Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree with a Major in Anthropology

Program Learning Outcomes for the BA Degree with a Major in Anthropology

Upon completing the BA degree with a major in Anthropology, students will be able to:

  1. Acquire a solid foundation in anthropological debates, concepts, goals, and historical development of the discipline. They will develop an understanding of the major subfields; familiarity with the debates, concepts, and goals at the core of the discipline of anthropology; and a grasp how these are relevant to the discipline’s changing understanding of the dynamics of cultures past and present.
  2. Acquire a solid understanding of culture and social practice. Through the application of anthropological concepts, methods, and theories, they will acquire a historically-informed understanding of the salient aspects of culture and social practice, both theoretically and through the study of particular dimensions of culture, for example gender, sexuality, health, and media.
  3. Develop an understanding of anthropological theory, method, and analytical tools. They will develop the critical and comparative tools of the discipline through acquisition of methodological, theoretical, and analytic skills.
  4. Acquire conceptual tools for understanding contemporary cultures in the context of globalization. They will develop disciplinary tools for responsibly researching and describing other cultures, as well as for critically conceptualizing the relationship between globalization and culture.
  5. Apply research and analytical tools. They will choose and effectively apply appropriate research and analytical skills to individual research questions and case studies in order to become effective producers and critical evaluators of anthropological knowledge. 

Requirements for the BA Degree with a Major in Anthropology

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in Anthropology must complete: 

  • A minimum of 10 approved courses (30 credit hours) to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.  
  • A minimum of 60 credit hours outside of major requirements. 
  • A minimum of 8 courses (24 credit hours) from departmental (ANTH) course offerings. Students may petition the undergraduate advisor to apply up to 2 courses (6 credit hours) consisting of relevant work completed outside anthropology toward satisfaction of the major. 
  • A minimum of 6 courses (18 credit hours) at the 300-level or above.
  • A maximum of 4 courses (12 credit hours) from study abroad or transfer credit. For additional program guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab. 
  • A final Honors or Capstone research project culminating in an oral presentation as well as a written paper.

The major in Anthropology has two distinct areas of specialization, as listed below:

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.


Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Anthropology30
Total Credit Hours Required for the BA Degree with a Major in Anthropology120

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Introductory Courses
Select 2 from the following:6
Method Course
Select 1 from the following:3
Theory Course
Elective Requirements
Select 6 additional courses from ANTH course offerings at the 300-level or above 118
Research Sequence: Capstone or Honors
Select 1 of the following research sequences: 2
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Anthropology30
Additional Credit Hours to Complete BA Degree Requirements30
University Graduation Requirements *60
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Anthropology Areas of Specialization

The major in Anthropology has two distinct areas of specialization, Anthropological Archaeology and Social-Cultural Anthropology. Depending on a student's interest and desired area of focus, students should see specific department advisors for assistance with elective course selection.

Area of Specialization: Anthropological Archaeology

In this track (or area of specialization), the focus is on research skills in the library, the field, and the laboratory. Archaeology students will also engage theoretical developments and critical contemporary debates on issues such as the politics of the past and cultural heritage. Students also develop at least one analytical skill, such as, archaeological statistics, osteology, or geoarchaeology, drawing on the university's laboratory and computer facilities. The archaeology program at Rice has a long-term focus on the archaeology of urban, complex societies in East and West Africa. The program offers students the opportunity to participate in archaeological excavations abroad as well as projects in Houston that focus on the city’s African-American past. Students inquiring about the major with a focus on anthropological archaeology should see Dr. Jeffrey Fleisher (; Sewall Hall, 582).

Area of Specialization: Social-Cultural Anthropology

This track (or area of specialization) engages with contemporary issues, populations, and social dynamics that affect human life and culture broadly around the world. Social-cultural anthropology inquires across a vast range of human concerns from religion to social movements, from gender to medicine, from science studies to media, and from nature to law. Students are trained in ethnographic research methods and qualitative data collection and they learn the theoretical principles that have shaped the discipline as well as contemporary, innovative approaches that question how human sociality is constituted in the 21st century. The social-cultural anthropology program at Rice has always championed interdisciplinary, theoretical, and experimental modes of anthropological inquiry, and students are encouraged to add their creative intellectual insights to their research pursuits and goals. Students inquiring about the major with a focus on social-cultural anthropology should see Dr. Zoë Wool (; Sewall Hall, 574).

Policies for the BA Degree with a Major in Anthropology

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the major in Anthropology should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • No more than 4 courses (12 credit hours) of transfer credit from U.S. or international universities of similar standing may apply towards the major.
  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis. 
  • Dr. Susan McIntosh is the undergraduate transfer credit advisor. All students seeking transfer credit in anthropology for courses taken elsewhere should see Dr. McIntosh for approval.
  • Transfer credit coursework from online-only courses cannot be used to count towards the major.

For additional information, please see the Anthropology website:

Opportunities for the BA Degree with a Major in Anthropology

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Requirements for the Departmental Honors Program

The Honors Program is intended to acknowledge outstanding students, and to provide them with advanced training in the planning and execution of sustained, independent research. As a rule, students should petition the undergraduate advisor to be admitted to the Program no later than the 10th week of the spring semester of their junior year. Admission is at the discretion of the department faculty. The only formal prerequisite to admittance are a Grade Point Average in the major of at least 3.5 and a cumulative GPA at the end of the junior year of at least 3.0. Final decisions concerning admission are at the discretion of department faculty. Once admitted to the Program, each student must complete a thesis, on a topic of her or his choosing, under the direction of one of the members of the department's faculty. Topics should be approved by the faculty advisor by the end of the first month of the senior year. Theses are due at the end of the last semester of the senior year.

The Honors Thesis includes a one-credit research preparation and support course, ANTH 493, and two three-credit research courses (Directed Honors Research ANTH 490 and ANTH 491).

Archaeological Field School in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Department of Anthropology offers a six-week field school in June and July in sub-Saharan Africa, alternating between eastern and western locales. Past field schools have been on the island of Gorée, located off the coast of Senegal, where research focused on the development of Gorée as a supply port for the Atlantic trade, and at Songo Mnara, a 15th-century Swahili urban center on the southern Tanzanian coast. This course is offered for a total of six hours of credit (ANTH 364 and ANTH 370). The course is offered without specific prerequisites, but there is a general requirement that students have some prior course work in archaeology or African history. Program fees apply.

For additional information, please see the Anthropology website: