Anthropology is unique among the social sciences in considering humankind from a holistic perspective that aims for an understanding of how culture, biology, history, and language intersect. We have a rigorous well-balanced four-field (biological, archaeological, cultural, and linguistic anthropology) undergraduate program. Our faculty ably cover a range of substantive, methodological, and theoretical areas in courses that provide students with a solid grounding in anthropological perspectives. Undergraduates have an opportunity for hands-on experience in our summer archaeology field school as well as training in archaeological, osteological, ethnographic, and primatological methods. All these and other topics help students understand ideas and issues that they confront as citizens and in their careers.

Points of Pride

  • Anthropologists at Purdue work in a wide variety of field sites in Europe, Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the United States.
  • Faculty have gained national and international reputations for their research in North American archeology, economic and political anthropology, semiotics and non-verbal language, primatology, conservation and development, religion, transnational movements, and gender and sexuality.
  • Purdue offers an anthropology student club, P.A.S.T. (Purdue Anthropology Society) 
  • The Anthropology honors program provides an optional capstone experience for students.  The year-long program enables students to focus on a particular empirical issue in an anthropological subdiscipline and to write an honors thesis based on that research.


Undergraduate students who major in Anthropology are preparing for graduate school or want a general liberal arts degree; some also anticipate employment in an industry, which may or may not be related to their interest in Anthropology.  Students also pursue law school, teaching, and government/non-profit employment. 

Plan of Study

Students must earn a "C-" or better in a course in order for it to count towards the major.

Category: Courses

A. Anthropology Courses (15):

ANTH 20100 Introduction to Archaeology & World History
ANTH 20400 An Introduction to Biological Anthropology & Human Evolution
ANTH 20500 Human Cultural Diversity
ANTH 30700 The Development of Contemporary Anthropological Theory
ANTH 41001 Senior Capstone in Anthropology

B. SEVEN courses from the following list (21):

1. At least ONE of the following courses in Sociocultural Anthropology (3):

23000 Gender Across Cultures
28200 Introduction to LGBT Studies
30500 Ethnographic Methods
32700 Environment and Culture
24100 Culture and Personality
35200 Drugs, Culture, and Society
35800 African Cultures 37000 Ethnic & Culture
37300 Anthropology of Religion
38000 Using Anthropology in the World
40400 Comparative Social Organization
41800 Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology*
48200 Sexual Diversity in Global Perspective
50500 Culture and Society
54100 Psychological Anthropology

2. At least ONE of the following courses in Archaeology (3):

31100 Archaeology of the Ancient Andes
31200 Archaeology of Ancient Egypt & Near East
31300 Archaeology of North America
32000 Evolution of Prehistoric Civilizations
37800 Archaeology of Mesoamerica
42500 Anthropological Archaeology
42800 Field Methods in Archaeology*
50400 Problems in Prehistory
58900 Archaeology & Materials Science

3. At least ONE of the following courses in Biological Anthropology (3):

23500 The Great Apes
33500 Primate Behavior
33600 Human Variation
43600 Human Evolution
43800 Field Methods in Biological Anthropology*
53400 Human Osteology
53500 Foundations of Biological Anthropology
53600 Primate Ecology & Conservation

4. At least ONE of the following courses in Linguistic Anthropology (3):

36800 SocioLing Sty of African American Engl
41400 Language and Culture
51400 Anthropological Linguistics LING
20100 Elements of Linguistics

5. Courses in Cross Disciplinary Studies and Selected Topics

20300 Biol Bases of Human Social Behavior
37900 Native American Courses
21000 Technology and Culture
38500 Community Engagement
21200 Culture, Food, and Health
50600 Development of Modern Anthropology
31000 Mortuary Practice across Cultures
50700 History of Theory in Anthropology
33700 Human Diet: Origins & Evolution
51900 Introduction to Semiotics
34000 Global Perspectives on Health
39000, 49000, 59000 Individual Research Problems
37700 Anth of Hunter-Gatherer Societies
39200, 49200, 59200 Selected Topics in Anth

*only 6 hours of ANTH 41800, 42800, or 43800 may be used toward area B Requirements

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit

Print Plan of Study

Print Honors Plan of Study

Department of Anthropology

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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