At which campus can I study this program?
Any Penn State Campus
Anthropology is a holistic scientific discipline having links to the humanities. Anthropologists document, describe, and explain the physical and cultural differences of societies, both past and present. Anthropology sees the individual as part of a larger social order that both impinges upon and is molded by those who belong to it. Anthropology investigates how cultures interact and relate within specific economic, political, and ecological frameworks over time.
The Bachelor of Arts major focuses on the biological and cultural variations of human populations through archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. In addition to class work, students receive practical training in laboratory and field work.
What is Anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of human diversity – our biology, behavior, cultural complexity, and evolution. Anthropologists study living people across cultures and populations; past people through the fossil, archaeological, and historical records; as well as living and extinct nonhuman primates. Anthropologists document, describe, and seek to understand biological and cultural variation in humans both past and present as a way to understand and explain the human condition. The field is divided into several integrated areas of study. Archaeology focuses on past societies, both ancient and historic, in order to understand and explain culture change over time. Biological Anthropology describes and explains human biological variation today and in the past. Human Ecology or Cultural Anthropology studies contemporary societies and cultures and their interactions with the environment.
You Might Like This Program If...
- You are interested in human cultural and biological variation and you want to understand human behavior and biology.
- You find human diversity fascinating and want to explore and understand the human condition.
- You want to study important questions such as ‘what makes us human?’ and ‘what is the origin and importance of human diversity?’
- You want to pursue a career in anthropological research, museum curation, education, health professions, law, non-governmental organizations, or international relations.
Entrance to Major
In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:
- attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
- have third-semester classification.
For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, a minimum of 120 credits is required:
|Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements||24|
|Requirements for the Major||37|
4 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 4 credits of General Education GQ courses.
3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.
Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.
Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.
The keystone symbol appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.
Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)
- Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits
University Degree Requirements
First Year Engagement
All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.
Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.
First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.
6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements
- United States Cultures: 3 credits
- International Cultures: 3 credits
Writing Across the Curriculum
3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.
Total Minimum Credits
A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.
Quality of Work
Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.
Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition
The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.
B.A. Degree Requirements
Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.
B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.
Requirements for the Major
A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.
|Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|ANTH 2N||World Archaeology||3|
|ANTH 21||Introductory Biological Anthropology||3|
|ANTH 45N||Cultural Diversity: A Global Perspective||3|
|STAT 200||Elementary Statistics||4|
|Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
Select 6 credits in ANTH courses at the 200 level or below (excluding ANTH 1, ANTH 83S, and courses in the following ranges: 190-199, 290-299, other than 297)
|Select 6 credits of Methods courses from:||6|
|Anthropology Museum Studies|
|Skeletal Forensic Anthropology|
|Intro to Geospatial Science in Anthropology and Archaeology|
|Archaeological Laboratory Analysis|
|Archaeological Methods and Theory|
|Advanced Geospatial Science for Anthropologists and Archaeologists|
|Ethnographic Field Methods|
|Intermediate Field Methods|
|Advanced Theory and Method Courses|
|Select 12 credits from the following ranges (at least 3 credits must be in each range):||12|
Archaeology: ANTH 420-439
Biological anthropology: ANTH 400-419, ANTH 460-473
Human Ecology/Cultural anthropology: ANTH 440-459, ANTH 474-479
Integrated B.A./M.A in Anthropology Degree Requirements
The Department of Anthropology offers an integrated B.A./B.S./M.A. (IUG) program designed to allow academically superior students to obtain a B.A. or B.S. degree in Anthropology, a B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS), and a M.A. degree in Anthropology in five years of study. To complete the program in five years, students interested in the Integrated Undergraduate and Graduate degree in Anthropology must apply for admission to the Graduate School and the Integrated B.S./M.S. Program by the end of their junior year.
During the first three years, the student will follow course scheduling for the B.A. degree in CAMS and either the B.A. degree in Anthropology or the B.S. degree in Archaeological Science (see the Undergraduate Bulletin). Students who intend to enter the IUG program are encouraged to take upper level classes during their first three years whenever appropriate. By the end of the junior year, students normally apply for admission to both the IUG program and to the Graduate School. Acceptance decisions will be made prior to the beginning of the senior year and M.A. advisers will be appointed for successful applicants. During the senior year, IUG students follow the scheduling of the selected options for their B.A. or B.S. majors, with an emphasis on completing 500-level course work as appropriate. During the senior year, IUG students will start work on their thesis research to meet the M.A. thesis requirements. During the fifth year, IUG students take courses fulfilling the M.A. degree requirements and complete their M.A. thesis.
