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 Dr. Timothy J. Smith (smithtj2@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) 

Honors Contract Application (PDF, 139 KB)

Honors Thesis Proposal Form (PDF, 1.2 MB) 


Time Line

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:

  • Turn in “Honors Thesis Proposal Form” by the end of the second week of classes with all signatures.
  • Enroll in ANT 4510 (requires completion of “Honors Contract Application” and “Special Course Form”). 
  • Thesis Defense should be open to the public and oral defense completed with committee vote prior to commencement. 

NOTE: The Second and Third Readers should receive the penultimate draft of the Thesis at least two weeks in advance of the planned oral presentation/defense.


Examples of Honors Theses


  • Porter, Noah. Reiki Healing at Ancient Wisdom: The People and Beliefs Behind A Spiritual Center’s Event.


  • 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. 


  • Blevins, Kelly Elaine. An Analysis of Osseous and Dental Stress Markers at Ianamgaon. 
  • 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. 
  • Poteat, Tabitha Lynn. The Death of the Atlatl and the Rise of the Bow in Southern Appalachia. 
  • Valder, David. A Post-Sugar Cane Politics: Cultivating Economic Diversity in the ‘Rurban’ Dominican Republic
  • Wolf, Kirstie Lei. Appalachian State University: A Case-Study of Prevention and Educational Resources for Interpersonal Violence. 


  • Clark, Shannon. Native Land Foreign Capital: An Historical and Anthropological Analysis of Resource Extraction on the North Slope Borough of Alaska
  • Kopkin, Zachary. Land of Hope: Charting Development and Children’s Lives in Uganda Through Education. 
  • Logsdon, Kenneth. ¡Cómo produce la tierra! A Documentary on Life, Land, Family and Food Among Mexican American Community Gardeners. 
  • Rothenberg, Kelsey. Biomedical Hegemony in an age of Neoliberal Globalization. 


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


  • Cobb, Emilie Marie. Evaluation of CementoChornology as an Aging Method for Inexperienced Researchers. 
  • 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. 


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. If you would like to join, please see Dawn Flaherty in the Anthropology Office, 348 Anne Belk Hall, with a check (made out payable to "Lambda Alpha" for $25) by 5:00pm, Monday, April 1, 2019. If you are planning to graduate in May and would like to order pins/stoles for graduation, please indicate this as well and include payment. If you have any questions about the process, please email the faculty sponsor, Dr. Timothy J. Smith, at smithtj2@appstate.edu.