Anthropology, B.A.

Program Code: ANTH_BA

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 21
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.

General Education

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 Keystone/General Education Course 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

Knowledge Domains

  • 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.

Cultures Requirement    

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
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
ANTH 2NWorld Archaeology Keystone/General Education Course3
ANTH 21Introductory Biological Anthropology Keystone/General Education Course3
ANTH 45NCultural Diversity: A Global Perspective Keystone/General Education Course3
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Area/Survey Courses
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)
Methods Courses
Select 6 credits of Methods courses from:6
Intellectual Background of Archaeology
Anthropology Museum Studies
Skeletal Forensic Anthropology
Intro to Geospatial Science in Anthropology and Archaeology
Archaeological Laboratory Analysis
Forensic Archaeology
Archaeological Methods and Theory
Advanced Geospatial Science for Anthropologists and Archaeologists
Environmental Archaeology
Ethnographic Field Methods
Intermediate Field Methods
Field Techniques
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. degree in Anthropology or B.S. degree in Anthropological Science, B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS), and M.A. degree in Anthropology

Requirements for the Integrated B.A. degree in Anthropology or B.S. degree in Anthropological Science, B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS), and M.A. degree in Anthropology can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of human diversity, variation, and adaptation from cultural, biological, and historical perspectives.
  2. 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.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to use critical thinking and the scientific approach to solve problems related to biological and cultural variation.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to communicate core concepts of anthropological science effectively in both written and oral formats.
  5. 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.

Academic Advising

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.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Majors and Minors web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 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).

Anthropology, B.A. at 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.

First Year
ANTH 45N*3ANTH 21*3
World Language Level 14World Language Level 24
ANTH 2N*3General Education Quantification (GQ)3
General Education Course (GWS)*3General Education Course3
General Education Course or First-Year Seminar3General Education Course (GWS)3
 16 16
Second Year
ANTH Survey Course (200-Level and Below)*3ANTH Survey Course (200-Level and Below)*3
World Language Level 34STAT 200 (GQ)‡†4
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 16 16
Third Year
ANTH Methods Course*13ANTH Methods Course*13
ANTH (400-Level)*3ANTH (400-Level)*3
General Education Course (GWS)3BA Fields3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 15 15
Fourth Year
ANTH (400-Level)*3ANTH (400-Level)*3
BA Fields3BA Fields3
General Education Course3General Health and Wellness Course (GHW)1.5
General Health and Wellness Course (GHW)1.5Elective3
Elective3Elective/Other Cultures3
 13.5 13.5
Total Credits 121

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 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H 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.

Advising Notes:

All students must take an LA First Year Seminar that will also count as General Education.

Career Paths

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
  • Law
  • Health professions
  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • 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.


Professional Resources


University Park

410 Carpenter Building
University Park, PA 16802