Brigham Young University
Back Anthropology


Joel C. Janetski, Chair
945 SWKT, PO Box 25522, (801) 378-3058

College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences Advisement Center
151 SWKT, PO Box 25538, (801) 378-3541

Admission to Degree Program

All undergraduate degree programs in the Department of Anthropology are open enrollment.

The Discipline

Anthropology's central aims are to describe, interpret, and make meaningful human behavior patterns in sociocultural systems. It also seeks to explain the similarities and differences in human behavior patterns among all peoples and cultures, both in the present and the past. Social and cultural anthropology study human society in the present, using participant-observation, interviewing, and other techniques to understand the full round of life in a single culture, a subculture, or a multicultural system. Archaeology provides methods for learning about the world's peoples who are no longer living; thus it is an important part of the anthropological family of special skills and interests.

Career Opportunities

Distinctive contributions are made by both anthropology and archaeology majors, and therefore jobs are available wherever social and cultural differences or social system complexity create difficulties. Social services, businesses, schools, development projects, medicine, and law all offer significant careers, and recent concern with environmental protection has opened up others. University teaching and research positions are limited in growth, but highly qualified students can find positions after obtaining the PhD degree from first-rank schools.

For archaeology majors, both legal and societal interest in understanding and preserving the past have resulted in increased job opportunities in state and national agencies required to observe recent preservation laws and in private corporations serving this end.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a bachelor's degree a student must fill three groups of requirements: (1) general education requirements, (2) university requirements, and (3) major requirements.

General Education Requirements

Students should contact their college advisement center for information about general education courses that will also fill major requirements.

Languages of Learning

Precollege Math (zero to one course)
(or Math ACT score of at least 22)
0–3.0 hours
First-Year Writing (one course) 3.0
Advanced Writing (one course) 3.0
Advanced Languages/Math/Music
(one to four courses)

Liberal Arts Core

Biological Science (one to two courses) 3–6.0
Physical Science (one to two courses) 3–7.0
American Heritage (one to two courses) 3–6.0
Wellness (one to three courses) 1.5–2.0
Civilization (two courses) 6.0

Arts and Sciences Electives

Arts and Letters (one course) 3.0
Natural Sciences (one course) 3–4.0
Social and Behavioral Sciences (one course) 3.0

Note 1: For a complete list of courses that will fill each GE category, see the General Education section of the current class schedule.

Note 2: Additional information about general education requirements can be found in the General Education section of the current class schedule or this catalog.

Minimum University Requirements

Religion 14.0
Upper-division hours
Requirement deleted effective 04/04/00
Residency 30.0
Hours needed to graduate 120.0

Cumulative GPA must be at least 2.0.

Note: See the Graduation section of this catalog for more information.

Major Requirements

Complete the major requirements listed for one of the following undergraduate degree programs.

Undergraduate Programs and Degrees

BA Anthropology
BA Anthropology (Sociocultural double major)
Minor Anthropology

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Graduate Programs and Degrees

MA Anthropology

For more information see the BYU 2000–2001 Graduate Catalog.

General Information

  1. Each student wishing to major in anthropology should arrange through the department office to counsel with a faculty advisor and prepare a proposed sequence of study. Following this, the student should meet with the department chair for final approval of the program.

  2. Undergraduate students are allowed some, but not excessive, specialization.

  3. All degrees are in the field of anthropology.

  4. No D credit is applicable to any degree program.

Special Opportunities for Field Study

The department offers a number of unusual curriculum and field study opportunities. Students interested in Pacific Island studies are encouraged to spend a semester or two at BYU-Hawaii, where this area of study is well represented. Selected courses are regularly counted toward BYU's major. Consult with the department chair or your faculty advisor about equivalencies.

The department offers several field school opportunities. Archaeology students complete their requirement in the field school typically held in conjunction with an ongoing, local (Utah) research project and occasionally in more exotic settings (Jordan, Hawaii).

