Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

Undergraduates majoring in Anthropology at San Francisco State are exposed to a multi-field approach that examines current cultures (and especially the use of anthropology for contemporary social change), as well as the remains of past societies, the evolution of humankind and the socio-politics of human interactions and institutions.

Two students looking at artifacts

Students working in the lab with part of our new fossil human cast collection. More of the collection is visible in the cabinet in the background.

The aim of your education in Anthropology is to understand what it means to be human. In equal measures, the Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology serves both students who wish to gain from their formal education a highly respected undergraduate degree in one of social sciences’ most established fields as well as students who wish to carry forward their study of Anthropology (or of another related discipline such as medicine, law, political sciences or government) to the level of the Masters and Doctorate.

Students who pursue a B.A. in the San Francisco State Anthropology Program acquire knowledge about the foundation of the discipline though required core classes. They then apply that knowledge to particular areas, regions and periods of human experience. In this way, the B.A. in Anthropology provides a thorough grounding in the basic concepts of the discipline. No subfield concentration is required for the baccalaureate degree in anthropology, however, several sequences of courses are recommended for students who want to concentrate in a particular subfield.

Faculty advising is a fundamental part of each student’s orchestration of their undergraduate career. Majors should meet with an adviser every fall semester to discuss the most appropriate course sequence.  Advisors can also discuss the potential for participation in programs such as study abroad, internships and field schools.

For students who entered the program before the Fall of 2018, consult the bulletin for the year you declared your major. Students who would like to switch to the new curriculum should consult their advisor.

To complete the Undergraduate program in Anthropology at San Francisco State, a student must complete 39 units of classes which are divided into three types:

  1. Foundation Core
  2. Area Specialisms
  3. Electives

At least one upper division course (Area 1, Area 2, or electives) must be taken in each of the three subfields: biological, cultural/visual, and archaeology. No more than 6 units can be taken in internships (ANTH 695), independent study (ANTH 699), and teaching (ANTH 685) combined.

Courses taken in fulfillment of major requirements must be taken for a letter grade (no CR/NC).

ANTH 305 GW: Writing Anthropology must be completed with a grade of C or better before enrolling in other upper division courses.

Foundation Core

All students must take the following 18 units of Foundation Core classes.

  • ANTH 100 Introduction to Biological Anthropology (3 units)
  • ANTH 110 Introduction to Archaeology (3 Units)
  • ANTH 120 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (3 Units)
  • ANTH 130 Introduction to Visual Anthropology (3 units)
  • ANTH 300 Foundations of Anthropology: History (3 Units)
  • ANTH 305GW Writing Anthropology - GWAR (3 Units)

Area 1: Theory and Foundations (Choose 1 course - 3 units)

  • Anth 301 Foundations of Archaeology (3 units)
  • Anth 302 Foundations of Human Variation (3 units)
  • Anth 303 Foundations of Visual Anthropology (3 units)

Area 2: Methods and Practicum (Choose 1 course - 4-6 units)

Students who choose a six unit course from Area 2 can reduce their required Anth electives to twelve units. The methods and practicum fulfills the university culminating experience requirement.

  • Anth 333 Primate Behavior (4 units)
  • Anth 530 Human Osteology Practicum (4 units)
  • Anth 531 Human Evolution Practicum (4 units)
  • Anth 592 Archaeological Methods (4 units)
  • Anth 594 Zooarchaeology (4 units)
  • Anth 557 Ethnography of the Inner City (4 units)
  • Anth 595 Anthropological Filmmaking I (6 units)
  • Anth 596 Anthropological Filmmaking II (4 units)
  • Anth 651 Ethnographic Field Methods (4 units)
  • Anth 652 Anthropological Statistics (4 units)

Electives, Anthropology (15 units)

Any upper division units course with an ANTH prefix, including those from the two areas that have not been used to fulfill the Area requirements. Most students will need 15 units in ANTH, but students who complete 6 units from Area 2 reduce the Anth electives to 12 units.

No more than 6 units can be taken in Internships (695), Independent Study (699) and Teaching Assistantships (685) combined. (Note: Students may only receive credits toward the major for a total of 4 units of 685)

Letter Grades

Courses taken towards the major must be taken for a letter grade (i.e., can’t have Credit/No Credit grading). The only exception is for Anth 685 Teaching Anthropology, which is only offered as CR/NC.

Cultural Anthropology

  • Anth 303 Foundations of Visual Anthropology
  • Anth 315 Regional Ethnography
  • Anth 316 Contemporary Cultures of Greece
  • Anth 318 Islam: Interpretation and Practice
  • Anth 319 Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa
  • Anth 320 Racism: Cross-Cultural Analysis
  • Anth 321 Endangered Cultures
  • Anth 325 Class: Cross-Cultural Analysis
  • Anth 327 Anthropology and Film [UD-D: Social Sciences; Global Perspectives]
  • Anth 328 Anthropology and Photography
  • Anth 420 Indigenous Media and Social Change
  • Anth 500 Language and Cultural Systems of North American Indians
  • Anth 501 Latin America: The National Period
  • Anth 555 Urban Anthropology
  • Anth 551 Anthropology of the Body
  • Anth 557 Ethnography of the Inner City
  • Anth 569 Cross-cultural Aspects of Sex and Gender [UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities; Social Justice]
  • Anth 585 Globalization and World Cultures
  • Anth 590 Anthropology of Women
  • Anth 595 Anthropological Filmmaking I
  • Anth 596 Anthropological Filmmaking II
  • Anth 630 Medical Anthropology
  • Anth 631 Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Anth 651 Ethnographic field methods
  • Anth 657 Ethnology of Dance [UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities; Global Perspectives]

Biological Anthropology

  • Anth 302 Foundations of Human Variation [UDB: Physical Life Science]
  • Anth 333 Primate Behavior
  • Anth 530 Human Osteology Practicum
  • Anth 531 Fossil Humans Practicum
  • Anth 535 Paleopathology
  • Anth 545 Bioarchaeology


  • Anth 301 Foundations of Archaeology
  • Anth 326 Origins of Art and Visual Representation
  • Anth 356 Archaeology of California
  • Anth 460 Historical Archaeology
  • Anth 470 Archaeology of Mexico and Central America
  • Anth 471 The Ancient Maya
  • Anth 490 Ancestors or Data?: Culture, Conflict and NAGPRA
  • Anth 592 Archaeological Methods
  • Anth 594 Zooarchaeology
  • Anth 609 Approaches to the African Past

If an Anthropology course is not listed in the table, consult an advisor to determine the subfield.

Complementary Studies is for students enrolling Fall 2014 or later.

All candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology must complete at least 12 units of complementary studies from courses outside the primary prefix for the major, and not cross listed with the primary prefix for the major. Students who complete a 2nd major, a minor, or a minimum of 12 units in an approved Study Abroad program, automatically complete the Complementary Studies requirement and units may be double counted toward the major where applicable.  

Other options for complementary studies are: 1) Foreign Language: 12 units in a single foreign language; or 2) Related Subjects: 12 units of course work in related disciplines with the approval of an Anthropology Department advisor. Related disciplines typically included courses in the College of Ethnic Studies, Classics, Geology, Geography, Sexuality Studies, Sociology, History, Language Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. Units may be upper division, lower division, transfer or resident units.