Application to the Lemelson Honors program takes place during each Fall quarter. Only Junior status students who have declared Anthropology as their major or minor may apply to participate in the program.

Faculty Mentor

In order to participate in the program, applicants must secure at least one Faculty Mentor. The mentor must be a faculty member of the Department of Anthropology. The faculty must agree to be the student’s mentor prior to the student’s submission of application to the program. It is recommended for students to secure a second faculty mentor but it is NOT required.

Students’ work with their faculty mentor(s) is paramount to the success of their research project. Students should schedule regular meetings with their mentor(s), the frequency of which may vary from one quarter to the next.

Lemelson Honors Retreat

All students in the Honors program (Juniors and Seniors) are required to attend the annual retreat. The retreat will typically take place during one of the first weekends in Spring quarter (from Friday to Sunday). The annual retreat is organized around structured and unstructured activities and offers an opportunity for bonding between and within the two cohorts and for informally interacting with the UCLA Lemelson Honors Faculty. All expenses related to the retreat will be covered by program.

Lemelson Honors Conference

The annual Lemelson Honors Conference is an event during which all senior Honors students must present their research project and findings.  The Anthropology Department’s faculty and students as well as the Seniors’ family and friends are invited to attend the event. The conference is held toward the end of Spring quarter (week 8 or 9). All Honors students must attend this event.


Students will engage in data collection during the summer months between their Junior and Senior year. In some cases data collection may begin earlier. Funding of all approved expenses related to data collection will be provided by the program.

Required Courses

Participants in the Lemelson Honors program are required to enrollment into a sequence of five consecutive courses starting in Winter quarter following their admission to the program. These courses are organized to provide a structure and training for the development, execution, analysis and write-up of students’ research project.

Junior Year

  • Anthropology 191HA: Beginning Seminar (preparation of proposal) – Winter quarter
  • Anthropology 191HB: Field Methods (preparation for research) – Spring quarter

Senior Year

  • Anthropology 191 HC: Data Analysis – Fall quarter
  • Anthropology 191 HD: Writing for Anthropology – Winter quarter
  • Anthropology 191HE: Preparing for Publication and Conference Presentation – Spring quarter

Course Descriptions:

Anthropology 191HA (Winter quarter) focuses on the preparation of a proposal for independent research, to be written with the input of your individual Honors Committee. Students select and confirm the second advisor early in the quarter. The seminar consists of guest lectures by faculty from each of the four fields of anthropology, a presentation by a representative from the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, and two sessions in the Young Research Library on materials and technologies for anthropological research. Students present their research proposal in class near the end of the quarter. The proposal identifies a clear research problem and provides a literature review (a history of ideas and previous research on the subject). Because application deadlines for summer funding often arrive in the winter quarter and require writing grant proposals, students need to formulate a research question before the quarter begins and make completion of a research proposal the top priority during this quarter. Check with the Honors Advisor for current funding deadlines.

The 191B seminar (Spring quarter) prepares the student for independent research. Students may be asked to prepare an extensive literature review on their topic or perform pilot studies to test their field or analytical methods. The seminar also addresses more practical matters such as research clearances (including Human Subjects), research ethics, and health and safety information. Students are exposed to research methods from each of the subfields of anthropology.

The 191HC seminar (Fall quarter) is directed toward the analysis of data collected during the preceding summer.  The objective of this class is to help students organize, analyze, and present the data for their Honors projects.  Analysis of all data should be completed well before the end of this quarter. Students work individually, with faculty, or in working groups to acquire the skills needed to arrange and process data.  The final product of 191HC is a completed and organized analysis of the findings collected by the student.  The students’ individual Honors committee members should also be provided with the analysis by the end of Fall quarter.

The 191HD seminar is taken in the Winter quarter. The course has the specific aim of helping students assemble, organize, and compose all of the components of the Honors paper, but it also is designed to aid in writing generally.  The course stresses skills related to writing clearly and in a formal anthropological style, organizing the major elements of a lengthy research paper (e.g., introduction, literature review, results, analysis, conclusions), and editing effectively.  Students read and provide constructive criticisms of published materials and materials produced by fellow students.  Students prepare several drafts of the Honors paper during the quarter and submit the final version for the department (approximately 25-30 pages of text) at the quarter’s end.  Each student should also be providing documents to his/her Honors thesis committee members during the quarter so that they can provide feedback.

In this course, students will turn their Honors theses into a publishable article by engaging in intensive editing of their own and their peers’ work. Students will learn how to make their thesis shorter and more focused. Students will practice skills, such as: how to write an effective abstract, how to clearly convey the importance of their research by situating it within the context of previous research, present their findings in a concise manner, use citation protocol and other conventions, and more. Students will also be taught how to select key aspects of their thesis research and prepare an oral presentation of their work through instruction and practice sessions. Students in this course are required to present at the annual Honors Conference in Spring quarter. Students are encouraged to present their Honors research at other appropriate conferences whenever possible.

Honors Thesis

As part of the successful completion of the Honors Program, students are required to file an approved, final Honors thesis by the end of Winter quarter. The paper reflects original research and is approximately 25-30 pages of text. It argues a central thesis of anthropological relevance developed by the student and his/her individual Honors Faculty Mentor(s), and is guided by the faculty instructors of Anthropology 191HC and 191HD. As students work on their thesis, they need to provide their mentor(s) with draft versions for evaluation. The final version needs to be signed by the students’ Faculty Mentor(s) and the instructor of 191HD. Once signed, a bound copy of the Honors thesis must be submitted to the department during Winter quarter exam week.

Honors Progress and Evaluation

Continuation in the Honors program from quarter to quarter is not guaranteed. Students must enroll into all required courses, submit an Honors thesis consisting of original research, and attend all required events to meet the minimum requirements of the program. In addition, students must develop their projects in a timely fashion: attend class, meet deadlines, attend class, perform assignments with excellence, and conduct their research, analysis, and writing with appropriate effort. Any Honors Faculty Mentor or instructor of the Honors Courses (191HA, HB, HC, HD) may recommend the discontinuance of a student who falls far behind or consistently fails to adhere to Honors standards. Problems arise only rarely, but when necessary, continuance decisions are made by the full Department Honors Faculty Committee. Grades in the Honors courses are assigned at the discretion of the instructor based on individual student’s effort and performance. Students who meet all the Honors requirements satisfactorily and obtain the Honors recommendation from their faculty Mentor(s) and the Honors Faculty Committee, will graduate with Departmental Honors designation. This designation is officially reported to the Registrar’s office and appears on students’ diploma.

Requirements for Departmental Honors at Graduation

  • Maintenance of a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in all University course work completed.
  • Maintenance of an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher in all upper division anthropology course work.
  • Completion of the Honors thesis and required courses: Anthropology 191HA, 191HB, 191HC, 191HD, 191HE.
  • Submission of one signed copy of the Honors thesis to the Honors Advisor by the end of Winter quarter.
  • Participation in the Honors Annual Retreat in Spring quarter
  • Participation in the Honors Week Conference in Spring quarter.
  • Recommendation from the student’s Faculty Mentor(s) and the Honors Faculty Committee.