Apr 25, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Anthropology, B.A.

Anthropology Core Faculty: 

Bambi Chapin, Associate Professor and Director
Sarah Chard, Associate Professor
J. Kevin Eckert , Professor
Camee Maddox-Wingfield, Assistant Professor

ANTHROPOLOGY is the worldwide comparative study of humankind, present and past. The subfield of Cultural Anthropology examines the relationship of culture, human meaning, and the social, political, and economic forces that affect our worlds. Our Cultural Anthropology major provides students with an understanding of cultural diversity, human social organization and social structure, and social research methods.   

Anthropology courses help students gain an understanding of the complexity of current events within the U.S. and internationally. These courses offer students training in anthropological theory and research methods, with opportunities to apply these in practice. Students have the opportunity to explore critical contemporary problems, globalization, urban life, family, gender, and health, to name just a few topic areas, through the lens of Anthropology. We also offer a three course sequence on physical and forensic anthropology. Cultural Anthropology majors complete their own independent research projects as part of their capstone methods course. 

Cultural Anthropology majors learn to gather and analyze complex material, communicate across difference, and recognize how cultural perspectives shape understandings of events and interactions. Upon graduation our majors are well prepared to obtain employment in our increasingly multicultural workforce, pursue graduate and professional training, and engage effectively in a complex world.

Career and Academic Paths

Cultural Anthropology majors gain knowledge, skills, and conceptual tools that prepare them for a wide range of careers, professional training programs, and graduate studies.

After graduation, our majors have found employment in government, non-profit, and private sector settings. They are especially well-suited for positions that involve human interaction, problem solving, and communication, and where an understanding of diversity is beneficial. This includes employment at social support and development organizations, private marketing firms, and companies involved in international business.

An anthropology major also provides a strong foundation for those intending to pursue graduate studies and professional training in fields such as medicine and public health, psychology and social work, education, business, international studies, public policy, and human services. Students who plan to engage in anthropology professionally generally continue to graduate school, entering M.A. and Ph.D. programs in anthropology around the country.

Academic Advising

Students majoring in Cultural Anthropology must meet with their Anthropology advisor each semester during advanced registration to review their progress toward fulfilling major and university requirements, but Anthropology majors and minors are also encouraged to meet with their advisor at any point during the semester. Anthropology majors and minors with another primary major are still strongly encouraged to meet each semester with their Anthropology advisor.

Advisors are available to assist students in developing an academic pathway towards graduation, as well as to discuss post graduate education and career options. A student’s post-baccalaureate plans for either graduate education or immediate employment are important influences on his or her overall academic program and course selections. With these considerations in mind, early and continuous contact should be established with a program advisor. 

Students can declare a Cultural Anthropology major or minor by filling out the Declaration of Major/Minor Form, located on the Registrar’s website, and returning it to the Registrar’s office. Once the student has declared a Cultural Anthropology major or minor, he/she should contact the department to be assigned a faculty advisor and will receive updates regarding the program via email. 

For more information about the program’s advising process or for general questions regarding the Cultural Anthropology program, please refer to the Department’s website.

Double Major

The Department offers a double major in Sociology and Anthropology. Information about this double major can be obtained from the Department website. 

Honors Program

The Anthropology program offers a major with honors in Cultural Anthropology to students. This is designed for students with a strong academic record who want to conduct a substantial independent research project in anthropology, culminating in a thesis, during their final year in the major. Information describing the requirements for the major with honors is available on the Department website. Students considering graduate school in Anthropology are particularly encouraged to pursue this option. Interested students should discuss this with their Anthropology Advisor as early as possible.

Graduate Programs in Applied Sociology (Master’s, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, and Bachelor’s/Master’s)

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy offers a Master of Arts in Applied Sociology, an Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector. Our programs offer students training in the practical side of sociology, including the various methodologies and key substantive areas of the field. Our program has core strengths in the sociology of health, illness, and medicine; aging and the life course; diversity, gender, and culture; and applied research methods. Our courses prepare students for careers as research analysts in federal and state agencies, research organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Our program also prepares students for doctoral-level coursework. In order to earn a Master’s in Applied Sociology at UMBC, students complete 30 credits, including a capstone project. The Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program for undergraduate students allows students to take up to 9 graduate credits to apply toward the master’s degree. The 12 credit Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector can be completed as part of the master’s degree, or separately. If you have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and are interested in any of these programs, please contact Dr. Marina Adler (Graduate Program Director) at adler@umbc.edu or Ms. Emily Byrne (Graduate Program Coordinator) at ebyrne@umbc.edu. For admission requirements and deadlines please consult the Department website.

Evening and Part Time Options

The Department offers various advanced courses in the evening every semester but does not offer an evening major. Students who are able to take some courses during the day can complete the degree on a part-time basis.

Student Organizations

Council of Majors

The Council of Majors sponsors the Anthropology Club, which is open to majors and non-majors alike. Club activities have included a brown-bag lunch film series and discussion, field trips to local museums and events, sessions on the graduate school application process and internship opportunities, and potlucks that showcase food traditions from around the world. Interested students should contact the Anthropology Council of Majors faculty advisor, Camee Maddox-Wingfield, (cmaddox@umbc.edu) for more information. 

Lambda Alpha

Lambda Alpha is the national collegiate honor society for Anthropology. To become a member, an undergraduate student must:

  1. Be an officially declared anthropology major

  2. Be a junior (60-89 total credits) or a senior (90 or more total credits)

  3. Have an overall UMBC GPA of 2.5 or better

  4. Have a GPA in all UMBC anthropology courses of 3.0 or better

  5. Have completed no less than twelve credits in Anthropology

Further details please consult the Department website. The induction ceremony is held each year during the Spring semester.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Undergraduate anthropology students are encouraged to practice and pursue original research through their course work in independent study classes (ANTH 399 and 499) and in honors thesis projects. In addition, the Department faculty members at times have external grants and contracts on which undergraduates may work as research assistants. Such arrangements are made individually with faculty members.

Elective Requirements (18 credits)

Students also must complete eighteen additional credits of Anthropology or Sociology with a grade of “C” or better. Twelve of these eighteen credits must be in Anthropology. The remaining six credits may be in Anthropology or Sociology (thus, a maximum of six credits may be in Sociology). In addition, a minimum of twelve of these elective credits must be 300 level or above. SOCY 396  and courses that are P/F may not be counted toward this requirement.

The department’s Anthropology elective course offerings usually include

Honors Program

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a major with honors in anthropology. Information describing the requirements for the major with honors is available in the Student’s Guide, which can be found on the department website. Students considering graduate school in anthropology are particularly encouraged to pursue this option.


Students also may wish to take courses in other departments that complement a four-field approach to Anthropology. While the Anthropology faculty encourages students to explore coursework outside of the department in archeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology, as well as cultural and area studies, these courses cannot be used as Anthropology electives.