Jul 25, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024 
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED RECORD]


Requirements for Major

Eleven courses (33 credits) taken within a program approved by a departmental undergraduate advisor are required for a major. These eleven courses may include courses taken before declaration of the major, and up to two from outside the Department of Anthropology. Courses taken outside the anthropology department, including courses transferred from other institutions or study-abroad programs, may count toward the area requirements for the major.  These credits are subject to approval by a major advisor.  The maximum number of credits is limited to six and a minimum of three is typically approved, but normally they may not count toward the above 3000-level requirement for the major. In order to declare a major, a student must have completed one anthropology course.

Grades lower than C- (in anthropology) will not count toward the major. No course for the major may be taken on a CR/NC basis. Normally at least 18 credits must be taken after declaration of the major. The major requires a distribution of courses in the following areas: 

  1. Two of the following three anthropological foundations courses: 1010, 3010, and/or 3020;The faculty recommends that students take all three, but they must take two.Students interested in pursuing the DMP should take both 3010 and 3020.
  2. One course at the 2000-level (or above) in each of these areas within anthropology: socio-cultural anthropology; archaeology; and linguistics;
  3. ANTH 4591 during the third or fourth year;
  4. At least three courses at or above the 3000 level, in addition to 3010 and/or 3020 and 4591; These courses must be taken in the Department of Anthropology at University of Virginia.

Each semester, the department publishes a list of the current courses that satisfy the above requirements on its website.

Students frequently find that anthropology provides a cognate discipline which can be paired with other studies in the humanities and sciences. Many of these students choose to double-major in anthropology and another discipline. Up to six credits in another department major may be counted toward an anthropology major if they are consistent with a student’s overall program. Specific courses, therefore, may be counted toward both majors, but the student must receive approval from a departmental advisor in advance.

Exceptions to any of these requirements are made only upon written petition to the Undergraduate Committee of the Department of Anthropology. No petitions are accepted after the completion of a student’s seventh semester.

A number of informal activities are associated with the department. Among these is the Virginia Anthropology Society of the University of Virginia. Majors are encouraged to attend meetings of the group and to attend lectures and symposia sponsored by the department.

B.A. in Anthropology with a Specialist Concentration

Students who major in anthropology have the option to work toward one of three specialized concentrations within the major, which will appear on their University transcript. To complete a concentration, students must complete all other requirements for the major, and also fulfill the specific concentration requirements as listed below. A student may choose to specialize in only one concentration.

Specific classes that can be counted toward each concentration can be found in the Appendix below, and on the Department website. Students should consult with concentration faculty when choosing courses, as these lists will be updated periodically, and not all classes will be offered in every semester. When selecting Concentration courses, students should keep in mind that a total maximum of only two courses (6 credits) from beyond Anthropology (courses with other than an ANTH prefix) can be counted toward the Anthropology major.  To declare a concentration, students should meet with the faculty advisor for that concentration. Contact information can be found on the Department website, or from the Director of Undergraduate Programs in Anthropology.

The three concentrations are as follows:

B.A. in Anthropology with Concentration in Culture and Communication

The Culture and Communication concentration in Anthropology offers students a program of study focused on communicative practices across a diversity of world cultures, modalities of embodied discourse, and the technologically mediated channels that increasingly connect people around the globe. Work in this area ranges from the micro-scale of everyday dialogue to the transnational scale of commerce, migrations, politics, and development. The program prepares students to bring critical thinking and holistic conceptual tools to an increasingly globalized workplace, where communicative practices vary across almost every conceivable dimension and where attention to relative cultural differences can mean the difference between communication and miscommunication, justice and injustice, and even life and death. Culture and Communication introduces students to theoretical approaches from linguistic anthropology, cognitive anthropology, and other anthropological subfields, and builds on interdisciplinary ties that include sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, conversation analysis, exchange theory, art, media, and mediated discourse analysis, preparing students to understand the impact of differing modes of expression, cultural styles, and interactional genres on the accomplishment of group tasks, the creation of human connections, and the building of a globally interconnected world.


  1. Fulfill all non-elective requirements for the B.A. in Anthropology, including the Linguistic Anthropology distribution requirement.
  2. When choosing electives toward your Anthropology major, include a total of four, as follows:
    1. 2-4 classes from Culture and Communication Concentration Course List A

    2. up to 2 classes from Culture and Communication Course List B

B.A. in Anthropology with Concentration in Indigenous Worlds

Students in this concentration will be exposed to ethnographic studies and anthropological theories devoted to “the Indigenous.” For anthropologists, this term commonly refers to the knowledges and worldviews of the many peoples who are our disciplinary interlocutors around the globe. In American contexts, “indigenous” usually refers to First Peoples of the Western hemisphere, and includes Native American Studies. At the transnational scale, indigenous peoples’ movements are political realities, converging at sites like the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the World Conservation Congress. This concentration takes an unbounded approach, engaging with all of these perspectives and scales, and many others, without reducing “the Indigenous” to any of them. Students will be given the opportunity to engage with the vast array of possibilities for being human, studying for example both colonial-era encounters, and contemporary indigenous relationships to issues such as sustainable livelihoods, public health, and environmental care. This concentration offers unique opportunities for interdisciplinary learning across two areas of distinction at UVA: Indigenous arts and curation, and the environmental humanities.


