportunity is generally restricted to students with an overall GPA of 3.5 and GPA of 3.5 within Archaeology, and students must apply during their junior year. In many cases, preparation for honors projects will be undertaken through summer fieldwork or laboratory research prior to the senior year. We encourage students to work with faculty mentors to secure UROP funding for such research. Interested students should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the faculty mentor with whom they propose to conduct their honors research early in their junior year.

Study for departmental honors in Archaeology requires the successful completion of 8 credits of honors courses (AR 401 and AR 402) during the senior year and a substantial research project conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, culminating in a written thesis of significant length and a public defense presentation.

Departmental honors will be awarded if all of the following criteria are met:

  • successful completion of AR 401 and 402 with grades of A- or higher
  • submission of an honors thesis rated as passing by at least two readers: the first reader must be a member of the Archaeology faculty, the additional reader(s) may be faculty members at BU or other institutions
  • a passing grade from two readers following the public thesis defense

Deadlines

Junior Year

April 15: student submits Application for Departmental Honors, including brief proposal and plan of study; document is approved by readers, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and departmental faculty; registration for AR 401 under first reader

Senior Year

November 15: submission of research products required by plan of study for first semester, including (but not limited to) thesis outline with attached bibliography and timeline for thesis completion, to all readers

December 15: feedback from readers on fall semester progress; grade awarded for AR 401—a grade of A- or better is required for continued progress in departmental honors; registration for AR 402 under first reader

March 1: complete thesis draft due to readers

March 10: comments from readers due to student

March 20: final thesis draft due to readers; defense date scheduled and publicized

April 10: public defense held; paperwork submitted to CAS with recommendation for departmental honors

May 1: final version of honors thesis due to readers and department; grade awarded for AR 402

Procedures

After consultation with the first reader and a mutual decision on the scope of the thesis research, the student should complete the attached application for departmental honors in Archaeology. The first reader must complete the recommendation sheet, evaluating the student’s potential for success in this project, and all readers must sign the signature sheet to indicate their approval of the proposal. After the application is signed by the student and all readers, it will be submitted to the department and evaluated and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

In order to make satisfactory progress to departmental honors, students must adhere to the deadlines above and earn a grade of A- or better in AR 401. Students receiving a grade below A- in AR 401 will not be permitted to enroll in AR 402 and will not receive departmental honors. Students enrolled in AR 402 who earn below an A-, who do not receive a passing grade on the thesis from one of the readers, or do not receive a vote for honors following their defense, will not receive departmental honors. In all cases, students will receive appropriate academic credit for AR 401 and 402 regardless of whether they earn departmental honors.

Study for departmental honors is undertaken during the final two semesters of an undergraduate career. In those rare cases where a project commencing before the senior year is approved for an extraordinary reason—such as to allow participation in study abroad—the work is limited to two semesters. In any case where the work is not completed after two semesters, the student will not graduate with departmental honors, although full academic credit will be awarded when the work is complete.

Independent Work for Distinction Application