Anthropology Department

About the Major

Department Requirements

  1. Reading and writing competence in a non-English (and nonnative) language as demonstrated by completion of two units of college-level courses including a) second-, third-, or fourth- year language courses or b) literature courses taught in that language. (This requirement cannot be fulfilled by a language placement exam.) Please note: in some cases heritage speakers may be eligible to use coursework in their heritage languages to satisfy this requirement. Please consult with your adviser and the Department Chair.
  2. A minimum of six units of anthropology coursework, including Anthropology 211, at least one area course (but preferably two), and at least one 400-level course. Transfer students should take Anthropology 211 even if they have completed substantial coursework in anthropology at another institution. Anthropology 211 is normally taken in the sophomore year and is not open to first-year students. At least five units of anthropology coursework, and as many units of HSS divisional requirements as possible, must be completed by the end of the junior year.
  3. Anthropology 470.

Recommended but not required:

  1. Coursework in social statistics and social theory (offered in the departments of Sociology, Political Science, Economics, or Psychology),
  2. Coursework in biology, history, religion, art, literary theory, continental philosophy, linguistics, and literature.

Division of History and Social Sciences Requirements

Each Anthropology major is required to fulfill divisional distribution requirements by completing two of the following:

1. Any two one-unit Reed College economics courses, or the equivalent.
2. Any two one-unit Reed College history courses, or the equivalent.
3. Sociology 211 and one other sociology course.
4. One introductory political science course (210, 220, 230, 240, or 250) and any other course in political science, but no more than one course from Political Science 230 and 386–415.

Note that for purposes of meeting either Group B or HSS divisional requirements in political science or sociology, students must include the introductory course (Political Science 210, 220, 230, 240, or 250, or Sociology 211) as one of the required two units.

Students are advised to have completed their divisional requirements prior to their senior year.

Declaration of Major

It is necessary for you to declare a major in order to be admitted to junior standing in the Division of History and Social Sciences. It is important that you declare as soon as you have determined that anthropology is to be your major field because the Division then takes responsibility for the oversight of your academic program in the junior and senior years. When you have chosen the major, be certain that not only is the official form completed and filed, but that you have also chosen an adviser in the Department of Anthropology. A reminder: the Division requires that you take some non-anthropology courses in history and/or the social sciences; discuss this distributional requirement with your adviser and check the catalog. Also, remember that reading competence in a foreign language as demonstrated by completion of two units of a second, third or fourth year foreign language course or by examination at equivalent levels is required.

In many cases, students express an interest in having an ad hoc committee supervise an ad hoc major. This is an inter-divisional major, which includes Anthropology as one of its components. This has been done successfully in the past (Anthro/Phil, Anthro/Bio, Anthro/Lit), but requires advanced preparation; at least as early as the middle of the semester prior to the junior review (i.e., the Qual, etc.). Any proposal for interdisciplinary studies must be approved by the constituent departments. It is not necessary to establish an interdisciplinary major within the Division of History and Social Sciences. If an ad hoc major is undertaken, it would be necessary to have an adviser in each of the constituent departments. Those advisers will negotiate to determine an appropriate program for the following two years. A thesis topic or thesis area should be clearly articulated before the ad hoc major has been approved. This is not to say that a specific thesis topic will be accepted at that time, but rather that a legitimate area of intellectual inquiry has been identified that makes sense of a program which goes beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries. Forms for interdisciplinary majors, as well as forms for admission to the Division, are available at the Registrar's Office.

The Junior Qualifying Examination (click here for info)