BA in Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of all aspects of human life—from our biological evolution to our modern societies, religions, and economies. Biological anthropology is the study of humans in an evolutionary perspective, covering areas such as primatology, paleontology, and human biology, ecology, and behavior. Together with sociocultural anthropology, it attempts to capture the complex interplay of the human condition in a way that encompasses all humans, living or dead. Our courses offer a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary perspective that many students find both eye-opening and inspiring. Social anthropology coursework prepares students for careers in law, business, international relations, development, and related fields. Biological anthropology prepares students for careers in medicine and health sciences. Both, of course, also prepare students well for the strongest graduate programs in the field.

All majors (including double majors) have an advisor in the Department of Anthropology with whom they must consult regularly in planning their programs of study. The total number of courses required is 12 in the Social Anthropology Track and 13 in the Biological Anthropology Track. Both tracks require a grade of C or higher in all courses for the major. Students take two prerequisite courses, four principal courses, and either six (sociocultural track) or seven (biological track) additional courses.

All required courses listed below are 4 credit hours.


  • CAS AN 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology or CAS AN 103 Anthropology Through Ethnography
  • CAS AN 102 Human Biology, Behavior, and Evolution

Principal Courses

Four courses beyond the prerequisites, one from each of the following areas:

  • Biological anthropology
  • Linguistics (CAS AN 351, AN 521, or LX 250)
  • Social anthropology (in any topical or theoretical subject)
  • Archaeology (excluding CAS AR 100)

Additional Courses

Social Anthropology Track (six courses)

  • CAS AN 461 Ethnography and Anthropological Theory I
  • CAS AN 462 Ethnography and Anthropological Theory II
  • two social anthropology courses dealing primarily with a geographical region of the world (one may be in archaeology); the two courses need not deal with the same region. Anthropology courses that meet this requirement are indicated by the parenthetical designation “area” following the course title in the Courses section of this Bulletin.
  • two additional Anthropology or Archaeology courses (excluding CAS AR 100), including any of the 600-level courses listed in the BU Bulletin website for the Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice program offered by the BU School of Medicine.

Biological Anthropology Track (seven courses)

  • one course in archaeology (excluding CAS AR 100)
  • two 200-level or above courses in biology
  • four courses in biological anthropology (two at the 300-level or higher; two at the 400-level or higher)