Major and Concentration Requirements

Information for All Majors and Concentrations

Any course taken in Barnard’s Department of Anthropology counts toward the anthropology major/concentration at Columbia. Anthropology courses taken to fulfill Columbia College requirements also count toward the major. The Department of Anthropology enthusiastically encourages interdisciplinary work and participation in study abroad programs.

No course with a grade of D or lower may count toward the major/concentration. Only the first course that is to count toward the major/concentration may be taken pass/fail.

Courses offered in other departments count toward the major/concentration when taught by a member of the Department of Anthropology, including affiliated faculty. Occasionally, courses from other departments not taught by an Anthropology faculty member may count toward the major/concentration, but only with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies (DUS).
 

Senior Thesis

Anthropology majors with a minimum 3.7 GPA in the major who wish to write a thesis during their senior year may request to join:

  • ANTH UN3999 Senior Thesis Seminar in Anthropology. 8 points.  

Students may only enroll in the Undergraduate Thesis Seminar with the approval of the instructor. Students should have a preliminary concept for their thesis, and consult with the professor who will be teaching the Thesis Seminar the following year in the spring semester of their junior year concerning the possibility of enrollment. Those wishing to enroll should have already taken the three required courses:

  • ANTH UN1002 The Interpretation of Culture. 3 points.
  • ANTH UN2004 Introduction to Social and Cultural Theory. 3 points.
  • ANTH UN2005 The Ethnographic Imagination. 3 points.

Along with these courses, students should have already taken at least one seminar in Anthropology prior to their senior year. A senior thesis is not required of majors/concentrators.

Departmental Honors are established and awarded by most Columbia College departments with approval from the College Committee on Instruction. Each year, departmental honors are awarded to no more than 10% of the graduating majors. Students become eligible for departmental honors when they have a minimum 3.7 GPA in their major and have completed a thesis. From within this group of eligible candidates, departmental faculty make recommendations to the College Committee on Honors, Awards, and Prizes. This College Committee makes the final decisions about which students receive departmental honors.

Study Abroad

As fieldwork is one of the defining characteristics of the field of anthropology, study abroad is very much encouraged for anthropology majors. Before students leave for the semester, they should meet with the DUS to discuss their proposed program of study. While pre-approval does not guarantee that students will receive credit for courses taken—that is up to the College— students will find out which courses may be eligible for major/concentration credit. The DUS reserves the right to decide that credit is not warranted after reviewing the completed program of study and the student's evaluations.

Sociocultural Anthropology

Sociocultural Anthropology

At the heart of sociocultural anthropology is a concern with possibilities of difference and the craft of writing. Sociocultural anthropology at Columbia has emerged in recent years as a particularly compelling undergraduate liberal arts major. Not surprisingly, undergraduates come to sociocultural anthropology with a wide variety of interests and often pursue overlapping interests. These may include performance, religion, writing, law, ethnicity, mass media, teaching, language, history, human rights, art, linguistics, environment, medicine, and many other fields of study, including geographical areas of particular interest and engagement. Such interests can be brought together into provocative and productive conversation with a major or concentration in sociocultural anthropology.

Course Requirements

The requirements for a major in sociocultural anthropology reflect this expansive range of interests. The major requires 30 points in courses offered within Anthropology, in which three required courses are included:

  • ANTH UN1002 The Interpretation of Culture. 3 points.
  • ANTH UN2004 Introduction to Social and Cultural Theory. 3 points.
  • ANTH UN2005 The Ethnographic Imagination. 3 points.

The concentration in sociocultural anthropology requires 20 points within the Department, in which one required course is included:

  • ANTH UN1002 The Interpretation of Culture. 3 points

Archaeology

Archaeology

Archaeological anthropology is the study of the material conditions inhabited and acted upon by people, both in the past and in the present. The investigation of the past through the study of material remains is entangled with historiography, politics, and individual and collective memory, and is implicated in the production of present-day identities and political forms. Archaeology has come to mean many things to different generations of scholars, yet all approaches share a common focus on the physical remains of the past and the relationship of these traces to the interpretive acts through which they are understood. Particular emphases in the program include the emergence of ancient states and empires, especially in the indigenous Americas; colonial encounters in the American Southwest, Madagascar and the Levant; urbanism and the archaeology of New York City; human-animal relations at the origins of agriculture; and materiality, semiotics, and material agency. Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia is genuinely interdisciplinary in spirit. The program includes the possibility of student internships in New York City museums and archaeological fieldwork in the Americas and elsewhere.

Course Requirements

The archaeology major requires 30 points in courses offered within Anthropology, in which three required courses are included:

  • ANTH UN1002 The Interpretation of Culture. 3 points.
  • ANTH UN2004 Introduction to Social and Cultural Theory. 3 points.
  • ACLG UN2028 Pasts, Presents & Futures: An Introduction to 21st Century Archaeology. 3 points.

The concentration in archaeology requires 20 points within the department, in which one required course is included:

  • ACLG V2028 Think Like an Archaeologist: Introduction to Method and Theory. 3 points.