FAQs

General

1. What is Anthropology?

Anthropologists investigate human cultural variation and diversity by immersing themselves in the intimate everyday lives of the groups that they study. Ethnography—involving participant observation in local communities, informal and formal interviewing, detailed field notes, and visual and other forms of documentation—is the hallmark of the anthropological research enterprise. Basing their ethnographic studies in different parts of the world, anthropologists explore complex and important issues such as social inequality, gender, technology, public health, migration, religion, human rights, climate change, and globalization. At Yale-NUS, faculty specialize in a variety of subfields of cultural anthropology, including linguistic anthropology and medical anthropology, but not physical/biological anthropology or archaeology. For a more thorough description, check out the following link: https://www.yale-nus.edu.sg/curriculum/majors/anthropology/

 

2. Where can I look for good information on studying Anthropology?

A very useful website is the American Anthropological Association (AAA) web page on Anthropology, which provides information and helpful tips on studying anthropology  and starting an anthropological career.  Check out the following link: http://www.americananthro.org/

3. Is Anthropology a professional program?

Anthropology is not a professional program, such as public health, business, or architecture. Rather, anthropology is a “humanistic” social science, which offers students exposure to a wide range of contemporary cultural issues. Anthropology’s unique ethnographic research method teaches students valuable skills of observation, cross-cultural engagement, and analysis, through emphasizing immersion in the lives of others. Such ethnographic skills and insights can prove very useful for those students choosing to enter a professional program, including, but not limited to, international affairs, medicine and public health, environmental studies, community development, social work, and the like.

4. Can I go on to graduate school after a major in Anthropology?

Many undergraduate anthropology majors go onto graduate school—either in PhD programs in Anthropology, or MA and PhD programs in other fields. To do so, you must earn good grades and develop important mentoring relationships with the Yale-NUS anthropology faculty, who can be asked to write letters of recommendation.

5. What can I do with an anthropology degree?

Anthropology develops ‘transferable skills’ in the areas of understanding human diversity, building research skills for collecting and making sense of information, and communicating effectively. In today’s globalised world, gaining a deep understanding of cultural and ethnic differences and learning how people’s beliefs and practices fit into a wider social, political and economic context is crucial.

In the marketplace, employers are in search of the skills you gain during your degree such as analytical thinking, research and writing skills, and the confidence to deal with a variety of social situations. The study of anthropology nurtures the development of careful record-keeping approaches, considering problems from multiple perspectives and understanding components of complex problems. Our students learn to write effectively, read critically, convey complex information, speak to groups and present research findings. Culminating in the capstone project, our majors can plan projects, apply theoretical approaches to research problems, establish hypotheses and evaluate evidence.

Finally, the study of anthropology develops the capacity to understand and appreciate human relationships between groups and individuals, identify cultural/social forces, and understand diversity. In the private sector, these transferable skills are appealing across a broad array of career paths.

Anthropology graduates employ their valuable skills of observation and cultural analysis in NGOs, museums, academia, the arts, journalism, consulting, government,  and the law, among other careers. See this useful website:  http://www.americananthro.org/AdvanceYourCareer/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2150&navItemNumber=740

6. What do I have to do for an Anthropology major?

All students completing the Anthropology major will take 54-55 MCs, including nine courses (44-45 MCs) and a final year-long Capstone course (10 MCs) to complete the Capstone Project.

Students in the Anthropology Major are required to complete these courses:

  • The gateway course, Introduction to Anthropology (5 MCs)
  • The theory course, Anthropological Imagination (5 MCs)
  • The methods course, Ethnography (5 MCs)
  • Four Anthropology elective courses (19-20 MCs). NOTE: Two of these can be Intermediate or advanced language courses required for the Capstone research project; and these courses are equivalent to 19-20 MCs, because 4-credit NUS or Study Abroad courses may be approved by the Head of Studies.
  • Two Advanced Seminars (4000-level) (10 MCs)
  • The year-long Capstone seminar (10 MCs)

Take a look at the major flowchart for a visual display of the information.

7. Who do I contact with questions about the major?

Any anthropology faculty member could be helpful, but especially the Head of Studies or your major advisor, who is assigned to you in the beginning in your junior year.

8. Who do I contact if I don’t know my major advisor’s name?

Please contact the Head of Studies for that information.

9. What Anthropology courses are being offered in AY 2017-18?

 

Semester 1 Semester 2
Anthropological Imagination Introduction to Anthropology
Ethnography Ethnography
Language, Culture, and Power Anthropology of China
Reproductive Technologies: Global Perspectives Gender Perspectives in Anthropology
Capstone Seminar The Anthropology of Dreams and Sleep
The Anthropology of Human Rights
Globalization on the Ground
Medical Anthropology: The Canon
Religion and the Media Turn
Capstone Seminar

10. How often will you offer the core courses?

Course courses such as “Introduction to Anthropology,” “Ethnography,” and “Anthropological Imagination” will be offered on a regular and rotating basis.  At least one of the core courses will be offered each semester.  In addition, several elective anthropology courses will also be offered, including at least one or two advanced anthropology seminars (4000 level).

