Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology

Students completing an anthropology degree are awarded a BA degree or a BA degree with honors in Anthropology. The undergraduate program is designed to help students develop an appreciation of other cultures and other world views and to gain an understanding of how and why the diversity in human culture and biology came about. Several goals help us teach undergraduates about the nature of our discipline and how to think critically about what anthropology is, what it means, and how it is useful in today's society. These goals include:

  • To recognize the broad, cross-cultural generalizations that characterize anthropology
  • To recognize the value of a cross-cultural, comparative perspective
  • To acquire an understanding of the basic concepts in each of the four subfields of anthropology
  • To acquire advanced knowledge in one or more of the four subfields
  • To acquire an awareness of the interrelationship of the four subfields
  • To think critically about the nature and content of anthropological questions
  • To assess the structure of an argument and evaluate it and its supporting information
  • To communicate effectively in writing or through oral presentation
  • To strive for innovative and creative thinking
  • To think independently both within and outside anthropology

Core Requirements

All anthropology students are required to complete the following core courses (15 hours):

  • Anthropology 2020 (or Anth 2021 and 2022) Fundamentals of Archaeology with lab (4 hrs)
  • Anthropology 2030 Cultural Anthropology (3 hrs)
  • Anthropology 2050 (or Anth 2051 and 2052) Introduction to Biological Anthropology with lab (5 hrs)
  • Anthropology 4990 Capstone Seminar in Anthropology (3 hrs)

Anthropology 4990, Capstone Seminar in Anthropology, MUST be completed even if a student completes an additional major in another department. Some departments waive this requirement for double majors, so students with second majors should check with their other department to see if they will be required to complete both capstones.


A minimum of four additional anthropology courses (at least 15 hours) are required for the major. These courses must be distributed as follows:

  • Topical/theoretical (2 courses)
  • Area (1 course)
  • Methods (1 course)

The distribution of departmental courses among these three categories is given Anthropology Course Distribution List. The choice of area, topical-theoretical, and methods courses is guided by the student's individual interests and goals, and is selected in consultation with his or her advisor. With the consent of the student's advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, either the methods/techniques or area requirement may be fulfilled by a suitable course outside anthropology. If this is done, an additional anthropology course must be selected to complete the 30 hours required in anthropology.

Students may also complete the methods requirement by gaining hands-on experience doing anthropological research. This experience will normally begin with Research Skills (Anth 2950), an introduction to the methods used by one or more faculty members. This course will satisfy the methods requirement if a student enrolls in it for at least 3 credit hours. A contract must be signed by the student and the faculty who they have choosen to do their research with. Students wishing to continue doing research of an independent nature may register for Undergraduate Research (Anth 4950) or for Honors Research (Anth 4950H). Prior approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies is required to use these courses to satisfy the departmental methods requirement. Honors Research may be used to satisfy the requirements for an Honors BA in Anthropology, but the course is not required for that degree. Specific requirements for the Honors BA are described below.

Related Courses

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of anthropology, the Department of Anthropology recommends that all students supplement their major with related courses that complement their anthropology courses. These courses may be offered by a single department or may be a related set of courses from several departments (e.g., courses in ancient history from both the Art History and Archaeology and the History Departments). Fulfillment of a formal minor (consisting of at least 15 hours in another department as approved by that department) or second major (at least 30 hours in another department as approved by that department) can also be an effective way to gain expertise in related areas.

GPA Requirements

The College of Arts and Science requires that students attain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all courses in their major department and in courses that comprise the related field. In addition, all core courses in anthropology (2020 or 2021/2022, 2030, 2040, 2050 or 2051/2052, 4990) must be completed with a grade of C- or higher and students may receive a grade below C- in no more than one other course used to satisfy the major.

Specific Requirements for the Honors B.A.

The Honors Program is organized under the Honors College of the College of Arts and Science within the University of Missouri. To be accepted in the Honors Program, the student must achieve and maintain a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3 in all course work. In addition, to be accepted, and remain eligible for the honors program in the Department of Anthropology, the student must maintain a GPA of 3.5 in all anthropology courses.

The University of Missouri grants three types of Honors degrees to students in the College of Arts and Science:

  1. General Honors, which is administered by the Honors College and which is obtained by completion of a suitable number of honors courses (see the Honors College for details),
  2. Latin Honors (e.g., cum laude), which are conferred on students whose GPAs meet specified minimum requirements, and
  3. Departmental Honors, which is administered by the Department of Anthropology.

The departmental program leading to the BA degree with Honors in Anthropology is designed for students who desire a more intensive experience in anthropology and who wish to work closely with a particular faculty member in the anthropology department on an independent research or scholarly project. A student wishing to graduate with departmental honors must fulfill the basic course requirements for the BA in Anthropology. In addition, the student, with the assistance of his/her honors advisor, is expected to develop, plan, and conduct research on an independent project. It is recommended that students in the honors program enroll in Anthropology 4950H, Honors Research in Anthropology, although projects initiated in other courses or through independent, noncredit research experiences may also be honors eligible. To complete the Honors degree, a student must submit the results of the research project as a formal honors thesis that the student defends during an oral examination conducted by an examining committee. The committee consists of three faculty members: the advisor, another faculty member, and the departmental Honors Director. The examination is scheduled no later than the thirteenth week of the term during which the student expects to graduate. Each member of the committee is furnished with a copy of the student’s thesis or evidence of scholarly activity at least ten days before the examination. After the oral defense the student furnishes the department with one final copy of the thesis or evidence of scholarly achievement (e.g., photographs) suitable for preservation in the Departmental Library. Upon completion of the program, the examining committee recommends to the Dean of the College of Arts and Science that the student be awarded a BA with Honors in Anthropology.