Requirements for Major
A. Required of all majors: A minimum of nine semester courses in anthropology from among the ANTH and cross-listed offerings, to include ANTH 1a and ANTH 5a.
B. A minimum of five of the nine courses required for the major must be taken from Brandeis anthropology faculty.
C. A student may petition to receive anthropology credit for the major for one semester course completed at the university outside of the anthropology department and its cross-listed courses, provided that the course is clearly related to the student’s program of study. Students focusing on biological or linguistic anthropology may take up to two courses outside of the anthropology department, drawing from the list of courses provided under "Biological Anthropology Focus" and "Linguistic Anthropology Focus" below. Cross-listed courses do not require special approval to be counted toward the anthropology major.
D. Students may apply an anthropological internship course (ANTH 92a) only once toward the requirements for the major.
E. No course with a final grade below C- can count toward fulfilling the requirements for the major in anthropology.
Honors Candidates: Admission to the honors program in anthropology requires completion of at least five courses in anthropology and a cumulative GPA in anthropology of 3.5 or higher by the end of the junior year. Students submit a thesis proposal to the departmental faculty during the first week of the fall semester for consideration by the department faculty. If accepted to the program, students enroll in ANTH 99a and ANTH 99b. Honors candidates must complete ten courses for the major, including ANTH 99a and ANTH 99b.
Anthropology majors need not focus on any one of the four main subfields of anthropology (social-cultural, archaeological, biological and linguistic), and can select a range of courses that fit their interests, mastering a "four-fields" approach to the discipline. Alternatively, students may choose to focus their coursework to specialize their training in one or more of the anthropological subfields.
Social-Cultural Anthropology Focus: Exploring Cross-Cultural Diversity and the Human Experience
Social-cultural anthropologists examine contemporary societies and cultures in all their remarkable diversity and complexity. The majority of courses in the department's anthropology curriculum relate to social-cultural anthropology, a subfield that examines important dimensions of human life such as social inequalities and identities, political economies, gender systems, kinship and families, value and exchange, medicine and illness, religion, semiotic systems, visual cultures, migration and transnationalism, the cultural dimensions of globalization, understandings of the body and personhood, and the ways human beings interpret their worlds and make meaning in their lives. Social-cultural anthropologists study both their own and other societies as a means of better understanding both, and investigate vital questions about what it entails to be human.
Beyond the two specific courses required for the major, it is recommended that students focusing on social-cultural anthropology choose from the following courses when designing their programs of study: ANTH 19b, 20b, 26a, 33b, 55a, 61b, 80a, 83a, 105a, 108b, 109a, 111a, 112a, 114b, 115b, 119a, 126b, 127a, 128a, 129b, 130b, 131b, 132b, 133a, 134a, 137b, 138a, 139b, 144a, 145a, 155b, 156a, 157a, 158a, 159a, 163b, 174b, 178b, 182a, 184b and PSYC 131a. A student may also petition to have a course taken in another department or program to replace one anthropology course requirement, provided that course is clearly related to the student's program of study.
Archaeology Focus: Digging into Material Culture
The goal of archaeology is to provide an anthropological perspective on societies from the appearance of human beings through to the present mostly via the study of material culture. Archaeologists recover, document, analyze and interpret materials including architecture, landscapes, pottery, stone tools, inscriptions, funerary goods, and human and faunal remains. Patterns in and of material culture provide insight into the nature of political orders, social arrangements, belief systems, the shift from foraging to agricultural economies, the inception of urban life, environmental transformations, and the rise and collapse of ancient civilizations among many other subjects. Archaeologists often make use of materials science studies, remote imagery (as from satellites), and geographic information systems (GIS), among other tools to facilitate anthropological interpretation. The archaeology curriculum is particularly recommended to those students considering the study of archaeology at the graduate level, as well as careers in conservation, heritage and museum studies, and cultural resource management.
In addition to the two courses required for the anthropology major, it is recommended that students focusing on archaeology include as many of the following as possible in their program: ANTH 60a, 60b, 115b, 116a, 119a, 123a, 128a, 136a, 147b, 149a, 153a, 168a, 187a, 188b, CLAS 133a and CLAS 134b. Students may also take a sequence of two half semester courses HS263f and HS297f on geographic information systems (GIS) in the Heller School and count this as one full course towards the major. A student may also petition to have a course taken in another department or program to replace one anthropology course requirement, provided that course is clearly related to the student's program of study.
Biological Anthropology Focus: Human Evolution and the Biocultural Dimensions of Humanity
Biological anthropology looks at the intersection of humans as cultural and biological beings. This subfield examines topics such as the long evolutionary history of the human species, and the intersecting biological and cultural dimensions of humanity in domains such as gender, human development and aging, psychology, mental illness and medicine.
In addition to the two courses required for the major, it is recommended that students focusing on biological anthropology include as many of the following as possible in their program: ANTH 20b, 110a, 111a, 116a, 127a, 142a, 144a, 145a, 154a, 155b and PSYC 131a. Students may also count as electives a maximum of two of the following related courses in other disciplines: BISC 2a, BISC 2b, BISC 3b, BISC 4a, BISC 4b, BISC 5a, BISC 5b, BISC 6b, BISC 7a, BIOL 15b, BIOL 17b, BIOL 55b, BIOL 60b, BIOL 128a, NBIO 140b, NBIO 150a, BIOL 160b, CHSC 6a, NPSY 11b, PSYC 15a and PSYC 31a.
Linguistic Anthropology Focus: Language, Culture and Communication
Linguistic anthropology focuses on language, the hallmark of the human species and the foundation of culture. Linguistic anthropologists explore the nature of language itself; the relationship between language, thought and behavior; how ethnic, national and gendered identities are fashioned linguistically; and the ways in which language and all other aspects of human culture interrelate.
In addition to the two courses required for the anthropology major, it is recommended that students focusing on linguistic anthropology include as many of the following as possible in their program: ANTH 26a, 61b, 114b, 126b, 139b, 153a, 186b and LING 140a. Students may also count a maximum of two courses from the LING listing as electives. Students are encouraged to take LING 100a early in their academic career.