Honors in Anthropology

There are two honors tracks that students may pursue at Appalachian State University: University Honors and Departmental Honors. These options are in addition to the Latin Honors (Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Cum Laude) conferred by the Registrar's Office (based solely on the overall GPA at the time of graduation). Eligible students are also encouraged to apply for membership with Lambda Alpha, the National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology.

University Honors

University Honors is a vertical model curriculum that students pursue throughout their time at the University, as part of the residential Honors College program. Students must be admitted to the Honors College either as an incoming first year student or as an internal applicant (generally during the freshman or sophomore year). For more information, please visit http://honors.appstate.edu/

Department Honors

Department Honors focuses on the student's work in the major. Students are invited to join the departmental honors program in their sophomore or junior years. They must have a major GPA of at least 3.45 and take six hours of honors courses before enrolling in ANT 4510 (for which they will write an Honors Thesis). The completion of an Honors Thesis also fulfills the Senior Capstone requirement.

Students who complete nine hours of honors work, including ANT 4510, will graduate with "honors in anthropology." Students must earn a grade of "B" or higher on all honors coursework taken to fulfill any honors requirements.

The normal timeline to pursue this option is to identify a committee the second to last semester before graduation after completion of two courses and to write the Honors Thesis in the last semester before graduation while enrolled in ANT 4510. With the help of the Departmental Honors Advisor, students will select a faculty mentor who will serve as the Honors Thesis Advisor, in addition to 2 additional readers. For more information, please contact the Departmental Honors Director, Dr. Alice Wright (wrightap@appstate.edu).

If interested in pursuing departmental honors, please save the following forms to edit and return to the department.

Declaration of Intent to Pursue Departmental Honors (PDF, 530 KB) 

ANT Honors Course Contract Application (PDF, 139 KB)

Honors Thesis Proposal Form (PDF, 1.2 MB) 


Time Line for Departmental Honors 

Before the Last Semester:

  • Successfully take two “honors sections” of an ANT course. Requires filling out “Honors Contract Application” and “Special Course Form” (use 410 section number; e.g. 2230-410). Student must receive a B or higher to earn honors credit. If they do not, they will only receive regular credit.

Second to Last Semester:

  • Identify a committee: Honors Thesis Director/Advisor, Second Reader (ANT), Third Reader (ANT/Outside).
  • Register for an independent study (recommended) with Honors Thesis Director/Advisor.

Last Semester:

  • 1) Take ANT 4510 with Thesis Director
    Enroll in ANT 4510 (requires completion of “Honors Contract Application” and “Special Course Form”) before the end of the first week of classes with all signatures

  • 2) Honors Thesis Proposal 
    Turn in “Honors Thesis Proposal Form” by the end of the second week of classes with all signatures.

  • 3) Defending the Thesis
    Students are responsible for scheduling their thesis defense on a date and time agreed upon by their thesis committee (director and both readers) prior to its final approval. Make sure to reserve a room that is large enough to accommodate additional attendees other than their committee, and one that has appropriate technology needed by the student to conduct the presentation. The defense should be scheduled at least one to two weeks prior to the first day of exams to allow time for any recommended changes or additions requested by the committee upon completion of the defense. Once the defense date is confirmed, students must email Departmental Honors Director, Dr. Alice Wright (wrightap@appstate.edu), with the time, date, building and room number, and abstract so that it can be placed on the department calendar.  Students should provide a penultimate copy of the thesis to the committee for review at least two weeks in advance of the defense. The defense itself should is comprised of three parts: 1) Public presentation with Q&A from public and/or the committee (30-40 mins); 2) Closed door specific meeting with the committee for them to ask questions and provide detailed feedback and commentary; 3) Committee votes once the student has left the room (pass/fail). The student is then called back into the room and told of the vote outcome along with any changes that need to be made before final approval is given (signatures on the title pages). 

  • 4) Grading the Thesis
    The thesis director alone is responsible for assigning a grade for the thesis, and this does not need to occur until grades are due at the end of the semester, thus allowing time for any changes the student must implement. If there are substantial changes required before a passing grade can be assigned, it is possible to assign an incomplete, though this will delay graduation.

  • 5) Submit Your Final Thesis
    The Honors College and University Library are no longer collecting hard copies of theses. However, the Department of Anthropology requests a hard-bound copy of the thesis and will pay for it. In addition, all theses must be included in the NC Docks Digital Archive. Contact Dr. Wright for guidance in how to complete this. Emails will go out to those cleared by their Thesis Director. 