  1. Fulfill all non-elective requirements for the B.A. in Anthropology.

  2. When choosing electives toward your Anthropology major, include the following:

    1. 3 classes from Indigenous Worlds Concentration Course List A

    2. 2 classes from Indigenous Worlds Concentration Course List B

B.A. in Anthropology with a Concentration in Medical Anthropology, Ethics, and Care

Students in this concentration will study a diverse range of factors that impact the body, and the ways that people understand, experience, and respond to states of health and illness.  Students will critically examine the complex ethical orientations that shape the manners in which people care for or abandon one another in various conditions of exposure, vulnerability, and well-being.  Anthropological knowledge and practice offer a unique resource for questioning our own assumptions on these and other matters. Students in this concentration will use such knowledge to address some of the most difficult problems we face today, and in so doing, help create the world anew.


  1. Fulfill all non-elective requirements for the B.A. in Anthropology.

  2. When choosing electives toward your Anthropology major, include the following:

    1. ANTH 2280 Medical Anthropology
    2. 4 additional courses chosen from the Medical Anthropology Concentration Course List

Independent Study in Anthropology

For students who want to work on an individual research project, ANTH 4993 allows considerable flexibility. There is no formal limitation on the kind of project as long as a faculty member is willing to direct it, but the project should not duplicate what is already available in a regular course. Applicants should have their projects roughly defined when they apply to the faculty member. The normal requirements for ANTH 4993 are a reading list comparable in substance to those in regular courses and a term paper and oral examination at the end of the semester.

Distinguished Majors Program in Anthropology

Students with superior academic performance are encouraged to apply for the departmental Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in which they write a thesis demonstrating independent study of high quality. The requirements for admission to the DMP are:

  1. satisfaction of all College requirements as stated in this Record with a GPA of at least 3.25 in all university courses;
  2. a GPA of at least 3.400 in all courses taken as part of the anthropology major;
  3. seeks permission of an advisor, who may be any member of the departmental faculty that is willing to take on the responsibility of supervising the thesis and is normally someone to whom the students have already demonstrated their ability in an upper-level course;
  4. applies for admission (normally in the spring semester of the Third Year) to the Director of the Program, by declaring their DMP graduation year (and semester), and by including their relevant course transcripts showing their two cumulative GPAs, along with the selected thesis topic, and the names of the primary and second faculty thesis advisors.

On admission, student registers with the primary faculty advisor for ANTH 4998 in the first semester of the Program, and for ANTH 4999 in the second semester for revising and finalizing the thesis in consultation with the two faculty readers. A DMP thesis involving field research on human subjects requires the University’s IRB Approval. This should be acquired before beginning the fieldwork, with the help of the primary faculty advisor.

In the final semester of the Program, the student takes into account the criticisms and suggestions of the two advisors and other interested faculty members, and submits a finished thesis of approximately 10,000 words to the two advisors three weeks before the Grades Due date for the semester. For regular Spring Graduation, the thesis is to be submitted by April 15. The level of distinction awarded in a thesis is approved by both the faculty advisors.

At the end of the spring semester each year, an oral Presentation of all DMP theses will be held in Brooks Hall Commons. Each Distinguished Major and his/her committee members will be present. Theses Presentations will be open to the public. Friends and faculty are invited.

Any prospective and current DMP students wishing help in entering, setting up or conducting their Program should contact the DMP director, Professor Richard Handler (Tel: 924-7044 or rh3y@virginia.edu), and be also in contact with their major advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Programs.

Requirements for Minor

Students majoring in a diverse array of disciplines choose to minor in anthropology. Courses taken in other disciplines may not count toward a minor. A maximum of one anthropology course taken at another institution may count toward the minor, if approved by the Director of the Undergraduate Program.

A minor consists of a total of 6 three-credit courses. Within these 6 courses, all minors must take one course in each of the following three areas of anthropology: socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. There are no requirements as to course level.

Minor in Global Culture and Commerce

The minor in Global Culture and Commerce (GCC) focuses on the intersection of two sets of issues: (1) cultural translation and cross-cultural knowledge, and (2) local and global economic and cultural development. The minor consists of six courses (of which two must be in Anthropology) planned in accordance with the student’s interests, plus one co-requisite language course, to be chosen in consultation with the minor Directors.  To apply for the minor, students should consult one of the directors, Richard Handler or Rachel Most.

Additional Information

For more information, contact Adria Laviolette, Director of the Undergraduate Program, Department of Anthropology, Brooks Hall, P.O. Box 400120, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4120; (434) 924-7044; Fax: (434) 924-1350; http://anthropology.virginia.edu/; ajl4h@virginia.edu.

Course Descriptions

Courses at the 1000 and 2000 levels have no prerequisites and are open to all students. Courses at the 3000 and 4000 level are advanced undergraduate courses and often assume that students have already taken ANTH 1010 or other relevant 2000-level courses. These are general prerequisites and individual professors may consider other courses within or outside the department to be sufficient preparation. Courses at the 5000 level have third- or fourth-year status and prior course work in anthropology as a general prerequisite. These courses are designed primarily for majors and graduate students, but are open by permission to other qualified, sufficiently motivated undergraduates.

Principles of Sociocultural Analysis

Culture and Communication Concentration Course List A

Culture and Communication Concentration Course List B

Medical Anthropology Concentration Course List