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Social Science Building

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice. Updates may be found on the Academic Senate website:

Anthropology stands at the nexus between the social sciences, biological sciences, and humanities. It is dedicated to understanding the worldwide diversity of social institutions and cultural traditions, past and present, as well as to studying our nearest nonhuman relatives. Because there is increasing awareness of the importance of anthropological factors in domestic and international relations, as well as in a number of health-related fields, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology has become accepted as a valuable preparation for careers in law, medicine, business, government, education, and various areas of public service. Anthropology majors can qualify for a California teaching credential from UC San Diego through the Education Studies Program. The department offers a full range of courses in archaeology, as well as in biological, social, cultural, psychological, political, and linguistic anthropology. Courses include offerings that focus on specific societies or regions of the world—especially Latin America, Asia, and Oceania—as well as more theoretically oriented topics. The department offers undergraduate major and minor programs, a senior thesis program, an undergraduate internship program, and a graduate program leading to the doctoral degree. Students also may enroll in archaeological field school and study-abroad programs in the Middle East and Latin America.

The Undergraduate Program

Lower Division

Lower-division offerings in anthropology are concentrated in the core series: ANTH 1, 2, 3. These courses are designed to provide a comprehensive orientation to the ideas and methods of anthropological investigation and a familiarity with case materials from a number of different societies (ANTH 1), prehistoric eras (ANTH 2 and ANTH 3), and historical periods (ANTH 3). Students who intend to major or minor in anthropological archaeology are advised to take ANTH 3. Students who intend to major or minor in biological anthropology must take ANTH 2 (or the equivalent), which is prerequisite for most upper-division biological anthropology courses. Complementing these courses, and serving as supplementary alternatives in the core series, are two further core courses, which may not be offered every year: ANTH 4, an introduction to linguistic anthropology, and ANTH 5, an introduction to the human skeleton. There are currently three further lower-division courses that introduce more specialized topics: ANTH 20, ANTH 21, and ANTH 23, which may not be offered every year. Either ANTH 21 or 23 (or one of several upper-division anthropology courses) satisfies the campuswide DEI (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion) requirement, and ANTH 23 satisfies the campuswide requirement for a course in American Cultures. Students who have already completed ANTH 103 (or the older sequence ANPR 105, 106, and 107) may not receive academic credit for ANTH 1. Other lower-division courses are offered from time to time and will vary from year to year.

Upper Division

The Department of Anthropology offers many general interest and specialized courses at the upper-division level. In addition to satisfying the requirements of the anthropology major, many of these may satisfy the requirements of other majors.

The Minor

Students may choose a minor in anthropological archaeology, biological anthropology, or sociocultural anthropology. Each consists of seven anthropology courses. At least five of these courses must be upper division, and at least four should be taken at UC San Diego. Transfer credits from other anthropology departments are usually accepted. Study Abroad credits are acceptable at the discretion of the undergraduate adviser.

The Major

To receive a BA degree with a major in anthropology, the student must meet the requirements of Revelle, John Muir, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt College, or Sixth College. Additionally, the student must meet the following requirements of the Department of Anthropology:

  1. A minimum of twelve four-unit upper-division courses in the Department of Anthropology must be completed.
  2. The undergraduate core ANTH 101, 102, and 103 must be completed (included as three of the twelve courses required under 1, above). All or some of the courses in this sequence are prerequisites for some other upper-division courses. This sequence consists of
    • 101 Foundations of Social Complexity
    • 102 Humans Are Cultural Animals
    • 103 Sociocultural Anthropology
  3. No courses taken in fulfillment of the above requirements may be taken on a Pass/Not Pass (P/NP) basis. [An exception is made for some courses accepted from other schools and for one independent study course (199), or one directed group study course (198), and a combination of one internship seminar (ANBI 187A, C or ANTH 187B) with the corresponding academic internship project (AIP 197). However, this exception does not extend to ANTH 101, 102, or 103, or to transfer credits accepted in lieu of them. These must be taken for a letter grade.]
  4. For the BA degree, a minimum average of 2.0 is required, both as an overall average in all anthropology courses and in the ANTH 101, 102, and 103 sequence considered separately.
  5. At least seven of the upper-division courses submitted for the major must be taken at UC San Diego. The seven normally must include ANTH 101, 102, and 103. A transfer course may be accepted in lieu of one of these core courses if, in the opinion of the director of Undergraduate Studies, the content is substantially the same. In no case will transfer credit be accepted in lieu of more than one of these courses.
  6. All undergraduate majors in anthropology must satisfy the requirements of at least one of the three concentrations—anthropological archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology—described below.

The Major in Anthropology with Concentration in Archaeology

The department offers a BA degree in anthropology with concentration in archaeology. A minimum of at least twelve upper-division courses in anthropology are required. Specifically, this degree requires

  1. The Anthropology Core Sequence: ANTH 101, 102 and 103
  2. Three additional four-unit upper-division courses with the prefix ANAR
  3. Six additional four-unit, upper-division elective courses within the Department of Anthropology

Some students may elect to take field-school courses such as ANAR 190 or study-abroad courses in archaeology that are more than four units. In these cases, the total number of units for such courses will be applied to the satisfaction of archaeology requirements 2 and 3. For example, a twelve-unit field-school course with the ANAR prefix may be used to satisfy requirement 2 or to partially satisfy requirement 3.

