Anthropology, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The A.B. Major

Anthropology is the systematic study of humans. The student of anthropology learns about human biology, ecology, and social life—past and present—and gains a broad understanding of humans and societies. It is a diverse field, and the courses, faculty, and degree programs at UC Davis are subdivided into two wings—Evolutionary and Sociocultural.

Evolutionary A.B.

Evolutionary anthropologists are united by their common application of science and evolutionary theory to understand the behavior, ecology, history, and evolution of humans & non-human primates, as individuals and as societies. These topics may be approached through archaeology, human behavioral ecology, paleoanthropology, primatology, genetics, and conservation biology. Archaeology is the study of history or prehistory by analysis of a people's artifacts, or their material culture, with the goal of reconstructing culture history and human behavior. Human behavioral ecology is the study of how variation in ecology and social organization can help us understand variation in human behavior. Paleoanthropology is the study of human evolution through the fossil and archaeological records, drawing on relevant studies in biological anthropology, Paleolithic archaeology, genetics, and geology. Primatology is the study of the behavior, ecology, and morphology of primates to address questions about the evolution and function of behavioral and morphological patterns in nonhuman primates and to test models of the origins of human morphology and behavior. Genetic anthropology uses DNA to address anthropological questions about population histories, migrations, mixing, and adaptations to local contexts. Conservation biology explores the causes of loss of biological diversity—in this department, it focuses on threatened non-human primates and the conservation of natural resources by our rapidly growing human population. A Bachelor of Arts degree provides broad training that includes all subfields of Anthropology.

Sociocultural A.B.

Sociocultural anthropologists study the varied ways in which people around the world organize their lives and interpret the circumstances in which they operate. Their main method is extended field research, which combines attention to global issues with the close study of human relations and culture. Among the themes addressed in the department's undergraduate courses are globalization and transnationalism; human ecology and environmental change; cultures of healing, health & medicine, the anthropology of law & global legal processes, the study of resistance, rebellion, & social control, the global spread of media & technology; migration, multiculturalism and urban life; colonialism and neocolonialism development and post-development; race, class & gender; politics & the political; cultures of everyday life; language use & discourse; and self, identity and family. Sociocultural anthropology thus offers a rich set of resources for understanding and engaging pressing issues in a globalizing world characterized by new forms of international culture and community as well as by increasing material inequality and political volatility.

General A.B.

The General emphasis in the Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology provides an interdisciplinary approach that integrates elements of both evolutionary and sociocultural anthropology into one curriculum. This emphasis allows students to take courses covering the spectrum of anthropological subdisciplines. This emphasis will develop students’ abilities to apply both evolutionary and cultural concepts within anthropology as well as providing a solid theoretical foundation for both approaches. Based on the broad anthropological education covered in this emphasis, students will be gain transferable skills to be better equipped for a variety of careers; e.g., international development, cultural resource management, primate conservation, etc.

The Program

The Bachelor of Arts program is divided into three emphasis areas: the Evolutionary, Sociocultural, and General emphases. The Evolutionary and Sociocultural emphases parallel the two wings described above while the General emphasis allows students to select courses from both wings. Students interested in the study of recent and contemporary human societies should follow the Sociocultural emphasis. To obtain an A.B. degree in sociocultural anthropology, each student is required to complete courses that provide: (1) foundational skills, (2) language & cultural skills, (3) comprehensive skills, and (4) specialized skills. Students interested in the study of archaeology, primate studies, or human biology, ecology or origins should follow the Evolutionary Track. The A.B. degree offered by the Evolutionary emphasis provides general training in anthropology from an evolutionary perspective. The A.B. degree offered by the General emphasis provides interdisciplinary training in anthropology from both an evolutionary and sociocultural perspective. The Evolutionary Track also offers a B.S. degree that requires lower division coursework in math and science and upper division coursework in biological anthropology and closely related disciplines. Students planning on pursuing jobs in medical and other health-related fields after graduation may be especially interested in the B.S. degree.

Students in both tracks are encouraged to gain practical experience through courses taken while studying abroad (under the administration of the Global Learning Hub) and through undergraduate research or internships performed for credit (under ANT 192, ANT 198, or ANT 199 units provided by the advising office). Students showing exceptional ability are welcome to seek permission from instructors to participate in graduate seminars offered by the department.