BA Anthropology: Archaeology Emphasis (48 hours*)

Major Requirements

  1. Complete the following:
    Anthr 101, 110, 215, 300, 309.

  2. Complete the following:
    Anthr 205, 305, 405.

  3. Select 3 hours from the following:
    Anthr 351, 378, 385, 390R, 580, 590R.

  4. Select 3 hours from the following:
    Anthr 350, 355, 365, 372, 374, 380, 390R, 530, 535, 540, 562, 564, 565, 566, 572, 574, 590R.

  5. Select 9 hours from the following:
    Anthr 349, 430, 431, 432, 435, 436, 438, 439, 440, 447, 490R, 515, 520, 575.

  6. Complete the following:
    Anthr 454R.

  7. Complete 6 hours of the following:
    Anthr 455R.

  8. Complete 2 hours of the following:
    Anthr 456R.

BA Anthropology: Sociocultural Emphasis (48 hours*)

Major Requirements

  1. Complete the following:
    Anthr 101, 110, 300, 309.

  2. Complete the following:
    Anthr 205, 305, 405.

  3. Select 6 hours from the following:
    Anthr 317, 326, 330, 335, 340, 343, 345, 346, 390R, 566, 568.

  4. Select 12 hours from the following:
    Anthr 349, 430, 431, 432, 435, 436, 438, 439, 440, 447, 490R, 515, 520, 575.

  5. Complete the following:
    Anthr 442, 495, 499R.
*Hours include courses that may fulfill GE or university requirements.

BA Anthropology (Sociocultural Double Major) (33 hours*)

The 33-hour sociocultural major is designed to accommodate the varying interests of students from a range of other disciplines, but it is only available to students completing an additional major in another field. Its purpose is to allow students with other majors to add the perspectives that anthropology is uniquely qualified to provide.

Major Requirements

  1. Complete all requirements of a primary major. Double counting courses between primary major and anthropology will not be allowed.

  2. Complete the following:
    Anthr 101, 309, 442, 495.

  3. Select 9 hours from the following:
    Anthr 205, 305, 405, 505.

  4. Select 6 hours from the following:
    Anthr 317, 326, 330, 340, 343, 345, 390R, 568, 585.

  5. Select 6 hours from the following:
    Anthr 349, 430, 431, 432, 435, 436, 438, 439, 440, 447, 490R, 520.
*Hours include courses that may fulfill GE or university requirements.

Minor Anthropology (16 hours)

Minor Requirements

Complete 16 hours of department courses, with no more than two courses in addition to Anthr 108R from lower-division courses offerings.

Anthropology (Anthr)

Class Schedule Major Academic Plan (MAP)

Undergraduate Courses

101. Social/Cultural Anthropology. (3:3:0) Honors also.

Aspects of society and culture: kinship, beliefs, economy, and political order among peoples worldwide. Methods and perspectives used in social/cultural anthropology.

108R. Anthropological Films. (1:0:2 ea.) F, W

Examination of other cultures through ethnographic or archaeological film. Can be taken separately or concurrently with Anthr 101 or 110.

110. Introduction to Archaeology. (3:3:0) Honors also.

Review of great archaeological discoveries about the ancient world. Overview of world prehistory.

205. Foundations of Anthropological Theory. (3:3:0) W

Founders of social and cultural theory and their thought: Darwin, Marx, Weber, Durkhem, Freud, or others up to circa 1920.

207. Experiments in Ancient Technology. (3:1:2) F odd yr.

Processes by which tools and other objects were produced anciently; experimental reproduction and use of ancient tools.

215. Introduction to Archaeology: Method and Theory. (3:3:0) W

Field and analytic methods and their relevance to data acquisition; use of theory and the relation of theory to methods.

280. Archaeology and the Scriptures. (3:3:0) Evening Classes only.

The Bible and the Book of Mormon compared with archaeological findings on early civilizations.

