Academic program

Anthropologists investigate cultural variation, with particular attention to race, gender, ethnicity, social change, and human evolution. Anthropology is a comprehensive discipline offering students a broad, comparative, and essentially interdisciplinary approach to the study of human life in all its diversity.

Anthropologists are concerned with understanding human universals, on the one hand, and the uniqueness of individual cultures, on the other. At Bates the program includes archaeological, biological, and sociocultural perspectives.

Anthropology attempts to make sense, in a nonethnocentric manner, of everyday life in both familiar and distant settings. In this way the discipline enables students to achieve cultural competence in the broadest sense of the term—the ability to function effectively in complex environments, to analyze material from their own and other cultures, and to appreciate the value of cultural diversity. Some recent graduates have pursued careers in public health, medicine, community organizing, environmental law, international development, teaching, and museum work; some have gone on to graduate work in anthropology or archaeology.

ANTH 101, 103, and 104 are designed as introductions to the discipline of anthropology and as preparation for more advanced courses. Students may also use AN/RE 134, AA/AN 151, and ANTH 155 as introductory courses. The department's 200 level courses also admit first-year students, while reflecting a specific field within anthropology. The 300- and 400-level courses are open to all upperclass students, but the latter are especially designed for majors. More information on the anthropology department is available on the website (

Major Requirements. Students majoring in anthropology study the discipline's history and methodology by taking two types of courses: those that focus on a particular cultural area (such as Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, native North America, or South Asia) and courses that focus on a specific theoretical concern. They also conduct individual ethnographic or archaeological fieldwork and are encouraged to complement their work in anthropology with participation in a study-abroad program. The chair serves as the study-abroad advisor for anthropology students. Some departmental funding is available for student research projects, most notably annual awards from the Hamill Fund for Fieldwork in Anthropology.

Students majoring in anthropology must successfully complete the following courses:
1) ANTH 101.
2) ANTH 103 or 104.
3) ANTH s10 or s32 (to be taken during the Short Term of the sophomore year).
4) ANTH 333 (to be taken during the winter semester of the sophomore or junior year).
5) ANTH 339 (to be taken during the fall semester of the junior or senior year).
6) ANTH 441 (to be taken during the fall semester of the senior year).
7) ANTH 458 (to be taken during the winter semester of the senior year).
8) at least four other courses in anthropology including courses cross-listed in anthropology, and up to two department-approved study-abroad courses), but not including ANTH 360.

Minor. A minor in anthropology enables students to develop a basic foundation in the discipline while complementing the perspectives offered in their major area of study. The department has established the following requirements for a minor in anthropology:

1) ANTH 101.
2) ANTH 103 or 104.
3) One of ANTH 222, 247, 333, or 339.
4) ANTH s10 or s32.
5) Any two other anthropology courses (including courses cross-listed in anthropology and one department-approved study-abroad course).

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major or the minor.

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