Anthropology Major

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology (36 credits)

Students in this major gain a broad training in the holistic and comparative field that is contemporary anthropology. Majors take introductory courses in each of the four sub-fields of anthropological inquiry: biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics. Our capstone senior seminar is the only other required course. Majors can choose to focus in one of the four areas, or experience the full diversity of our discipline by selecting courses from across the four sub-fields. This flexibility allows students to plan an individualized sequence of coursework most applicable to their interests and goals, with advice and direction from their faculty advisor. Special opportunities available to undergraduates for course credit include internships at the New York State Museum and archaeological field schools. Students can also pursue independent research projects, in connection with a faculty member's research program or by investigating a topic of personal interest.

Summary of requirements

36 credits, distributed as below:

Four introductory courses (total 12 credits):
AANT 104, Introduction to Archaeology
AANT 108, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
AANT 110, Introduction to Human Evolution
AANT 220, Introduction to Linguistics
No more than 6 credits in other 100-level courses (6 credits)
Another elective at 200-level or higher (3 credits)
Senior capstone Course, AANT 499 (3 credits)
At least 12 credits in any other courses at 300 level or higher (12 credits)

For more information, see our listing in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

For a suggested pathway to degree completion click here


What are you going to do with a degree in anthropology? A bachelor's degree in anthropology does not lead you directly to a specific job, but with some patience and creativity you can find your way to a wide variety of possible careers that make use of your intelligence and creativity - though you can't expect many of the job postings to specifically say "anthropologist." Your broad perspective on human diversity, your understanding of cultural and social phenomena, your empathy and open mind, and your analytical and observational skills are of value to many potential employers in both the public and private sectors.

Many anthropology majors work in non-profit sectors, for research organizations or branches of the government, often analyzing data - on human health or socio-economic phenomena, for example - or conducting field and lab studies to collect quantitative or qualitative data. Many work for non-governmental organizations such as international health organizations or development agencies. Employed as researchers, evaluators, or project managers, these professionals help to design and implement programs to improve lives in this country or abroad.

An affinity for archaeology might lead you to find work in a museum or as a specialist in Cultural Resources Management. These "contract archaeologists" assess, excavate, and preserve archaeological material affected by government-funded projects, such as highway or other construction and development.

In recent decades private corporations, including the high-tech sector, have come to value employees with training in anthropology. Consulting firms need analysts to interpret data on human behavior. Global corporations need people from other countries and cultural backgrounds. Manufacturers of consumer products now recognize that focus groups and customer surveys are inadequate sources of information on how people really use their products. They hire researchers who use the basic anthropological method of participant observation to discover how people integrate new devices and new technologies into their daily lives.

You might want to consider graduate study in anthropology, which can give you more advanced credentials for careers such as those outlined above, or for other careers inside and outside of academia. Talk to  your advisor about whether graduate school makes sense for you.

Here are links to a number of resources we recommend to help you gain more knowledge about where your anthropology degree can lead you. To explore your options even further, search the web on your own, or you might want to get hold of Veronica Strang's 2009 book What Anthropologists Do.

The American Anthropological Association's "Careers in Anthropology" site is a very good resource.

The American Association of Physical Anthropologists site has a website with information on several types of career paths.

This Wall Street Journal site shows how earnings for anthropology majors compare to those of people who majored in other fields.

These sites offer some advice about entry-level jobs and finding career options: One Day A Job and You've Got a BA in Anthropology

These show some job listings currently posted for people with anthropology training: Indeed and Career Builder

This 2014 article from Business Insider explains "why companies are desperate to hire anthropologists."

The "Savage Minds" site is a group blog about sociocultural anthropology. See especially the discussion about "who majors in anthropology."

Honors Programs

The honors major provides an opportunity for outstanding students to demonstrate a higher level of achievement in anthropology, whether in preparation for graduate study or simply to enrich their undergraduate experience. To enter the program, anthropology majors must have completed at least twelve credits of coursework in the department and have a GPA of at least 3.5 in their anthropology courses and 3.25 overall. Honors majors enhance their academic proficiency in the discipline by taking at least one upper-level course in three of the four subfields, and six credits demonstrating research skills: for example, a foreign language, a field school, statistics or other quantitative methods course, lab training, or other appropriate study. The highlight of the program is the honors thesis, a year-long research and writing project conducted under the advisement of a faculty member. Interested students should consult with their advisor by the beginning of their senior year.