Career Opportunities

A Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology is suited for students seeking a solid liberal arts education. With its broad goal to facilitate understanding across lines of cultural difference, sociocultural anthropology prepares students for lives that are influenced by increasingly pervasive cultural exchange, as well as cultural conflict, around the world. The program serves as excellent preparation for careers in which inter-cultural skills are increasingly needed, including social & environmental activism, business, diplomacy & social administration, journalism, law, education & international relations. Students who focus on evolutionary processes will be well prepared to enter fields such as medical or health anthropology, museum studies, cultural resource management, and wildlife conservation. A degree in anthropology with appropriate courses in education is good preparation for high school teaching in social, biological, and physical sciences. It also provides the foundation for advanced study leading to careers in college-level teaching and research.

Major Advisor

Connect with our advising office.

Honors Program

Candidates for high or highest honors in Anthropology must write a senior thesis under the direction of a faculty member. The thesis project will have a minimum duration of two quarters. Honors candidates must take at least 6 units of Anthropology ANT 194H. Only students who, at the end of their junior year (135 units), have attained a cumulative grade point average of 3.500 in Anthropology courses will be eligible for the honors program. The quality of the thesis work will be the primary determinant for designating high or highest honors at graduation. To learn more about participating in the ANT honors program, see Honors Program.

Teaching Credential Subject Representative

See the Teaching Credential/M.A. Program.

Graduate Study

The Department offers a program of study leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology. Further information regarding graduate study may be obtained at the Department website and at Graduate Studies.

A.B. Anthropology―Evolutionary Emphasis

Preparatory Subject Matter
ANT 001Human Evolutionary Biology4
ANT 002Cultural Anthropology5
ANT 003Introduction to Archaeology4
Choose one:4-5
From Birth to Death: The Evolution of the Human Life Cycle
Introduction to World Prehistory
Ancient Crops & People
Introduction to Primatology
Choose one:4-5
Scientific Method in Physical Anthropology
Introduction to Social Statistics
Elementary Statistics
Gateway to Statistical Data Science
Applied Statistics for Biological Sciences
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal21-23
Depth Subject Matter
Choose one:2-5
Ecology, Nature, & Society
Indigenous Peoples & Natural Resource Conservation
Economic Anthropology
Kinship & Social Organization: From Clans to Countries
The Evolution of Primate Behavior
Primate Evolutionary Ecology
Primate Behavior: Methods & Experimental Design 1
Laboratory in Primate Behavior 2
Primate Conservation Biology
The Evolution of Sex: A Biological Perspective
Hunter-Gatherers
Choose one:4-5
Primate Evolution
Human Evolution
Human Genetics: Mutation & Migration
Neandertals & Modern Human Origins
Archaeology
Choose one:4
Archeological Theory & Method
New World Prehistory: The First Arrivals
European Prehistory
Andean Prehistory: Archaeology of the Incas & Their Ancestors
Prehistory of California & the Great Basin
African Prehistory
Asian Prehistory
Zooarchaeology
Archaeological Field Methods
Field Course in Archeological Methods
Archaeometry
Laboratory in Archeological Analysis
Prehistoric Technology: The Material Aspects of Prehistoric Adaptation
Lithic Analysis
Cultural Resource Management in Archaeology
Sociocultural
Choose one:4
Theory in Social-Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Politics of the Environment
Law, Power, Violence
Visualization in Science: A Critical Introduction
Language & Culture
Special Topics in Medical Anthropology
Capitalism & Power
Resistance, Rebellion, & Popular Movements
Religion in Society & Culture
Structuralism & Symbolism
Postmodernism(s) & Culture
Anthropology of Development
Women & Development
Urban Anthropology
Self, Identity, & Family
Health & Medicine in a Global Context
Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Ecology & Politics
Psychological Anthropology
Anthropology of Ocean Worlds
Buddhism in Global Culture
Media Anthropology
Ethnographic Film
Meditation & Culture
Ethnographic Research Methods in Anthropology
Race, Class, Gender Systems
Gender & Sexuality
Cultures & Societies of West & Central Africa
Cultures & Societies of East & South Africa
People of the Arctic: Contemporary & Historic Cultures of the Circumpolar Region
Peoples of the Middle East
Ethnology of Southeast Asia
Contemporary Societies & Cultures of Latin America
Performance, Embodiment, & Space in South Asia
Topics in the Anthropology of Europe
Modern South Asia Cinema
Culture & Political Economy in Contemporary China
Museum Studies: Analysis of Native American Basketry
Choose 28 additional units from any upper division Evolutionary track ANT courses:28
Ecology, Nature, & Society
Indigenous Peoples & Natural Resource Conservation
Economic Anthropology
Kinship & Social Organization: From Clans to Countries
People of the Arctic: Contemporary & Historic Cultures of the Circumpolar Region
Primate Evolution
Human Evolution
Human Genetics: Mutation & Migration
The Evolution of Primate Behavior
Primate Evolutionary Ecology
Primate Behavior: Methods & Experimental Design
Laboratory in Primate Behavior
Primate Conservation Biology
Human Osteology
Advanced Human Osteology
Advanced Human Genetics
Advanced Human Genetics Lab
The Evolution of Sex: A Biological Perspective
Disease Outbreaks in Humans and Other Primates
Neandertals & Modern Human Origins
Archeological Theory & Method
New World Prehistory: The First Arrivals
European Prehistory
Andean Prehistory: Archaeology of the Incas & Their Ancestors
Prehistory of California & the Great Basin
African Prehistory
Hunter-Gatherers
Asian Prehistory
Zooarchaeology
Archaeological Field Methods
Field Course in Archeological Methods
Archaeometry
Laboratory in Archeological Analysis
Prehistoric Technology: The Material Aspects of Prehistoric Adaptation
Lithic Analysis
Museum Studies: Analysis of Native American Basketry
Cultural Resource Management in Archaeology
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal42-46
Total Units63-69
1

