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Undergraduate Catalog 2013

Anthropology, Cultural


View Faculty Details


J. Kevin Eckert


Marina Adler
Ilsa L. Lottes
Leslie A. Morgan
Robert L. Rubinstein
Mary E. Stuart

Associate Professors

Seth Messinger
John G. Schumacher

Assistant Professors

Bambi L. Chapin
Brandy Harris-Wallace
Angelica P. Herrera
Andrea L. Kalfoglou
Christine A. Mair
Jamie L. Trevitt

Associate Chair

Sarah Chard


Nicole M. Cousin-Gossett
Micah Trapp

Courses in this program are listed under ANTH.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at UMBC offers majors and minors in sociology and in cultural anthropology. Information on the anthropology major and minor is presented here. For information on the sociology major and minor, refer to sociology in this catalog.

Anthropology is the worldwide comparative study of humankind present and past. The field traditionally divides into four subfields: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, archeology, and linguistics. The Anthropology major at UMBC focuses on cultural anthropology, providing students with an understanding of the diversity of cultural worlds, human social organization and experience, and social research methods. Anthropology courses help students gain an understanding of the complexity of current events within the U.S. and internationally, and of the diversity of perspectives, values, and ideas across the globe. Course offerings examine topics ranging from anthropological theory and the positioning of knowledge and power, to the application of anthropology in urban social issues, health care, and public policy.

Career and Academic Paths

As anthropology majors, students gain knowledge, skills, and conceptual tools that prepare them for a wide range of careers, professional training programs, and graduate studies.

After graduation our majors have found employment in government, non-profit, and private sector settings. They are especially well-suited for positions that involve human interaction, problem solving, and communication, and where an understanding of multicultural issues is beneficial. This includes employment at social welfare, health-related, and program evaluation organizations, private marketing firms, and companies involved in international business.

An anthropology major also provides a strong foundation for those intending to pursue graduate studies and professional training in fields such as medicine, psychology, education, business, international studies, public policy, healthcare, and human services. Students who plan to engage in anthropology professionally generally continue to graduate school, entering M.A. and Ph.D. programs in anthropology around the country.

Academic Advising

When a student declares a major in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, a copy of the declaration is sent to the department. A staff member then assigns the student a faculty advisor. Students may change advisors if they wish by notifying the department office. The staff will make the necessary changes. Every major must meet with his or her advisor at least once each semester to discuss progress and future plans and to obtain electronic permission to register. Advisors have office hours posted outside their offices or can be contacted by e-mail or by leaving a message in their mailboxes with a telephone number and times for them to return the telephone call. Prior to registration, advising information is posted in the department, next to PUP 256, directing students to sign up with their advisor. Staff do not make appointments for faculty members. A meeting to discuss registration must be held prior to a student’s assigned registration time in order to be able to register. We encourage students to meet with their advisors any time they have questions or problems or want to discuss major or career plans. When students apply for graduation, their advisor makes the final decision as to whether all requirements for the major or minor have been completed. If the advisor has permitted the student to modify the major in any way, such as by substituting courses or waiving requirements, the student should get a written and signed copy of the agreement. The advisor will be glad to discuss the general university requirements for graduation, but advisors have no authority to modify these requirements in any way. The Registrar’s Office monitors completion of general education and university requirements.

Major Program

ANTHROPOLOGY (Total Credits: 31) Students must complete the following requirements with a grade of ”C” or better:

1. Core Requirements (13 credits)

  • ANTH 211 Cultural Anthropology [3]
  • ANTH 303 Anthropological Research Methods [3]
  • SOCY 300 Methodology of Social Research [4]
  • ANTH 400 Anthropological Theory [3]

2. Elective Requirements (18 credits)

Students also must complete eighteen additional credits of Anthropology or Sociology with a grade of “C” or better. Twelve of these eighteen credits must be in Anthropology. The remaining six credits may be in Anthropology or Sociology (thus, a maximum of six credits may be in Sociology). In addition, a minimum of twelve of these elective credits must be 300 level or above. Socy 396 and courses that are P/F may not be counted toward this requirement.

