Anthropology is a holistic discipline that draws upon a range of methods from the humanities, social sciences, and sciences to explore questions of cultural and linguistic difference, historical and evolutionary change, social justice and inequality, and the varied forces and processes that animate human worlds.
At Barnard, students may major in Anthropology in one of three ways:
General Anthropology Major: designed for students seeking a broad training in the discipline, but particularly for those interested in the study of contemporary societies using the methods of ethnography, analysis, critical theory, environmental analysis, and/or media and visual culture analysis. Students interested in the combined Anthropology-Human Rights Major should also enroll in the General Anthropology Major.)
Archaeology Track: designed for students with special interests in the study of past and contemporary societies using the methods of material culture studies, artifact analysis, excavation and survey, forensics and human , and/or historical and evolutionary analysis. Students interested in studying Biological Anthropology may pursue these interests through the Archaeology Track.)
Medical Anthropology Track: designed for students interested in the cross-cultural study of health, illness, suffering, affliction, medical practices and medical institutions using the varied methods of sociocultural anthropology. Students who are pre-Health or pre- should enroll in the Medical Track.)
Political Ecology Track:As of Fall, 2020, Barnard’s Anthropology Department is now offering a specialized major track in Political Ecology. This track follows a similar format to the existing one in Medical Anthropology, designed to enable students who wish to pursue specialized studies in their coursework and senior theses projects in fields relevant to environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability. The major track is grounded in strong theoretical and methodological training in sociocultural anthropology.
NOTE: ANTH 2004 “Introduction to Social and Cultural Theory” (3 pts) and ANTH 2005 “The Ethnographic Imaginary” (3 pts), which are offered by the Anthropology Department at Columbia, are intended for Columbia Anthropology Majors. Enrollment in both is open to Barnard Anthropology majors but they count as electives in all Barnard Anthropology Major Tracks. Neither may be substituted for the required upper division Barnard course ANTH 3040 “Anthropological Theory” (4pts).
For specific major requirements, click on the relevant link above ("General Anthropology," "Archaeology," or "Medical Anthropology").
Declaring Anthropology as your Major
You may declare a major during or after the second semester of your sophomore year. Meet with the Anthropology department chair.
The Registrar's Office is accepting forms online via Slate. These forms are now housed in a centralized location, which can be found here.
Minoring in Anthropology
The Anthropology minor consists of five courses:
One of the following, ANTH 1007, 1008, 1009, or EEEB 1010;
three other Anthropology courses, of which two must be 3000 level or above.
The Department requests that you declare your Minor in Anthropology only once you have completed five courses in the major. To do so, please provide all pertinent information through the Registrar’s SLATE portal.
A student who opts for a Double Major (Anthropology plus another department) writes and/or engages in two separate thesis projects. All double majors must enroll in both semesters of the “Senior Thesis Seminar” in Anthropology (ANTH BC 3871 & 3872, Mondays 4:10-6:00 pm).
A Combined Major involving Anthropology and a second Barnard department entails writing a combined, single thesis in the senior year. Students who intend to do so must complete all requirements in the major track of their choice in Anthropology. Because not all departments’ requirements align well with an Anthropology thesis, we strongly urge you to engage in regular discussions with the Chair of Anthropology, as well as your advisors in both departments in anticipation of doing so.
A combined thesis mustbe approved by the end of the junior year in consultation with your Anthropology advisor and the Department Chair.
During the senior year, students writing a combined thesis must enroll in the Fall course ANTH BC 3871 “Senior Thesis Seminar” (Mondays 4:10-6:00 pm) with the option of joining the second semester in the Spring term (ANTH BC 3872) if no equivalent is available in the second major. The student must arrange from the start to work regularly with two advisors simultaneously: one in Anthropology and the other in the second department, with the understanding that both will read and score the completed thesis.
Course Approval for Non-Barnard Summer Classes
Meet with your advisor to discuss the course and, if possible, provide a course description and reading list. When the course is out the course approval request form, and provide a copy of the syllabus and other course requirements your advisor. It is only after this has been submitted that course approval will be assessed. Approval is at the discretion of the department. Courses that do not meet Barnard standards for workload or intellectual rigor will not be granted major or minor credit.
You can receive departmental credit for a maximum of two courses taken abroad, out of the total of ten courses required for the major, or one course taken abroad out of five courses required for the minor.
Only one course taken abroad may be used for the colloquium requirement, and only if it is a course (fewer than twenty students) and if a research paper is the major part of the grade. This requires the approval in writing of the chair of department, and is granted when you return from study abroad and provide a copy of the paper and the course syllabus for departmental review.
Before going abroad you must fill out the Dean of Studies' Study Leave Course Approval Form (online, in PDF), listing the courses you plan to take. Please see the chair of and provide course descriptions from the program or college catalog. This pre-approval does not guarantee you course credit from the department toward the major or minor. At the discretion of the department, courses that do not meet Barnard standards for workload or intellectual rigor will not be granted major or minor credit. If in doubt, while you are abroad, you can fax or e-mail reading lists at the beginning of the term the chair of the department.)
Students who wish to do an independent study project should speak to a full-time Barnard Anthropology faculty member willing to serve as , then fill out a "Request for Approval of Credit for Independent Study" (see link below) and obtain signatures from the sponsor and chair of the department. File the form with the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing, which must approve all requests. Note that no credit is given for an internship or job experience per se, but credit is given for an academic research paper written in conjunction with an internship, subject to outlined above.) Students must consult with the sponsor in advance of filing as to and points of credit.
A project approved for three or four counts as a course for the purpose of the ten-course major or five-course minor requirement. No more than two such three or four-point projects may be used for the major, and no more than one for the minor. An independent study project may not be used to satisfy either the colloquium or senior seminar requirements.
The Registrar will assign a section and call number unique to the faculty sponsor. The Request for Approval of Credit for Independent Study is available (in PDF) from the Registrar's web site.
Obtaining human subjects (RASCAL-CITI) certification
Required for all anthropology class assignments and papers, and senior thesis projects, that involve human subjects research. Please see the links below for how to register with CITI and receive training. Once you complete this training it is good for a full calendar year and applies to all subsequent projects during that time period. Make certain you print out your certificate that confirms you have completed the necessary training. Give a copy of this to your instructor and/or supervisor, as appropriate.