300. Biological Anthropology. (3:3:0) W

Relationships between human biology, environment, social structure, and culture. Concepts and data on race, primates, evolution, population genetics, growth, and sociobiology.

301. Human Osteology. (2:1:2) F even yr.

Identification and treatment of skeletal material found in archaeological excavations.

305. Anthropological Theory 2. (3:3:0) F Prerequisite: Anthr 205.

Major contributions to development of anthropological theory, circa 1920–1950.

309. Language in Culture and Society. (3:3:0) F

Sociocultural categories and processes as expressed through, and determined by, language. Semiotics: language as sign system. Ethnosemantics, syntactic analysis, translation problems, ethnography of speaking/communication.

312. Intercultural Communication. (3:3:0) F, W

Communication processes as affected by proxemic, kinesic, linguistic, social, institutional, worldview, and value differences and other aspects of culture. Seminar/workshop: theory, research methods, applications.

317. Native Peoples of North America. (3:3:0) F

Indian groups at the time of the European arrival; social organization, beliefs, values, economy, and adaptation to environment.

326. Central American Society. (3:2:Arr.) F

History, culture, society, and life among peoples of Mexico and Central America.

330. Peoples of Africa. (3:3:0) F and W odd yr.

Political, economic, and social organization, family life, language, worldview, religion, ritual, artistic expression, ecological adaptation, and contemporary development issues among rural and urban sub-Saharan peoples.

335. Peoples of India. (3:3:0) Sp

Society and culture on Indian subcontinent. Stratification, kinship, marriage, religion, politics, economics.

340. Peoples of the Middle East. (3:3:0) W

Ecology, social organization, and beliefs of nomadic, rural, and urban groups between western Africa and Pakistan.

343. Chinese Culture and Society. (3:3:0) F

Cultural and social institutions of traditional and modern China, including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or other areas of Chinese impact.

345. American Culture. (3:2:Arr.)

Unity and diversity in U.S. life. Social/cultural change processes illustrated and analyzed. Anthropological study of complex cultures. Seminar-type course involves substantial reading, writing, discussion.

346. Anthropology of Mormonism. (3:3:0) W even yr.

Intensive analysis of Mormon society and culture using a range of anthropological perspectives.

349. Museums and Culture. (3:3:0) W odd yr.

Museums in society. Cultural foundations of museum content and sociology of museum use. Analyzing museum studies literature with on-site visits to area museums.

350. Archaeological Cultures of North America. (3:3:0) W

Cultural developments of North American Indians (Canada, U.S., and northern Mexico) before Columbus.

351. Archaeology and the Bible. (3:3:0) F even yr.

Setting and context of the Bible as clarified and supplemented from archaeology, history, and related studies. Archaeological methods.

355. Mesoamerican Archaeology. (3:2:Arr.) F

Cultural-environment bases of ancient civilizations in Mexico and Central America. Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec cultures.

365. South American Archaeology. (3:3:0) F odd yr.

Archaeological history of South America: Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

372. Ancient Mayan Writing 1. (3:3:0) F even yr.

Nature and content of Mayan hieroglyphic writing, from A.D. 100 to 1600. Methods of decipherment, introduction to textual analysis, and application to interpreting Mayan language, art, world view, and society. Literacy and the Mesoamerican background of Mayan script.

374. Ancient Mayan Writing 2. (3:3:0) W odd yr. Prerequisite: Anthr 372.

Advanced study of Mayan hieroglyphic writing. Guided workshop focusing on inscriptions, rituals, dynastic history, and linguistic records from major Mayan cities. Archaeological setting and preparation of technical commentaries emphasized.

378. Near Eastern Archaeology. (3:2:Arr.) W odd yr.

Peoples and culture history in Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, 3500–500 B.C. Substantial reading, writing, discussion.

380. Historical Archaeology. (3:2:Arr.) W odd yr.

Archaeological study, excavation, and restoration of sites like Nauvoo and Williamsburg. Substantial reading, writing, and discussion.

