Honours Program

The honours program in Archaeology is designed for majors who wish to pursue a research topic independently and in greater depth than can be achieved in a single semester. Students will develop their research and writing skills and have the opportunity to work with individual faculty members.

Two semesters are required to complete the honours courses (ARCH 498 & ARCH 499). Both honours courses require supervision by a faculty member. 

Honours students must successfully complete 132 units, of which 60 units must be at the upper division level and of these, a minimum of 50 units must be in upper division archaeology courses. Honours students must complete all course requirements for the major program as well as ARCH 376, 498, and 499.

Archaeology Honours Program Requirements

Application Requirements

Prior to application to the honours program, the following is required:

  • A minimum Archaeology GPA of 3.33
  • Completion of ARCH 282/372, with a grade of B or better
  • A minimum CGPA of 3.00
  • Completed application form (this form is require at the start of ARCH 498 and ARCH 499)

Have questions? Review the information below, or contact the Archaeology Undergraduate Advisor.

Benefits of the Honours Program

The honours program is intended to help students develop their research and writing skills and provide the opportunity to interact directly with individual faculty members. An honours degree demonstrates increased preparedness to take on graduate-level research and can enhance your academic profile in graduate school applications. An honours degree will help hone your skills in the following areas:

  • Solidify Work Habits: With guidance from your supervisor, you will be expected to work on your thesis independently and set your own deadlines. Good time management skills are essential to complete your honours thesis and will set you up for success in graduate programs and future research.
  • Improve Writing Skills: Honours research helps to build on the skills you've learned when writing term papers. A strong track record in research and writing will help set you up for success for future graduate or professional work.
  • Develop a Research Problem: If you have a specific topic of interest, honours research is a good way to investigate it. You can bring your own research idea to a faculty member or reach out to them to discuss projects they may want developed.
  • Connect with Faculty Supervisors: An honours project will give you experience working one-on-one with a faculty member while doing your undergraduate degree. Relationship-building with an academic supervisor is an important component of graduate work, and honours will give you a head start. Supervisors are also a good source of reference letters!

Finding a Supervisor

The best way to find a faculty member to supervise your honours research is to reach out to someone whose research and/or teaching interests align with yours. While not necessary, you may want to provide them with a one-page summary of your research proposal and a copy of your transcript. The best time to begin the search for a supervisor is one-to-two semesters before you plan to start. For example, if you plan to start your honours work in the fall semester, we recommend looking for a supervisor in the preceding spring semester. Once you and your supervisor have agreed on a research topic and plan, fill out and sign the honours application form.

Developing Your Research Program

There are two types of honours research programs in Archaeology.

  • Library Research: based on data which has already been published.
  • Laboratory Research: based on the original analysis of data which have not been studied previously.

Once you and your supervisor have established what research will be done, it is essential to set up a schedule that defines how the work will proceed over two semesters.

  • SEMESTER ONE (ARCH 498 - Honours Reading): During the first semester you will be taking the honours reading course (ARCH 498). This is designed to provide you with the background necessary to undertake the research. At the start of the semester, you and your supervisor should define what topics are to be covered and set deadlines for covering those topics. Typically, this course results in a term paper consisting of the first half of the honours thesis, covering method, theory, and background to the research.
  • SEMESTER TWO (ARCH 499 - Honours Thesis): In the second semester, you will enroll in the honours thesis course (ARCH 499). This will be a closely supervised period in which you develop the original component of your research and write the complete thesis.

Honours Application Form

Previous Honours Students

  • Nikki Simon
    Honours Thesis: Death and Commemoration of the Klondike Gold Rush
    Supervisor: Dr. Ross Jamieson

    Read Nikki's Honours Blog Post in The Debitage Here!
  • Madi Smith
    Honours Thesis: Experimental investigation of the role of upper body strength in the relative efficacy of spears and atlatls.
    Supervisor: Dr. Dennis Sandgathe
  • Damon Tarrant
    Honours Thesis: Application and Examination of Isotopic Methods in Forensic Settings
    Supervisor: Dr. Michael Richards