Must be taken concurrently with ANT 154CL.

2

Must be taken concurrently with ANT 154C.

A.B. Anthropology―Sociocultural Emphasis

Preparatory Subject Matter
ANT 002Cultural Anthropology5
Choose two:8
Human Evolutionary Biology
Introduction to Archaeology
Introduction to Anthropological Linguistics
Choose one of the following two options:0-10
(1) Complete the equivalent to five quarters of course work in foreign language or provide proof of proficiency.
(2) Choose two lower division sociocultural courses:
Comparative Cultures
Sexualities
Drugs, Science & Culture
Cultures of Consumerism
Star Trek as Social Theory
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal13-23
Depth Subject Matter
ANT 100Theory in Social-Cultural Anthropology4
Choose two upper division area-focus sociocultural track courses:8
Anthropology of Ocean Worlds
Cultures & Societies of West & Central Africa
Cultures & Societies of East & South Africa
People of the Arctic: Contemporary & Historic Cultures of the Circumpolar Region
Peoples of the Middle East
Ethnology of Southeast Asia
Contemporary Societies & Cultures of Latin America
Performance, Embodiment, & Space in South Asia
Topics in the Anthropology of Europe
Modern South Asia Cinema
Culture & Political Economy in Contemporary China
Choose one of the following two options; see list below identifying upper division sociocultural courses; see list above identifying evolutionary track courses:32
(1) Eight additional upper division anthropology courses 1
(2) Eight additional upper division courses that may combine six sociocultural track courses and either 8 units of Study Abroad credit or two related courses in a single academic discipline; including but not limited to: AAS, AMS, ART, AHI, AAS, CHI, CMN, CRD, DES, ECN, EAS, HIS, LIN, MSA, MUS, NAS, NAC, PHI, POL, PSC, RST, STS, SOC, TXC, WMS.
Sociocultural Track Upper Division Courses
Note: Sociocultural track courses at the upper division level are those with numbers from 100 to 148A, with the exception of 101, 103, and 128A. Area-focus sociocultural track courses are those that refer in their titles to one or more peoples or regions of the world.
Theory in Social-Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Politics of the Environment
Law, Power, Violence
Visualization in Science: A Critical Introduction
Language & Culture
Special Topics in Medical Anthropology
Economic Anthropology
Capitalism & Power
Resistance, Rebellion, & Popular Movements
Religion in Society & Culture
Structuralism & Symbolism
Postmodernism(s) & Culture
Anthropology of Development
Women & Development
Urban Anthropology
Self, Identity, & Family
Health & Medicine in a Global Context
Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Migration & the Politics of Place & Identity
Ecology & Politics
Psychological Anthropology
Anthropology of Ocean Worlds
Buddhism in Global Culture
Media Anthropology
Ethnographic Film
Meditation & Culture
Ethnographic Research Methods in Anthropology
Race, Class, Gender Systems
Gender & Sexuality
Cultures & Societies of West & Central Africa
Cultures & Societies of East & South Africa
People of the Arctic: Contemporary & Historic Cultures of the Circumpolar Region
Peoples of the Middle East
Ethnology of Southeast Asia
Contemporary Societies & Cultures of Latin America
Performance, Embodiment, & Space in South Asia
Topics in the Anthropology of Europe
Modern South Asia Cinema
Culture & Political Economy in Contemporary China
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal44
Total Units57-67
1

Two courses may be in the evolutionary track; and up to 4 units can be ANT 192, ANT 194H, ANT 198, or ANT 199 units.