The department’s Anthropology elective course offerings usually include

  • ANTH 302 Human Evolution: Physical Anthropology and Archaeology
  • ANTH 304 Kin, Community, and Ethnicity
  • ANTH 310 Ethnographic Film
  • ANTH 311 Urban Anthropology
  • ANTH 312 Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 313 Applied Anthropology
  • ANTH 316 Anthropology of Religion
  • ANTH 317 Contemporary Problems in Anthropological Perspective
  • ANTH 318 Anthropology of Science and Technology
  • ANTH 320 Witchcraft and Magic
  • ANTH 326 American-Indian Cultures
  • ANTH 367 Anthropology of Gender
  • ANTH 397 Selected Topics in Anthropology
  • ANTH 416 Cyberspace, Culture and Society
  • ANTH 419 Qualitative Methods in Social Research
  • ANTH 424 Psychological Anthropology
  • ANTH 429 Aging in Cultural Context
  • ANTH 399/499 Independent Study

Students also may wish to take courses in other departments that complement a four-field approach to Anthropology. While the Anthropology faculty encourages students to explore additional coursework in archeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology, as well as cultural and area studies, these courses cannot be used as Anthropology electives.

Double Major

The Sociology and Anthropology Department offers a double major in Sociology and Anthropology. Information about this double major can be obtained at the department office in room 252 of the Public Policy Building.

Minor Program

The minor in Anthropology consists of Anth 211 and 15 credits in elective anthropology courses (a total of 18 credits). A maximum of three credits in Sociology can count as elective credits. At least six anthropology credits must be at the 300 level or above, and at least nine credits must be taken at UMBC. A grade of “C” or better is required in all courses.

Honors Program

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a major with honors in anthropology. Information describing the requirements for the major with honors is available in the Student's Guide, which can be found available in the department office in room 252 of the Public Policy Building. Students considering graduate school in anthropology are particularly encouraged to pursue this option.

M.A. and Accelerated B.A./M.A. Programs in Applied Sociology

The Master of Arts degree in Applied Sociology and the accelerated B.A./M.A. in Applied Sociology focus on the sociology of health, aging, and selected aspects of diversity. The accelerated B.A./M.A. permits undergraduates with any major to take up to 9 credits of graduate sociology courses in their senior year with the approval of the Graduate Program Director. These courses count for both the B.A. and the M.A. degrees. The student receives a B.A. degree after completing 120 credits and the graduate courses taken during the senior year reduce the number of courses required for the M.A. degree. The two programs are open to students in all majors and to full-time and part-time students. All courses are offered at 4:30 or 7:10 pm one evening per week. Admission requirements are a GPA of 3.0 and completion of an undergraduate statistics course in any department in the past five years. A normal course load for full-time students is 9 credits a semester. Students interested in applying to the MA program should email Professor William Rothstein, Graduate Program Director, at

Evening and Part Time Options

The department offers various advanced courses in the evening every semester but does not offer an evening major. Students who are able to take some courses during the day can complete the degree on a part-time basis.

Student Organizations

Council of Majors

The Council of Majors sponsors the Anthropology Club, which is open to majors and non-majors. Club activities have included a brown-bag lunch film series and discussion, field trips to local museums and events, colloquium on the graduate school application process and internship opportunities, and potlucks that showcase food traditions from around the world.

Lambda Alpha

Lambda Alpha is the national collegiate honor society for Anthropology.  To become a member, an undergraduate student must:

  1. Be an officially declared anthropology major
  2. Be a junior (60-89 total credits) or a senior (90 or more total credits)
  3. Have an overall UMBC GPA of 2.5 or better
  4. Have a GPA in all UMBC anthropology courses of 3.0 or better
  5. Have completed no less than twelve credits in Anthropology

Further details and applications are available from the department office (room 252 of the Public Policy Building). The induction ceremony is held in May each year.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The department has external grants and contracts on which undergraduates may work as research assistants. Such arrangements are made individually with faculty members.