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Senior Portfolio


A 1-credit capstone course designed to help seniors develop and construct their senior portfolio. Included in the course is the departmental “portfolio review.” (Graded) PREREQ: senior standing


The purpose of the student portfolio is to provide both the anthropology major and the department an opportunity to develop a “best foot forward” evaluation of individual performance, ability and expertise outside of the GPA and individual letters of recommendation. The portfolio will be useful not only for anthropology majors continuing on into graduate training, but it will also be useful for majors entering the job market in any area. Students will begin their portfolios during their sophomore year and will seek preliminary counseling from their advisor regarding elements for inclusion and methods of review. During the junior year the faculty will collectively review all portfolios and provide critiques and suggestions. Prior to graduation, students will present their portfolios to faculty and students in much the same way that poster presentations at AAA annual meetings are presented.


The portfolio is designed to provide a student with an opportunity to present his or her ideas, accomplishments, creativity and critical skills to the body of work achieved during their years in the program. The following objectives should be considered in assembling a portfolio:

  1. Creation of a portfolio that accentuates an individual’s grasp of anthropological concepts and methods with maturity and critical acumen.
  2. Assembly of materials that represent a breadth and diversity of abilities within the four fields of anthropology.
  3. Development of an anthology of student work that represents the highest quality of research, fieldwork, synthesis and professional presentation.
  4. Demonstration of an ability to communicate anthropological concepts and methods to audiences outside of the university community.

Portfolio Contents and Organization:

Each portfolio will be submitted either via a blackboard portfolio site or personal website.  The items in the portfolio should include:

I. Vita: The vita provides basic information about you–address, educational background, work experience, etc. Usually a vitae is a 1-2 page document that provides a quick overview of who you are and what your experiences have been. Many people revise their vitae each time they apply for a job, stressing aspects of their background for the skills required. Vitae often contain information on the type of position desired and a one or two sentence summary of your professional interests.

II. Personal Goals Statement: The personal goals statement describes your career plans and how you plan to accomplish this.  This can be formatted as a cover letter or graduate school statement of purpose.

III. A writing sample, including papers and/or published materials: As a student you may not have a great deal of published material, but you may have contributed to a student project or field experience that results in publication. You should include this material as well as papers which received positive feedback from professors and other students. An effort to extend these written presentations to public forums (Boise State University undergraduate conference, Great Basin conference, AAA meetings) are encouraged. If you read a paper at a conference and received feedback on it, you might want to include a short summary of the feedback.

IV. Field Materials or Reports: These materials may be included in somewhat raw form, but you might also want to add a personal statement or critique of what you did and how you did it. Solicit critiques of your work from supervisors and fellow students. You should also include reports and critiques of internship and independent study projects.

V. Photographs or artistic materials: Many anthropology students use photography, tape or videotape recordings, newspaper articles, diaries or other documentary materials as a part of their undergraduate work. You might want to select out of this material a representative sample of your work.

VI. Letters of support: Letters of support, thanks and criticism for public or extra-university activities such as presentations, lectures or workshops. You might include here any letters of support or acknowledgment you received, particularly if they reflect your use of cultural insights and anthropological methods.

VII. Additional material: Anything that illustrates your personality and perspective that you think characterizes your undergraduate experience. You may want to include any honors, certificates and awards you have received.

There are sample portfolios available from department faculty.  They will give you an idea of how to organize your portfolio and what kind of materials should be included.  Come in and ask to see them!