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About us Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society Education Bachelor Minors


What it means to be human

Are you interested in archeology? In the biological development of mankind throughout the ages? Would you like to know how language and culture are related? Are you fascinated by the rich variety in how and why people regulate social life all over the globe? In short: do you want to find out what it means to be human? Then join this inter-faculty minor programme in Anthropology!

Anthropology addresses humans as social and cultural beings. All over the world, people organize themselves empirically – giving rise to various forms of social structure, which anthropologists study under rubrics such as kinship, age, gender, caste and class. Such structures are continually expressed, reproduced and modified in meaningful ways. Not only do people arrange themselves in various ways, they also devise a wide array of rules to regulate social interactions in the natural and supernatural (spiritual) worlds.
Anthropologists study and compare how all of this is achieved – and contested – around the globe, in the present as well as in the past.

Holistic anthropology

This inter-faculty minor programme offers students an intensive engagement with the discipline of anthropology in the form of a holistic “four-field” approach, unique in Europe. It combines the fields of cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, anthropological archaeology and physical (or biological) anthropology. Exposure to such varied—though, deeply interrelated—elements of human cultural development provides students with comprehensive insights into the complexities of the human condition at the interface of (1) the socio-cultural grounding of human thought and action, (2) the biological and evolutionary factors of human development, (3) the material dimensions of human life-worlds and (4) the crucial, ever-changing impacts of language on cultures and societies.

Four newly-designed core modules orienting students to the main concepts, methods and themes within four-field anthropology are taught by specialists in each respective subfield; instructors hail from different UG faculties and maintain active anthropological field research in diverse regions of the world, including South Asia, the North American Arctic and Latin America. A variety of elective modules allow students to further explore themes introduced in the core modules; such electives include Anthropology of Religion, Rituals in Theory and Practice, Religion in South Asia, Arctic Archaeology or Genetics and Evolution, among others. Both core and elective modules make use of a variety of teaching and assessment methods, such as lectures and seminars, written exams, oral presentation, research papers and other shorter written assignments, individual and group assignments.

Study Scheme

Please note: select the correct academic year at the top of the page on the timetable website.

Core Modules

Semester I, blok 1

Semester I, blok 2

Core Module 1a - Inhabiting Cultural Worlds - Introduction to Anthropology RCS and Arts

Core Module 1b - Inhabiting Cultural Worlds: Research Projects - RCS and Arts
5 ECTS (max. 10 students)

Core module 2 - What We Leave Behind: Anthropological Archaeology - Arts

Core module 3 - Language, Culture, and Meaning: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology - Campus Fryslân -- Please note: half of the lectures will take place in Groningen (Oude Boteringestraat 38), the other half in Leeuwarden at Campus Fryslan.

Core Module 4 - Towards Humanity: Physical Anthropology and Human Evolution - Arts

Total: 10 ECTS

Total: 15 ECTS


Semester I, blok 1

Semester I, blok 2

Cultural Anthropology (RCS)
Cultural Anthropology (RCS)
Anthropological archaeology (Arts)
  • Introduction to Arctic Archaeology 5 ECTS
  • Prehistorie van Nederland (in Dutch) 5 ECTS

Please note: not all combinations of electives will be possible. So consult the schedule regularly.

Programme options

  1. 30 ECTS (preferred): Core Module 1a is obligatory; for the remaining 25 ECTS you can combine Core Modules and electives as you like. Two Core Modules (in total) are mandatory.
  2. 15 ECTS: Core Module 1a is obligatory; you have to choose at least one extra Core Module; you can choose one elective.


Students have to register for the whole minor as well as for the course units of their choice within the minor.

Students from the Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society (RCS) can enrol for 15 or 30 ECTS in the minor, including the core modules 1a (compulsory) and 1b. They can not enrol in the electives offered by RCS.
Non-UG Students should contact the minor coördinator for more information about registration.

More information and contact

Please visit the UG minor page for more information about the information events, the registration procedure and frequently asked questions.

Our please contact Dr Peter Berger or Dr Sean Desjardins, coordinators of the minor Anthropology.

Quality Assurance

A. 'Home base' of the minor Anthropology is the Bachelor Religious Studies.
B. The minor is covered by the programme committee of the Bachelor's of Theology and Religious Studies.
C. The minor is covered by the Bachelor's Teaching and examination regulations (OER) of Religious Studies.
D. The minor is covered by the Board of Examiners of the Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society.

Core Modules

Core Module 1 - Inhabiting Cultural Worlds - RCS

1a. Introduction to Anthropology

In the first block, students will be introduced to the field of cultural anthropology, as well as how it relates to other fields of anthropology—namely, linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology and anthropological archaeology (the so-called four-field approach). We will discuss crucial concepts and methods in the field, and students will engage with some of the key themes of anthropological research, such as Indigeneity, decolonization and local worldviews.


1b. Research project

In the second block a limited number of students will engage intensively and deeply with particular topics that they select. Individually or in small groups, they will conduct clearly-delimited research projects in relation to different kinds of data—for example, anthropological literature, archival documents, material objects or documentary films. The result of this research can lead to different products. Students may choose to write an essay, make a podcast or create an online exhibition. The concluding event the students organize themselves is a workshop in which the projects will be presented.

Coordinator: Peter Berger

Lecturers: Peter Berger, Sean P. A. Desjardins

Core module 2 - What we leave behind: Anthropological archaeology - Arts

This core module introduces students to the ways in which we experience, interpret and manage the material culture (e.g., artifacts and architecture) and cultural landscapes left behind and/or influenced by past societies.

Through lectures, readings and excursions, students will explore the fundamental methods of archaeology (i.e., the “how” of the field), as well as why archaeologists and others are interested in the past, and what the past has the capacity to teach us about the present and future.

Coordinator and lecturer: Sean P. A. Desjardins

Core module 3 - Language, Culture, and Meaning: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology - Campus Fryslân (taught in Groningen)

This core module provides students with a general introduction to the field of linguistic anthropology--the study of language as a key component of culture, and the study of culture as it is mediated by language.

Students who complete the module will:

  1. understand how ‘language’ functions as a culturally-embedded system, and how it allows us to mean things;
  2. become aware of how everyday linguistic habits construct and reinforce models of the world, including social differences and categories like race, gender, and nationality;
  3. apply these theoretical understandings of language and culture to major geopolitical problems of the day.

Coordinator and lecturer: Nicholas Q. Emlen

Core Module 4 - Towards humanity: Physical anthropology and human evolution - Arts

This core module provides students with a strong working knowledge of the major concepts in physical (or biological) anthropology, with a particular emphasis on paleoanthropology—the study of human evolution—and the origins of culture itself.

Students will trace human evolutionary development from our earliest hominin ancestors to anatomically-modern humans.  In an effort to better understand the biology and behavior of extinct hominin and hominid genera, genetic variation and primate studies will also be introduced. Importantly, this course treats biological/physical anthropology as one of the four integral subfields of anthropology.

Coordinator and lecturer: Sean P. A. Desjardins

Last modified:27 May 2024 5.00 p.m.