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Assessment criteria

The Senior Thesis of each graduating major will be evaluated for the presence and effectiveness of:

  • Statement of an anthropological research question
  • Identification and explication of a theoretical perspective appropriate to the research question
  • Analysis of relevant disciplinary journal articles
  • Appropriate use of anthropological vocabulary
  • Application of appropriate research and/or analytic techniques


Missing completion deadlines and/or submission of an unsatisfactory thesis will almost certainly result in a failure to graduate on time.


  • Works regularly with advisor
  • Meets deadlines (see Timeline) with acceptable chapters
  • Turns in a complete, well-written, properly formatted document by the last day of class of the spring semester

Passed with Honors

The “Honors” grade is awarded by vote of  Department faculty.  Honors designation is awarded to exceptional projects:

  • That are worthy of submission to a scholarly journal
  • Whose subject or methods are original and significant
  • Whose conclusions are fully supported and defended against reasonable challenge
  • That are fully grammatical and demonstrates graceful language.

Students who earn honors on their Senior Capstone Experience and a Dean’s List average in their major course work may be eligible for departmental honors, a distinction that is noted both on the student’s permanent record and in the commencement program [Washington College Catalog].


Not Passed

A “Not Passed” grade is awarded by vote of Department faculty.  A grade of “Not Passed” is almost always a consequence of:

  • Student’s failure to work consistently with advisor or to accept advisor’s reasonable guidance
  • Submission of completed thesis after the College’s deadline (see Timeline)
  • Rarely because, despite advisor’s guidance, it fails to meet standards of acceptable writing