Students who wish to complete the Integrated Undergraduate and Graduate Program in Anthropology should apply for admission to both the Graduate School and the IUG Anthropology Program no later than the end of their junior year. Successful students will be admitted formally into the graduate program in Anthropology just prior to their senior year, if their progress has been satisfactory. Admission prior to the senior year is also possible in some unusual circumstances. In all cases, admission to the program will be at the discretion of the joint Anthropology-CAMS admission committee. Criteria for admission include a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 in their majors, strong recommendation letters from faculty, and an excellent proposal for a research project with a specific adviser who has agreed to guide the student through to the completion of the M.A. thesis.
|ANTH 493||Field Techniques||3|
|ANTH 521||Current Literature in Archaeology||2|
|ANTH 545||Seminar in Anthropology||6|
|ANTH 588||Method and Theory in Archaeology||3|
|ANTH 600||Thesis Research||6|
|Select one of the following:||4|
|Select 6 credits of the following:||6|
Program Learning Objectives
- Demonstrate an understanding of human diversity, variation, and adaptation from cultural, biological, and historical perspectives.
- Demonstrate informed knowledge of other cultures and diverse ways of life, both past and present, and an understanding of how diverse lines of anthropological inquiry can be integrated to understand the human condition.
- Demonstrate the ability to use critical thinking and the scientific approach to solve problems related to biological and cultural variation.
- Demonstrate an ability to communicate core concepts of anthropological science effectively in both written and oral formats.
- Demonstrate an understanding of current anthropological field and laboratory research methods and how these methods can be used to test hypotheses related to past and present human variation and adaptation in both cultural and biological contexts.
The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.
Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.
Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Suggested Academic Plan
The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2019-20 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).
University Park Campus
The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.
|ANTH 45N*||3||ANTH 21*||3|
|ENGL 15, 30, 137H, CAS 137H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡||3||General Quantification (GQ)‡||3|
|ANTH 2N*||3||General Education Course (GH)||3|
|General Education Course (FYS)1||3||World Language Level 2||4|
|World Language Level 1||4||General Education Course1||3|
|CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C (GWS)‡||3||STAT 200 (GQ)‡†||4|
|ANTH selection (200-level and below)*||3||ANTH selection (200-level and below)*||3|
|General Education Course1||3||General Education Course1||3|
|World Language Level 3||4||Elective||3|
|Elective||3||General Education Course1||3|
|ANTH (400-level)*||3||ANTH (400-level)*||3|
|ANTH (400-level)*||3||Bachelor of Arts Requirement||3|
|ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D (GWS)‡||3||ANTH choice course / any level except ANTH 1*||3|
|General Education Course1||3||General Education Course1||3|
|ANTH choice course / any level except ANTH 1*||3||ANTH (400-level)*||3|
|ANTH (400-level)*||3||ANTH choice course / any level except ANTH 1*||3|
|Bachelor of Arts Requirement||3||Bachelor of Arts Requirement||3|
|General Education Course1||3||General Education Course (GHW)||1.5|
|General Education Course (GHW)||1.5||Elective||3|
|Total Credits 121|
Course requires a grade of C or better for the major
Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education
Course is an Entrance to Major requirement
Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement
Students must meet United States, International Cultures, and Integrative Studies requirements (can overlap with General Education)
University Requirements and General Education Notes:
US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).
W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.
Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.
All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.
Bachelor of Arts Requirements:
Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.
Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.
All students must take an LA First Year Seminar that will also count as General Education.
Graduates with a B.A. in Anthropology from Penn State excel in diverse professional careers, ranging from academic research, law, medicine, and government to business, cultural resource management, non-governmental organizations, and education. Penn State Anthropology students develop a diversity of sought-after skills in problem-solving, analytical methods, teamwork, and effective oral and written communication. Students are strongly encouraged to become involved in departmental research while at Penn State to augment their training and enhance their prospects for employment or graduate study.
Possible career paths include:
- Human Services
- Non-profit organizations
- Non-governmental organizations
- Health professions
- Human resources
- Public health
- Government agencies: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), US Department of State-Foreign Service
- Advanced research in the field
Opportunities for Graduate Studies
Anthropology majors will find that their undergraduate education is excellent preparation for the advanced training required for many professions. Our majors often go on to receive specialized graduate instruction in medicine, law, journalism, public administration, and virtually all of the "human services" fields. Although many professional schools require that undergraduate applicants have some specialized training (for example, chemistry courses for pre-med students), such course requirements are easily accommodated within the anthropology major. Most professional schools and graduate programs seek well-rounded, broadly educated applicants who can understand the implications of the advanced, specialized training they will receive in post-graduate training.