What is anthropology?

Anthropologists are interested in the comparative study of the practices, ideas, beliefs and ways of life of human groups throughout the world. Anthropology students at Memorial University learn about ways of life in diverse societies throughout human history. Courses focus on core concepts, theoretical perspectives and case studies while examining a wide range of issues, such as religion; labour; international development; the environment; and social inequality, that exist in the contemporary world.


Why study anthropology?

Anthropology courses provide a strong background for students who intend to specialize in any of the social sciences and humanities or in medicine, nursing, social work, education, law, business, government, communications and many other fields which require a nuanced cross-cultural understanding of human behaviour.

Faculty in the Department of Anthropology at Memorial University are engaged in research projects in a wide range of countries and regions around the world, including Africa; Europe; Latin America; North America; and the Pacific Islands. Students of anthropology have gone on to find employment with public, private and non-government organizations in diverse fields, including: academia, public policy, print, radio, and television journalism, documentary film-making, healthcare, international development, and social and environmental activism.

Courses available in first year

Anthropology 1031
Introduction to Anthropology provides an overview of the field of social and cultural anthropology. It covers key anthropological concepts used to study issues such as inequality, social justice, the environment, work, politics and law, family, identity, gender and sexuality, ethnicity, spirituality, and communication. An emphasis is placed on human diversity, international examples, and processes of globalization. Suitable for students in all disciplines.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None
Note: Students who major or minor in anthropology are required to take Anthropology 1031.

Anthropology 2410
Classics in Social and Cultural Anthropology is an examination of selected milestone monographs, ground-breaking studies for subdisciplinary specialities and major synthesis.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Anthropology 2411
Anthropologists in the Field combines a firsthand introduction to ethnographic research and writing with an exploration of how anthropological understanding develops through the experience and human relationships of anthropologists in the field.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Anthropology 2412
Threatened Peoples is an examination of key social and cultural factors involved in the global extinction of small-scale societies; the intrusive influences that jeopardize small-scale societies, such as disease; economic and military incursion; the role of international non-governmental agencies in aid of threatened peoples; and the role of the anthropologist in this human crisis. All sections of this course follow the International Studies guidelines available at
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Anthropology 2413
Culture, Society and Globalization explores the way in which social, cultural, economic and political interconnections at the global level interact with local social and cultural processes. All sections of this course follow the International Studies guidelines available at
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Anthropology 2414
Aboriginal Peoples of North America is a survey course dealing with various indigenous peoples of North America.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Anthropology 2415
Anthropology of Food explores how cultural identities, social relationships and inequalities are liked to the production, exchange and consumption of food.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Anthropology 2416
Cultural Formations explores the symbolic formations that humans create in order to give meaning to their lives. Some of the cultural formations that will be studied include specific examples from the realms of religion, play, sports, art, and commonplace material objects.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: None

Sample program for first year

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in anthropology will normally take the following courses in their first year:

Sample program

Fall SemesterWinter Semester
English 1090critical reading & writing course
Anthropology 1031Anthropology 2000 -level course
language study (LS) courselanguage study (LS) course
quantititive reasonsing (QR) coursequantititive reasoning (QR) course
minor courseminor course


For assistance with course selection, students should contact:
Academic Advising Centre,


Contact information

For additional information please contact:
Kathleen Gordon, Associate Professor and Head





Guide to First Year

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000