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Programs / Arts / Anthropology

Program Summary

Anthropology is the study of human diversity. Anthropologists study the world’s peoples and cultures and analyze such diverse areas of social and cultural life as gender, family forms, livelihood, health, development, religion and politics. As a student in the program, you will acquire a substantive knowledge of anthropology and develop transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation, writing, oral presentation and group work.

The program takes full advantage of Carleton’s position in the nation’s capital, and you will have access to the collections of both the Canadian Museum of History and Library and Archives Canada. A fourth-year field-placement course and the opportunity to do independent research through the Honours Research Paper are available.

Strong academic programs

Carleton’s undergraduate programs in Anthropology and Sociology are comprehensive in scope. Our faculty include leading national figures in both disciplines and young scholars doing innovative work. This is a great place to learn both sociology and anthropology.

Applied work experience

Students in the final year of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Honours (Anthropology) or a BA Honours (Sociology) may obtain departmental permission to enrol in a half credit field placement (ANTH 4000 or SOCI 4820). This is a unique opportunity to gain research experience in a professional research setting such as Statistics Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, or an international development organization based in Ottawa. Instead of attending classes, you will spend up to one day a week working in an organization.

Co-op opportunities

A co-op option is available to Honours students in Anthropology or Sociology and allows you to combine work placements with academic study. Work placements exist in a variety of public and private sector fields, and give you the opportunity to apply information and skills obtained in class, such as social survey design and quantitative and qualitative data analyses, to practical social issues and problems. Students in co-op can gain the experience and develop the skills needed to acquire marketable areas of expertise. Work placements also offer a perspective on career preferences and interests, with an opportunity to develop job networks.

Ottawa is home to numerous institutions and organizations that can provide unique opportunities for research or work experience, including the Canadian Museum of History, Library and Archives Canada, Statistics Canada and many international development organizations.

Bachelor of Arts (General) in Anthropology

The Bachelor of Arts (General) is usually taken over three years.

At least 6.0 of your credits must be in Anthropology or Sociology. You take fewer core courses than in the Honours program and, in consultation with faculty advisors, you are free to tailor your program to suit your interests and career goals.

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Anthropology

The BA (Honours) program provides an intensive and in-depth program of study over a period of four years.

At least 9.0 of your credits must be in Anthropology and/or Sociology. As an Honours student in Anthropology, you will be expected to have at least 3.0 credits in one discipline outside Anthropology and Sociology, such as economics, geography, history, philosophy, political science or psychology.

Honours programs can be combined with other disciplines for a Combined Bachelor of Arts (BA) (Honours) degree. Students must complete 7.0 credits in either Anthropology or Sociology and fulfill the requirements for the other discipline.

Core courses

In the Anthropology (Honours) program, required courses include Introduction to Anthropology (ANTH 1001) and Introduction to Issues in Anthropology (ANTH 1002) or Introduction to Anthropological Perspectives (ANTH 1003); Foundations in SocioCultural Anthropology (ANTH 2001); any two courses in our ethnographic area series (ANTH 2610-2690); and any two of Ethnographic Research Methods (ANTH 3005), Contemporary Theories in Anthropology (ANTH 3006), and History of Anthropological Theory (ANTH 3007). Your BA Honours degree is capped off with Honours Research Paper in Anthropology (ANTH 4900) where you demonstrate your anthropological knowledge and analytical skills in a major research essay on a topic of your choice.

First-year experience

First-year BA students are strongly encouraged to include a First-year Seminar (FYSM) in their firstyear course load. First-year Seminars will get you away from the lecture hall and give you the chance, in a small class of no more than 30, to discuss and debate topics with your classmates and your professors. You will also get early and frequent feedback on class assignments and instruction in research, writing and study skills. Although some FYSMs count as courses leading to a major, you do not have to choose a FYSM in your major discipline. Students are also limited to one FYSM.

The workplace

Anthropology and Sociology prepare you for a variety of careers. Some graduates apply their social sciences knowledge directly in research, teaching, policy development, or in personnel or correctional services. Others go on to careers in federal government departments such as Industry Canada and Statistics Canada.

Many other graduates work in the fields of international development and community development, as researchers and analysts. At the municipal and regional levels, social sciences graduates are found in areas such as consultation, research, policy planning and administration.

Graduate studies

BA (Honours) graduates may also be eligible to go on to graduate studies in Anthropology and Sociology as well as a variety of fields including:

  • Canadian studies;
  • political economy;
  • international affairs;
  • environmental studies; and
  • resource management.

Professional programs

Many professions encourage well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds to apply. Anthropology provides a strong foundation for a number of professional programs such as urban planning, medicine, teaching and law and you are encouraged to pursue your interest in these fields.

What students are saying about Anthropology


The breadth of topics I have been able to explore within the Anthropology program has been foundational in shaping my understanding of culture. The skills I have gained are highly transferrable not only within academia, but also in the way I engage with the world on a daily basis. Additionally, I appreciate the small class sizes that have allowed me to work closely with my professors and peers.
Elizabeth Nelson, Anthropology and Geography student