Undergraduate Student Resources

The Department of Anthropology offers academic and financial support, internships, study abroad opportunities and more to make the student experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Study Abroad and Research Opportunities

Departmental Honors

Dedicated students who meet departmental requirements are encouraged to undertake a thesis research project in their senior year. Honors students complete ANTH 3995 (Undergraduate Research) and a research project on a topic of their choice.

Department Research Funding

Students should think about their honors research project before beginning their senior year in order to apply for funding opportunities. Department faculty hold grant-writing workshops at least once a year to help students prepare proposals for these awards, which include the Jane B. Hart Award and the Lewis Cotlow Fund.


Before beginning to research their honors thesis, students must:

  • Meet the CCAS requirements for special honors.
  • Be currently majoring in anthropology, biological anthropology or archaeology
  • Have earned a grade of A or B in at least 50 percent of all coursework at GW
  • Hold a GPA of 3.5 or higher in courses required for the major (including required courses hosted by other departments, such as biology courses necessary for the biological anthropology major)
Research Director and Reader

Every honors student must choose a research director from the Anthropology Department faculty, as well as a second person who serves as a reader.

Directors may have full-time, part-time or research appointments in anthropology. They may also be based off campus; however, all research projects with off-campus personnel must also have an on-campus director, or refer to the undergraduate advisor, to ensure that deadlines are met and the research scope is appropriate.

Readers do not have to be GW faculty members, but they must have experience in the topic. With the director's assistance, the student should select this reader before doing a majority of the work on the thesis. Both the research director and the reader must review and comment on the draft and approve the thesis before the department can recommend the student for special honors to the Columbian College Office of the Dean.

Honors Candidate Request

Honors applicants must submit a request to their research director no later than the first semester of senior year. The request must contain:

The project title

  • A brief plan of the research involved
  • Any special resources needed
  • The research director's signature, indicating his or her agreement on the scope and nature of the research
  • Undergraduate Research Proposal Form, which is used to submit the undergraduate thesis

Undergraduate Research Proposal Form (PDF)

Thesis Content

The honors thesis can be based on lab work, fieldwork or library, museum or archival research.


  • Define an interesting problem, using appropriate references from the literature to show what other scholars have done to address this problem
  • Set out hypotheses, if appropriate
  • Discuss the research necessary to test the hypotheses or make significant progress toward investigating the problem
  • Carry out the research
  • Write up results, showing how they contribute to solving or understanding the research question
Typical Thesis Organization
  • A Title Page (PDF)
  • Abstract giving a factual summary of the work for interested readers throughout the world. It should summarize the contents and conclusions of the paper, refer to new information that is being presented and indicate its relevance. It should not be an introduction or an outline. Avoid the passive voice. Abstracts of honors papers typically run from 75 to 150 words.
  • Table of contents, if appropriate.
  • Introduction to the problem and statement of hypotheses, if appropriate.
  • Setting of the problem as well as any prior research on it. Explain why this particular topic was chosen.
  • Methods used to research the problem.
  • Summary of the data collected.
  • Results or analysis of the data.
  • Conclusions drawn.
  • References cited, often a list of 30–35 sources.
  • Appendices, if appropriate. These could include photos, data, tables too long for the text, etc.
Formatting Requirements
  1. The final product may range from 30 to 75 pages of text, data and illustrations, depending on how many semesters of research were conducted.
  2. Follow University Formatting Requirements for font size, typeface and margins. Picture captions, map legends, etc., may be in other faces and sizes. Document should be double spaced, but long quotations, picture captions, footnotes and endnotes, bibliographic entries and lists in appendices may be more tightly spaced.
  3. Follow the GW Libraries’ CCAS Master’s Thesis Sample Format exactly on page numbering and title page format. Note that the title page contains the full name and official academic title of the thesis director(s), but not of the reader.

January 15 — Winter graduation

May 1 — Students being considered for a Jane B. Hart Award, spring or winter graduation. If May 1 falls on a weekend, theses are due the following Monday.

May 15 — Spring graduation

Your home college must review your final semester grades before agreeing that you meet the requirements for honors, and the notation on your permanent record is not made until after graduation.

Please submit the Honors Thesis Approval Form to the Anthropology Department as well.

Hart Award and More Research Funding


GW Resources 

Undergraduate Anthropology Advisors
Find the faculty member assigned to your major or minor program.

Academic Commons
Book peer tutoring or review sessions, research and writing help, step-by-step study strategies, language support and more.

GW Libraries
Explore on-campus libraries, electronic periodicals and online research databases.

Language Center
Sign up for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses, practice with language meet-up groups, take a language exam or talk to someone about waiving language requirements.

Writing Center
Make a free appointment to work with a writing consultant on your next project, from the brainstorming phase through drafting and revising.

Center for Career Services
Take advantage of career and job search coaching, self-assessment services, résumé development, networking and more. (Services offered to students and alumni.)

Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research
Search and apply for undergraduate fellowships and research awards.

Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Apply for a fellowship to support a research project carried out over several weeks or across multiple semesters.

Sigelman Undergraduate Research Enhancement (SURE) Awards
Apply for a $500 grant to fund research project supplies, conference travel, off-site archival visits, videography and more.

Student Accounts Office
View current tuition and aid information. Applicants who request financial aid will be considered for all forms of aid available based on criteria including undergraduate GPA, courses taken, recommendations, extracurricular activities and GRE scores.

Student Financial Assistance
Look for scholarships, Federal Work-Study positions, military benefits and other funding assistance.

Student Research Commons
Find paid research jobs, fellowships, seminars and other events available in the GW community.

Undergraduate Research Award
Apply for this $5,000 research award, open to first-years, sophomores and juniors.

Department Research Funding