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Department of Anthropology

Requirements for the Major


Anthropology is the most holistic of all the social sciences. Students majoring in anthropology at Vanderbilt take courses in the four subfields of anthropology, each of which looks at humanity from a different perspective. These subfields include cultural anthropology, the study of contemporary society; archaeology, the study of past cultures through their material remains; physical or biological anthropology, the study of biological adaptation, diversity, and the evolution of the human species; and anthropological linguistics, the study of language, linguistic variation, and relationships between language and culture. The central, unifying concept in the four subfields that makes anthropology a holistic discipline is culture. Anthropology students develop a broad understanding of cultural expressions around the world and are encouraged to reach their own personal synthesis of humanistic and scientific studies of the nature of humankind. This preparation is useful in all professional careers.


The major in anthropology requires completion of at least 30 credit hours of course work, as follows:
1. At least three 100-level surveys (chosen from Anthropology 101, 103, 104, and 105) covering the four subfields of
anthropology: cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology.
2. A minimum of three credit hours from each of the groups below:
Group I—Comparative Anthropology and Anthropological Theory: 205, 206, 207, 209, 222, 224, 225, 226, 232, 234,240, 250, 260, 262, 267, 282, 283, 284, 286
Group II—Archaeology and Biological Anthropology: 211,212, 213, 215, 216, 231, 241, 242, 244, 246, 248, 252, 254,270, 272, 273, 274, 279, 280, 281
Group III—Ethnography, Ethnohistory, and Linguistics:201, 203, 208, 210, 219, 231, 246, 247, 249, 275.
3. A seminar on anthropological theory (206 or 284). The seminar may not also be used to count toward Group I credit above.
4.  At least 18 credit hours must be at the 200 level.
5. The remainder of the credit hours must be chosen from ANTH courses not already used to satisfy the requirements listed above
6.  With the approval of the student’s major adviser, a maximum of 3 credit hours for a course taken in another department or program may be counted toward the major requirement. A variety of courses are possible, including
but not limited to those listed below. In each case, the course must be relevant to the student’s program and the student must receive the approval of the director of undergraduate studies.

African American and Diaspora Studies165, 220;  Biological Sciences 205;  History 127, 249;  History of Art 268;  Human and Organizational Development 2660; Latin American Studies 231, 260; Mathematics 127a, 127b; Medicine, Health, and Society 212; Music Literature 160, 171, 231, 250; Religious Studies 130, 254; Sociology 201, 206, 207, 221, 230, 270, 277, 279; Spanish

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In the News

On the death of Patrick Dugan: 

The Department of Anthropology wishes to collectively express our sorrow and pain at the loss of Patrick Dugan. He was an outstanding student and an extremely promising anthropologist. His work in the classroom, the field and his independent studies all demonstrated his sharp mind and enthusiastic spirit. We are grateful to have known him personally and engaged with him academically. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his family and friends.  


Marlon Escamilla has been named Director Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural de la Secretaría de Cultura of El Salvador. 

Op Ed: Covert racism is alive and real by Norbert Ross and Frank Pair

Professor Steven A. Wernke was awarded the Society for American Archaeology’s 2015 SAA Book Award in the Scholarly category for his book, Negotiated Settlements: Andean Communities and Landscapes under Inka and Spanish Colonialism.