Students majoring in anthropological archaeology are encouraged to take the field-school ANAR 190 or ANAR 119.

The Major in Anthropology with Concentration in Biological Anthropology

The department offers a BA degree in anthropology with concentration in biological anthropology. A minimum of at least twelve upper-division courses within and beyond anthropology are required. Specifically, this degree requires

  1. The Anthropology Core Sequence: ANTH 101, 102, 103.
  2. The Biological Anthropology Concentration Requirement: ANBI 111.
  3. Three additional four-unit upper-division courses with the prefix ANBI.
  4. Five additional four-unit, upper-division elective courses. At least one of these five electives must be taken from an approved list of biology courses. This list is available from the undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Anthropology. Each of the remaining four electives is to be drawn from that list or must be an upper-division anthropology course.

The Major in Anthropology with Concentration in Sociocultural Anthropology

The department offers a BA degree in anthropology with concentration in sociocultural anthropology. A minimum of at least twelve upper-division courses in anthropology are required. Specifically, this degree requires

  1. The Anthropology Core Sequence: ANTH 101, 102, 103
  2. The Sociocultural Concentration Requirements:
    Any three of the following seven course options:
    • ANSC 118. Language and Culture
    • ANSC 120. Anthropology of Religion (previously ANGN 120)
    • ANSC 121. Psychological Anthropology (previously ANPR 107)
    • ANSC 122. Language in Society (previously ANGN 149)
    • ANSC 123. Political Anthropology (previously ANGN 151)
    • ANSC 124. Cultural Anthropology (previously ANPR 106)
    • ANSC 125. Gender, Sexuality, and Society (previously ANGN 125)
  3. One additional ANSC course focusing on a particular region, country, or religion (e.g., Indigenous Peoples of Latin America, Modernity in Brazil, Global Islam)
  4. Five additional four-unit upper-division elective courses within the Department of Anthropology

Senior Thesis Program

The senior thesis is prepared during two successive quarters of ANTH196, senior thesis research, and is counted as two of the twelve upper-division courses required for a major. Students are admitted to the program by invitation of the faculty. Under normal circumstances, eligibility for the program requires the student (1) to have completed eight upper-division courses, including the core sequence, and (2) to have achieved grade point averages of at least 3.9 both overall and in the anthropology major by the end of the junior year. Some of these requirements may be waived by vote of the faculty. During the first quarter of the program (fall quarter), students select their research topic and write a preliminary paper. Those who receive a B+ or better will be invited to continue in the program and complete a thesis on the chosen topic by the end of the winter quarter. The thesis will be evaluated by a committee consisting of the thesis adviser and one other faculty member appointed by the department chair in consultation with the thesis coordinator. The thesis adviser has the sole responsibility for the grade the student receives in the winter quarter. The reading committee advises the faculty on the merit of the thesis for departmental honors. A senior thesis is required in order to be considered for department honors at commencement.

Students who wish to be considered for the senior thesis program should notify the department’s undergraduate adviser by the second week of the spring quarter prior to the senior year.

Internship Program

The department sponsors an internship program that allows students to gain academic credit for supervised work in the Museum of Man, the San Diego Zoo, or the Wild Animal Park. The three tracks of the program allow internship experience in (1) biological anthropology, (2) ethnology and archaeology at the museum, or (3) primate behavior and conservation at the Zoo or Wild Animal Park. A combination of on-campus and on-site supervision makes these courses intellectually provocative but practical and applied. They are an especially valuable complement to a major or minor in anthropology. One four-unit internship (AIP 197) taken with the corresponding two-unit internship seminar (ANBI 187A, C and ANTH 187B) can be counted as one of the twelve upper-division courses for the anthropology major or minor. Applications to these programs are accepted during the first seven weeks of the quarter before the one in which the internship is to be done.

Academic Enrichment Programs

Faculty Mentor Program

The program offers research experience to any junior or senior with a GPA of 2.7 or higher who wants to prepare for graduate or professional school. Participants work as research assistants to UC San Diego faculty members during the winter and spring quarters. Students present their research papers at the Faculty Mentor Research Symposium at the conclusion of the program in the spring.

Summer Research Program

The program offers full-time research experience to underrepresented (i.e., minorities, women, and low-income, first-generation college) students who are interested in preparing for careers in research or university teaching. Juniors and seniors who have a 3.0 GPA or above and plan to attend graduate or professional school are eligible to participate.

Study Abroad

One of the best ways to understand the concept of culture is to live in a different culture for a time. Anthropology majors are encouraged to participate in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) or UC San Diego’s Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP). Students considering this option should discuss their plans with the faculty undergraduate adviser before going abroad, and courses taken abroad must be approved for credit to the major by the adviser upon return. More information on EAP and OAP is provided under “Study Abroad Program” in the UC San Diego General Catalog. Interested students should contact the EAP staff in the International Center.