Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

The undergraduate program is designed to provide a broad base of knowledge in the field. As part of their degree, students will take at least one lower-division and one upper-division course in each of the subfields offered by the department: Cultural, Biological, Visual Anthropology, and Archaeology.

While the baccalaureate degree in Anthropology does not offer concentrations, several sequences of courses are recommended for students who have particular interests in one of the subfields. Majors should meet with an advisor at least once every fall semester to discuss the most appropriate course sequence. 

Double Majors

An Anthropology major complements studies in many fields, including Health Sciences, Business, Cinema, Classics, Communications, History, Humanities and Liberal Studies, International Relations, Journalism, Broadcast and Electronic Communications, Women and Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, Sociology, Social Work, and majors in the College of Ethnic Studies.  

A number of cross-listed courses can be applied to both majors listing the course. A GWAR course in your primary major may be substituted for the ANTH 305GW, so seek advising prior to submitting your request for a double major.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Scope of Anthropology: Demonstrate a comparative understanding of human diversity across time and space (All courses, including electives, contribute to this learning outcome).
  2. Theory: To understand the role of anthropological reasoning in the discipline (Intro courses, 300, and Area 1)
    1. Define the field of anthropology and its objectives.
    2. Understand the historical development of anthropology.
    3. Identify the major thinkers and schools of thought in anthropology. 
  3. Method: To critically analyze and interpret anthropological evidence. (Area 2)
    1. To know how to design a research project 
    2. Collect, analyze and interpret quantitative, qualitative and/or visual data 
    3. Write concisely and logically, incorporating the relevant scholarly literature and original analysis.

Anthropology (B.A.) – 40-42 units

Courses taken to fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade (no CR/NC).

Foundation Core (18 units)

ANTH 100Introduction to Biological Anthropology3
ANTH 110Introduction to Archaeology3
ANTH 120Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology3
ANTH 130Introduction to Visual Anthropology3
ANTH 300Foundations of Anthropology: History3
ANTH 305GWWriting Anthropology - GWAR3

Area One: Theory and Foundations (3 units)

Select one:
ANTH 301Foundations of Archaeology3
ANTH 302Foundations of Human Variation3
ANTH 303Foundations of Visual Anthropology3

Area Two: Methods and Practicum (4-6 units)

Students may select six units from Area 2 and reduce the number of Anthropology elective units.

Select one:
ANTH 333Primate Behavior4
ANTH 530Human Osteology Practicum4
ANTH 531Fossil Humans Practicum4
ANTH/USP 557Ethnography of Urban Inequality4
ANTH 592Archaeological Methods4
ANTH 594Zooarchaeology4
ANTH 595/CINE 635Anthropological Filmmaking I6
ANTH 596/CINE 636Anthropological Filmmaking II4
ANTH 651Ethnographic Field Methods4
ANTH 652Anthropological Statistics4

Anthropology Electives (15 Units)

Select upper-division ANTH courses, which may include courses from Area One and Two above that were not used to fulfill those requirements. No more than 6 units can be taken in internships (ANTH 695), field schools, and independent study (ANTH 699) combined.

Anthropology Subfields

At least one upper-division course (Area One, Area Two, or Electives) must be taken in each of the three subfields: biological, cultural/visual, and archaeology.  If an Anthropology course is not listed below, consult an advisor to determine the subfield.

Biological Anthropology
ANTH 302Foundations of Human Variation3
ANTH 333Primate Behavior4
ANTH 530Human Osteology Practicum4
ANTH 531Fossil Humans Practicum4
ANTH 535Paleopathology3
ANTH 545Bioarchaeology3
Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 303Foundations of Visual Anthropology3
ANTH 315Regional Ethnography3
ANTH/CST 320Racism: Cross-Cultural Analysis3
ANTH 321Endangered Cultures3
ANTH 325Work, Money, and Power3
ANTH/CINE 327Anthropology and Film3
ANTH/JOUR 328Anthropology and Photography3
ANTH/SOC 420Media and Dissent4
ANTH/AIS 500Language and Cultural Systems of North American Indians3
ANTH/LTNS 501/HIST 358Latin America: The National Period3
ANTH 551Anthropology of the Body3
ANTH/USP 555Urban Anthropology3
ANTH/USP 557Ethnography of Urban Inequality4
ANTH 569/SXS 567Cross-Cultural Aspects of Sex and Gender3
ANTH/CST 585Globalization and World Cultures3
ANTH/CST 590/WGS 595Feminist Anthropology3
ANTH 595/CINE 635Anthropological Filmmaking I6
ANTH 596/CINE 636Anthropological Filmmaking II4
ANTH 630Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 631STEM and Social Justice3
ANTH 651Ethnographic Field Methods4
ANTH/DANC 657Ethnography of Dance3
ANTH 301Foundations of Archaeology3
ANTH 326Origins of Art and Visual Representation3
ANTH 356Archaeology of California3
ANTH 460Historical Archaeology3
ANTH 470Archaeology of Mexico and Central America3
ANTH 592Archaeological Methods4
ANTH 594Zooarchaeology4
ANTH 609/HIST 366Approaches to the African Past3

Note: A minimum of 30 upper-division units must be completed for the degree (including upper-division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). Students completing this major may not reach the required number of upper-division units required for graduation. Additional upper-division courses may be needed to reach the required total.

Complementary Studies

All candidates for the Bachelor of Arts 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 second 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 coursework in related disciplines with the approval of an Anthropology Department advisor.

Related disciplines typically include courses in the College of Ethnic Studies, Classics, Geology, Geography, Modern Languages, Museum Studies, Sexuality Studies, Sociology, and Women and Gender Studies and are automatically approved. Some courses in other departments such as History, Biology, or Humanities may be approved upon consultation with an advisor. Units may be upper-division, lower-division, transfer, or resident units.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

SF State Scholars Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an  AA-T in Anthropology.

ADT Roadmap

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Anthropology

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.