The Anthropology Major

Anthropology Major



Welcome to Penn Anthropology! We invite you to explore our courses and our major and minor programs. Our Checklist for potential majors is below.  After your Anthropology major is made official on your worksheet, you can make an appointment with the Undergraduate Coordinator to join the program. If you have any questions about planning before that time, we are ready to help. 


The Requirements

Students will choose one of the five different concentrations listed below. All concentrations require fourteen credits, beginning with three introductory courses to be completed before the senior year —ANTH 001 or ANTH 005, ANTH 002 or ANTH 004, and ANTH 003. Regardless of the concentration chosen, all majors are required to take ANTH 300, the Research Seminar (previously called Senior Capstone), preferably in the fall of their junior year. The other ten credits vary among the different concentrations, but all majors are encouraged to take courses in a variety of sub-fields. Up to three non-ANTH courses (i.e., courses offered by other departments) may be counted as electives in the major with prior approval (email the undergraduate coordinator for information on counting non-ANTH courses). Students have the option of completing a senior thesis by taking ANTH 301, the Senior Thesis Course. 


The Concentrations

General Anthropology


Biological Anthropology

Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology

Medical Anthropology and Global Health


To declare your major, email the Undergraduate Coordinator at


The Checklist

To begin your journey as a Penn Anthropology Major, follow this simple checklist:

1. Meet with your College Advisor to discuss your General Requirements, Graduation Plan, and to create an Official Worksheet in Penn in Touch.

2. Email the Undergraduate Coordinator to request a meeting with the Undergraduate Chair. In this meeting the Undergraduate Chair will explain the anthropology curriculum and your options for choosing a concentration (Archaeology, Biological, Sociocultural/Linguistic, or Medical). You may also choose to pursue a General Anthropology major, without a concentration.

3. Email the Undergraduate Coordinator to request a meeting in which you will officially declare your major (this meeting will be filling out a short form and asking any questions you may have about next steps).

4. During your next registration period you will begin (if you have not already) to complete your three required introductory courses (these courses should be complete before your senior year):  

a. ANTH 001: Archaeology: Window to the Human Past or ANTH 005: Great Transformations

b. ANTH 002: Intro to Cultural Anthropology or ANTH004: The Modern World and Its Cultural Background

c. ANTH 003: Intro to Human Evolution  

5. Begin to consider research opportunities, senior thesis, and study abroad. Deciding early about these factors will help you complete the major while still being able to take specific anthropology courses that suit your interests.

6. Consider taking ANTH 300: Research Seminar (previously called Senior Capstone) in the fall of your Junior year, which is the recommended semester.

7. The second semester of your Junior year you will email the Undergraduate Coordinator for your Junior Check-In (in this meeting you will go over your decision to complete a senior thesis or not, your research plans, if any, and your course plan to graduate on time).  

8. In the Fall of your Senior year you must take ANTH300: Research Seminar (previously called Senior Capstone) if you have not already taken it as a Junior.   

9. At the beginning of your second semester, senior year you will email the Undergraduate Coordinator for your final check-in (in this meeting you will confirm that you will/have completed the major requirements to graduate that semester, you will also discuss any questions as well as your plans after graduation).


Graduating with Honors (or "Completing an Honors Thesis")

To graduate with honors (or complete an "honors thesis") students must complete and submit their final copy of the thesis to the undergraduate chair and undergraduate coordinator by the last day of classes in the student's last semester of study IN ADDITION TO maintaining a 3.5 GPA on all courses applied to the student's anthropology major. Students must contact the undergraduate coordinator to "opt-in" (be considered) for graduating with honors. 


Anthropology Major (past curriculum)

If you declared your major before September 16, 2015 please reference the following concentration guidelines and course concentration list for completing your major:

General Anthropology


Biological Anthropology

Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology

Medical Anthropology and Global Health


University of Pennsylvania Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice).