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Anthropology Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology (literally the study of humans) is an extremely broad and diverse field concerned with every aspect of the human condition: past present and future. An undergraduate majoring in anthropology at the University of Tennessee learns of this breadth and diversity by taking courses in cultural, biological and archaeological anthropology. The major is designed so that all students are trained in these primary subfields, but the curriculum also allows the student to concentrate in those aspects of anthropology that she/he finds most interesting.

Career Opportunities in Anthropology

Students who earn undergraduate degrees in anthropology are prepared to enter careers in a variety of fields such as health care, education, government, law, social work, and human services. If the student is interested in a career as a professional anthropologist, graduate training is essential. The excellence of the faculty and the relevance of available courses in the department afford future anthropologists the undergraduate background necessary to pursue advanced degrees.

Salary Trends in Anthropology

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary.

High School Preparation

Good writing and quantitative skills are essential. Science courses, particularly in biology and geology are useful, as are social science courses in history and geography. Students should also have training in a modern foreign language.

How to Major in Anthropology

Progression into the anthropology major is based on performance in the three prerequisite courses: Anthropology 110, 120, and 130. Students must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 for the three introductory courses, with none of the three grades below a C. Upon satisfactory completion of the prerequisites, the student may apply for progression into the anthropology major by completing a formal application for progression in the Anthropology Department and including with that application an academic history demonstrating satisfactory completion of the progression requirements. The Undergraduate Committee of the Anthropology Department reviews the status of these applications upon receipt. Upon progression to the major, a department advisor will be assigned in consultation with the student.

Requirements for Anthropology

The anthropology major consists of 30 hours including 450 (Current Trends in Anthropology) or 357 (Junior Honors in Anthropology) and 27 additional hours of upper-division course work in Anthropology. This course work shall be distributed as follows:

  • one course from archaeological method and theory: 361, 362, 461, 464
  • one course from archaeological area: 360, 363, 454, 462, 463, 466
  • one course from cultural area: 310, 311, 313, 314, 315, 316, 319, 320, 322, 323, 324, 325
  • one course from cultural method and theory: 410, 411, 413, 414, 415, 416, 419, 420, 421
  • two courses from biological anthro­pology: 303, 480, 485, 486, 489, 490, 494, 495

Remaining hours may be selected from any upper-division anthropology courses. Realize that additional courses may be considered to meet these requirements. Students must petition the department to substitute a course for one of those listed above. This should be done in conjunction with the course instructor and the student’s advisor.

Students with senior standing may substitute appropriate 500-level courses (with permission of the instructor of the course and approval of the Department Head) for any portion of the above.


Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights Concentration

This concentration is intended for current Anthropology majors wishing to develop specialized knowledge and research skills in the anthropological study of natural and unnatural disasters and humanitarian crises, forced migration, and human rights investigations, policies, practices, and norms. All prerequisites and requirements for the Anthropology major are required for the concentration. Credits earned toward the concentration may also count for departmental distribution requirements for the major.

Students pursuing a DDHR concentration must submit a form to the department and complete specific courses as outlined in the undergraduate catalog. Special topics courses, and independent or foreign study courses, where appropriate, may be petitioned for the DDHR concentration.


Honors Concentration

The Department of Anthropology offers introductory honors courses (Anth 117, 127, 137), an honors course for juniors (Anth 357) and a Senior Honors Thesis (Anth 457), leading to an honors concentration.  The honors concentration consists of at least 12 hours of anthropology honors courses, generally distributed as follows: at least 2 of the 3 introductory honors courses should be taken (during freshman and/or sophomore years), Anth 357 (generally during the fall semester of the junior year) and Anth 457 (generally taken during the senior year).  To provide access to the honors concentration for transfer students and for students who have already completed the basic pre-requisite courses, up to six hours of anthropology Honors-by-Contract courses may be completed in addition to Anth 357 and 457.  To satisfy the remaining requirements for the major, 24 additional hours of upper-division course work in anthropology must be completed as specified above.

Permission of the instructor is required to enroll in any of the introductory honors courses.  To progress into Anth 357, grades of B or better in the introductory honors courses are required.  A grade of B or better and a thesis proposal approved by the instructor of Anth 357 and by the faculty member agreeing to direct the student thesis are required in order to enroll in Anth 457.  The Senior Honors Thesis (Anth 457) is expected to be either original research or an in-depth literature review of a relevant anthropological topic.  To graduate with honors, the student must pass Anth 457 with a grade of B or better.

Upon completion of the above requirements, and the earning of a final cumulative university GPA of at least 3.25, the student will graduate with Honors in Anthropology.


Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

In conjunction with the Current Trends course (450) the department each fall semester invites nine nationally and internationally recognized leaders in the field to present lectures and to visit with faculty, staff, and students. The department sponsors the Anthropological Research Facility (where internationally-renowned forensic anthropological research is conducted) and the Archaeological Research Laboratory. The department regularly offers archaeological field school programs, and there are opportunities for undergraduates to participate in laboratory work in the department, its research centers such as the Forensic Anthropology Center, and at McClung Museum.

The Departments of Anthropology and Religious Studies jointly offer the Gulu Study and Service Abroad Program (GSSAP) each summer in Uganda.


Highlights of Anthropology

The department has an active research faculty that often provide undergraduate students opportunities to participate in research activities. These have included ethnographic studies, prehistoric and historic archaeological projects in the Southeast as well as Europe and the Caribbean, and physical anthropological projects involving skeletal biology, forensics, primate behavior, and paleo­anthropology. The fall semester visiting lecturer program (Anthropology 357 and 450) regularly includes scholars who are among the world’s foremost authorities in cultural, biological, and archaeological anthropology.

New Concentration in Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights

This concentration is intended for current Anthropology majors wishing to develop specialized knowledge and research skills in the anthropological study of natural and unnatural disasters and humanitarian crises, forced migration, and human rights investigations, policies, practices, and norms. All prerequisites and requirements for the Anthropology major are required for the concentration. For further information, please contact your academic advisor.

Ready for the World logo

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities.  Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Dr. Jan Simek,
Professor and Interim Head
The Department of Anthropology
250 South Stadium Hall
University of Tennessee
865 974-4408



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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