Revision, March 2021.
The Honours Anthropology Program is for outstanding anthropology majors who want to deepen their engagement with anthropological topics and theories by taking an even wider range of anthropology classes and by writing an honours thesis. The honours thesis, written in the student’s last year at McGill, may be based on library research, archival research or fieldwork. Each honours thesis is supervised individually by a member of the anthropology faculty. Thesis topics are chosen in consultation with the student’s supervisor. The thesis supervisor is usually someone the student has previously taken a class with and whose research interests align with their own.
Recent honours theses in anthropology have addressed a wide range of exciting topics including: student activism at McGill, human-animal companionship among homeless in Montreal, art programs for psychiatric outpatients, an analysis of an “ethnographic” novel, archaeological research on Food, Feasting, and Politics in the Wari Empire, Tourism, food, and heritage in Belize, and Moche metallurgy.
There are prerequisites to enter the honours program: A student must have a CGPA of 3.50 in all Anthropology courses in addition to an overall CGPA of 3.0. To graduate with honours in anthropology a student must take a total of 60 credits in anthropology including 6 credits of honours thesis work.
If you are interested in becoming an honours student in anthropology, make sure to talk to the honours advisor in anthropology by the end of U1. The honours advisor will answer your questions about your eligibility for the program and help you begin thinking about a thesis topic and potential supervisor.
Honours students select their courses as specified below. Students may take a maximum of 9 credits at the 300 and 400 level offered by other departments if their departmental program adviser approves them.
- 200/300 Level
A maximum of 36 credits of 200- and 300-level courses (of which a maximum of 21 credits may be at the 200 level and a maximum of 6 credits may be Special Topic courses.)
- Core 350 Level
A minimum of 9 credits of core courses at the 350 level are selected from the following: History of Anthropological (352) or Archaeological theory (359); Theories of Culture and Society (355); Archaeological methods (357); The Process of Anthropological Research (358).
- 400/500 Level
A minimum of 9 credits of Anthropology courses at the 400- or 500-level, with a maximum of 3 credits as a Special Topic course.
- Required thesis course ANTH 490 (6 credits in one term) or ANTH 490D1 and 490D2 (3 credits per term)
ANTH 490 serves as our fundamental honour’s thesis course which involves supervised intensive reading, archival work, and most important the preparation of a research paper. In order to write your honour’s thesis you must find an honour’s advisor in the preceding semester (usually at the end of the Winter term of your second or third year). When you first contact potential advisors you should prepare a well thought-out topic and a rough outline to discuss. The best honour’s theses are those where students have conducted fieldwork or field research, usually during the previous summer.