Anthropology Major

Our major consists of eleven courses (33 credits) taken within a program approved by a departmental major advisor. You may include courses taken before you declare the major. You may also include up to two courses taken outside of our department--whether these are courses transferred from other colleges, or study-abroad programs, or just courses in related disciplines, such as Sociology or History.  Such courses may count toward the major's area requirements, but normally they can't be counted toward our above-3000-level requirement. Please note that non-Anthropology courses must ber approved by your major advisor if you want to count them toward the Anthropology major. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in any course that will count toward the major, and none of the major courses can be taken on a CR/NC basis. Normally at least 18 credits must be taken after declaration of the major.

To declare the major, you must have completed at least one course in the Department of Anthropology. 

The major requires a distribution of courses in the following areas:

  • TWO from among the three anthropological foundations courses listed below. We recommend that students take all three, but we only require two. Students interested in pursuing the Distingjuished Majors Program (DMP) should take both ANTH 3010 and ANTH 3020:
    • ANTH 1010
    • ANTH 3010
    • ANTH 3020
  • One course at the 2000-level (or above) in each of these areas within anthropology:
    • Socio-cultural anthropology
    • Archaeology
    • Linguistics
  • One research-based course. All anthropology majors gain experience in doing a research project leading to a significant paper or other major work that can be used later in their applications for graduate school, internships, fellowships, and jobs. Students may complete this requirement in either of the following ways:
    • Majors seminars in anthropology (ANTH 4591). Ideally students would enroll in these seminars during their 3rd year.  They all fulfill the College's Second Writing Requirement (SWR), and major and minors will have priority enrolling;
    • Well-prepared students may consider taking an appropriate 5000-level course and should consult with both the seminar instructor and their major advisor.
  • At least three courses at or above the 3000 level. (Students can not use ANTH 3010, ANTH 3020, ANTH 4591, or ANTH 4993 to fulfill this requirement.) These courses must be taken in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Virginia.

Students frequently find that Anthropology provides a cognate discipline that can be paired with other studies in the humanities and sciences. Many students choose to double-major in anthropology and another discipline. Up to six credits in another department major may be counted toward an Anthropology major if they are consistent with a student's overall program. Specific courses, therefore, may be counted toward both majors, but the student must receive approval from a departmental advisor in advance.

Exceptions to any of these requirements are made only upon written petition to the Undergraduate Committee of the Department of Anthropology. No petitions are accepted after the completion of a student's seventh semester.

A number of informal activities are associated with the department. Among these is the Virginia Anthropology Society of the University of Virginia. Majors are encouraged to attend meetings of the group and to attend lectures and symposia sponsored by the department. 

Here is a worksheet which lays out the major (and concentrations) and on which you can track the courses you take.

Anthropology Concentrations

Students who major in anthropology have the option to work toward one of four specialized concentrations within the major, which will appear on their University transcript. To do so, students must complete specific concentration requirements in addition to all other major requirements. A student may choose to specialize in only one concentration. To declare a concentration, students should meet with the faculty advisor for that concentration.

The Anthropology Department offers the following Concentrations:

  • B.A. in Anthropology with a Concentration in Culture and Communication
  • B.A. in Anthropology with a Concentration in Indigenous Worlds
  • B.A. in Anthropology with a Concentration in Medical Anthropology, Ethics, and Care

Distinguished Majors Program in Anthropology

Students with superior academic performance are encouraged to apply for the departmental Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in which they write a thesis demonstrating independent study of high quality.

Independent Study in Anthropology

For students who want to work on an individual research project, ANTH 4993 allows considerable flexibility. There is no formal limitation on the kind of project as long as a faculty member is willing to direct it, but the projects should not duplicate what is already available in a regular course. Applicants should have their projects roughly defined when they apply to the faculty member. The normal requirements for ANTH 4993 are a reading list comparable in substance to those in regular courses and a term paper and oral examination at the end of the semester.

Anthropology Department Course Offerings

Courses at the 1000 and 2000 levels have no prerequisites and are open to all students. Courses at the 3000 and 4000 level are advanced undergraduate courses and often assume that students have already taken ANTH 1010 or other relevant 2000-level courses. These are general prerequisites and individual professors may consider other courses within or outside the department to be sufficient preparation. Courses at the 5000 level have third- or fourth-year status and prior course work in anthropology as a general prerequisite. These courses are designed primarily for majors and graduate students, but are open by permission to other qualified, sufficiently motivated undergraduates.

For authoritative, current information about course offerings, please see the SIS Catalogue.

Below are links to department lists of categories of courses:

  • General and Theoretical Anthropology Courses
  • Courses in Principles of Sociocultural Analysis
  • Courses in Linguistic Anthropology
  • Courses in Archaeology
  • Courses for Independent Study and Research
  • Courses that count toward the Culture and Communication Concentration
  • Courses that count toward the Indigenous Worlds Concentration
  • Courses that count toward the Medical Anthropology, Ethics, and Care Concentration


Many of our Anthropology BA graduates (out in the real world) have reported back to us that when they apply for jobs related to human social services (jobs in health care, mental health children and families, HIV/AIDS, schools, disabilities, substance abuse, criminal justice, aging, management, international, advocacy, and other areas of social work), those jobs also often require some background in statistics or statistical analysis. The anthropology degree is appreciated, but employers are looking for candidates who can handle statistics. Therefore we encourage students to add a course in social science statistics to their electives in order to position and market themselves for certain areas of the job market.  See the suggested list below for some good courses that would work with an Anthro major.


Anth 4840 Quantitative Analysis I
Anth 4841 Quantitative Analysis II


Soc 3130 Introduction to Social Statistics
Soc 5020 Introduction to Statistics
Soc 5120 Intermediate Statistics


Psych 3005 Research Methods and Data Analysis I
Psych 3006 Research Methods and Data Analysis II

“The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at”