Anthropology is the study of human beings and their cultures. Majors develop an eye for detail and careful observation, critical thinking, sensitivity to the unfamiliar, skills in research and writing, and an ability to describe and understand culture. The programs in archaeology and biological anthropology give hands-on research experience with faculty through fieldwork in bioarchaeology, archaeology, and museum-based data collection. The programs in cultural anthropology connect anthropological research to current social challenges such as health and disease, urbanization, and geopolitics. It is a strong undergraduate major that provides sound interdisciplinary preparation for a variety of careers.


Students pursuing this degree must complete 36 credits within the major, with a minimum GPA of 2.00. 

For policies governing all undergraduate degrees, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: LA-BA-ANTH

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students are advised to consult with an advisor to learn how they can fulfill Mason Core requirements in global understanding, information technology, and synthesis, as well as the college-level requirement in non-Western culture.

Core Courses in the Major

Introductory Courses
ANTH 114Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)3
ANTH 120Unearthing the Past: Prehistory, Culture and Evolution (Mason Core)3
ANTH 135Introduction to Biological Anthropology (Mason Core)3
Total Credits9
Cultural Anthropology
Select one course from the following:3
Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)
Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)
Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)
Political Anthropology (Mason Core)
Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)
East Asian Cultures
Global Africa
The Cultures of Death
Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western
Refugees (Mason Core)
Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)
Environment and Culture
Food and Culture
Language and Culture
Medical Anthropology
Urban Anthropology (Mason Core)
Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) (with program approval)
Issues in Anthropology (with program approval)
Engaging the World: Anthropological Perspectives (Mason Core)
Total Credits3
Biological Anthropology
Select 3-4 credits from the following:3-4
Human Growth and Development
Anthropological Genomics
Human Origins
Humans, Disease, and Death (Mason Core)
Scientific Racism and Human Variation
Food and Human Evolution
DNA, Identity, and Power
Human Osteology
and Human Osteology Lab 1
Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) (with program approval)
Issues in Anthropology (with program approval)
Total Credits3-4
Select one course from the following:3
Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)
Warfare, Violence, and Sacrifice in Antiquity
Field Techniques in Archaeology
Archaeological Science
Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers
Mortuary Archaeology
Andean Archaeology
Archaeology of Climate Change
Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) (with program approval)
Issues in Anthropology (with program approval)
Total Credits3
Theory Course
ANTH 490History of Anthropological Theory3
Total Credits3
Methods Course
ANTH 386Quantitative Methods in Anthropology3
or ANTH 450 Ethnographic Research Methods
Total Credits3

Electives in the Major

Select 12 credits from the following:12
Total Credits12

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in anthropology may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing ANTH 490 History of Anthropological Theory.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with electives to bring the degree total to 120.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree 

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following:3

Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career 
  • PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Additionally, PHIL 253RELI 235RELI 333, and RELI 339 cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 13
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography (Mason Core)
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia

The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 


HIST 100 and HIST 125 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
American Sign Language (ASL) I
American Sign Language (ASL) II
American Sign Language (ASL) III

Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)3
ANTH 300Civilizations3
ANTH 302Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ANTH 307Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)3
ANTH 308Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)3
ANTH 309Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)3
ANTH 313Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)3
ANTH 314Zombies3
ANTH 317East Asian Cultures3
ANTH 330Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western3
ANTH 332Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)3
ANTH 381Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 396Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)3
ARAB 360Topics in Arabic Cultural Production3
ARAB 420Survey of Arabic Literature3
ARAB 440Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)3
ARTH 203Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 204Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 206Survey of African Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 318Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt3
ARTH 319Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)3
ARTH 320Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)3
ARTH 382Arts of India (Mason Core)3
ARTH 383Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)3
ARTH 384Arts of China (Mason Core)3
ARTH 385Arts of Japan (Mason Core)3
ARTH 482RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art3
CHIN 318Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)3
CHIN 320Contemporary Chinese Film3
CHIN 325Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)3
CHIN 470Special Topics in Chinese Studies3
DANC 118Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core)3
ECON 361Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ECON 362African Economic Development (Mason Core)3
FREN 454Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture3
GGS 101Major World Regions (Mason Core)3
GGS 316Geography of Latin America3
GGS 317Geography of China (Mason Core)3
GGS 325Geography of North Africa and the Middle East3
GGS 399Select Topics in GGS3
GOVT 332Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa3
GOVT 333Government and Politics of Asia3
GOVT 338Government and Politics of Russia3
GOVT 340Central Asian Politics3
GOVT 341Chinese Foreign Policy3
GOVT 345Islam and Politics3
GOVT 433Political Economy of East Asia3
HIST 251Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 252Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 261Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 262Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 271Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 272Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 281Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 282Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 326Stalinism3
HIST 327The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II3
HIST 328Rise of Russia (Mason Core)3
HIST 329Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)3
HIST 353History of Traditional China3
HIST 354Modern China (Mason Core)3
HIST 356Modern Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 357Postwar Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 358Post-1949 China (Mason Core)3
HIST 360History of South Africa (Mason Core)3
HIST 364Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 365Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 366Comparative Slavery3
HIST 387Topics in Global History (Mason Core)3-6
HIST 461Arab-Israeli Conflict3
HIST 462Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)3
HIST 465The Middle East in the 20th Century3
JAPA 310Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)3
JAPA 340Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)3
JAPA 380Japan in Motion3
KORE 300Korean Culture and Society3
KORE 320Korean Popular Culture in a Global World3
KORE 385Introduction to Korean Linguistics3
MUSI 103Musics of the World (Mason Core)3
RELI 211Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core)3
RELI 212Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core)3
RELI 312Islam3
RELI 313Hinduism (Mason Core)3
RELI 314Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions3
RELI 315Buddhism (Mason Core)3
RELI 317Daoism3
RELI 318Korean Philosophy and Religions3
RELI 338Qur'an and Hadith3
RELI 342Comparative Study of Mysticism3
RELI 344Muhammad: Life and Legacy3
RELI 358Islamic Thought (Mason Core)3
RELI 367Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics3
RELI 368Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights3
RELI 490Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)3
RUSS 353Russian Civilization (Mason Core)3
RUSS 354Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)3
WMST 407Transnational Sexualities3

