Sociocultural Anthropology

The study of cultural variation among humans embedded in its historical and social context.

The faculty and students in sociocultural anthropology at UC San Diego share a basic concern with the shaping and reshaping of human life. We examine the forces and structures that regulate life as well as the ways that groups of people instantiate, modify and occasionally overturn such powerful geographical and historical tendencies and logics. Among the concerns reflected in our teaching and research are: colonial and imperial relations; capitalist restructuring and state transformation; rivalries around definitions of progress and development; shifts in paradigms of knowledge production as well as ethical and aesthetic benchmarks; struggles over how to mark and record competing histories, memories and desires, and the uneven patterning of life around such distinctions as age, ethnicity, citizenship, gender, nationalism, race, religion, and sexuality.

See what research our faculty are currently involved in!


The Sociocultural Anthropology major consists of 12 upper division courses (48.0 units).  There are no lower division requirements.  All courses must be taken for a letter grade of C- or better.

Major Requirements

  •  Three Core Courses (All students will take the following:)
    • ANTH 101: Foundations of Social Complexity
    • ANTH 102: Humans are Cultural Animals
    • ANTH 103: Sociocultural Anthropology
  • Four Upper Division Sociocultural Concentration Courses
    • Three sociocultural core courses (choose three from list below)
    • One sociocultrual course focusing on a particular region, country, or religion (choose one from list below)
  • Five Upper Division Electives
    Students will take five upper division Anthropology courses (ANTH, ANAR, ANBI, or ANSC)

Please note: Lower division courses can overlap between your major, minor, and college requirements.  Students may overlap two upper division courses between your major and minor by submitting a request in the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

Sociocultural Core Courses

Choose three of the following courses:

  • ANSC 118. Language and Culture
  • ANSC 120. Anthropology of Religion
  • ANSC 121. Psychological Anthropology
  • ANSC 122. Language in Society
  • ANSC 123. Political Anthropology
  • ANSC 124. Cultural Anthropology
  • ANSC 125. Gender Sexuality, and Society

Sociocultural Courses with Region, Country, or Religion Focus

Choose one of the following courses:

  • ANSC 116. Language of the Americas: Mayan
  • ANSC 120. Anthropology of Religion
  • ANSC 130. Hinduism
  • ANSC 133. Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East
  • ANSC 134. Global Islam
  • ANSC 135. Indigenous People of Latin America
  • ANSC 136. Traditional Chinese Society
  • ANSC 137. Chinese Popular Religion
  • ANSC 142. Anthropology of Latin America
  • ANSC 143. Mental Health as Global Health Priority
  • ANSC 145. Indigenous People of North America
  • ANSC 147. Global Health and the Environment
  • ANSC 148. Global Health and Cultural Diversity
  • ANSC 150. Culture and Mental Health
  • ANSC 158. Anthropology of Crisis
  • ANSC 159. The Anthropology of Marriage
  • ANSC 162. Language Identity and Community
  • ANSC 165. Contemporary South Asia
  • ANSC 166. Film and Culture in Asia
  • ANSC 175. Money, Work and Nature: Anthropology of Capitalism
  • ANSC 176. The Meaning of Political Violence
  • ANSC 178. Brain, Mind, Culture and History
  • ANSC 180. Labor's Relations

Sociocultural Anthropology Degree Check

Sample Four Year Plan

Sample Two Year Plan

Two year Plan
See: Major Requirement FAQ's and Resources