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Anthropology Major (BA)

Students declaring a BA in Anthropology build upon the broad foundations of our introductory courses that encompass archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology.  The BA program allows students to engage deeply with the key concepts and methods that anchor sociocultural anthropology.  They will work with informed understandings of culture and social structure to learn about how people across the world make their lives, livelihoods, and communities in particular historical and environmental contexts.  The BA major will introduce students to the range and diversity of human societies and experiences, offering tools that allow for a holistic investigation of human nature, focusing both on the differences and similarities between people across the world. 

The BA offers students an opportunity to explore core issues in sociocultural anthropology through topics such as race, ethnicity, and class; gender and sexuality; power and the production of knowledge; ritual and symbolism; migration, violence and social justice; politics and human rights; economics, development, and the environment, health and well-being.  It provides a foundation for addressing many of the world’s major challenges, including inequality and racism; climate and environmental changes; and political marginalization and oppression. 

The major in Anthropology will introduce students to the distinctive ways that research in sociocultural anthropology is carried out and to the myriad forms through which understandings can be communicated.  In the major, they will learn about anthropology’s strong interdisciplinary collaborations with other fields, such as history, sociology, and public health.  Students will also address issues in the history of anthropology and explore ongoing questions about power, subjectivity, identity, materiality, and epistemology in anthropological research.

Students will complete the BA in Anthropology with an expansive vision of human nature and a recognition of the broad diversity of its different forms.  They will develop skills in ethnographic research and presentation and have a developed understanding of the ethical issues that are increasingly at the center of the field.

A Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology will require a minimum of twelve courses of at least 3 credits each (min 36 credits).

Major code: ANT
12 courses / 36 hours to complete

Students must take:

ANT 202 Concepts and Methods in Cultural Anthropology

Students must choose one of the following courses:

ANT 101 Introduction to Anthropology
ANT 201 Concepts and Methods in Biological Anthropology
ANT 204 Introduction to Archaeology

These courses are designed to give majors a thorough grounding in anthropology and can be taken in any order. It is STRONGLY recommended that they be taken in the sophomore year, if possible, so they may serve as building blocks for additional courses.

1. One foundational course that focuses on a theme or field of research:

ANT 200 / NBB 201 Foundations of Behavior
ANT 201 Concepts and Methods in Biological Anthropology*
LING 201 / ANT 203 Foundations of Linguistics
ANT 204 Introduction to Archaeology*
HLTH 250 / ANT 205 Foundations of Global Health
ANT 207 / IDS 207 Foundations in Development Studies
ANT 208 Foundations in Visual Anthropology
ANT 210 Human Biology: Life Cycle Approach
ANT 230 Medical Anthropology
HLTH 210 / ANT 231 Predictive Health and Society
ANT 252 Fast Food / Slow Food
ANT 260 Psychological Anthropology
ANT 265 Anthro of Gender/Sexuality
Other courses as designated by department.
*ANT 201 and 204 cannot be counted for both A and B.
2. One course that focuses on a world ethnographic area:
ANT 280R Anthropological Perspectives (Topics vary)
ANT 258 / JS 258 Anthropology of the Jews
Other courses as designated by department

The concentration requirement consists of four courses at or above the 200 level within the concentration. Courses taken to fulfill the foundational course requirement (B.1) or area requirement (B.2) may not count toward the concentration.

Each student must choose a concentration at the time of declaration. The concentration may be changed at a later time. Students may choose from among the following concentrations:

The Anthropology of Global Development, Health, and Sustainability:
Areas of study include:
Political Economy and Development
Environmental Anthropology
Food (In)security
Global Health
The Anthropology of Power, Identity, and Social Justice:
Areas of study include:
History, Narrative, and Politics
Power and Socioeconomic Inequalities
Race and Racism
Law, Power, and Representation
Ethnic and Cultural Diversity
Gender and Sexuality
The Anthropology of Mind, Body, and Health:
Areas of study include:
Psychological and Cognitive Anthropology
Nutritional Anthropology
Medical Anthropology
Global Mental Health
Culture and Public Health
Anthropology and Neuroscience
The Anthropology of Meaning, Media, and Performance:
Areas of study include:
Media and Communication
Visual Anthropology
Religion and Ritual
Identity and Representations
Language and Culture
Symbolic Anthropology
Individualized Concentration: Student will work with faculty advisor to design the course of study. Possible areas of study include:
Biological Anthropology
History and Anthropology
Selected themes made in consultation with advisor

Anthropology courses and courses cross-listed with Anthropology will be designated for credit within the appropriate concentrations. Resources will be posted soon.

Any Anthropology course or course cross-listed with Anthropology may count as an elective toward the Anthropology BA degree, within the guidelines listed under "additional details" below. Course offerings for each term may be found in the Course Atlas.

Seniors enrolled in the B.A degree program in Anthropology are required to enroll in and complete the Capstone Course: ANT 499/W: Senior Seminar: Why Anthropology Matters.  ANT 499 is intended to be an integrative experience and an opportunity to deepen students’ understanding of the field of Anthropology. While course assignments and readings will vary per instructor, ANT 499 will include reflections on the field, practice, and ethics of anthropology as well as on diverse approaches to doing, writing, and representing anthropological research.

Students must have completed ANT 202: Concepts and Methods in Cultural Anthropology and achieved senior status prior to enrolling in ANT 499.

ANT 499 will be offered once per year in the fall.

Students successfully completing the Honor’s Program may substitute their thesis credits for the Capstone Course requirement.

Students who declared before January 2023 may choose to stay under the previous BA major requirements, which included a Capstone paper/project.  For details on the this option, please contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

  • Only one course at the 100-level may be used to satisfy requirements.
  • A maximum combined total of 8 hours of ANT 397R (Directed Readings) ANT 495 (Honors) and ANT 497R (Directed Research) may be applied toward the major.
  • No courses taken using the S/U option may be applied toward the major.
  • Students are encouraged to study abroad. Those who elect this option may petition to have a maximum of four courses taken off the Emory campus to count toward their major requirements. Courses must be at least 3 credits each and approved by the DUS.
  • A maximum of 2 courses may double-count for both the Anthropology BA and another major or minor.

Note: Petitions for course substitutions and exceptions will be considered by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who may seek the advice of the Undergraduate Concerns Committee as needed.

Majors may choose any available faculty member as an advisor and are required to consult with their advisors at least once a semester to make plans regarding their academic program.

At the time of graduation, students receiving the B.A. degree in Anthropology should be able to:

  1. Recognize the theoretical bases and methodological approaches that characterize cultural anthropology, as well as one other sub-discipline of anthropology (i.e. biological, linguistic, or archaeological)
  2. Understand how and why culture, societies, and economies change over time and/or general trends in human evolution and evolutionary theory
  3. Understand and be able to apply a critical, comparative, cross-cultural framework in explaining human variation and the diversity of human societies and groups
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of cultural theory and ethnographic research, with a more sophisticated understanding of the research in at least one sub-field of cultural anthropology, including medical anthropology and global health, linguistics, political economy and development, sustainability, gender and sexuality, globalization, or psychological anthropology
  5. Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical and social implications of anthropological research.