11. What if I have course conflicts?

Please consult with the Head of Studies and Registry as soon as you identify a problem. Not all course conflicts can be resolved, but we hope to help fix those that can, and to be flexible whenever possible. The Head of Studies is the point person for these questions.

12. Must the required courses or Anthropology core courses be taken before elective courses?

Not necessarily, although the appropriate core courses do lay the conceptual groundwork for more advanced electives. The advanced anthropology seminars (4000 level) require at least one of the three core courses, typically Introduction to Anthropology, as well as Modern Social Thought, as prerequisites. However, please check with the instructor or Head of Studies if in question. Some advanced seminars may be taken by permission of instructor.

13. What if I am interested in taking elective courses offered by another major at Yale-NUS college? Can I count this towards the requirements of the Anthropology major?

Yes, you can, provided that the elective course is a cross-listed course.  Cross-listed courses are operated by another major within Yale-NUS College.  Based on their content, these cross-listed modules have been pre-approved to count towards the requirements of the major. For example, some courses offered by Global Affairs are cross-listed and count toward the Anthropology major.

14. What if I am interested in taking elective courses offered by a faculty outside of Yale-NUS College? Can I count this towards the requirements of the Anthropology major?

Selected courses taken while on a summer or semester study abroad program can count toward Anthropology major electives.  However, the course syllabi must demonstrate significant anthropological content, as determined by the Head of Studies, who must be sought prior to the study abroad program for approval of courses to be taken outside of Yale-NUS. Study abroad courses cannot be substituted for the Yale-NUS core Anthropology courses (Introduction to Anthropology, Anthropological Imagination, or Ethnography).

15. What if I am interested in taking elective courses while on a study abroad program? Can I count this towards the requirements of the Anthropology major?

Selected courses taken while on a summer or semester study abroad program can count toward Anthropology major electives.  However, the course syllabi must demonstrate significant anthropological content, as determined by the Head of Studies, who must be sought prior to the study abroad program for approval of courses to be taken outside of Yale-NUS. Study abroad courses cannot be substituted for the Yale-NUS core Anthropology courses (Introduction to Anthropology, Anthropological Imagination, or Ethnography).

16. How do I track my progress to meeting major requirements?

Each Anthropology major should consult regularly with their assigned faculty advisors and/or the Head of Studies to make sure that major requirements are being completed. The Yale-NUS Anthropology website also provides a useful overview of the major requirements.  Please see https://www.yale-nus.edu.sg/curriculum/majors/anthropology/

17. Can I or should I take courses at NUS?

We offer a wide variety of Anthropology courses at Yale-NUS, and we encourage our majors to take advantage of our own college’s course offerings.  However, if there is a course that is of particular interest to you and is being offered by one of the Anthropology faculty members in the NUS Sociology department, then this course can be taken for elective credit, pending approval by the Head of Studies.

Study Abroad

1. Are students able to petition to take specific required major courses abroad?

Yes, please see the answer to #15 above.

2. Is there a cap on the number of major courses that may be taken for credit elsewhere?

Yes, only two courses, equivalent to 10 MCs, may be taken as Anthropology electives elsewhere. They cannot be substituted for the Yale-NUS core Anthropology courses (Introduction to Anthropology, Anthropological Imagination, or Ethnography).

3. Is there a cap on the number of minor courses that may be taken for credit elsewhere?

Five courses (25 MCs) are required for the Anthropology minor.  Only one elective course taken elsewhere can be counted toward the Anthropology minor, and with the approval of the Head of Studies.

4. Is there a cap on any particular type of course that can be taken for credit?

Only two elective courses (equivalent to 10 MCs) may be taken for credit while on study abroad.  These courses must have significant anthropological content, and be approved in advance by the Head of Studies.

5. Are students discouraged from being away during a particular semester?

Anthropology majors generally do study abroad program during their junior years (Sem 1 or Sem 2), or during the summer.  Study abroad during the senior year is not allowed, as Anthropology majors are required to take the year-long Capstone seminar.  Junior Anthropology majors should already be thinking about their capstone research projects, and ideally seek ethics approval within the second semester of the junior year.  Once ethics approval is obtained, junior anthropology majors may start their research projects, including during their semesters abroad, or in the summer between junior and senior year.

6. What should students do prior to leaving to ensure that they can get major/minor credit for courses they take abroad?

Students should meet with the Head of Studies prior to leaving for study abroad, in order to review each student’s plans for coursework to be taken while on study abroad. Once a student has officially enrolled in courses at the outside institution, the Head of Studies should be consulted by email, to approve that these elective courses will count for major/minor credit.

7. If they have not gotten agreement from the major about how their courses will be counted, what should they do when arriving back on campus?

Anthropology majors are encouraged to seek approval proactively from the Head of Studies. However, if a course has not been approved in advance, the student should meet with the Head of Studies to review the course syllabus and content.  Decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

8. Who is responsible for signing the credit transfer form in the major?

Only the Head of Studies can sign the credit transfer form, not the student’s faculty advisor.

9. Can students take a directed reading course for credit while abroad?

No, a directed reading course cannot be taken for Anthropology credit while abroad.