BA in Anthropology

Degree Program Description

Anthropology is the study of humans and human experience, past and present.  Anthropology at MU emphasizes scientific approaches to the study of human biology, behavior, culture, and evolution. Anthropology majors are required to take core courses in all three focal areas of the discipline (archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology) but may concentrate in one or more of these fields.  Students have opportunities to become involved in research, helping them develop creativity, enhance critical thinking skills, solve problems and improve their writing. Undergraduate training in anthropology also prepares students for work in government (both in the United States and abroad), museum positions, and field positions in archaeology, ethnography, human paleontology, or forensics. It may also provide students with the opportunity to enter graduate school leading towards an academic career teaching and conducting anthropological research at a college or university. A degree in anthropology also provides students with the background to pursue careers in business, journalism, health care, law, and many other fields.

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Major Program Requirements

In addition to college foundation requirements and University graduation requirements, such as general education, all anthropology students are required to complete the following core courses (15 credits):

ANTHRO 2020Fundamentals of Archaeology with Laboratory4
or ANTHRO 2021
Fundamentals of Archaeology
and Fundamentals of Archaeology Lab
ANTHRO 2030Cultural Anthropology3
ANTHRO 2050Introduction to Biological Anthropology with Laboratory5
or ANTHRO 2051
Introduction to Biological Anthropology
and Biological Anthropology Laboratory
ANTHRO 4990Capstone Seminar in Anthropology3
Total Credits15

ANTHRO 4990 Capstone Seminar in Anthropology must be completed even if a student completes an additional major in another department. Some departments waive this requirement for students completing a double major. Students with second majors should check with the other department to see if they are required to complete both capstone courses.


A minimum of 15 additional Anthropology credits (usually 5 courses) are required for the major. These courses must be distributed as follows:

Topical/theoretical1 course
Area1 course
Methods1 course
Additional courses of student's choice to bring total to 15 credit hours or more.1-2 courses

Explanation about the distribution of departmental courses among these three categories is available at

The choice of area, topical-theoretical and methods courses is guided by the student's individual interests and goals, and is selected in consultation with their departmental mentor. With the consent of the student's mentor and the director of undergraduate studies, the methods/techniques or area requirements may be fulfilled by suitable courses outside anthropology. If this requirement is satisfied by a course outside anthropology, an additional anthropology course is selected to complete the 30 credits required in anthropology.

Students may also complete the methods requirement by gaining hands-on experience doing anthropological research. This experience will normally begin with ANTHRO 2950 Research Skills in Anthropology, an introduction to the methods used by one or more faculty members. This course will satisfy the methods requirement if a student enrolls in it for at least 3 credits. A student may independently choose a faculty mentor and arrange for course credit or can work with the department's undergraduate research coordinator, who will match the student's interests with those of one or more faculty members.

Students wishing to continue doing research of an independent nature may register for ANTHRO 4950 Undergraduate Research in Anthropology. Prior approval by the director of undergraduate studies is required to use these courses to satisfy the departmental methods requirement. Honors Research ANTHRO 4950H Honors Research in Anthropology may be used to satisfy the requirements for an Honors BA with a major in Anthropology, but the course is not required for that degree. Specific requirements for the Honors BA are described below.

Related Courses

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of anthropology, the Department of Anthropology strongly recommends that all students complete a cluster of at least two or three courses that complement chosen courses within the major.

These courses may be offered by a single department or may be a related set of courses from several departments (e.g., courses in ancient history from both the Art History and Archaeology and the History departments). The courses should be chosen with their mentor and are intended to provide background in the content of other disciplines related to the student's anthropological focus. Fulfillment of a formal minor (15 credits in another department as approved by that department) or a second major (at least 30 credits in another department as approved by that department) can also be an effective way to gain expertise in related areas.

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Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.

First Year
ANTHRO 2030^3ANTHRO 2020^4
ENGLSH 1000*3MATH 1100 (*)3
HIST 1100 or POL_SC 1100*3Behavioral science course*3
Foreign language 1*5Foreign language 2*5
 14 15
Second Year
Anthropology topics course^3ANTHRO 2050 (Satisfies lab science)^*5
Foreign language 3*3Science course*3
Science course*3Behavioral science (upper level)*3
Social science course*3Humanities course*3
Humanities course*3Elective3
 15 17
Third Year
Anthropology elective^3Anthropology methods course^3-5
Anthropology area course^3WI course*3
Science course (if needed)*3Humanities (upper level)*3
Social science (upper level)*3Related field course (recommended)^3
Humanities course*3Elective3
 15 15-17
Fourth Year
Anthropology elective^3Capstone Seminar in Anthropology ^*3
Related field course (recommended)^3Related field course (recommended)^3
 15 15-17
Total Credits: 121-125

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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