Majoring in Anthropology

A major in Anthropology commences with the completion of two junior units of study:

Senior units of study in Anthropology are divided into three areas: Regional, Thematic, and Theory and Method, plus 3000-level units. The major requires 36 credit points of senior units. You must complete at least 6 senior credit points from units of study in each area: Regional, Thematic, and Theory and Method. A further 12 senior credit points can be taken in any area. You must also take 6 senior credit points from a 3000-level unit.

You should note that 36 credit points of senior units is a minimum requirement for the major. Depending on the other requirements of your degree program and other majors you may have chosen, you may be able to enrol in extra senior units in Anthropology.

Eligibility for the Honours program in Anthropology requires an average mark of 70% or above in 48 senior credit points of Anthropology, including both 3000-level units.

For a more information on the Anthropology subject area, including a complete description of the major and its requirements, and a table and descriptions of units of study available in this area, refer to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Undergraduate Handbook.

For students commencing from 2018

Pathway through the major for students commencing from 2018

If you have commenced your candidature from 2018, a major in Anthropology requires 48 credit points, including 12 credit points of 1000-level units, 12 credit points of 2000-level units, 18 credit points of 3000-level units, and 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units. The Anthropology units that are on offer can be found here.


First year

In first year we explore the ways in which human beings make relationships, livelihoods and meaning and how people are integrated into distinctive cultures. As importantly we examine the ways in which culture divides, excludes and is implicated in power relationships. The combination of these two perspectives on culture will allow us to ask key questions about globalisation as a process that intensifies both connection and division around the world. We will examine anthropology’s distinctive research method of living amongst the people whose lives and culture we seek to understand, and the ethical and political importance of cultural understanding in the contemporary world.

Second year

In the second year, Anthropology majors select two units that focus on particular themes around which culture develops. These include illness and wellbeing, race and ethnicity, urbanisation, economy and livelihood, religion, and globalisation and development. These themes will allow you to explore distinctive ways in which people build relationships with others and with the environment in different global settings. These themes give anthropologists precise ways of identifying and describing cultural difference, and allow us to compare and contrast cultures in disciplined ways. 2000 level units critically examine the assumptions that underlie these themes.


Third year

3000 level units focus on diverse cultural areas around the world, exploring how anthropologists use competing and sometimes conflicting theories of culture to try to understand different aspects of cultural systems. Third year units explore central questions in Anthropology in depth. This includes units that focus on a single cultural area and the debates amongst anthropologists working in that region; units that review different theories of culture, society and the human condition; and units that help you develop skills in Anthropology’s unique research method, participant-observation/ethnographic field work. On completion of a major you will understand how anthropology complements and contributes to the work of other social science and humanities disciplines. As part of a major you will also complete at least one substantial project that requires a synthesis of research, analytic and writing skills.