The major in anthropology has two distinct areas of concentration: anthropological archaeology and social-cultural anthropology.

Anthropological archaeology.  In this track, the focus is on research skills in the library, the field, and the laboratory. Archaeology students will also engage theoretical developments and critical contemporary debates on issues such as the politics of the past and cultural heritage. Students also develop at least one analytical skill, such as, archaeological statistics, osteology, or geoarchaeology, drawing on the university's laboratory and computer facilities. The archaeology program at Rice has a long-term focus on the archaeology of urban, complex societies in East and West Africa. The program offers students the opportunity to participate in archaeological excavations abroad as well as projects in Houston that focus on the city’s African-American past.  Students inquiring about the major with a focus on anthropological archaeology should see Dr. Jeffrey Fleisher (; Sewall 582).  

Social-cultural anthropology.  This track engages with contemporary issues, populations and social dynamics that affect human life and culture broadly around the world. Social-cultural anthropology inquires across a vast range of human concerns from religion to social movements, from gender to medicine, from science studies to media, and from nature to law. Students are trained in ethnographic research methods and qualitative data collection and they learn the theoretical principles that have shaped the discipline as well as contemporary, innovative approaches that question how human sociality is constituted in the 21st century. The social-cultural anthropology program at Rice has always championed interdisciplinary, theoretical and experimental modes of anthropological inquiry and students are encouraged to add their creative intellectual insights to their research pursuits and goals.  Students inquiring about the major with a focus on social-cultural anthropology should see Dr. Zoë Wool (; 574 Sewall Hall).
Professor Susan McIntosh is the undergraduate transfer credit advisor. All students seeking transfer credit in anthropology for courses taken elsewhere should see Professor McIntosh for approval.


Students majoring in Anthropology must complete a total of 30 semester hours of approved courses (10 classes), at least 26 of which should be anthropology courses and at least 18 hours of which should be taken at the 300-level or above. Students may petition the undergraduate advisor to apply up to 6 semester hours of relevant work completed outside anthropology toward satisfaction of the major. 



Complete two of the following three introductory courses:  

  • ANTH 201 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology   
  • ANTH 203 Human Antiquity: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Prehistory   
  • ANTH 205 Introduction to Archaeology   

Complete one of the following: 

  • ANTH 362 Archaeological Field Techniques
  • ANTH 458 Human Osteology
  • ANTH 398 Ethnographic Research Methods 

Complete one of the following: 

  • ANTH 302 Anthropological Theory: A Survey
  • ANTH 460 Advanced Archaeological Theory            

Complete three ANTH courses at the 300-level or above.


Complete one of the following: 

  • Anthropology Capstone:
    • ANTH 493: Senior Research Preparation
    • ANTH 494: Senior Research Seminar
    • ANTH 495: Anthropology Capstone 
  • Anthropology Honors Program:
    • ANTH 493: Senior Research Preparation
    • ANTH 494: Senior Research Seminar

  • ANTH 490/ANTH 491: Directed Honors Research


Requirements for ANTH 493/494/495: Anthropology Capstone


The Anthropology Capstone provides an opportunity for students, over the course of a semester, to conduct an independent research project on a topic that interests them, while working one-on-one with a faculty supervisor. The project culminates in a research paper and a presentation to the faculty and assembled students. All Anthropology majors who are not pursuing the Honors Program must complete the Capstone project and must enroll in 3 courses, ANTH 493/ ANTH 494/ ANTH 495, in their senior year, unless they are December graduates.  Detailed requirements for the Capstone can be found HERE.

The Anthropology Capstone includes the following classes:

  • ANTH 493 (Senior Research Preparation), a one-credit course in the Fall semester
  • ANTH 494 (Senior Research Seminar), a one-credit course in the Spring semester
  • ANTH 495 (Anthropology Capstone), a three-credit course in the Spring semester. 

 To take the Capstone Course, after you have consulted with a faculty member and s/he has agreed to supervise your project you will need to complete and turn in the Faculty Supervisor Registration Form.  The signed form needs to be turned in to the Anthropology Office in 572 Sewall Hall.  The deadline for turning in the form is 5:00 PM on the last day of the third week of classes. 


Requirements for the Honors Program

The Department of Anthropology's Honors Program gives special recognition and special opportunities for a year-long research project and faculty mentorship to those students who have distinguished themselves in their coursework in the Department and throughout the University.  We especially encourage those students who intend to pursue graduate work in anthropology or another academic discipline, or those whose intended careers will demand skills in extended research and writing to apply to the Honors Program.  Every eligible students should, however, seriously consider applying.  a detailed guideline to the requirements and process can be found HERE

Required for admission to the program are:

  • a major in Anthropology
  • a cumulative G.P.A. at the end of the junior year of at least 3.0
  • a departmental G.P.A. of at least 3.5.


To be admitted to the Honors Program, you must have a faculty supervisor with whom you plan your project and assemble a faculty panel.  You must complete and turn in the Honors Program Admission Form.  The deadline for turning in the form is 5:00 pm, on the last business day of the 10th week of the spring semester of your Junior year.

Once admitted to the Program, each student must complete a thesis, on a topic of her or his choosing, under the direction of one of the members of the department's faculty. Topics should be approved by the faculty advisor by the end of the first month of the senior year. Theses are due at the end of the last semester of the senior year.


The Anthropology Honors Program includes the following classes to be taken in the Senior year:

Fall semester:                      ANTH 493 (Senior Research Preparation, one credit)

                                            ANTH 490 (Directed Honors Research, three credits)

Spring semester:                 ANTH 494 (Senior Research Seminar, one credit)

                                            ANTH 491 (Directed Honors Research, three credits) 


Course Requirements for the Minor in Anthropology


A minor in anthropology requires the successful completion of at least six courses (a minimum of 18 credit hours):

Choose from two of the following:

  • ANTH200/LING 200 Introduction to the Scientific Study of Language   
  • ANTH 201 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology   
  • ANTH 203 Human Antiquity: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Prehistory   
  • ANTH 205 Introduction to Archaeology  

Four other ANTH courses, three of which must be at the 300-level or above 


Archaeological Field School in sub-Saharan Africa

The Department of Anthropology offers a six-week field school in June and July in sub-Saharan Africa, alternating between eastern and western locales. Past field schools have been on the island of Gorée, located off the coast of Senegal, where research focused on the development of Gorée as a supply port for the Atlantic trade, and at Songo Mnara, a 15th-century Swahili urban center on the southern Tanzanian coast. This course is offered for a total of six hours of credit (ANTH 364 and ANTH 370). The course is offered without specific prerequisites, but there is a general requirement that students have some prior course work in archaeology or African history. Program fees apply.