Major in Anthropology

If you're curious about the world, would love to travel, or are interested in studying abroad or addressing social and cultural issues, a major in anthropology might be right for you. This program teaches you how to use anthropological methods to solve problems related to cultural heritage and preservation, forensics, archaeology, health-related topics, and more.

What You Will Learn

In this major, you will explore each area of anthropology, gain a deeper understanding of humanity as well as develop many valuable skills for working in our multicultural global society.

In preparation, we strongly recommend a solid background of study in other subjects, such as: 

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • criminal justice
  • geography
  • geology
  • history
  • languages (modern or ancient)
  • natural resources
  • philosophy
  • physics
  • political science
  • psychology
  • sociology
  • telecommunications
  • urban planning

What It’s Like to Major in Anthropology at Ball State


Our optional departmental honors program will provide you with extra academic challenges as you pursue your degree. Ball State’s Honors College offers high-ability students an intellectually stimulating academic experience that enhances any major. You’ll benefit from unique, student-driven, discussion-based courses, special learning and scholarship opportunities, and a close-knit living-learning community.
When you major in anthropology at Ball State, you’re eligible to participate in our Degree in 3 programs. This is a condensed degree track that allows you to complete your anthropology degree in three years rather than the standard four.

In this program, you will take a full class load each fall and spring semester and during two or three summers. An academic advisor will guide you through your studies, monitoring your progress and helping you avoid scheduling issues. After you obtain sophomore status, you’ll be assigned a faculty advisor from our department.
Our anthropology program is a student-centered learning environment, boasting small classes approachable faculty members, and immersion/experience-based learning opportunities. In upper division classes, you will be free to explore topics of interest, either as a project or paper.

Every year, our faculty members organize a variety of field study experiences that allow anthropology students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. Faculty conduct field schools in Indiana, the southwestern United States, South Africa, Romania, and other locations around the globe.
All of our courses challenge students to synthesize knowledge of anthropology via the
development and application of critical thinking and creative skills. Students acquire analytical skills through the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Our students have historically pursued careers in archaeology, especially in cultural resources management (CRM) archaeology. As a student, you’ll gain part-time employment experience in CRM through our department, and other aspects of applied anthropology. You will also gain valuable work experience during your degree program through internships.

Program Requirements

This program consists of 34-39 total credits on top of the University Core Curriculum requirements. You’ll start with four introductory courses for all anthropology majors, then you’ll select one of three areas concentrations: general anthropology, archaeology, or biological anthropology.

Core Requirements

You’ll take four courses as part of our core requirements for this major before select one of four concentrations.

  • ANTH 101 Intro to Cultural Anthropology (3 credits)
  • ANTH 103 Archaeology and Culture (3 credits)
  • ANTH 105 Introduction to Biological Anthropology (3 credits)
  • ANTH 401 History of Methods and Theory in Archaeology (3 credits)
General Anthropology
Our concentration in general anthropology broadly covers the four subfields: archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and linguistics.

Credits Required

21

Courses You Will Take

A few of the classes you will take include:

In general, you will need to take:

  • 3 credits in methodology
  • 3 credits in cultural anthropology
  • 3 credits in archaeology
  • 3 credits in biological anthropology
  • 9 credits in 300- to 400-level anthropology electives

For a complete list of all the courses and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Archaeology considers human behavior based on the material remains left by prehistoric and historic peoples.

Credits Required

21

Courses You Will Take

In general, you will need to take:

  • 3 credits in methodology
  • 3 credits in cultural anthropology
  • 6 credits in archaeology
  • 3 credits in anthropology
  • 6 credits in 300- to 400-level anthropology electives

For a complete list of all the courses and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Cultural anthropology studies the ways people organize themselves socially in different types of groups.

Credits Required

21

Courses You Will Take

In general, you will need to take:

  • 3 credits in applied anthropology
  • 6 credits in methodology
  • 3 credits in cultural anthropology
  • 3 credits in archaeology
  • 3 credits in biological anthropology
  • 6 credits in anthropology 300- to 400-level electives

For a complete list of all the courses and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Biological anthropology examines the biological characteristics of humankind, including the study of human fossils, genetics, and primates

Credits Required

21

Courses You Will Take

In general, you will need to take:

  • 3 credits in methodology
  • 3 credits in cultural anthropology
  • 3 credits in archaeology
  • 9 credits in biological anthropology
  • 3 credits in 300- to 400-level electives

For a complete list of all the courses and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Anthropology?

A major in anthropology helps you build a strong foundation in critical thinking and analytical skills that apply to many academic and professional fields. Anthropologists and archaeologists work well with people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds in addition to performing a number of specialized tasks, including market research and program analysis. These skills and characteristics are applicable and valuable to employers worldwide. Our graduates typically find work as:

  • Government employees
  • Researchers
  • Consultants
  • Teachers
  • CRM archaeologists

Explore More Career Options

Paying for Your Education

Department Scholarships

In addition to the dozens of funding options offered through Ball State’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, the Anthropology Department awards scholarships to our own students. Find a scholarship.

Ready to Apply?

Admission to Ball State is selective and we carefully evaluate all application on an individual basis. Applying for admission is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or, if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.