College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dean: Joel Kassiola

Department of Anthropology
SCI 377
Fax: 415-338-0530
Web Site:
Chair: James Quesada

Undergraduate Coordinator: L. Volk
Graduate Coordinator: M. Griffin


Professors—Bruhns, Gabow, Pahl, Wong

Associate Professors—Biella, Griffin, Quesada, Soh

Assistant Professors—Ferreira, Volk

Adjunct Faculty—Caldararo, De Mouthe, Fentress, Lutes, Yamamoto


B.A. in Anthropology
Minor in Anthropology
Minor in Ethnographic Methods in Anthropology
M.A. in Anthropology

Program Scope

Anthropology is the study of humankind over time and place. Undergraduates majoring in anthropology are exposed to a multi-field approach that examines current cultures, the study of remains of past societies, study of human evolution and variation, etc. all with an aim of further understanding of what it means to be human.

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology is designed to serve the needs of students who do not plan to continue their training beyond the baccalaureate level, as well as those who intend to pursue graduate study leading to the M.A. or Ph.D. degree, either in anthropology or in another academic discipline.

The Master of Arts in Anthropology is offered for those who plan to continue their graduate work elsewhere toward the doctorate as well as those who plan to terminate their training at the master's level and seek employment or obtain a teaching credential.

Career Outlook

Anthropological skills are important for careers in public and private sector social services, health, community organizing and advocacy, cultural resource management, urban planning, international economic development, environmental assessment, education, social work, investigative journalism, and public policy. The principal goals of the department are: (1) to provide an enriched vision of humanity and culture around the globe as well as an increased sensitivity to our everyday experiences of cultural and ethnic diversity at home; (2) to train students to pursue teaching and research careers at the M.A. level while providing a solid basis for those who plan to pursue a doctoral degree; and (3) to prepare students to engage in applied work, especially around urban social problems; e.g., poverty, ethnic polarization, violence, AIDS, substance abuse, homelessness, and social suffering.


The program is built around seven required core courses to provide a thorough grounding in the basic concepts of the discipline and to enable maximum flexibility in choice of electives. Although concentration in any particular subfield of anthropology is not required for the baccalaureate degree, several sequences of courses are recommended. Students who wish to plan such concentration are urged to consult with an adviser.

On-line course descriptions are available.

Required Core Courses Units
ANTH 100 Introduction to Biological Anthropology 3
ANTH 110 Introduction to Archaeology 3
ANTH 120 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
ANTH 300 Foundations of Anthropology: History 3
ANTH 310 Family, Kin, and Community (recommended for sophomore or junior year) 3
ANTH 680 Seminar in Contemporary Anthropology (to be taken senior year) 4
Select one from the following methods courses 3-6
  ANTH 331 Fossil Humans (4)  
  ANTH 332 Human Variation Today (4)
  ANTH 491 Archaeological Methods (4)
  ANTH 557 Ethnography of the Inner City (4)
  ANTH 595 Visual Anthropology (6)
  ANTH 651 Ethnographic Field Methods (6)
  ANTH 652 Anthropological Statistics
Upper division units selected on advisement from archaeology, physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, social anthropology, or applied anthropology
Total 36


Program Units
ANTH 100 Introduction to Biological Anthropology 3
ANTH 110 Introduction to Archaeology 3
ANTH 120 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
ANTH 310 Family, Kin, and Community 3
ANTH 315 Regional Ethnography (variable topic) 3
Upper division units on advisement 6
Total 21


Program Units
ANTH 120 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
ANTH 310 Family, Kin, and Community 3
ANTH 651 Ethnographic Field Methods 6
ANTH 652 Anthropological Statistics (or equivalent) 3
Plus any two upper division courses on advisement 6
Total 21


Admission to Program

Students must have completed an undergraduate major in anthropology or preparation in another field, provided their undergraduate study has included work covering the general scope of ANTH 100, 110, 120, 300, 310, 680, and such additional undergraduate courses in anthropology as the graduate adviser deems necessary. Students who do not meet these conditions will be required to make up deficiencies in conditionally classified status. This course work is considered preliminary and is designed to create a sound foundation for the graduate program. It cannot be used as part of the approved program for the Master of Arts. These courses may be taken credit/no credit.

Applicants must furnish the graduate coordinator of the department the following material, no later than 1 February for the following fall semester (no spring admissions): a photocopy of the application form sent to Graduate Studies, a completed Department of Anthropology Graduate Program Application form (, transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of reference, one or more writing samples (no more than fifteen typed pages), and a letter of intent outlining experience, career objectives, and rationale for studying anthropology at the graduate level. It is the responsibility of the student to keep in touch with the graduate coordinator, who deals with documentation and administration.

Each student is assigned to a faculty adviser on the basis of the student's field of interest. An adviser may be changed at the request of either party. The adviser acquaints the student with the department and helps in establishing an initial plan of study.

The faculty graduate committee evaluates applications for admission, assesses the overall program, and reviews student progress. If a student is not making reasonable progress towards the degree, the committee may recommend termination of candidacy.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: successful completion of ANTH 710 in the first semester of study with a grade of B or better. Level Two: completion of a written thesis or completion of a creative work project.

Advancement to Candidacy

By the end of the first two semesters of graduate study, the student is expected to have completed nine units maintaining a 3.0 grade point average as follows:

In addition, an applicant for candidacy must successfully complete a written examination in a foreign language or complete ANTH 652, Anthropological Statistics, with a grade of B or better. The choice between a foreign language or Anthropological Statistics is determined by the faculty graduate committee or as recommended by a faculty adviser. The foreign language examination is administered by the Department of Anthropology which may call on specialists from other departments if necessary.

Upon advancement to candidacy, students are required to assemble a committee of at least two faculty members to supervise their thesis research or creative work project.

Online course descriptions are available. Students may select any upper division course with the exception of ANTH 300, 310, and 680.

Program Units
ANTH 710 Proseminar in Anthropological Theory and Method 3
ANTH 740 Seminar in Archaeological Problems 3
ANTH 760 Seminar in Biological Anthropology 3
ANTH 770 Seminar in Problems in Cultural Anthropology 3
Upper division or graduate units in anthropology or allied fields upon advisement 15
One of the following: 3
  ANTH 894 Creative Work Project
  ANTH 898 Master's Thesis
Minimum total 30

Thesis or Creative Work Project. Students may satisfy this requirement either by writing a thesis or, after consultation with the student's advising committee, and subject to the approval of the department graduate committee, a creative work project. This could involve a community or academic service area project, a museum catalog, or an anthropological film.

Those who elect to write a thesis will meet with an adviser to select an appropriate topic and establish an advisory committee. Normally the committee will consist of at least two anthropology faculty members who are themselves concerned with the areas of interest to the student. However, if the thesis is to deal with material from a discipline related to but outside the field of anthropology, then a faculty member from that discipline may serve on the student's committee. Unanimous approval of the proposed topic and thesis outline, and advancement to candidacy, are required before thesis research begins. During the period of research, progress reports are to be made to the committee. If a student is unable to select or maintain a committee, the student will be asked to withdraw from the graduate program. Upon completion of the thesis, it will be read and approved by each member of the student's graduate committee before submission to the Division of Graduate Studies.

Master's Oral Examination. Very occasionally an oral examination may be required of master's candidates. The oral examination is designed to test verbal and explanatory abilities and to evaluate apparent areas of weakness as revealed in course work performance, the creative work project, or the thesis. The examining body is the student's committee and may include other interested departmental faculty. The examination can be repeated only once.

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