Senior Capstone

The Senior Capstone Experience strengthens the student anthropologist’s ability to think critically and conduct research independently.


To develop independent-minded and self-selected research with the guidance of a faculty advisor. 

The Senior Capstone Experience in anthropology is a substantial research and writing project completed at the end of the student’s course of study. Involving active learning and integration of materials within the major, the project centers on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with a faculty member in this department. The project must be approved by the thesis advisor.

While the SCE is completed during the senior year, the initial proposal may be formulated at the end of the junior year under the thesis advisor’s supervision.

The SCE may be a thesis or a project. Projects include an oral history, a museum exhibit, an ethnographic film project, or a body of materials to be used in elementary or secondary schools. Each project is accompanied by a written document that discusses how the project was researched and carried out and addresses the importance of the project in terms of anthropological theory. A thesis will have a substantial theoretical focus but also may include any of the project forms.

Students will give an oral presentation of their work upon completion. The presentation may be made to faculty only, or student peers may be invited to participate. The oral presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

Senior Capstone Experience

2020-2021 Deadlines

October: Detailed outline with annotated bibliography

December: First chapter

January: Second and third chapters

February 8: Final thesis if submitting for Lambda Alpha Award

April 2: Complete Rough Draft

April 23: Final thesis to advisor

May 7: Final thesis to college



A thesis should be approximately 30-50 pages of written text in length and the written documentation for a project should be a minimum of 20 pages in length. No thesis may be longer than 100 pages of text. Front matter and back matter may be as long as necessary, in the judgement of the thesis advisor. 

Theses generally have a minimum of five chapters: an introduction, three chapters of substance, and a conclusion. These are general guidelines that may be modified in discussion with the thesis adviser.

Use a standard 12-point book font. Generally, Palatino font seems the most attractive of the Macintosh fonts, but you may use Times, Helvetica, Arial, or Courier if you prefer. If you have another preference, just clear it with your advisor. Do NOT use Chicago or other display fonts and don’t use Courier.

For instructions on the format and style of the thesis follow the Chicago Manual of Style as found in Kate Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Sixth edition.

We require that theses and projects be fully grammatical and free of spelling errors.

All borrowed work must be fully acknowledged.

The only acceptable citation forms for anthropology theses are the AAA style (for cultural anthropology theses) or SAA style (for archaeology theses).

Submit two copies of the final version of your thesis. One copy should be bound in a black spring-back thesis binder, which will be returned to you with its grade noted on the title page. The Department will forward the second copy (in a manila folder or envelope with a butterfly clasp) to the Miller Library for microfilming.

Your completed thesis will become part of the Miller Library’s permanent collection and will be added to the Library’s on-line catalog. As a matter of pride, you want to make sure that it represents your best work.

Double Majors

Seniors contemplating a double major may undertake a larger project satisfying the requirements of both majors only with the consent of, and under the guidance of faculty teaching the two disciplines on this campus. Students may not undertake a triple major.