Anthropology BA Sociocultural

Program Purpose


The Anthropology Department aims to produce students that have a view of the world we call the 'Anthropological perspective,' i.e., seeing the varieties of humanity in holistic, worldwide terms, and appreciating the creativity and diversity of humankind in general. Toward that end, the Anthropology curriculum offers a diversity of classes on the peoples and cultures of the world, past and present. The Socio-Cultural Emphasis in the Department instructs students in the current methods and theories of Anthropology in order to provide them with the tools necessary to apply these learned principles in whatever field they might embrace that utilizes the Anthropological approach. We also seek to instill in students the fundamental tenets and ethics of the discipline.

Anthropology seeks to document the nature of the human condition, among all cultures past and present. Anthropologists use theories to orient themselves regarding what they should look at and how to organize what they see. They use field methods to acquire and record data produced by organized life in particular places, both in the past (Archaeology) and present (Socio-Cultural Anthropology). From this data, anthropologists produce descriptions of the human condition and of human culture and behavior. They then use these descriptions of life to investigate whether the theories and methods they originally used to orient the description were or are adequate to an assigned professional task. For example, will planned international development programs be appropriate to a specific culture and community?   Methodological theories in any discipline often fall short when applied to real life in-the-field problems and programs, and therefore theories and methodologies often have to be tested and improved. Thus, Anthropology deploys theory to organize methods of inspection that produce description.  Subsequently, we deploy description to interrogate and improve the adequacy of theory and methods in the profession. Areas of specific interest to Socio-Cultural Anthropology include but are not limited to Medical Anthropology, International Development, National and Community Development, etc.  BYU Socio-Cultural Field Schools are active in Africa, Southeast Asia, India, Central and South America, and the United States. 

Curricular Structure

Catalog Information

Major Academic Plan

Learning Outcomes


Critical Thinking and Analysis

By learning to think anthropologically, program graduates will be prepared to analyze and understand human activity, sociality, and thought. Graduates will be able to uncover and explain the real conditions and social contexts of human problems and social systems of organization including economy, kinship, law, religion. 

Courses that Contribute: ANTHR 101 ANTHR 110 ANTHR 207 ANTHR 300 ANTHR 330 ANTHR 335 ANTHR 336 ANTHR 341 ANTHR 348 ANTHR 430 ANTHR 432 ANTHR 434 ANTHR 436 ANTHR 443 ANTHR 447 ANTHR 495R ANTHR 499 ANTHR 500 ANTHR 501 ANTHR 525 ANTHR 526 ANTHR 590R ANTHR 596 ANTHR 599R
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Competence
Effective Writing

Graduates will be able to write clearly and precisely.

Courses that Contribute: ANTHR 101 ANTHR 110 ANTHR 335 ANTHR 430 ANTHR 432 ANTHR 436 ANTHR 443 ANTHR 447 ANTHR 495R ANTHR 499 ANTHR 500 ANTHR 501 ANTHR 525 ANTHR 526 ANTHR 590R ANTHR 596 ANTHR 599R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Communicate effectively
Social Theory

Program graduates will understand and apply essential frameworks of contemporary social theory to comprehend the nature of human agency and action, the relationship between actors and social structures, the role of meaning in human cognition, the relationship between people and things.

Courses that Contribute: ANTHR 101 ANTHR 110 ANTHR 335 ANTHR 336 ANTHR 341 ANTHR 430 ANTHR 432 ANTHR 434 ANTHR 436 ANTHR 495R ANTHR 499 ANTHR 500 ANTHR 501 ANTHR 590R
Linked to BYU Aims: Faith and testimony, Think soundly
Research Skills and Methods

Graduates will gain experience with research methods used to gather, process, and interpret ethnographic data.

Courses that Contribute: ANTHR 207 ANTHR 335 ANTHR 336 ANTHR 348 ANTHR 430 ANTHR 432 ANTHR 434 ANTHR 436 ANTHR 442 ANTHR 443 ANTHR 447 ANTHR 495R ANTHR 499 ANTHR 500 ANTHR 501 ANTHR 525 ANTHR 526 ANTHR 590R ANTHR 596 ANTHR 599R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Lifelong service
Original Research

Graduates will be able to apply their cultural, methodological, and theoretical knowledge in original research projects culminating in a high quality, theoretically informed senior thesis.

Courses that Contribute: ANTHR 207 ANTHR 335 ANTHR 430 ANTHR 432 ANTHR 436 ANTHR 443 ANTHR 447 ANTHR 495R ANTHR 499 ANTHR 501 ANTHR 525 ANTHR 526 ANTHR 590R ANTHR 596 ANTHR 599R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Competence
Human Cultural Diversity

Graduates will possess a solid knowledge of the diversity of human cultures. 

Courses that Contribute: ANTHR 101 ANTHR 110 ANTHR 207 ANTHR 330 ANTHR 335 ANTHR 336 ANTHR 341 ANTHR 348 ANTHR 430 ANTHR 432 ANTHR 434 ANTHR 436 ANTHR 443 ANTHR 495R ANTHR 499 ANTHR 526 ANTHR 590R ANTHR 596 ANTHR 599R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge

Evidence of Learning


Assessment Tools

Student advisement during program

Capstone course including oral presentation and written report

All students take capstone sequence

Alumni Office surveys

Direct Measures

1. Graded course work such as exams, written assignments, projects and field work. (Examples of greaded student products representative of the range of grades are kept on file.)

2. Semi-annual reports on student progress by the faculty advisor.

3. Student accomplishments in obtaining ORCA grants, publications, awards, ets.

4. Graduates' success in obtaining employment of admission to graduate programs.

Indirect Measures

1. Student course and instructor evaluations. (These reports are reviewed by the department chair and addressed in the annual stewardship interview.)

2. Senior exit surveys

3. BYU alumni surveys

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


Data documenting the assessment measures are filed in the main office. These data are analyzed and summarized by the undergraduate coordinator and presented to the faculty each year. The faculty as a whole act as an assessment committee. From ensuing discussions, decisions are made by the facutly for revising the curriculum and improving student learning.

Analysis, Evaluation, and Improvement Process

Alumni office surveys assist in evaluating student satisfaction with the program. Capstone papers are reviewed by the instructor and outstanding papers are rewarded at an honors banquet. We attempt to track all graduate students to monitor employment as well as program satisfaction.

The curriculum is reviewed annually for ways to improve and to assess currency with developments within the profession. Curriculum improvement decisions are made by the entire faculty. Changes are submitted to university curriculum committee via standard forms.