College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Arts or
Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology


All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the NIU Undergraduate Catalog.  Information is valid through August 2015.


B.A. or B.S. Degree in Anthropology

What Is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humankind. Specifically, it studies human diversity, both biological and cultural, and the processes underlying the evolution of that diversity. Students wishing to become professional anthropologists need to plan on completing a graduate degree after finishing their baccalaureate degree at a university. Many students use an anthropology major for other purposes, including graduate/professional work in other disciplines or entering professions that require significant people skills.

About the Department

The anthropology faculty numbers 14 full-time and three part-time scholars, all of whom hold a doctorate. Faculty research and teaching interests span all four subdisciplines of anthropology (archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical/biological anthropology, and social/cultural anthropology), and the department boasts excellent research programs and research and teaching collections. Several faculty members play central roles in NIU's Women's Studies Program and in the Centers for Southeast Asian Studies, Latino and Latin American Studies, Environmental Studies Program, NGO Leadership and Development, and the Cognitive Studies Initiative. Ongoing research programs include field schools, for example, lemur conservation in Madagascar and the Sicilian Archaeological Research Project. Four faculty members hold adjunct or research associate positions at the Field Museum in Chicago. Another integral aspect of anthropology at NIU is the Anthropology Museum , which provides student experience in anthropological museology.  The Department also houses one of the largest osteological collections in the Midwest with over 50,000 specimens concentrated on non-human primates, human specimans illustrating both normal and abnormal development, and paleontological casts.

The undergraduate anthropology program at NIU has approximately 90 anthropology majors working on either a B.A. or B.S. degree. The graduate program currently has approximately 50 students working toward the M.A. In the past 10 years, our graduates have been accepted at the Universities of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, Iowa, and New Mexico, as well as Harvard, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, SMU, Washington University, City University of New York, Johns Hopkins, State University of New York at Binghamton, and Yale. Graduates from our master's program have been hired in several community colleges (Kishwaukee, William Rainey Harper, Waubonsee, College of DuPage) and at the Field Museum and American Museum of Natural History.

The Anthropology Museum

The Anthropology Museum houses over 12,000 archaeological, and ethnographic specimens and objects. The ethnographic collection has regional strengths in Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the plains and southwest regions of North America. Ethnographic specimens from Africa, Mesoamerica, and South America are also represented.

The museum serves university students through museum course work and hands-on experience with all phases of museum work. It also serves the public through an active in-house and outreach educational program. The museum facilities include an exhibit area open to the public on a regular basis, artifact storage areas and a complete workshop.

Transferring to NIU

The following information is intended to help you plan your studies at your community college so you can complete your baccalaureate degree in anthropology at NIU in the shortest possible time. Please remember to check the Articulation Tables available at your advising office to be certain of the courses that will transfer to NIU. This is particularly important for courses used to fulfill B.A. or B.S. requirements in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at NIU.

Why NIU?

Anthropology at NIU is large enough to offer a broad range of course work and training in anthropology. All four subdisciplines (archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical/biological anthropology, and social/cultural anthropology) are available at NIU, and members of the faculty are among the leading anthropological scholars in their areas of expertise. Since the Department of Anthropology at NIU is not too large, upper-division classes are usually small (15 to 25 students), and there is the opportunity for close interaction with the faculty. All classes are taught by regular faculty, and many students participate in research and field projects. NIU anthropology is the best of both worlds - big enough for quality and diversity, but not big enough to get lost in.

What Classes Should I Take at My Community College?

As you earn your associate's degree or work toward completion of the IAI General Education Core Curriculum, you should try to take classes that will satisfy requirements for your degree at NIU. For example, you must choose either a B.A. or B.S. sequence in anthropology at NIU. It doesn't really matter which one you choose, although students with interests in physical anthropology should seriously consider a B.S. and take biology. A B.S. at NIU requires you to take a combination of math and science courses (check the Articulation Tables to see which classes at your community college are equivalent to required courses at NIU). A B.A. requires completion of the second year of foreign language. If you choose a B.A. in anthropology, it doesn't matter what language you take, but if you have specific interests in particular regions of the world, it makes sense to take a language appropriate to that interest (e.g., Spanish for Latin America). What is most important is that you complete as many of your B.A. or B.S. requirements as possible at your community college.

Suggested Semester Plan

Following is a four-semester plan for your community college:

Fall Spring
ENGL 103 3   ENGL 104 3
B.A./B.S. Class 3-4   B.A./B.S. Class 3-4
Gen Eds 6   Gen Eds 6
15-16   15-16
B.A./B.S. Class 3-4   B.A./B.S. Class 3-4
COMS 100 3 MATH Core1 3
Gen Eds 9   Gen Eds 9-12
15-16   15-16

1 If completing a B.A.  If completing a B.S., substitute another general education class.

* This is only a suggested schedule. You may have to deviate from it, depending on availability of classes and other obligations. Try to finish your B.A. or B.S. requirements while earning your associate's degree or completing your IAI General Education Core Curriculum.

* Some community colleges have a wider selection of courses that articulate as anthropology electives or even as required courses at NIU; others have only a few such classes. Check the Articulation Tables for possible equivalents.

For More Information

For more information about anthropology at NIU, please contact:

Department of Anthropology
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 6015-2828

Fax: (815)753-7027


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115­-2857
(800) 892­-3050 (toll-free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-­0446 


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.