Jun 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Cultural Anthropology, B.A.

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About the Program

  • Preparation for graduate school
  • Preparation for careers in government, international organizations, international business, law, and non-profit agencies
  • Ability to design an individualized ethnographic concentration
  • Senior research project
  • Opportunities to study abroad at some of the top universities in the world

Cultural anthropology is the study of the different cultural groups, identities and practices found within the contemporary world. As the contemporary world becomes one more marked by flows of people, ideas, money and images, cultural anthropology has rigorously attempted to research how the local becomes globalized, and the global becomes localized. The detailed lens of ethnographic thick description of peoples’ local life-worlds is a mainstay for cultural anthropology, but this ethnographic sensitivity to context and detail is nuanced by a sophisticated and theoretically informed vision of how both are affected by structural issues, especially political and economic at a global level.

The major in Cultural Anthropology provides students with an opportunity for study and experience away, either domestically or abroad, and is designed to leverage these experiences by providing a theoretically and methodologically sophisticated standing ground from which to explore, reflect upon, and share those various experiences during a two-semester capstone sequence during the senior year.

For those students who are unable to study abroad, the goal of the on-campus major is to provide rigorous training in ethnographic methods and anthropological theory so that graduate level training can take place. While the goal of the undergraduate program in cultural anthropology is to provide an excellent foundation for advanced study, the goal is not to be paraprofessional.

An undergraduate education in Cultural Anthropology provides a series of skills in qualitative data analysis and research design, quantitative reasoning, a stress on critical inquiry, experiential education regarding ethnocentrism, and cultural relativity. This training assists in application to other forms of graduate study such as law, economics, political science, peace and conflict resolution, social work, and public health. Students majoring in Cultural Anthropology also have found this course of study helpful in pursuing occupations in government services, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations and international business.

Study Abroad

Cultural Anthropology majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad, and many opportunities can complement studies in Anthropology. Because of the flexibility and breadth in the Cultural Anthropology program, study abroad can fit into the program and the Undergraduate Curriculum requirements.

Drawing upon the strength of Arcadia’s College of Global Studies, Cultural Anthropology majors have the opportunity to study at universities around the world. A study abroad experience is invaluable for Cultural Anthropology majors as they become ethnographically immersed in a different cultural situation, and benefit from taking courses that reflect different perspectives on anthropology from their host university. Many students use their study abroad courses to explore ethnographic perspectives on cultural issues that are particular to that area of the world resulting in their senior thesis projects.

Students are encouraged to meet with their advisers to discuss their career interests and goals. It is important to have this discussion and formulate a plan early so that the international program is integrated with required and elective courses for the major.

Cultural Anthropology majors typically study abroad during their sophomore or junior years because of the senior-year focus on research and thesis. Depending on whether a student studies abroad for a year or a semester, he or she will select courses that substitute for major requirements and electives. Studying abroad can provide students with the opportunity to take a course that is not available at Arcadia University.

Visit the University’s website for more information. Since it is important that students plan ahead for study abroad, they should consult with their advisers as soon as possible and make their intentions known to the Division of Civic & Global Engagement.


(52 credits as listed below, plus University-wide requirements and electives to total 128)

Common Curriculum

(32 credits as listed below). Either AN 120  or AN 150  serve as the entering required course for the major. All other courses listed, or approved substitutes from study abroad, are required for the major.

Additional Requirements

(20 credits) In addition to the common curriculum, students select three electives from courses in Cultural Anthropology, one elective from courses in development and human rights, and one elective in a history or culture of a specific area. Approved substitutes from study abroad can fill these requirements.

One Development and Human Rights Elective

Selected from the following:

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