385. Ancient Peoples and Cultures of Europe: The Origins of European Civilization. (3:3:0) F odd yr.

European culture and archaeology from initial settlement to Vikings. Agriculture, political organization, urban settlement, population movement, early astronomy, religious development. Bronze and Iron Ages, Roman expansion.

390R. Special Topics in Regional Anthropology. (1–3:Arr.:0 ea.) On dem.

Subjects related to a particular area or people. Offered when unique opportunities or needs arise.

405. Anthropological Theory 3. (3:3:0) W Prerequisite: Anthr 205.

Major contributions to development of anthropological theory, circa 1950–1980.

420. Language and Cultural Insight. (3:3:0) F, W

Students will demonstrate language competence and increase cultural awareness using an “uncommon language.” Interview, analysis, and writing skills emphasized. Document will be in uncommon language with translation and report in English.

430. Moral and Ritual Institutions. (3:3:0) F even yr.

Anthropological approaches to religion; its content and relation to other social institutions in societies ranging from gatherers to industrialists.

431. The Family, Marriage, and Kinship. (3:3:0) W

Nature of kinship; parent-child, sibling, grandparental relationships. Genealogical basis of society: family, lineage, clan, kindred organization. Marital status; in-law relations; joking and avoidance behavior; divorce.

432. Political and Legal Institutions. (3:3:0) F odd yr.

Power, politics, law, the state, rebellion and revolution, warfare, hegemony, etc., in simple and complex societies as approached from social theory and anthropology.

435. The Anthropology of Art: Images, Ideas, and Craft in the Non-Western World. (3:3:0) W odd yr.

Comparative study of Western and non-Western traditions of beauty, artistic creation, images, myth, and ritual. Social, semiotic, and political functions of art. Colonial and modern interactions.

436. Symbolic Anthropology. (3:3:0)F odd yr.

Social use and understanding of semiotics, signs, symbols, and other meaningful forms as critically constitutive of culture.

438. Social Stratification. (3:3:0)

Anthropological consideration of organized social inequality, focusing on class, caste, gender, and ethnicity.

439. Theory of Complex Societies. (3:3:0)

Anthropological approaches to complex societies—from those historically of at least state level to the modern integrated world system.

440. Small-Scale Societies. (3:3:0) W even yr.

Ethnographic and archaeological studies of band and tribal societies (hunter-gatherers and simple farmers) from around the world.

442. Ethnographic Skills. (3:2:Arr.) W

Methods, rationale, limitations, and ethical issues of participant observation, interviewing, quantitative measurement, and other procedures of ethnographic fieldwork. Local field project.

447. Applying Anthropology. (3:3:0) Prerequisite: 12 hours of anthropology credit.

Seminar-workshop. Anthropological principles and methods applied to business, education, communications, development projects, health sciences. Careers, ethics.

454R. Field School Preparation. (1:1:1 ea.) W

455R. Field School of Archaeology. (1–6:0:Arr. ea.) Sp or Su

Training and experience in excavation at a BYU-sponsored dig.

456R. Lab Skills for Anthropology. (2–6:Arr.:Arr. ea.) F Prerequisite: Anthr 455R.

Analytical and laboratory techniques as part of a BYU-sponsored archaeological project.

470. Museology. (3:1:4)

Philosophy, methods, and techniques of the planning, operation, and promotion of museums as educational and research institutions.

475. Introduction to Museum Practices. (3:2:4) W Prerequisite: instructor's consent.

Broadest possible range of experience in museum disciplines (registration, curation, exhibition, museum law and ethics, etc.) Career paths.

490R. Special Topics in Theory and System. (3:3:0 ea.) On dem.

Subjects related to anthropological theory or the operation of social systems. Offered when unique opportunities or needs arise.

