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The Anthropology curriculum at HWS provides majors with a foundation in academic knowledge with real-world relevancy. The study of societal development as it traces the evolution of human societies is central to understanding social order and disorder.

The study of anthropology is the study of what it means to be human.


Anthropology and Sociology are closely related social science disciplines that study the ways in which people live and interact together under various social and cultural conditions. By understanding the multifaceted dimensions of human socieities, the disciplines seek to understand human behavior, social interactions and institutional structures in all their diversity.

Students may choose to major in Anthropology, Sociology, or the combination of both (Anthro/Soc). The department offers three disciplinary majors, all B.A., and two disciplinary minors.

Course List

If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in Anthropology or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Anthropology Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 11 courses

A 100-level course in the student’s required primary specialization of either (1) sociocultural and linguistic anthropology or (2) archaeology and physical anthropology; ANTH 273, ANTH 306, and ANTH 465; one anthropology course on a geographic area in the primary specialization; and six additional anthropology electives of which at least two must be at the 300-level. Four of the electives must be in the primary specialization and two outside the primary specialization. One 200 or higher level course in sociology may count as an elective outside the primary specialization.

Requirements for the Anthropology Minor

disciplinary, 6 courses

One course in cultural anthropology and five additional courses in anthropology, of which at least three must be at the 200-level and at least two at the 300-level or higher (ANTH 450 does not fulfill this requirement).

Requirements for the Combined Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 11 courses

ANTH 110; SOC 100; any four of the five courses from department core offerings (ANTH 273, ANTH 306, SOC 211, SOC 212, SOC 300); a 400-level seminar in either anthropology or sociology; two electives in anthropology and two electives in sociology that together form a cluster, to be chosen in consultation with the adviser.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of the ways in which people live and interact together under various social and cultural conditions.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making Anthropology a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

ANTH 208 Archaeology of Japan and China


Suvey the archaeology of East Asia from the Paleolithic through the era of classical civilizations by studying artifacts like the "underground army" of the first emperor of China and the monumental tombs of early Japan. Expand your knowledge of ancient art in Asian and enroll in ART 103, East Asian Art Survey, and examine the arts and architecture of China and Japan from the Neolithic period through the nineteenth century.

ANTH 341 Making Babies: Anthropology of Reproductive Technologies


Examine the cross-cultural conceptions of fertility and conception, delve into comparative ethnography of reproductive practices and meanings, and consider the cultural constructions of reproduction wrought by new reproductive technologies. Then, enroll in POL 212, The Sixties, and discover the radical changes in American public policy that came about as a result of various social movements like the women's liberation.

ANTH 354 Food, Meaning, Voice


Food speaks. But what does food have to say? Food plays an important part in identity construction, religion and socialization. This course explores the anthropological approaches to the study of food and cuisine. Still interested in the role food plays in our lives? Why not enroll in HIST 151, Foody Systems in History, trace the emergence of our contemporary world food system by examining early food systems.



Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.