Frequently asked questions

Many students have not had the opportunity to study anthropology in high school, but that is not a drawback for considering the degree. Our introductory courses will provide you with an overview of the field. Sample a course and see how it helps you build on skills you’ve developed in the past.

Anthropology attracts students from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically are excited by the prospect of one or more of the following:

  • learning about other cultures, past and present
  • developing new ways of thinking about human behavior
  • exploring the biological origins of humans
  • studying less commonly taught languages
  • considering the relationships between humans and the environment
  • making tangible contributions to knowledge through fieldwork or service learning

If you have a broad range of interests in the sciences and the humanities, anthropology may be a good choice for you.

If you have questions about the major or would like to officially declare a major, minor, or certificate, contact the undergraduate academic advisor.

Declaring a major or minor is easily done in a meeting with the undergraduate academic advisor, Kristen Murphy. She will explain the requirements, answer any questions you may have, and officially add the major or minor to your record. Use the web calendar to schedule an appointment.

Students pursuing an Anthropology B.A. degree must complete the study of a single foreign language through the second semester of the second year of college-level course work (four semesters). All or part of this requirement may be fulfilled by performance or placement exams.

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to Indiana University’s language programs, where you can choose from more than 70 languages—everything from Akan to Zulu. Anthropology majors are encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of languages offered. The study of a foreign language can be very useful to your degree and then give you an edge on the job market or when applying to graduate school.

The Intensive Writing Requirement may be fulfilled by completing one intensive writing course at or above the 200 level after completing the English composition requirement. Intensive writing sections are taught by faculty in small sections or by individual arrangement. This requirement includes a series of written assignments evaluated with close attention to organization, expression, substance, and argument. When participating in intensive writing courses (or in special arrangements for intensive writing) you are required to revise your assignments, with grades given for these improved drafts.

Courses that fulfill the Intensive Writing Requirement change each semester. Students can find an updated list of Intensive Writing courses via the Special Course Listings page provided by the Registrar’s Office or through the Course Search provided by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Anthropology majors are not required to have a minor. Despite that, keep in mind that the degree combines well with many other fields of study. Meet with the undergraduate academic advisor to discuss minors that might complement your Anthropology major, allowing you to strengthen your academic and professional interests.

We’ve assembled some resources that are a good starting point for thinking about grad school.

Books of Interest

  • Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning a Master’s or Ph.D. Robert L Peters
  • The Grad School Handbook. Richard Jerrard and Margot Jerrard


National Science Foundation Grants

Students interested in funding for graduate school should go to the following link to learn about the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Special Programs for Undergraduate Students are also funded by the National Science Foundation.

Anthropology is an excellent foundation for many careers. Employers hire anthropologists because they have excellent communication skills and understand how to manage multicultural situations.

  • Employment opportunities related directly to anthropology can be found with:
  • contract archaeology companies
  • physical anthropology labs
  • museums and zoos
  • schools and universities
  • government agencies
  • a growing number of private corporations

Not sure which path to take? Schedule an appointment with the Anthropology department’s career coach to discuss the many options available and to get help with your first job or internship search. Check out the websites of professional organizations, too, including the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology.