Anthropology

About the major

Anthropology is distinct in the social sciences for a method of in-depth field research called ethnography. Through it, we participate in and observe the ways of life of people in a particular society to understand their culture and relationship to the wider world. We study small-scale communities in both rural and urban areas, as well as modern nation states and transnational movements. Our mode of in-depth study enables new insight into major issues like gender and race, religion and globalisation, and inequality, class and power. Through anthropology, you will appreciate that your own way of life is but one among many.

You will explore core methods and theories of social and cultural analysis and appreciate how your own social and cultural setting shapes your understanding of yourself and others.

Key research and teaching areas include:

  • the study of how humans deal with the environment and the challenge of climate change, urbanisation and the commodification of life;
  • the study of political and economic power and their alternatives in particular places and societies;
  • the study of how health, wellbeing and humanitarian development are experienced and the culturally specific ways in which people deal with life and death, freedom and unfreedom, peace and violence, or wealth and poverty;
  • the study of the cultural, economic and political systems of Southeast Asia, Indigenous Australia, Latin America, China and Melanesia;
  • the study of the history, theories and methods of anthropology and the social sciences more generally.

Graduates with a major in anthropology will have a sophisticated understanding of social and cultural difference in a globalised world, and the capacity to analyse cross-cultural settings wherever they occur. These are important skills for employment in a wide range of public, private, and non-profit organisations.

Requirements for completion

The Anthropology major and minor requirements are listed in the Anthropology unit of study table.

Honours

Anthropology Honours provides you with the opportunity to research in greater detail a region of the world or comparative theme. In your first semester you will do two seminar-based units that cap off your training in foundational debates in the discipline. You will also begin work with a supervisor on research towards a 20,000-word thesis. The supervisor will support your formulation of a research problem and identification of the literature and empirical material required to address it. In cooperation with your fellow honours students, and supported by a workshop you will develop and extend the skills you learned throughout your degree. Most importantly you will gain the intellectual satisfaction of developing and completing your own project and of turning anthropology to your own purposes.

Honours admission requirements:
If you commenced your degree prior to 2018: Admission to Honours requires 42 credit points in senior Anthropology units, including units ANTH3601 Contemporary Theory and Anthropology and ANTH3602 Reading Ethnography, with an average grade of 70 percent or above.

If you commenced your degree in 2018 or later:
- Admission to Honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Anthropology with an average of 70 percent or above and must include the units ANTH3601 Contemporary Theory and Anthropology and ANTH3602 Reading Ethnography.
- Prior to commencing Honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the Anthropology honours units of study page.

Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS) offers students the opportunity to apply their social sciences skills and knowledge to complex and tangible social, cultural, political and economic problems.

Students will apply and further develop their methodological, analytical and communication skills as they undertake primary research, learn to harness big data for critical social science research and diagnose and propose responses to contemporary and persistent social, cultural, political and economic challenges. Students will also be given the opportunity to further develop their capacity to translate social science research and analysis into effective contributions to public and policy debates.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the Anthropology advanced coursework units of study page.

Contact and further information

Website: Department of Anthropology
Chair of Department: Dr Robbie Peters
Email:

Example pathways

Sample pathway for honours in Anthropology within the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies

Sample Pathway
First Year  S1

Anthropology major: Introduction to Anthropology

Elective:
Introduction to Chinese Civilisation

Elective:
Introduction to
Sociology 1

Political Economy major: Economics as a Social Science

S2

Anthropology major:
Anthropology in the World

Elective:
Modernity in Asia

Elective:
Introduction to
Sociology 2

Political Economy major: International Economy and Finance

Second Year  S1 Anthropology major: Culture and Development Elective:
Religious Traditions of South Asia
Open Learning Environment: Power and Identity in a Global Era* Political Economy major: Economic Theories of Modern Capitalism
S2 Anthropology major: Aboriginal Australia:Cultural Journeys Elective:
Social Activism in Southeast Asia
Open Learning Environment: Cross-cultural approaches to fieldwork* Political Economy major: Development in Emerging Economies
Third Year  S1 Anthropology major: Contemporary Theory and Anthropology Anthropology major: Reading Ethnography Political Economy major: Political Economy of Money and Finance Political Economy major: Human Rights in Development
S2 Anthropology major: Ethnography of Southeast Asia Anthropology major: Gender: Anthropological Studies Political Economy major: Political Economy in an Interdisciplinary Context Political Economy major: The Political Economy of Gender
Fourth Year  S1 Anthropology honours: Theorising the State in Everyday Life Anthropology honours: Anthropology of Mind and Experience Anthropology honours: Anthropology Thesis 1
S2 Anthropology honours: Anthropology Honours Thesis 2 and 3

Please note the sample pathway is an example through the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies. Students are free to complete their minors and electives from the subject areas available in Table A or Table S.

*OLE units are indicative only. A comprehensive list of OLE units may be selected from Table O.

Sample Pathway for major in Anthropology within the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (International and Global Studies.)

Sample Pathway
First year S1 Anthropology major:
Introduction to Anthropology

Language minor:
Introductory
Arabic 1A

Elective:
European Identity
in the 21st Century
Global Studies major:
Introduction to
International and
Global Studies
  S2 Anthropology major:
Anthropology in the World

Language minor:
Introductory
Arabic 1B

Elective: Visions of
Contemporary
Europe
Global Studies major:
The Making of
the Global Order
Second year S1 Anthropology major:
Culture and
Development
Language minor:
Intermediate
Arabic 2A
Global Studies
major:
Transnational Actors
and Networks
Global Studies major:
The End of Empire
and New States
  S2 Anthropology major:
Anthropology
of Religion

Language minor:
Intermediate
Arabic 2B

Open Learning
Environment:
Cross-Cultural
Experience:
Spain and
Latin America*

Global Studies major:
The Dynamics of
Global Capitalism
Third year S1

Anthropology major:
Contemporary Theory
and Anthropology

Language minor:
Advanced
Arabic 3A
Global Studies
major:
Global Studies in
Interdisciplinary Contexts
Global Studies major:
Social Movements
in the Global South
  S2 Anthropology major:
Anthropology in an
Interdisciplinary Context
Language minor:
Advanced
Arabic 3B

Open Learning
Environment:
Experience
the Arab World*

Global Studies major:
Conflict and
Its Consequences
Fourth year S1 Anthropology major:
Exchange
Anthropology major:
Exchange
Exchange
selective
Exchange
selective
  S2 Global Studies International
and Global Studies Project
Global Studies Advanced Coursework unit Global Studies Advanced Coursework unit

Please note the sample pathway is an example through the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (International and Global Studies).

Students are free to choose any of the languages offered in the School of Languages and Cultures to fulfil the language minor requirement, and any units from Table S to fulfil the elective requirements.

*OLE units are indicative only. A comprehensive list of OLE units may be selected from Table O.