495. Ethnographic Field Project. (3–4:0:Arr.) Sp Prerequisite: Anthr 442.

Conduct field work, maintain field notes, and write a paper incorporating both descriptive and analytic components.

496R. Academic Internship: Research. (1–3:Arr.:Arr. ea.) Prerequisite: supervising instructor's consent.

Field or library research.

497. Directed Readings. (3:Arr.:0) Prerequisite: supervising instructor's consent.

Reading 2,500 pages on a stated topic.

499R. Senior Thesis. (2:0:0 ea.) F Prerequisite: Anthr 495.

Supervised analysis and write-up of data generated during field project.

500-Level Graduate Courses (available to advanced undergraduates)

Undergraduate BYU anthropology students may enroll for the following courses if they have completed 30 hours in their major.

505. Anthropological Theory. (3:3:0) F

Major contributions to development of anthropological theory, circa 1970 to present.

510. History of Archaeology. (3:3:0) W

Historical approach to development of archaeological knowledge, method, and theory, emphasizing North America and individual contributions.

515. Settlement, Trade, and Urbanism: Understanding the Ancient Landscape. (3:3:0) F even yr.

Comparative study of beginnings of settled life, systems of exchange, and city life. Special attention to theory as applied to evidence from the new and old worlds.

520. Economic Anthropology. (3:3:0) F

Social context of production, distribution, and consumption in nonindustrial societies; technology; exchange and redistribution of resources. Currency, property rights, capital, recruitment, and rewards of labor.

525. Museum Registration and Collections Management. (3:3:0) F Prerequisite: Anthr 349 or equivalent.

Instruction and hands-on projects in managing anthropological collections: object-handling, object-tracking, accessing, deaccessioning, cataloging, collections databases, loans, conservation environments, museum law, and ethical practices.

526. Museum Curation and Programming. (3:Arr.:Arr.) W Prerequisite: Anthr 525.

Research and connoisseurship of anthropological collections, curatorial writing, law, and ethics as regards curatorial concerns. Current thought and literature in museum education.

530. Great Basin Archaeology. (3:3:0) F odd yr. Prerequisite: Anthr 350.

Overview of Great Basin ethnography and prehistory, emphasizing current issues in archaeological research.

535. Southwest Seminar. (3:3:0) F even yr. Prerequisite: Anthr 350.

Current issues in archaeological research in American Southwest.

540. Issues in Historic Archaeology. (3:3:0) W even yr. Prerequisite: Anthr 380.

In-depth review of issues, trends, and methods of historic archaeology.

550. (Anthr-Ling) Sociolinguistics. (3:3:0) W

Research and theory in anthropological linguistics and sociolinguistics.

551. (Anthr-Ling) Anthropological Linguistics. (3:3:0) F

Language in culture and society: development, typology, and description.

560. Comparative Mayan Linguistics. (3:3:0) F

Grammatical, semantic, lexical, and phonological issues in comparative Mayan. Historical linguistics of Mayan language family. Languages relevant to understanding classic Mayan language and script emphasized.

562. Formative Mesoamerica. (3:3:0) F

Topics and issues concerning beginnings and development of Mesoamerican civilizations. Mexican and Mayan antecedents of classic Mayan civilization and culture.

564. Classic Mayan Civilization. (3:3:0) W

Topics and issues concerning archaeological and cultural aspects of classic Mayan civilization and society.

565. Mayan Ceramic Analysis. (3:3:0)

Current approaches to classification and analysis of archaeological ceramics, particularly Maya Lowland pottery. Laboratory study of actual pottery collections from the Maya area.

566. Mayan Ethnohistory. (3:3:0) F odd yr.

Topics and issues of cultural change, colonization, and documentation of change processes in the Mayan region, from postclassic period and independence from Spain.

568. Modern Mayan Society. (3:3:0) W

Advanced analysis of cultural process issues among the Maya, from their independence from Spain to present.