A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Mason Core 

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global History3
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.


Minimum 3 credits required.

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology Sample Plan of Study 

A sample four year graduation plan and degree planning worksheet can be found at The plan is a recommended sequencing of courses based on prerequisites and scheduling. This may not fit every student's needs and is a guideline, not a requirement. Students should confirm major requirements with their academic advisor each semester and with their PatriotWeb Degree Evaluation to ensure they enroll in the proper courses and are on track to graduate.

Honors in the Major

Highly-qualified students majoring in anthropology may apply to graduate with honors in the major.


To be eligible, students must have completed at least 60 credits, taken ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core) for the social sciences, completed 15 credits of anthropology (including ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)), and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30 and a minimum grade of B+ in anthropology courses.


If accepted, students complete two honors courses. The first course is an honors section of one of these courses: ANTH 450 Ethnographic Research MethodsANTH 495 Internship or another course chosen in consultation with the honors director. The second course is ANTH 499 Independent Research, in which students complete an honors paper written under the guidance of an anthropology faculty member. All candidates for honors in the major participate in an honors colloquium. To graduate with honors in the major, students must complete the honors coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.50.

The accelerated master's program below specifies the BA in Anthropology as a feeder degree for its program. Many other accelerated master's programs are also available for any bachelor's degree at Mason. See the full list of degrees with accelerated programs at Mason.

Anthropology, BA/Anthropology, Accelerated MA


Highly-qualified undergraduates may be admitted to the bachelor's/accelerated master's program and obtain a BA in Anthropology and a MA in Anthropology in an accelerated time-frame after satisfactory completion of a minimum of 138 credits. Students with both a BA and MA have a competitive advantage when applying to PhD programs in anthropology.

See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees for policies related to this program.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

BAM Pathway Admission Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions Policies and Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree policies. For information specific to the accelerated MA in Anthropology, see Application Requirements and Deadlines.

Students will be considered for admission into the BAM Pathway after completion of a minimum of 60 credits and additional unit-specific criteria.

Students who are accepted into the BAM Pathway will be allowed to register for graduate level courses after successful completion of a minimum of 75 undergraduate credits.

Accelerated Master's Admission Requirements

Students already admitted in the BAM pathway will be admitted to the MA Anthropology, if they have met the following criteria, as verified on the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form:

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.25

  • Completion of ANTH 490 History of Anthropological Theory

  • Minimum grade of B in each advanced standing course

  • Successfully meeting Mason's requirements for undergraduate degree conferral (graduation) and completing the application for graduation.

Accelerated Pathway Requirements

To maintain the integrity and quality of both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, undergraduate students interested in taking graduate courses must choose from the following:

Advanced Standing courses (up to 12 credits with a minimum grade of B in each)

ANTH 531Refugees in the Contemporary World3
ANTH 535Anthropology and the Human Condition: Seminar I3
ANTH 536Anthropology and the Human Condition: Seminar II3
ANTH 555Policy and Culture3
ANTH 556Human Growth and Development3
ANTH 557Human Origins3
ANTH 570Andean Archaeology3
ANTH 577Mortuary Archaeology3
ANTH 580Environmental Anthropology3
ANTH 582Human Osteology3
ANTH 583Human Osteology Lab1
ANTH 584Paleopathology3
ANTH 585Bioarchaeology3
ANTH 586Quantitative Methods in Anthropology3
ANTH 587Zooarchaeology4
ANTH 590Forensic Anthropology3
ANTH 591Forensic Anthropology Lab2
ANTH 599Contemporary Issues in Anthropology3
ANTH 616Anthropology of the City3
ANTH 635Regional Ethnography3
ANTH 640Applied Anthropology3
ANTH 650Methods in Anthropology3
ANTH 684Independent Study in Sociocultural Anthropology1-6
ANTH 687Medical Anthropology3

Reserve Graduate Credit courses (up to 6 credits) taken while an undergraduate and will only count for the graduate degree program

All courses listed as advanced standing credit can be used for reserve graduate  credit.

For more detailed information on coursework and timeline requirements see AP.6.7 Bachelor's Accelerated Master's Degree policies.