Program Requirements

The BA program in anthropology consists of twelve (12) courses, of which at least ten (10) are typically chosen from those listed or cross-listed as Department of Anthropology courses. The requirements for the major are:

  • ANTH 21107 Anthropological Theory
  • One (1) Methods course (ANTH 21420 Ethnographic Methods), or an approved alternative in Archaeological, Linguistic, or Biological Anthropology such as ANTH 28400 Bioarchaeology and the Human Skeleton or ANTH 29500 Archaeology Laboratory Practicum.
  • One (1) Discovering Anthropology class. Designated courses will be added to a list each term. Descriptions will be available on the Anthropology department website.
  • Seven (7) electives in Anthropology.
  • Two (2) electives from Anthropology or from a related discipline, with approval from the director of undergraduate studies. To seek approval of non-departmental courses, submit a completed Course Petition Form (available in Haskell 119) and syllabus for the course(s) to the director of undergraduate studies.  This petition should ideally but not necessarily be submitted before the end of the second week of the quarter in which the student is enrolled in the course.

Students are encouraged to construct individual programs; in so doing, they should consult periodically with the preceptor, the director of undergraduate studies, and other departmental faculty. We strongly urge students who are majoring in anthropology to complete several introductory courses before enrolling in upper-level courses. Anthropology provides a broad view of the human career and condition. Students may select courses widely across all four subfields (sociocultural, linguistic, archaeological, and biological anthropology) within the major, or may focus their work within or across any of the subfields. Students should confer with the director of undergraduate studies before declaring a major in anthropology and must obtain the endorsement of the director of undergraduate studies on the Student Program Form before graduating with a major in anthropology. Students should submit a copy of the approved form to their College adviser.

Students interested in the Anthropology major should endeavor to complete the three required courses (Theory, Methods, and Discovering Anthropology) by the end of their third year. When possible, completion of those courses by the end of second year is recommended as they provide foundational concepts that facilitate understanding of higher level coursework.

Introductory Courses & General Education

Courses designated as Discovering Anthropology provide introductions to some of the substantive, methodological, and theoretical issues of sociocultural, archaeological, linguistic, and biological anthropology. These courses do not presume any previous study of anthropology and may be taken in any order. However, students are urged to complete the general education requirement in the social sciences before taking more advanced courses in sociocultural anthropology. SOSC 11100-11200-11300 Power, Identity, and Resistance I-II-III and SOSC 12100-12200-12300 Self, Culture, and Society I-II-III are particularly recommended.

For a firm foundation in the discipline, at least one Reading Ethnographies (ANTH 216xxx) course is recommended in addition to the required Methods course.

Several sequences that satisfy the general education requirement in civilization studies typically feature anthropological approaches and content. These courses are cross-listed with Anthropology and may be used toward the major if they are not used toward the general education requirement: ANTH 20701-20702 Introduction to African Civilization I-II, ANTH 24101-24102 Introduction to the Civilizations of South Asia I-II, ANTH 23101-23102-23103 Introduction to Latin American Civilization I-II-III, and ANTH 24001-24002-24003 Colonizations I-II-III. With prior approval, other civilization courses (if taken in addition to the courses used toward the general education requirement) can be used toward the Anthropology major, in accordance with the individual student’s needs or interests and up to the two-course limit for non-departmental courses.

The director of undergraduate studies may refer students who wish to emphasize archaeological, biological, linguistic, or sociocultural anthropology to faculty in these fields for assistance in the development of their individual programs.

Readings & Research Courses

When desirable for their individual programs of study, and with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies, preferably in advance, a student may also obtain course credit for supervised individual reading or research (ANTH 29700 Readings in Anthropology).

Students electing to write a bachelor’s essay for honors are urged to enroll in ANTH 29910 Bachelor’s Essay Seminar in winter of fourth year. They also have the option of taking ANTH 29900 Preparation of Bachelor’s Essay, in which the student does supervised reading or research in preparation for the BA essay, in Autumn quarter of fourth year. However, students can only use a total of two independent readings or research courses toward the major, chosen from among ANTH 29700, 29900, 29910, and BA essay seminars in other departments when required for a joint second major. Additional readings and research courses would count as general elective credits.

Field Courses

Students attending field schools or taking courses offered by other universities can solicit approval to obtain course credit (up to the two-course limit for nondepartmental courses) when appropriate for their individual program of study. Credit from other institutions would first need to be approved by the College and then by the director of undergraduate studies, if intended to count toward the major.

Summary of Requirements

  • ANTH 21107 Anthropological Theory (100)
  • One Methods course * (100)
    • ANTH 21420 Ethnographic Methods
    • ANTH 28400 Bioarchaeology and the Human Skeleton
    • ANTH 29500 Archaeology Laboratory Practicum
  • One Discovering Anthropology course § (100)
  • Seven electives in Anthropology ‡ (700)
  • Two electives in Anthropology or approved related disciplines ‡ (200)
  • Total Units (1200)

* Students may also seek approval for a relevant methods course in archaeological, linguistic, or biological anthropology

§ A list of designated Discovering Anthropology courses will be maintained on the Anthropology department website.

‡ A maximum of two reading and research courses (chosen from ANTH 29700 Readings in Anthropology, ANTH 29900 Preparation of Bachelor’s Essay, ANTH 29910 Bachelor’s Essay Seminar, and BA classes from other departments) can be used toward the Anthropology major.


Courses counted toward the major must be taken for quality grades (no P/F grading).

Honors BA Thesis Process

Students who wish to be considered for honors must apply to the director of undergraduate studies before the end of their third year. Eligible candidates must have a GPA of 3.6 or higher in courses in the major and typically a GPA of 3.25 overall. To receive honors, students must develop an extended piece of research via a bachelor’s essay under the approved supervision of a faculty member. BA projects involving alternative media (like film, photography, photo-essay, or art installation) might be acceptable if accompanied by a written text.

To execute a successful BA essay, students should begin considering their research question early on. Students should begin looking for a faculty supervisor in their third year and aim to have a topic identified by the beginning of the fourth year so that they have sufficient time to complete the necessary research and to write the paper. Students writing BA honors papers are strongly urged to enroll in ANTH 29910 Bachelor’s Essay Seminar in Winter quarter of their fourth year. If possible, students should also consider starting their research under the independent supervision of their faculty supervisor in Autumn quarter by registering for ANTH 29900 Preparation of Bachelor’s Essay. Students who take these courses, ANTH 29700 Readings in Anthropology, and/or BA seminars for a second major may only use a maximum of two these courses toward the Anthropology major.

For award of honors, the BA essay must receive a grade of A or A- from the faculty supervisor and from the second reader.  Students being recommended for honors must submit two copies of the completed paper to the program administrator no later than fifth week of the quarter of graduation. The faculty supervisor must be chosen from among the Anthropology faculty. Affiliated faculty may serve with approval of the director of undergraduate study. The second reader may be any credentialed scholar/scientist approved by the director of undergraduate study.

This program may accept a BA paper or project used to satisfy the same requirement in another major if certain conditions are met. Approval from both program chairs is required. Students should consult with the chairs by the earliest BA proposal deadline (or by the end of their third year, if neither program publishes a deadline). A consent form, to be signed by both chairs, is available from the College adviser. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn quarter of the student’s year of graduation.