Sociology and Anthropology

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

Professors: Sara A. Dickey, Susan A. Kaplan, Scott MacEachern, Nancy E. Riley†
Associate Professor: Krista E. Van Vleet
Assistant Professors: Oyman Basaran, Greg Beckett, Theodore C. Greene, Marcos F. Lopez, Ingrid A. Nelson
Visiting Faculty: Shruti Devgan, Simon May, H. Roy Partridge Jr.

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 urban planning, public policy, the civil service, social work, business or personnel administration, social research, law enforcement and criminal justice, the health professions, journalism, secondary school teaching, and development programs.

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:

  • five core courses: Anthropology 1101, 1102, 2010 or 2020, 2030, and 3010
  • five electives:
    • One elective must be an advanced course (numbered 3000–3999) other than 3010.
    • Only one elective below the intermediate level (numbered 1000–1999) is counted toward the major.
  • Eight of the ten courses required for the major, including 1101, 1102, 2010 or 2020, 2030, and 3010, must be taken at Bowdoin.
  • One or two of the ten courses may be taken from intermediate and advanced offerings in sociology (numbered 2000–2969 and 3000–3999) and/or, with departmental approval, from off-campus study programs.

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 (numbered 2000–3999)
  • One of the elective courses may be from anthropology (numbered 2000–3999) or, with department approval, from off-campus study.

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

  • Anthropology 1101
  • Anthropology 1102
  • three intermediate or advanced courses (numbered 2000–2969 and 3000–3999)
  • One of the courses, with department approval, may be from off-campus study.
  • Sociology courses do not count toward the anthropology minor.

Independent Studies

For the anthropology major or 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 recognize 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)