Anthropology Major


The major in anthropology has two distinct areas of specialization: anthropological archaeology and social-cultural anthropology. Students may choose coursework in one or both areas.

  • Anthropological Archaeology
    Archeology courses focus 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 ceramic analysis, zooarchaeology, or spatial analysis, drawing on the university's laboratory and computer facilities. The archaeology program at Rice has a long-term focus on the archaeology of Africa. The program offers students the opportunity to participate in archaeological excavations abroad as well as projects in southeastern Texas that focus on the region's African-American past.

  • Social-Cultural Anthropology
    Socio-cultural anthropology 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.

Degree Requirements

Students majoring in Anthropology must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved courses (10 classes), at least 24 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.

Introductory Courses

Complete two of the following three introductory courses:

  • ANTH 201 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 203 Introduction to Biological Anthropology
  • ANTH 205 Introduction to Archaeology
Method Courses

Complete one of the following:

  • ANTH 315 Zooarchaeology
  • ANTH 362 Archaeological Field Techniques
  • ANTH 398 Ethnographic Research Methods
Theory Courses

Complete one of the following:

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

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


Complete one of the following:

  • Anthropology Capstone:
    • ANTH 493: Senior Research Preparation
    • ANTH 495: Anthropology Capstone
  • Anthropology Honors Program:
    • ANTH 493: Senior Research Preparation
    • ANTH 490/ANTH 491: Directed Honors Research

Note: The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. In the event that there is a discrepancy between the GA and any other websites or publications, the GA shall prevail as the authoritative source.

Director of Undergraduate Studies Contact Information

Dr. Mary Prendergast (; 590 Sewall Hall)