1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Anthropology Major

“The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.” 

Eleven courses (33 credits) taken within a program approved by a departmental undergraduate advisor are required for a major. These eleven courses may include courses taken before declaration of the major, and up to two from outside the Department of Anthropology. Courses taken outside the Department of Anthropology, including courses transferred from other institutions or study-abroad programs, may count toward the area requirements for the major (subject to approval by a major advisor), but normally they may not count toward the above-3000-level requirement for the major. In order to declare a major, a student must have completed two courses in the Anthropology Department. Students who transfer to the university after their second year of college may declare a major after completing one anthropology course. Grades lower than C- (in anthropology courses) will not count toward the major. No course for the major may be taken on a CR/NC basis. Normally at least 18 credits must be taken after declaration of the major. 

In order to declare a major, a student must have completed two courses taken in the Department of Anthropology.

The requirements of an Anthropology Major include:

  • ANTH 1010
  • One course at the 2000-level (or above) in each of these areas within anthropology: socio-cultural anthropology; archaeology; and linguistics
  • Either ANTH 3010 or ANTH 3020 in the second or third year (students are welcome to take both)
  • ANTH 4591 during the third or fourth year
  • At least three courses at or above the 3000 level, in addition to 3010 and/or 3020 and 4591; these courses must be taken in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Virginia. ANTH 4993 may not be used for this purpose.
  • At least one course in Anthropology that fulfills the major’s Beyond-the-West requirement

Each semester the Department publishes a list of the current courses that satisfy the above requirements. (Click here to see current courses).

Students frequently find that Anthropology provides a cognate discipline that can be paired with other studies in the humanities and sciences. Many students choose to double-major in anthropology and another discipline. Up to six credits in another department major may be counted toward an Anthropology major if they are consistent with a student's overall program. Specific courses, therefore, may be counted toward both majors, but the student must receive approval from a departmental advisor in advance.

Exceptions to any of these requirements are made only upon written petition to the Undergraduate Committee of the Department of Anthropology. No petitions are accepted after the completion of a student's seventh semester.

A number of informal activities are associated with the department. Among these is the Virginia Anthropology Society of the University of Virginia. Majors are encouraged to attend meetings of the group and to attend lectures and symposia sponsored by the department. 

Independent Study in Anthropology

For students who want to work on an individual research project, ANTH 4993 allows considerable flexibility. There is no formal limitation on the kind of project as long as a faculty member is willing to direct it, but the projects should not duplicate what is already available in a regular course. Applicants should have their projects roughly defined when they apply to the faculty member. The normal requirements for ANTH 4993 are a reading list comparable in substance to those in regular courses and a term paper and oral examination at the end of the semester.


Many of our Anthropology BA graduates (out in the real world) have reported back to us that when they apply for jobs related to human social services (jobs in health care, mental health children and families, HIV/AIDS, schools, disabilities, substance abuse, criminal justice, aging, management, international, advocacy, and other areas of social work), those jobs also often require some background in statistics or statistical analysis. The anthropology degree is appreciated, but employers are looking for candidates who can handle statistics. Therefore we encourage students to add a course in social science statistics to their electives in order to position and market themselves for certain areas of the job market.  See the suggested list below for some good courses that would work with an Anthro major.


Anth 4840 Quantitative Analysis I
Anth 4841 Quantitative Analysis II


Soc 3130 Introduction to Social Statistics
Soc 5020 Introduction to Statistics
Soc 5120 Intermediate Statistics


Psych 3005 Research Methods and Data Analysis I
Psych 3006 Research Methods and Data Analysis II