Skip to content

Anthropology Major

The undergraduate major and minor in Anthropology emphasize how topics and issues central to the human experience such as migration, gender, power, health, kinship, race, and identity are examined and understood through diverse anthropological methodologies. In upper-division courses, students explore particular socio-cultural, archaeological, and biological perspectives on such issues in greater depth, and these courses may specifically engage perspectives from two or more sub-fields. Other courses may consider a range of topics within a specific geographical area, while acknowledging certain limitations to the area studies configuration of knowledge.

The undergraduate programs in Anthropology develop critical skills in thought, written and oral expression, and the application of knowledge, as well as a valuable understanding of human cultural diversity. In an increasingly globalized world in which interaction with people of diverse cultures is becoming the norm, developing a cross-cultural understanding about the complexities of human societies past and present is what makes Anthropology an ideal education for the 21st century. A bachelor’s degree in Anthropology is valuable preparation for a career in law, medicine, education, business, government, museums, and various areas of non-profit, public, and international service, including public policy and cultural resource management. The Anthropology program also provides a strong foundation for graduate study in any sub-field of anthropology. By offering undergraduate majors opportunities to work with faculty research and apply knowledge and skills to local communities, agencies, and business through service learning and internships, students are further prepared for advanced study and successful careers.

Program Learning Goals

  • Develop an issues-based approach to anthropological knowledge and practice that emphasizes common topics shared by multiple sub-fields
  • Cultivate an understanding of human cultural and biological similarity and difference across time and space
  • Develop skills to effectively collect, analyze, synthesize, and present anthropological data

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Possess and apply fundamental anthropological knowledge, including terminology, concepts, intellectual traditions, and theoretical approaches
  • Identify and analyze common topics of research shared by the sub-fields of anthropology
  • Understand ethics and responsibility in the practice of anthropology and in our roles as citizens
  • Understand how ethnographic, archaeological, and biological data, alone or in combination, contribute to our understanding of the human beings past and present
  • Understand both qualitative and quantitative research methods as they apply to anthropological inquiry
  • Possess skills to communicate anthropological knowledge effectively through writing, oral presentation, and data presentation in various formats for diverse audiences


In addition to adhering to completing UC Merced General Education requirements, students in the Anthropology major must also complete at least 48 units in Anthropology courses, as well as a 4-unit quantitative reasoning course that may simultaneously fulfill General Education requirements and an upper-division 4-unit writing course (WRI 117). Courses in the major emphasis must be taken for a letter grade, and may not be taken on a pass/no pass basis unless the course is only offered on a pass/no pass basis. Required courses are:

Lower-Division Major Requirements [16 units]:

  • ANTH 1: Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology [4 units]
  • ANTH 3: Introduction to Anthropological Archaeology [4 units]
  • ANTH 5: Introduction to Biological Anthropology [4 units]1
  • One lower-division quantitative methods course from the following:
    • ANTH 010: Quantitative Methods in Anthropology [4 units]2
    • ECON 010: Statistical Inference [4 units]2
    • MATH 018: Statistics for Scientific Data Analysis [4 units]3
    • PSY 010: Analysis of Psychological Data [4 units]2
    • SOC 010: Statistics for Sociology [4 units]2

Upper-Division Major Requirements [40 units]:

  • ANTH 100: History of Anthropological Thought and Practice [4 units]
  • One upper-division field methods course selected from the following4:
    • ANTH 170: Ethnographic Methods [4 units]
    • ANTH 176: Archaeological Field Methods [4 units]
  • One upper-division laboratory or archival methods course selected from the following:
    • ANTH 171: Human Population Studies-Data and Mapping [4 units]
    • ANTH 179: Bioarchaeology [4 units]
    • ANTH 178: Human Osteology [4 units]
    • ANTH 175: Ceramic Analysis [4 units]
    • ANTH 174: Lithic Artifact Analysis [4 units]
    • ANTH 172: Ethnohistory [4 units]
  • One upper-division anthropology course from each of the following three fields:
    • Socio-cultural anthropology (ANTH 110 through ANTH 129) [4 units]
    • Anthropological archaeology (ANTH 130 through ANTH 149) [4 units]
    • Biological anthropology (ANTH 150 through ANTH 169) [4 units]
  • At least three additional upper-division courses in Anthropology [12 units]
  • WRI 117: Writing for the Social Sciences and Humanities [4 units]

1May not be used to satisfy a general education requirement for students in the ANTH major

Meets the Quantitative Reasoning General Education requirement

Does not meet the Quantitative Reasoning General Education requirement

4 The upper-division field methods requirement may also be satisfied by taking an archaeological Field School from an approved institution.  Consult a SSHA advisor

Updated 2021