A.B. Anthropology―General Emphasis

Preparatory Subject Matter
ANT 001Human Evolutionary Biology4
or ANT 001Y Human Evolutionary Biology (Hybrid Version)
ANT 002Cultural Anthropology5
ANT 003Introduction to Archaeology4
Choose one lower division sociocultural course:4
Introduction to Anthropological Linguistics
Comparative Cultures
Sexualities
Drugs, Science & Culture
Cultures of Consumerism
Star Trek as Social Theory
Choose one lower division evolutionary course:4-5
From Birth to Death: The Evolution of the Human Life Cycle
Introduction to World Prehistory
Ancient Crops & People
Introduction to Primatology
Choose one methods course:4-5
Scientific Method in Physical Anthropology
Data Visualization in the Social Sciences
Introduction to Social Research Methods
Introduction to Social Statistics
Elementary Statistics
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal25-27
Depth Subject Matter
Choose one of the sociocultural core courses:4
Theory in Social-Cultural Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods in Anthropology
Choose one of the evolutionary core courses:4-5
Ecology, Nature, & Society
Human Evolution
Choose a minimum of 16 units from any upper division Evolutionary ANT courses:16
Ecology, Nature, & Society
Indigenous Peoples & Natural Resource Conservation
Economic Anthropology
Kinship & Social Organization: From Clans to Countries
People of the Arctic: Contemporary & Historic Cultures of the Circumpolar Region
Primate Evolution
Human Evolution
Human Genetics: Mutation & Migration
The Evolution of Primate Behavior
Primate Evolutionary Ecology
Primate Behavior: Methods & Experimental Design
Laboratory in Primate Behavior
Primate Conservation Biology
Human Osteology
Advanced Human Osteology
Advanced Human Genetics
Advanced Human Genetics Lab
The Evolution of Sex: A Biological Perspective
Disease Outbreaks in Humans and Other Primates
Neandertals & Modern Human Origins
Archeological Theory & Method
New World Prehistory: The First Arrivals
European Prehistory
Andean Prehistory: Archaeology of the Incas & Their Ancestors
Prehistory of California & the Great Basin
African Prehistory
Hunter-Gatherers
Asian Prehistory
Zooarchaeology
Archaeological Field Methods
Field Course in Archeological Methods
Archaeometry
Laboratory in Archeological Analysis
Prehistoric Technology: The Material Aspects of Prehistoric Adaptation
Lithic Analysis
Museum Studies: Analysis of Native American Basketry
Cultural Resource Management in Archaeology
Choose a minimum of 16 units from any upper division Sociocultural ANT courses16
Theory in Social-Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Politics of the Environment
Law, Power, Violence
Visualization in Science: A Critical Introduction
Language & Culture
Special Topics in Medical Anthropology
Capitalism & Power
Resistance, Rebellion, & Popular Movements
Religion in Society & Culture
Structuralism & Symbolism
Postmodernism(s) & Culture
Anthropology of Development
Women & Development
Urban Anthropology
Self, Identity, & Family
Health & Medicine in a Global Context
Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Ecology & Politics
Psychological Anthropology
Anthropology of Ocean Worlds
Buddhism in Global Culture
Media Anthropology
Ethnographic Film
Meditation & Culture
Ethnographic Research Methods in Anthropology
Race, Class, Gender Systems
Gender & Sexuality
Cultures & Societies of West & Central Africa
Cultures & Societies of East & South Africa
People of the Arctic: Contemporary & Historic Cultures of the Circumpolar Region
Peoples of the Middle East
Ethnology of Southeast Asia
Contemporary Societies & Cultures of Latin America
Performance, Embodiment, & Space in South Asia
Topics in the Anthropology of Europe
Modern South Asia Cinema
Culture & Political Economy in Contemporary China
Museum Studies: Analysis of Native American Basketry
Choose one course from the Regional Focus electives below:4
Anthropology of Ocean Worlds
Cultures & Societies of West & Central Africa
Cultures & Societies of East & South Africa
People of the Arctic: Contemporary & Historic Cultures of the Circumpolar Region
Peoples of the Middle East
Ethnology of Southeast Asia
Contemporary Societies & Cultures of Latin America
Performance, Embodiment, & Space in South Asia
Topics in the Anthropology of Europe
Modern South Asia Cinema
Culture & Political Economy in Contemporary China
New World Prehistory: The First Arrivals
European Prehistory
Andean Prehistory: Archaeology of the Incas & Their Ancestors
Prehistory of California & the Great Basin
African Prehistory
Hunter-Gatherers
Asian Prehistory
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal44-45
Total Units69-72