572. Ancient Mayan Writing 1. (3:3:0) F even yr.

Nature and content of Mayan hieroglyphic writing, from A.D. 100 to 1600. Methods of decipherment, introduction to textual analysis, and application to interpreting Mayan language, art, world view, and society. Literacy and the Mesoamerican background of Mayan script.

574. Ancient Mayan Writing 2. (3:3:0) W odd yr. Prerequisite: Anthr 372 or 572.

Advanced study of Mayan hieroglyphic writing. Guided workshop focusing on inscriptions, rituals, dynastic history, and linguistic records from major Mayan cities. Archaeological setting and preparation of technical commentaries emphasized.

575. Writing Systems. (3:3:0) W even yr.

Comparative study of writing around the world, emphasizing ancient scripts. Topics include: linguistic concepts; social, political, and economic function of early script; ancient literacy; development and extinction of script.

580. Near East Seminar. (3:3:0) F even yr.

Current issues in Near Eastern archaeological research.

585. Current Issues in African Ethnography. (3:3:0) Sp Prerequisite: Anthr 330 or instructor's consent.

Current anthropological issues: rise of markets and labor systems; statism and nationalism; change in domestic life; globalization of African culture; tradition amid change.

590R. Seminar. (2–3:Arr.:0 ea.) On dem.

Special topics in archaeology.

596. Museum Projects. (3:2:4) F, W Prerequisite: Anthr 475 or equivalent; instructor's consent.

One or more supervised museum projects, such as producing an exhibition, developing educational materials, or accessing collections.

599R. Academic Internship: Federal Agency. (1–6:0:0 ea.) On dem.

Earning credit while employed in federal agency archaeology. Agencies include the BLM and U.S. Forest Service.

Graduate Courses

For 600- and 700-level courses, see the BYU 2000–2001 Graduate Catalog.

Anthropology Faculty


Berge, Dale L. (1968) BS, MA, Brigham Young U., 1961, 1964; MA, PhD, U. of Arizona, 1967, 1968.

Forsyth, Donald W. (1979) BA, MA, Brigham Young U., 1971, 1972; PhD, U. of Pennsylvania, 1979.

Hawkins, John P. (1974) BS, Brigham Young U., 1970; MA, PhD, U. of Chicago, 1972, 1978.

Houston, Stephen D. (1994) BA, U. of Pennsylvania, 1980; MA, PhD, Yale U., 1983, 1987.

Janetski, Joel C., (1983) BA, Brigham Young U., 1965; MA, PhD, U. of Utah, 1977, 1983.

Matheny, Ray T. (1964) BA, MA, Brigham Young U., 1960, 1962; PhD, U. of Oregon, 1968.

Associate Professors

Clark, John E. (1990) BS, MA, Brigham Young U., 1976, 1979; PhD, U. of Michigan, 1994.

Johnson, David J. (1987) BA, MA, PhD, U. of Utah, 1972, 1982, 1987.

Assistant Professor

Crandall, David P. (1994) BA, Brigham Young U., 1986; MPhil, DPhil, Oxford U., England, 1989, 1993.

Adjunct Assistant Professors

Allen, Marti Lu (1992) BA, U. of Missouri, Columbia, 1975; AM, PhD, U. of Michigan, 1978, 1985.

Andrus, Edwin K. (1981) BA, MA, Brigham Young U., 1971, 1973.

Buonforte, Richard H. (1990) BA, Brigham Young U., 1982; MA, MPhil, Yale U., 1984, 1985.

Olsen, Steven L. (1992) BA, Brigham Young U., 1975; AM, PhD, U. of Chicago, 1978, 1985.

Olsen, William C. (1999) BS, MLS, Brigham Young U., 1980, 1983; MA, U. of Rochester, 1986; PhD, Michigan State U., 1998.


Sorenson, John L. (1971) BS, MA, Brigham Young U., 1951, 1952; MS, California Inst. of Technology, 1952; PhD, U. of California, Los Angeles, 1961.


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