Examples of Honors Theses


  • Patton, Caitlin Rose. Desire, Economy and Peasant Agency in Agrarian Middle America. 
  • Stevens, Karen Anne. Determination of Burial Chronology at the Kirkland Site Using Fluoride Dating. 


  • Johnson, Derek. 3D Laser Scanning Applications in Archaeology: An Analysis of the Nextengine Laser Scanner, RapidForm Explorer and Portability of Scanned Artifact Data. 


  • Goodwin, Joshua M. An Archaeological Survey of Rockshelters within the Grandfather Mountain Attraction Area, North Carolina
  • Holm, Caila Anne Wiblitzhouser. Mistaking Original Intent: The Native American Graves Protection and Reparation Act After 20 Years of Trial and Error. 
  • Polito, Daniel J. The Geophysical Search for Camp Mast. 


  • Rothenberg, Kelsey. Biomedical Hegemony in an age of Neoliberal Globalization. 


  • Long, Rebecca Elizabeth. Seeing India: A Hyperreal Yoga Fantasy. 


  • Snouse, Sarah Jo. Epilepsy: Beyond the Brain. 
  • Spruill, Carmen Dianne. Using Spatial Analysis to Determine the MNI of Mass Graves. 
  • Parnell, Emily Katherine. Bioarcheology and Climate Change in the Public Realm. 


  • Giaconia, Evangeline. “Look, Son, This is Your Country": Spatializing Influence on Perceptions of Indigeneity. 
  • Melby, Autumn R. An Experimental Study of Potter Handedness in the Pre-Contact Period of the Appalachian Summit. 


  • Heller, Jacob. Natural Selection and Genetic Drift Reexamined in the Contet of Late Pleistocene Human Evolution and the Hybrid Niche.
  • Kirby, Jen. Real Wilderness on the Appalachian Trail.
  • Rawls, Anna. Image, Sound, Gesture: The Aesthetics of Protest Culture amidst the Trump Era.
  • Waugh, Rees. Materializing Community through Practice: Identity, Community, and Craft in Happy Valley, North Carolina.


  • Cross, Amber. Site Function and Occupational Patterns at Colvard II (31AH266).
  • Kitteringham, Lia G. Petroglyphs in the Southern Appalachians: Landscape, Memory, and Meaning.
  • Winnicki, Liv. A Study of Gender and Ritual through Women's Corn Grinding Activities in the American Southwest.


  • Blumhardt, Cameron. Bridging the Gap between Small-Scale Archaeological Sites and the Public: A Virtual Garden Creek Exhibit..
  • Kitteringham, Lia G. Petroglyphs in the Southern Appalachians: Landscape, Memory, and Meaning.
  • Rodriguez McDowell, S. Maria. Latinx Identity and Multiethnic Erasure in the Digital World. 
  • Romero Perdomo, Gaby. Blood Pays for Bananas but Who Pays for the Blood?: The Relationship between Multinational Corporations and Violence as Shown by Chiquita.


  • Anderson, Rachel. State of Being: A Chronotopic Study of La Nación and Crime in Dirty War Argentina.
  • Katona, Grace. The Nature-Culture Divide: Alive and Well in Settler Colonial Epistemologies.
  • Mobley, Lauren. Identifying Suburbia: Competing Place-Making Processes and Shifting Materialism within Global Capitalism.
  • Vorreyer, Bryce. Sensationalizing the Archaeological Record: How Modern Cultural Perspectives and Professional Competition Influence Evaluations of Material Culture. 


  • Braun, JS. The Power of Creation: Commodification, Authenticity, and Identity in the Folk Art of North Carolina.
  • Coleman, Lucy. Ethnographic Excursions into Neoliberalism: Historical Trajectories and Outcomes in Mexico and Chile.

Lambda Alpha National Collegiate Honors Society

Lambda Alpha is the National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology. At Appalachian State University, we often have ten to twenty new members join each year. Membership is open to students who have completed at least 12 semester hours of anthropology and who have a GPA in these courses of at least 3.0 and an overall GPA of at least 2.5.

Membership allows students to apply for an annual national scholarship of $5,000 graduate stipend and a $1,000 undergraduate stipend. Lambda Alpha graduation stoles in white satin ($25) and cloisonné pins ($10) are also available for purchase by graduating seniors for commencement ceremonies. New members will receive a certificate at the end-of-year departmental celebration for graduating seniors.

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who meet the above requirements are eligible to apply for membership. The invitation goes out in the Spring semester (deadline is set by the national organzation but typically will be in early March or April). If you would like to join, please email the Department Honors Director, Dr. Alice Wright (wrightap@appstate.edu).