Anthropology, Bachelor of Arts

Department of Anthropology

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

A degree in Anthropology provides opportunities to study and understand human social, cultural, biological, prehistoric, and language systems. The program features a holistic cross-cultural approach that includes research, fieldwork, and service. Students round out their studies with four terms of language (or via CLEP-demonstrated proficiency).

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Archaeology - Emphasis (ending Summer 2021)
  • Sociocultural Anthropology - Emphasis (ending Summer 2021)

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • 33 units of major requirements
  • At least 16 units of language requirements
  • 18-21 units in a minor (18 units or more) or an emphasis (21 units)

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required STA 270
Foreign Language Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Fieldwork Experience/Internship may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Optional
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

Anthropology integrates scientific and humanistic approaches to the study of people and culture to inform our two goals:

  1. To support global citizenship through information, skills, and perspectives that build cross-cultural awareness and increase the ability to identify our own cultural assumptions, and
  2. To promote an engaged anthropology that addresses the contemporary challenges of our local and global communities.

The scope of the program encompasses past, present, and future perspectives on the human condition, within the subfields of socio-cultural, linguistic, and biological anthropology, and archaeology.

The content focuses on the range of human cultural and biological diversity through Anthropology’s core concepts, theories, methods, and major debates. Skills developed include; critical thinking, research methods and analysis, effective writing, and constructive dialogue.

Student-focused learning experiences include innovative coursework, research opportunities, community engagement, laboratory and field training, and internships.

The Sociocultural Emphasis focuses on the range of human cultural diversity and anthropological perspectives, ethics, and theory. It covers the intersections of language and discourse, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, religion, economics, social inequality, politics, environment, culture change, health, and globalization. The skills developed in this emphasis include: critical reading and writing, effective communication skills, cross-cultural and holistic perspectives, analysis of culture, and ethical awareness.

The Archaeology Emphasis focuses on the interdisciplinary understanding of past human lives through the scientific study of material culture and biological remains using applicable theories in archaeology within a broader framework of heritage management. Skills  developed in this emphasis include: field, lab, and curatorial methods as they apply to archaeological questions, interpreting the appropriate regulatory context for archaeological projects, and evaluating ethical dilemmas in archaeology.

The program prepares students for a range of professional careers in government, private sector, - not-for-profit, and community-based organizations in addition to graduate and professional degree

Student Learning Outcomes

Using the anthropological perspective (non-ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, cross-cultural emphasis, diachronic approach, and holism) students will:

  • Define, summarize, and analyze Anthropology’s core concepts, theories, methods, challenges, and major debates as they are articulated in archaeology, linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology.
  • Describe how each of the four fields of Anthropology contributes to a greater understanding of the range of human cultural and biological diversity.
  • Compare various anthropological approaches common to each of the four sub fields within Anthropology.
  • Identify past and present ethical issues in Anthropology, summarize the ethical guidelines provided by the major professional Anthropological organizations, and apply these guidelines in their education and research.
  • Identify their own cultural assumptions and evaluate the ways in which these assumptions affect their beliefs, behaviors, and their own education.
  • Describe and discuss the complexities of contemporary global challenges, such as sustainability and ethnic diversity, and evaluate how focused research and action using the anthropological perspective are addressing these challenges.
Sociocultural Anthropology Emphasis
Upon completion of the emphasis in Sociocultural Anthropology, students will be able to:
  • To understand how fundamental anthropological theories relate to major historical, ethical, and intellectual trends in social science and contemporary national and global cultures, students will be able to
    • Define major theories and methods for interpreting and analyzing sociocultural phenomena.
    • Examine how theories reflect historical contexts, intellectual trends, and cultures within which they are developed.
    • Compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations in reference to cultural phenomena.
    • Apply anthropological ethical codes to case studies drawn from a variety of sociocultural situations.
  • To understand the key issues and trajectories of sociocultural anthropology as an engaged and interdisciplinary field of study, students will
    • Articulate the distinction between cultural and biological determinism.
    • Define cultural variation and examine the diversity of perspectives, practices, and beliefs found within each culture and across cultures.
    • Investigate how anthropology applies to other professions and academic disciplines.
  • To understand anthropological perspectives on language, diversity, race, ethnicity, power, gender, sexuality, religion, economics, and governmental systems as they pertain to diverse worldviews, systems, institutions and structures from cross-cultural, holistic, and temporal perspectives, students will
    • Analyze the interconnections among economics, politics, kinship and family, the psyche, health, healing, and the environment.
    • Examine how power, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality are expressed in language and culture.
Archaeology Emphasis
Upon completion of the emphasis in Archaeology, students will be able to:
  • To understand how fundamental archaeological theories relate to major historical, ethical, and intellectual trends in social science and contemporary national and global cultures, students will be able to
    • define major archaeological theories and methods for interpreting and analyzing sociocultural phenomena.
    • examine how theories reflect historical contexts, intellectual trends, and cultures within which they are developed.
    • compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations in reference to cultural phenomena.
    • discuss and apply archaeological ethical codes in case studies drawn from a variety of sociocultural situations.
  • To understand how the study of material evidence is used to address areas of research such as the formation of social groupings, ideologies, subsistence patterns, and interaction with the environment, students will
    • distinguish between cultural and biological adaptations to the environment.
    • evaluate the spatial and temporal diversity of humankind.
    • compare the range of human cultural responses to changing environmental and cultural contexts.
  • To understand the interdisciplinary nature of archaeological work and how the scientific method is used in archaeology, students will
    • summarize the development of modern archaeological research
    • describe how the process of archaeological fieldwork and analysis generate data
    • interpret  and use archaeological data to support explanations of past human cultural phenomena.
    • examine how advancements in archaeological research contribute to our understanding of cultural, technological, and environmental change over time.
  • To understand how archaeology is regulated in the United States, public perceptions of archaeology, and how archaeologists interact with various publics and stakeholders, students will
    • discuss the varied ways in which archaeologists interact with different segments of society at large.
    • summarize the development and historical context of cultural resource management legislation and the importance of proper curation and records management including preservation of digital media/data.
    • explain how the goals of the Section 106 process and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) are accomplished.
    • explore how archaeologists work with descendant and other affiliated communities, repatriation, respectful handling of human remains and funerary objects,
    • compare global differences in the management of cultural resources

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 67 to 73 units distributed as follows:

    • Anthropology Common Course Requirements: 33 units
    • An emphasis or minor: 18 to 24 units, depending upon selection.
      • Sociocultural Anthropology Emphasis: 21 units
      • Archaeology Emphasis: 21 units
      • Minor: between 18 and 24 units
    • A Foreign Language: 16 units

    Take the following 33 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course:

    Select one statistics course (3 units):
    Emphasis or Minor (Select One):

    • For any of these emphases, you may, with faculty advisor approval, take ANT 408, ANT 485, ANT 497, ANT 299, ANT 399, or ANT 499 in addition to (or instead of) choosing courses from the 9 units listed in each emphasis area.

      The course content or topic(s) must be unique to either the Sociological Anthropology or Archaeology Emphasis, and can only be used for one emphasis.

Minor Requirements
  • If you choose a Minor (rather than an Emphasis), you may not pursue the Anthropology Minor in conjunction with this degree.

  • You must complete a minor of at least 18 units from those described in this catalog. In consultation with your advisor, you should select a minor that is appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs. Your minor advisor will advise you about this part of your academic plan.

Foreign Language Requirement
  • You must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to four terms of university coursework in the same language. You may satisfy this requirement by taking language courses or through credit by exam. (16 units)

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.