Major/Minor Requirements

Major Requirements

Beginning with the Fall 2017 term, the Anthropology Department is instituting a new set of major requirements. New students entering the department will be subject to these new requirements. Students enrolled prior to Fall 2017 can elect between the two sets, with any specific questions addressed to the Anthropology Department chair.
Major requirements (as of Fall 2017)
A major in anthropology consists of a minimum of nine units (which may include courses from MIT's anthropology offerings), including four required courses:
ANTH 101 - Introduction to Socio-Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 102 - Introduction to Biological Anthropology or ANTH 103 - Introduction to Archaeology
ANTH 205 - Anthropological Methods and Project Design
ANTH 301 - Advanced Theory in Anthropology
Students are required to take at least one additional 300-level offering and are strongly encouraged to engage in at least one significant academic experience outside the classroom to be identified in conjunction with the major advisor (e.g. study abroad, independent research, intern, field schools, or related experiences). 

Minor Requirements

Minor requirements (as of Fall 2021)
A minor in anthropology consists of five units. These courses must include at least one introductory course (ANTH 101 or ANTH 102 or ANTH 103), ANTH 205 - Anthropological Methods and Project Design, and ANTH 301 - Advanced Theory in Anthropology. The aim of the minor is to introduce students to the core theoretical apparatus of the discipline, while allowing students the opportunity to pursue topics within the discipline that appeal to their individual interests.

To graduate with honors in anthropology, a student must pursue one of the two honors options. (As of Fall 2020)


A student completing Honors Option A will propose, carry out, and complete an independent project. This project may involve ethnographic, archival, archaeological, or evolutionary approaches to an anthropological question. Students will work closely with their advisor(s) to establish a timeline for carrying out this work, reviewing the appropriate literature, writing up their project in the form of a written thesis, and defending their thesis, as part of the ANTH 360/ANTH 370 sequence. Expectations are that the scope of an Honors thesis project will be substantively greater than other independent work (e.g. an Anth 350 course) that a student may complete.



Recognizing that students may not always be in a position to carry out in-person work on their desired subject, Honors Option B is intended to nevertheless provide students with honors recognition and an independent project of equivalent academic rigor. An Option B thesis will involve the co-production between student and advisor of a thorough reading list relevant to the student’s theoretical/subject/regional interest. The student will be responsible for progressing through this list, culminating in the production of a critical literature review of this topic. Following the completion of this literature review, the student will produce an NSF/Wenner-Gren style grant application laying out a formal research proposal. This process should be iterative, involving close consultation and feedback between student and advisor(s). At the culmination of this process, the literature review and grant application will be submitted and subject to an oral defense in order to complete the thesis process. Option B will also include the standard ANTH 360/ANTH 370 course sequence.


Students interested in pursuing an honors thesis should begin consultation with potential advisor(s) no later than the Spring term of their Junior year. Normally, the department will ask for honors thesis proposals for evaluation and feedback by the end of the Spring term prior to Senior year.

Past examples of Honors projects may be browsed through the College's digital thesis repository.