Anthropology Major and Minor

Anthropology majors and minors study human societies. As a department, we explore socio-cultural anthropology. Our emphasis—distinct from an historical or a biological approach to anthropology—puts social and cultural institutions such as family, politics, rituals, religion and expressive culture center stage.

We are driven by the belief that the discipline has great power to address the most pressing issues of our time.

Curriculum & Courses

Through a broad range of classes and co-curricular opportunities, our students develop a deep understanding of the discipline of anthropology—the theories that have shaped it, the range of subfields it possesses, and the unique contributions and relevancy of the field. They also cultivate the tools to conduct ethnographic research and collect data with rigor and respect.

Our required curriculum for majors spans from introductory classes to advanced independent work. Beginning with Introduction to Anthropology taken in the first or second year, students progress through classes at the 200- and 300-level. Our required History and Theory of Anthropology course explores the development of anthropological thought. We also require majors to explore a particular ethnographic area—such as Africa or China—through a 200-level class. For majors, the academic experience culminates in their senior year with the development and writing of a senior thesis. Students in the major build a rich course of study drawing on our wide range of classes, involved student community, and faculty known for their scholarship as well as their mentorship and engagement in contemporary issues.

Our required curriculum for minors begins with Introduction to Anthropology taken in the first or second year. Minors also take History and Theory of Anthropology, one 200-level class that explores a particular ethnographic area (such as Africa or China, and three other courses at the 200- or 300-level. Students in the minor build a rich course of study drawing on our wide range of classes, involved student community, and faculty known for their scholarship as well as their mentorship and engagement in contemporary issues.

  • Major

    Students are required to take a total of 11 courses in the major, including 6 required courses within the department. Individual programs require the advisor’s approval.

    • ANTH 103A or B, Introduction to Anthropology, preferably in the first or second year.
    • ANTH 303A or B, History and Theory of Anthropology, before the senior year.
    • One course focused on an ethnographic or geographic area or a cohesive non-geographically specific field.
    • One other 200-level course in this department.
    • One other 300-level course in this department.
    • Four additional courses approved by your major advisor.
    • A two-credit, intensive Senior Thesis Seminar, during the fall and spring semesters of the senior year (ANTH 450/451).

    All major programs require the approval of the major advisor. Students may count no more than one biological anthropology or archaeology course for the Haverford major. Students must take the remaining courses in the Haverford Anthropology Department, in an anthropology department within the Tri-Co or at Penn. Taking courses to count toward the major outside of Haverford’s Anthropology Department, outside of the discipline, or while studying abroad requires approval of the student’s advisor. Typically no more than two courses from outside of Tri-Co anthropology that relate to the student’s specific interests are counted towards the major though this can be discussed with the advisor in special cases.

  • Minor

    The minor in anthropology consists of six courses, including:

    • ANTH 103A or B, Introduction to Anthropology
    • ANTH 303A or B History and Theory of Anthropology
    • An ethnographic area course
    • three other courses at the 200 or 300 level, including one course at the 300 level.

    Minors must take a minimum of three courses in the Haverford department. All minor programs require approval of the minor advisor.

Research & Outreach

In their senior year, majors produce a senior thesis, a work of original research. Students select a research topic, define a research question, and conduct and write up their original research. Two courses, each a semester long, are a key part of the process. In Anthropology 450, a seminar taken in the first semester of senior year, majors produce a research prospectus. During the spring semester, they enroll in Anthropology 451, working one-on-one with a faculty member to complete and draft their theses. At the end of the year, students meet with the full faculty to present their work and take an oral comprehensive exam.

After Graduation

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You can find detailed instructions and information on the Application Instructions page. If you need to contact us directly, please send an email to admission@haverford.edu.

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