Sociology and Anthropology

Krista E. Van Vleet, Department Chair
Lori A. Brackett, Department Coordinator

Professors: Sara A. Dickey†, Susan A. Kaplan†, Nancy E. Riley
Associate Professors: Ingrid A. Nelson, Krista E. Van Vleet
Assistant Professors: Oyman Basaran, Theodore C. Greene†, William D. Lempert, Marcos F. Lopez
Visiting Faculty: Shruti Devgan, Lauren Kohut, Michael Kohut, Brian Smithson, April Strickland


Requirements for the Major

In consultation with an advisor, each student plans a major program that nurtures an understanding of society and the human condition, demonstrates how social and cultural knowledge are acquired through research, and enriches their general education. On the practical level, a major program prepares the student for graduate study in sociology or anthropology and contributes to pre-professional programs such as law and medicine. It also provides background preparation for careers in business, the civil service, ethnographic design and research development, education, humanitarian and international development, law enforcement and criminal justice, journalism, museum administration and outreach, public health and allied health professions, public policy, social work, and urban planning, among others.

A student may choose either of two major programs or two minor programs. The major in sociology consists of ten courses.

Required courses:

  • four core courses: Sociology 1101, 2010 (which should be taken sophomore year), 2030, and 3010
  • six additional courses, 1000–3999
  • Seven of the ten courses required for the major, including 1101, 2010, 2030, and 3010, must be Bowdoin sociology courses.
  • The remaining three of the ten required courses for the major, may be, with department approval, from off-campus study (maximum of two courses); Bowdoin anthropology courses (2000 or 3000 level, maximum of two courses); or, with approval by the department chair, from related fields to meet the student’s specific interests.

The major in anthropology consists of ten courses.

Required courses:

  • four core courses: Anthropology 1101, 1103, 2010, and 2030
  • six electives:
    • One elective must be an advanced course (3000–3999).
    • Only one elective below the intermediate level (1000–1999) is counted toward the major.
  • Eight of the ten courses required for the major must be Bowdoin anthropology courses.
  • Up to two of the ten required courses, with departmental approval, may be taken from among off-campus study courses, Bowdoin sociology courses, and/or—with approval by the department chair—other Bowdoin courses in related fields that contribute to the student’s specific interests

Requirements for the Minor

The minor in sociology consists of five courses.

Required courses:

  • Sociology 1101
  • four other courses at or above the intermediate level (2000–3999)
  • One of the elective courses may be from anthropology (2000–3999) or, with department approval, from off-campus study.

The minor in anthropology consists of five courses. Required courses:

  • one core course: Anthropology 1101 or Anthropology 1103
  • four electives:
    • Three courses must be at the intermediate (2000–2969) or advanced level (3000–3999).
  • One of the five courses, with department approval, may be from off-campus study.
  • Only two 1000-level courses (1000–1999) may be counted toward the minor.

Independent Study

For the anthropology major program, two semesters of independent study may be counted. For the anthropology minor program, one semester of independent study may be counted. For the sociology major program, two semesters of independent study may be counted, while for the minor program one semester may be counted.

Departmental Honors

Students distinguishing themselves in either major program may apply for departmental honors. Awarding of the degree with honors is ordinarily based on grades attained in major courses and a written project (emanating from independent study); and a recognition of the ability to work creatively and independently and to synthesize diverse theoretical, methodological, and substantive materials.

Off-Campus Study

Study away in a demanding academic program can contribute substantially to a major in sociology and anthropology. Students are advised to plan study away for their junior year. A student should complete either the Sociology 2010 or Anthropology 2010 research methods course, depending on their major, before studying away. Students must obtain provisional approval for their study away courses in writing by department faculty before they leave for study away, and then seek final approval upon their return to Bowdoin.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

For information on credit for International Baccalaureate tests, please see the department. No credit is given for Advanced Placement.

Additional Information

  • In order for a course to fulfill the major or minor requirements in sociology or anthropology, a grade of C- or above must be earned in that course.
  • Courses that count toward the major or minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail).
  • First-year seminars count toward the major or minor in either discipline.

(Department/Program website)