Students majoring in Archaeology may apply to pursue a course of study leading to graduation with archaeology honors. A student applying for 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 as well as a GPA of 3.5 within Archaeology, and students must apply no later than April 15 of 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 of 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.

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

Earn RIL HUB unit with Honors Thesis:

Students needing to fulfill the RIL HUB unit can register for HUB RL401 when doing an honors thesis or directed study. Important deadlines and information can be found on the HUB website.



Junior Year

April 15: student submits Application for Honors, including brief proposal and plan of study; document is approved by readers, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Archaeology 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 honors program; 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 program honors

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


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 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 and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

In order to make satisfactory progress to 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 archaeology 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 honors. In all cases, students will receive appropriate academic credit for AR 401 and 402 regardless of whether they earn honors.

Study for 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.

Application for Honors Program