Majoring in Anthropology

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:

  1. 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, lingusitic 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.) 
  2. 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 osteology, and/or historical and evolutionary analysis. (Students interested in studying Biological Anthropology may pursue these interests through the Archaeology Track.)
  3. 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-Med should enroll in the Medical Track.)  

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. Obtain a "Major Declaration Form" from the Registrar's Office and meet with the Anthropology department chair. File one copy of the form with the Department Assistant in 411H Milbank Hall and the original with the Registrar.


Minoring in Anthropology

The Anthropology minor consists of five courses:

  • ANTH 1002;
  • One of the following, ANTH 1007, 1008, 1009, or EEEB 1010;
  • plus three other Anthropology courses, of which two must be 3000 level or above.

You declare a minor in anthropology once you have completed five courses within the major. Obtain a "Minor Declaration Form" from the Registrar's Office and have this signed by the department chair. File one copy of the form with the Department Assistant in 411H Milbank Hall and the original with the Registrar.


Double or Combined Majors

Students interested in pursing a double or combined major should meet with the department chair to discuss possibilities. A double or combined major must enroll for at least one seminar of BC3871 or BC3872


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 completed fill out the course approval request form, and provide a copy of the syllabus and other course requirements to 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.


Studying Abroad
  • 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 small 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 department 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 to the chair of the department.)
  • In addition to the guidelines above, visit the Study Abroad site.

Independent Studies
  • Students who wish to do an independent study project should speak to a full-time Barnard Anthropology faculty member willing to serve as sponsor, 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 procedures outlined above.) Students must consult with the sponsor in advance of filing as to workload and points of credit.

  • A project approved for three or four points 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.