Undergraduate Degree Programs

Anthropology is the study of historical and contemporary cultural and linguistic diversity throughout the world. It is a broad field that is divided into four areas:

  • Socio-cultural anthropology, the study of contemporary societies;
  • Archaeology, the study of the material remains of past societies;
  • Linguistics, the study of the structure and principles of language; and
  • Biological anthropology, the study of human evolution and human biological diversity. 

    Our faculty include specialists in the first three of these areas. We have four faculty members who are archaeologists, specializing in American prehistoric and historical archaeology, the ancient Middle East, and Africa. Four faculty are linguists, with particular expertise in Native American, Middle Eastern, and Melanesian languages. The majority of the faculty are socio-cultural anthropologists, whose teaching and research interests span the globe and engage numerous theoretical and topical interests. Particular geographical concentrations include the cultures of East Asia, Indonesia, Melanesia, the Caribbean, Native Central and South America, Europe, and North America.

    There are currently over 100 students majoring or minoring in anthropology. While this number represents a diverse group of students with a wide range of interests, it is small enough to maintain a high degree of faculty-student interaction. Many students have worked with faculty conducting ethnographic and linguistic research as well as archaeological field and laboratory work.

    The 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, and you may also include up to two courses taken outside of our department (which means either courses transferred from other colleges, or from study-abroad programs, or just courses taken in related disciplines, such as Sociology or History).  Students must earn a grade of C- or better in any course that will count toward the major, and all courses counted toward the major must be taken for graded credit.  Normally at least 18 credits must be taken after declaration of the major.  Courses taken outside our department 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 be approved by your major advisor if you want to count them toward the Anthropology major.

    Read More on Declaring an Anthropology Major

    Concentrations within the Anthropology Major

    Photo by Colleen WinkelmanStudents who major in anthropology have the option to work toward one of three 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.

    We offer the following Concentrations within the Anthropology Major:

    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

    Note:  Majors seminar on appropriate topics can, in most cases, count towards the concentration electives.  Further, with the exception of the Concentration in Culture and Communication requirement that students take the concentration elections in addition to their linguistics distribution requirement, students may use concentration courses towards the distribution requirements as needed.

    To declare a concentration, students should meet with the faculty advisor for that concentration:

    The Anthropology Minor

    Students from many other majors often wish to minor in anthropology. Courses taken in other disciplines may not count toward a minor. A maximum of one anthropology course taken at another institution may count toward the minor, including study-abroad programs, if approved by a minor advisor. 

    The general requirements for an Anthropology Minor include:

    • Six three-credit courses, including:
    • One course in each of the three areas of anthropology: Socio-Cultural, Archaeological, and Linguistic Anthropology, and
    • At least one course in Anthropology (at any level) that fulfills the major's Beyond-the-West perspectives requirement. 

    Read More about the Anthropology Minor

    In addition to our general minor, the Department of Anthropology also offers a special Minor in Global Culture and Commerce (GCC) that focuses on the intersection of two sets of issues:

    • Cultural translation and cross-cultural knowledge, and

    • Local and global economic and cultural development.

    This minor speaks to a longstanding interest of College students for a liberal arts perspective on the world of global development and international business.

    The Global Culture and Commerce Minor

    The Department of Anthropology offers a minor in Global Culture and Commerce (GCC) that focuses on the intersection of two sets of issues: (1) cultural translation and cross-cultural knowledge, and (2) local and global economic and cultural development. This minor speaks to a longstanding interest of College students for a liberal arts perspective on the world of global development and international business.

    The GCC minor consists of six total courses, three electives from the Anthropology Department, two electives from other departments, and a capstone course.  This minor also requires one language course (in any language taught at UVA) beyond the 2020 level. 

    Admission to the minor is by application, and interested students should contact the Program Director for more information.

    Read More about the Global Culture and Commerce Minor

    The Distinguished Majors Program (DMP)

    Students with superior academic performance are encouraged to apply for the departmental Distinguished Majors Program. The DMP culminates in writing a thesis demonstrating independent study of high quality. Students must apply for admission to this program, usually by April 15 of their third year of studies.  Requirements include a GPA of at least 3.4 in all courses taken as part of the anthropology major and agreement of a faculty member willing to serve as advisor, among others. During their DMP year, students register for three credits of ANTH 4997 in the fall and ANTH 4998 in the spring.  Both courses are devoted to independent research and writing in consultation with their faculty advisor(s).

    If you are interested in applying for the DMP in Anthropology, please contact our DMP Director.

