Is the BA or the BS Right for Me?

Anthropology asks questions about human world-making, our species evolution, our interactions with one another, and our relation to the nonhuman world; and so the discipline draws on and contributes to perspectives from across the social and physical sciences, the humanities, and the arts.

As such, we offer both B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Anthropology, recognizing the diversity and complexity of student interest and curiosity that can be explored with an anthropology degree. Deciding whether to declare a major in anthropology in the B.A. or the B.S. requires considering several factors.

Both B.A. and B.S. majors are expected to take core courses in the four primary sub-disciplines of anthropology: archaeological, biological, linguistic, and sociocultural anthropology. This requirement provides both a breadth of training and also teaches students to think  comparatively across cultures, times, geographical areas, languages, and sub-disciplinary perspectives. In addition, both degrees emphasize writing skills across the range of fields anthropology engages. Finally, majors in both the B.A. and the B.S. are expected to complete a Capstone experience in their senior year. The primary difference between the two degrees lies in the major requirements for courses outside of anthropology.

Distinctions about the B.S.

In the B.S., students are expected to take six or more courses (totaling 18 - 24 credits) from a broad selection of quantitative and natural sciences. Students who are committed to a future career as a medical professional or scientist may see the B.S. as an obvious route, but students with pre-health interests frequently opt for the B.A. to develop linguistic and cultural competencies for careers in international healthcare policymaking or global medicine. On the other hand, students who are curious about story-telling, philosophical, or artistic approaches to human worlds and their futures may opt for the B.S. degree in order to develop the technical, scientific, and mathematical skills necessary for future careers in digital and online contexts.

Distinctions about the B.A.

In the B.A., students are expected to take four semesters in a second language. For students who are less certain about what a career might look like, as the B.A. and B.S. have almost identical requirements for the courses taken within the department, a new curiosity and direction in study can be relatively easily accommodated by a switch between degree programs.

More generally, either a B.S. or a B.A. in anthropology serves as a foundation for careers in healthcare, international affairs, media and publishing, communications, law, research science, business consulting, non-profits, cultural resource management, advocacy, museum curation, forensics, market research, and more.

Need help deciding?

We recommend that you discuss your decision with your CLA advisor as well as with our Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Peter Harle.