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Frequently Asked Questions about the Anthropology Program

Q. Can I get a degree in either archaeology, cultural, or physical anthropology?

A. No.  You can specialize in one sub-field or several sub-fields by taking more courses in those areas, but all honours and B.A. degrees are Anthropology degrees.

Q. If I do a degree in Anthropology as a second degree, will some of my courses from my first degree count towards my second Anthropology degree?

A.  Yes.  Some of your courses will count towards your second degree.   Please contact a Faculty of Social Science counsellor to find out which courses will count towards your second degree in Anthropology.

Q. Can I apply to do an honours in Anthropology right from highschool?

A.  No.  You can apply to Social Sciences from highschool, but you do not apply to do an honours in Anthropology or Combined Honours Anthropology degree with another discipline until the end of your first year.  Please see the requirements in the Undergraduate program for entering the honours Anthropology program.

Q. Do I have to apply to do a minor in Anthropology?

A.  No.  You do not have to apply to do a minor in Anthropology.  You must simply follow the minor requirements for Anthropology found in the Undergraduate calendar and then declare your minor to the registrar during your graduating year.

Q. Can I take courses at other universities and have them count as credits toward McMaster Anthropology courses?

A.  Yes.  However, the course must be approved as an equivalent by the Undergraduate Director of the Anthropology Department before you take it.  You must email the course syllabus to the Undergraduate Director who will determine whether it is an equivalent to one of the courses in the undergraduate program.  In some cases, if there is no equivalent course, it can be transferred as a generic level I, II, III or IV Anthropology course.  Official transfer of courses, after they have been approved by the Anthropology Department, must be done through the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Q. If a course is full, can I email the undergraduate director, the administrative assistant, or the instructor in the Department of Anthropology to request that they grant me special permission to register in the course?

A. No.  Courses are capped at specific enrollments, usually due to the space constraints of the classroom or lab, or sometimes because the instructor wishes to keep the course at a specific size for pedagogical reasons, e.g. to facilitate small group discussion.  Therefor, we cannot make exceptions for any students.  We advise you to keep checking SOLAR during the registration period, as students frequently drop courses, especially during drop & add weeks.

Q. Can I register in an Anthropology course without the necessary prerequisite courses listed in the calendar.

A.  The answer is generally no.  However, there may be special circumstances, where a student may obtain permission to register without the necessary prerequisites.  If you think you can make a solid case, as to why you can take a course without the prerequisite, please email the instructor to request permission.

Q. Can I do an independent study with a Anthropology faculty member for credit?

A. Yes. You can take an Independent Study in Anthropology 3IS3, 4G03, or 4GG3, but you must find a professor willing to supervise you. Professors are most willing to supervise students, when the proposed study falls within the professor's area(s) of expertise. Here are some preliminary steps to follow:

  1. Think hard about the areas of anthropology that most interest you, and about problems or issues within the areas that are the subject of current debate. This first step necessarily will involve some time spent in the library, and perhaps on the Internet.
  2. Write a brief (paragraph or two) statement of interest that contains a description of your specific area of interest, a discussion of the goals you seek to achieve in the course, and how you intend to go about achieving the goals.
  3. Email or go to see the professor you feel is most appropriate to supervise your research. Send or give the professor your statement of interest and preliminary bibliography.

If a professor agrees to supervise your independent study course, then you should go to see him or her and negotiate the structure, content and requirements for the course.