    Read More about the Distinguished Major Program

     

    The MA Promotion Program ("4+1 BA/MA")

    This program is designed for UVA undergraduates who wish to pursue a master's degree in anthropology to deepen their understanding of the many possible ways to live in the world.  This program aims to allow students to complete the MA program in as little as one additional academic year, meaning that students can graduate with both a BA and an MA in a total of just five years. But this takes planning!  Students typically apply in the spring of their 3rd year of studies (though 4th-Year students are still eligible)We urge those who might be interested in this program to plan ahead, starting by discussing the possibility with your major advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Programs.

    Read More about the MA Promotion Program

    How to Declare an Anthropology Major or Minor

    To start the process of declaring a major or minor in Anthropology, please send a brief email to the Director of the Undergraduate Program, just expressing interest in declaring an Anthropology major or minor, and they will arrange a time for an appointment. At the meeting the Director of the Undergraduate Program will assign you a member of the Anthropology faculty, who will serve as your major advisor. When you meet with your advisor, she or he will finish signing you up and help you with your major or minor declaration form. 

    On the day of your appointment with your major advisor, bring along a major or minor declaration form (pick it up in Monroe Hall or find it online) and access your Academic Requirement Report in SIS. You don't need to print out the whole Academic Requirement Report (which can be many pages), but you do need to remember which Anthropology courses you have taken and when you took them. It also helps to look over the Anthropology section of the Undergraduate Record before your meeting, so that you have an idea of what the requirements are and what courses you would like to use to complete your major or minor.

    Once you have declared the major or minor, SIS will continue to track the fulfillment for your Anthropology major requirements. We encourage you to make an advising appointment with your advisor every term.

    For additional information contact the Director of the Undergraduate Program.

    Beyond the Major...

    Anthropology majors develop expertise in historical and contemporary cultural and linguistic diversity as well as skills in reading, research, and writing that give them excellent preparation for many professional careers.  Some students go on to graduate school to become professional anthropologists, archaeologists, and linguists and pursue careers in teaching, research, museum work, or applied anthropology and archaeology. Many go on to careers in law, medicine, social services, and other professions, where they find their work greatly aided and enhanced by their background in anthropology. In addition, many businesses are interested in hiring anthropologists, archaeologists, and linguists today, since our current era of globalization demands an appreciation of different cultural and linguistic perspectives.  And, finally, we have a wonderful program that allows enterprising undergraduate majors to complete both the BA and an MA in anthropology with just one additional year. See the links below for more information on these topics.

     

     

     

    Join our Virginia Anthropology Society!

    The Virginia Anthropology Society is a society of undergraduate anthropology majors who wish to deepen their exposure to alternate worldviews. It is comprised of students involved in the wide-ranging discipline, including archaeology, linguistics, and socio-cultural anthropology. Our fundamental goal is for members to interact with fellow anthropology enthusiasts and engage with topics of anthropology beyond the classroom. To do so, we facilitate conversations between undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty via social events, speaker series, panel discussions, and advertisement of our peers' work.

    For more information about people to contact or activities planned for this semester, see our Virginia Anthropology Society Page.

    Have You Thought about Study Abroad?

    The University of Virginia encourages undergraduate students to consider spending some portion of their time in college studying abroad, and we make an enormous number of varied programs available to students. Study Abroad is a wonderful opportunity to learn a different language, of course, but it's also so much more than that. Anthropology in particular encourages its majors and minors to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities to travel and gain experience living in a different environment, and a great number of our students do so at some point during their time at UVA.

    For more information, see the International Studies Office Page.

    The BA/MA Program in Anthropology

    This program is designed for UVA undergraduates who wish to pursue a master's degree in anthropology to deepen their understanding of the many possible ways to live in the world.  This program aims to allow students to complete the MA program in as little as one additional academic year, meaning that students can graduate with both a BA and an MA in a total of just five years. But this takes planning!  Students typically apply in the spring of their 3rd year of studies (though 4th-Year students are still eligible)We urge those who might be interested in this program to plan ahead, starting by discussing the possibility with your major advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Programs.

    Click Here for More Details on the MA Promotion Program

    What Can You Do with an Anthropology Degree?

    According to the US Department of Labor, there are just not enough anthropologists!  The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that "Employment of anthropologists and archeologists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occuptions." For the full report, see the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook report on Anthropologists and Archeologists.

    So what kinds of jobs to anthropology majors pursue after they graduate? See our Careers Pages for details!

    For additional information contact our Director of Undergraduate Programs.