Environmental Anthropology

Environmental Anthropology is a thematic concentration that investigates how human societies create and change geologies and climates up to a planetary scale, and the ways that anthropologists have questioned the division between cultures and nature.  Students may choose to study topics from contemporary society to the impact of environmental change over long spans of time. Students have the opportunity to do original fieldwork, engage in research with the collections of the Penn Museum and the resources of the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) and study abroad. After they fulfill the foundational course requirements in anthropology, students take three distribution electives from the four themes of Political Ecology, Science Technology and the Environment, Material Worlds, Landscapes and Archaeology; and Biology, Environment and Health. The Environmental Anthropology major concentration requires 14 c.u. See the Catalog Listing.


Block I: Foundational Courses in Anthropology (3 c.u.)

  • ANTH 001 Archaeology: Window to the Human Past or ANTH 005 Great Transformations
  • ANTH 002 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology or ANTH 004 The Modern World and Its Cultural Background
  • ANTH 003 Introduction to Human Evolution

Block II: Foundational Courses in Environmental Anthropology (3 c.u.)

3 courses drawn from at least 3 of the 4 elective groups:
• Political Ecology (ANTH 134 Making the Natural World or ANTH 297 Nature, Culture, and the Environment)
• Science, Technology, Environment (ANTH 260 Cultures of Science and Technology, ANTH 317 Politics of Matter, Matter of Politics, or ANTH 429 Anthropology of the Environment)
• Material Worlds, Landscapes, Archaeology (ANTH 267 Living World in Archaeological Science or ANTH 331 Historical Ecology)
• Biology, Environment, and Health (ANTH 143 Being Human, ANTH 213 Local Biologies, ANTH 244 Disease and Human Evolution, or ANTH 273 Global Health: Anthropological Approaches)

Block III (7 c.u.)

Select 7 Environmental Anthropology elective courses from the approved list. Up to 3 non-ANTH courses with anthropological content may be requested. All non-ANTH courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Chair. 

ANTH 300 Research Seminar in Anthropology (1 c.u.)