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Department of Anthropology


Chair: Mike Searcy

Department Information: 

800 KMBL



Advisement Center: 

1041 JFSB




Admission to Degree Program

All undergraduate degree programs in the Department of Anthropology are open enrollment.

The Discipline

Anthropology’s central aims are to describe, interpret, and make meaningful human behavior in sociocultural systems. Anthropology also seeks to explain the similarities and differences in human behavior patterns among all peoples and cultures, both in the present and the past. Social and cultural anthropology study human society in the present, using participant-observation, interviewing, and other techniques to understand the full round of life in a single culture, subculture, or multicultural system. Archaeology provides methods for learning about the world’s peoples who are no longer living; thus it is an important part of the anthropological family of special skills and interests. Museum Studies integrates the above skills with the management, curation, research, and display of museum-quality ethnographic and archaeological collections in professional museum settings.

Career Opportunities

Distinctive contributions are made by both anthropology and archaeology majors, and therefore jobs are available wherever social and cultural differences or social system complexities exist. International development, social services, businesses, schools, development projects, medicine, and law all offer significant careers. Recent concern with environmental protection has opened up others. University teaching and research positions are limited in growth, but highly qualified students can find positions after obtaining the PhD.

For archaeology majors, both legal and societal interest in understanding and preserving the past have resulted in increased job opportunities in state and national agencies required to observe recent preservation laws and in private corporations serving this end. Archaeologists working in international regions are not only employable in scholastic venues of teaching and research, but also in international heritage site development.

For those students interested in combining Museum Studies courses with anthropology, employment opportunities exist in many collections-related venues including museums, libraries, and research institutes that rely on maintaining large collections of specimens for scholarly use.

General Information

  1. Each student wishing to major in anthropology should arrange through the college advisement center to counsel with an advisor and prepare a proposed sequence of study. Following this, the student should meet with the assigned faculty advisor for final approval of the program.

  2. Undergraduate students are allowed some, but not excessive, specialization.

  3. All degrees are in the field of anthropology.

Special Opportunities for Field Study

The department offers a number of unique curriculum and field study opportunities. Selected courses are regularly counted toward BYU’s major. Consult with the department chair or your faculty advisor about equivalencies.

Archaeology students complete their requirement in the field school typically held in conjunction with an ongoing, local (Utah) research project and occasionally in more exotic settings (Jordan).

Sociocultural faculty rotate leading ethnographic field schools abroad in India, Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The University Core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education.

  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student

  • A minimum of 120 credit hours

  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0

  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Graduate Programs Available

This department also offers graduate degree programs. For more information, see Graduate Studies.