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Anthropology JHU

Department of Anthropology
The Johns Hopkins University
404 Macaulay Hall
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Phone 410-516-7272
Fax 410-516-6080



Undergraduate Program | Majoring RequirmentsHonors Program | Minor | Freshman Seminar | Grants and Financial Support | Study Abroad | Advising | Homewood Institutional Review Board | Other Activities

Undergraduate Program

The anthropology major combines the study of social and cultural theory with the empirical study of everyday life, social organization, cultural and political expression, and forms of imagination across the diversity of human cultures past and present, including those of the students themselves. We particularly focus on the challenges of our own moment in history: new religiosities and religious strife, globalization and competition, law and the problems of governance, new diseases and medical interventions, global social movements and transnational media forms, and further challenges offered up by turbulence and destitution.  In all cases, acute awareness of shifting contexts in which institutions are embedded, and the impact of global, regional and national politics on social life, is built into the methodology and the theory engaged by faculty and students. We see teaching and research as integrally linked and invite undergraduate students to participate in research as they take introductory and advanced courses in anthropology.  

Undergraduate coursework offers an introduction to the basic methodologies and theories of contemporary anthropology through discussion and directed research on these and other topical issues.  Majors in anthropology also have the opportunity to explore theory, method and the history of anthropology through the majors seminar, and a core course in ethnographic theory and method. Student advising helps interested students to develop sequences of complementary courses tailored to their own interests through electives courses outside the department.  In addition, majors have options to pursue an honors program.   Undergraduates in anthropology acquire a foundation for careers in medicine, international relations, and law, as well preparation for graduate work in anthropology and related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.


Learning Goals

Upon completing the B.A. degree, a student majoring in Anthropology will be able to: 

1) Evaluate the quality of anthropological claims by analyzing their arguments, evidence, and methods.

2) Produce anthropological knowledge through exercises in fieldwork, oral presentation, and ethnographic writing.

3) Think critically about contemporary social and cultural concerns and the diversity of human experience, in the United States and globally.

Majoring in Anthropology
Requirements for the B.A. Degree

To fulfill the general requirements for the B.A. degree, students majoring in anthropology must complete a total of 30 credits (10 courses) in Anthropology.

AS. 070.132 Invitation to Anthropology

AS.070.273 Ethnographies

AS.070.317 Methods

AS.070.419 Logic of Anthropological Inquiry

Six other courses

Two at the 100- or 200- level

At least four more courses at the 300-level or higher, of which one can be a cross-listed course taught outside the department. After consultation with faculty, majors can take an independent study course toward the major.

All anthropology majors must meet a foreign language requirement (intermediate level).

Honors Program

The honors program for majors takes the equivalent of one course in each of two semesters in the senior year. Students with at least a 3.5 GPA (for anthropology courses) by their junior year are encouraged to write a senior thesis by registering for a two-semester independent study with a faculty advisor. When there are five or more students who wish to write theses, a three credit senior thesis seminar will be offered which can replace one of these independent studies.

Working closely with their supervisor, an honors student builds their own research proposal, carries out some combination of fieldwork, library work and archival work, and writes and submits an honors thesis (or senior essay).

During the spring term of the junior year, honors candidates should submit to their major advisor a working title and a 250-word abstract of their proposed work. Since it is possible that students may need to work with faculty other than their major advisor, early consultation with the advisor is essential.

Only after successful completion of the first term in good standing may the honors candidate proceed to the second term. Departmental honors will be awarded to students whose thesis receives a grade A- or better. The honors thesis is due no later than the last day of spring term.


Minoring in Anthropology

A minor in anthropology is available to undergraduate students in any major. Students should discuss their intention to minor in anthropology with the department's undergraduate adviser.  A total of seven courses are required for the minor. 

AS. 070.132 Invitation to Anthropology

AS.070.273 Ethnographies

AS.070.317 Methods

AS.070.419 Logic of Anthropological Inquiry

One 100-level or 200-level course with the anthropology offerings

Two 300-level or above courses within the anthropology offereings

Suggested course: Freshman Seminar

Each year, the department offers a freshman seminar. This seminar aims at introducing a small group of freshman students to anthropology through discussion and research on a particular issue or topic. As an inaugural journey into the world of contemporary anthropology, freshman seminar encourages class participation, student cooperation, group projects and active research.

Grants and Financial Support

Anthropology majors and minors are encouraged to apply for Provost’s Undergraduate Research Awards for research and writing projects, including the honors thesis. Freshman students may apply for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship with a long-term project over multiple years. The department of anthropology offers a small amount of undergraduate research funding for majors that supports fieldwork expenses such as transportation and meals. Students must submit their research proposal to the chairperson of the department and the major advisor. Here are links to those funding opportunities:

Provost’s Undergraduate Research Awards: 
Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program: 

Other funding sources:

Also, keep in mind that when you conduct research involving human subjects that you must submit an application for approval of your research through the Homewood Institutional Review Board. This board insures the rights and welfare of individuals participating in research are protected.

Study Abroad

Anthropology majors and minors are encouraged to explore possibilities of studying abroad for a year, semester, or summer. Such an experience will be a great asset in developing an honors thesis and preparing for future use of their anthropology training. It is important to shape a plan in advance, so students are encouraged to work closely with the Office of Academic Advising as well as their major advisor. If you will be conducting research during your study abroad, please keep in mind that when you conduct research involving human subjects that you must submit an application for approval of your research through the  Homewood Institutional Review Board.


Students in anthropology maintain a close working relationship with their major advisor, meeting at least twice each term to coordinate their progress through the program.

Homewood Institutional Review Board

All research involving “human subjects,” whatever the source of funding, must be reviewed by this Board. In most cases, anthropological research is classified “exempt from review,” but getting this classification still requires submission of materials in the semester before doing fieldwork. You must allow at least a month prior to your departure for approval. The HIRB website contains downloadable forms and information which you can access here:

Other Activities

Undergraduate coursework is supplemented by extracurricular activities including the Anthropology Club, ARGOT(undergraduate research journal), department seminars and workshops, speakers’ series, and other formal and informal occasions, where undergraduate students are encouraged to interact with faculty and graduate students.

Undergraduate Program | Majoring Requirments | Concentration | Honors Program | Minor | Freshman Seminar | Grants and Financial Support | Study Abroad |Advising | Homewood Institutional Review Board | Other Activities

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