Message from the Academic Advisor

Dear Anthropology Students,

A special welcome to all first year anthropology majors: As you begin your journey in anthropology, you will learn about different cultures and gain new perspectives on the world. To many of us, anthropology provides a challenge to our values and our taken-for-granted understandings of the world. Please bring an open mind, and prepare to be intellectually shaken! The styles of learning and teaching here are different from those in the secondary school environment, but we are all here to learn. So, work with your fellow students, and never feel shy asking questions to your teaching assistants and teachers!

Academic Counseling
All new students should attend the Academic Counseling Session on 15 August 2023. This is a great opportunity to ask questions about the study program. There is no formal counseling session for continuing students, but if you have any questions about the study program, ask your academic advisor, or email me.
Every major student is assigned to a teacher who serves as your academic advisor during your study here. Please do visit her/him regularly—you may talk about anything that is of concern to you, but you don’t have to have a problem to see your advisor. Just drop by to say hi, or arrange a time to have lunch or afternoon tea. Your advisor is happy to see you!


General Advice for Students
All first-year anthropology majors (including transfer-in and senior-year students) should take the required courses ANTH1010 Humans and Culture, ANTH1100 Understanding Anthropology, and ANTH1710 Understanding Archaeology in their first year.


First-year students should not take the required courses ANTH2110 History of Anthropological Theory, ANTH2111 Contemporary Anthropological Theory, ANTH2200 World Ethnography, ANTH2210 Anthropological Field Methods, or 3000-level required courses. These courses are for 2nd year students and above. First-year students are welcome to take 2000-level elective courses, but are not encouraged to take 3000-level elective courses, since you may not have the appropriate background for these courses.


Note that some required courses, such as ANTH2110 History of Anthropological Theory, ANTH2111 Contemporary Anthropological Theory, ANTH2200 World Ethnography, ANTH3380 Economy, Culture and Power, and ANTH3630 Language, Symbols and Society, are offered once every two years. You will need to plan your study program accordingly. Started in the academic year 2023-23, required course ANTH 2210 Anthropological Field Methods will be offered every year. See the Study Scheme and Concentrations. For students going on overseas exchange programs, the Department can be flexible in these requirements, but still, you are responsible for planning your own study program carefully.


Generally speaking, 2000-level courses are designed for 2nd year students, 3000-level courses are designed for 3rd year students, and 4000-level courses are designed for 3rd and 4th year students. Second-year students are allowed to take 3000/4000-level courses, but may find them difficult. We recommend that you take 1000-level courses in your 1st year, 2000- and 3000-level courses in your 2nd year, and 3000-4000 level courses in your 3rd and 4th years.

You are free to take elective courses following your own interests. As an anthropology major, you may select courses to fulfill one or up to two of the six Concentrations and will be shown on your transcript:

  1. Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
  2. Chinese Cultures and Societies
  3. Health and the Body
  4. Globalization, Economy and Power
  5. Tourism and Cultural Representation
  6. Values, Beliefs and Worldviews

Aside from the courses listed, other courses may also fit these concentrations. Please consult with your academic advisor.

Final Year Project (ANTH4300 and ANTH4301)
The Final Year Project is a year-long project carried out independently by final year students, under the supervision of a teacher. This is a required, capstone course which showcases what you have learned in the anthropology program — your knowledge in theories and field methods, and your interests in the social and cultural issues that you have learned about in different courses, will form the basis of this project. To allow enough time to plan and carry out the FYP, all final year students should approach teachers as early as possible to discuss their intended project. Registration of ANTH4300 and 4301 will be handled by the Department Office. Students should fill out the registration form for these two courses and submit it to the Department Office before the deadline in order to avoid delays in graduation. For details see: Final Year Field Project.


The FYP projects are formally presented in an annual Undergraduate Student Forum at the end of the academic year. Students of all years are welcome and highly encouraged to attend this Forum. This is the opportunity to learn about the projects that your fellow students have done. Come see their presentations and give them your support!

Final year students who intend to apply to the M.Phil. in Anthropology Program in December 2023 should have completed their Final Year Project report by then, so that it can be considered in the admissions process.

Information for 2023-2024

Multiple Sections
Several popular courses are offered in both fall and spring semesters:
ANTH1010 Humans and Culture: English (fall); Cantonese (spring);
ANTH1410 Culture of Hong Kong: Cantonese (fall), English (spring), Cantonese (summer);
ANTH1020 Anthropology: The Study of Cultures [Faculty Package]: English (fall and spring)


Students Who May Go on Exchange
We very much encourage students to go on overseas exchange, but this requires a bit of planning on your part, so that you can find equivalent courses for the required courses you’ll miss. Each spring, the Dept. will send letters to all students going on exchange in the following year, advising you as to what required courses you’ll miss, and what you might do to find courses that are equivalent. Generally speaking, you have four options:

  1. You can take these courses before you go on exchange. The six required 2000- or 3000-level courses are generally not open to first year students, but they are open to second-year students or above. 
  2. You can take equivalent courses while on exchange. The Dept. is quite liberal in accepting equivalent courses, which don’t necessarily have to be anthropology courses; however, the equivalent courses do have to be in the same area of knowledge as the required course you’re missing at CUHK. To be safe, please check with the Dept. academic advisor in advance as to whether a given course can be accepted as equivalent.
  3. You can take these courses after your return to CUHK.  Or
  4. if necessary—this is the least advisable option–you can find equivalent courses when you return to CUHK. For Contemporary and History of Anthropological Theory and for Field Methods, a possibility is, with the instructor’s permission, to enroll in the MA courses on these topics, which are offered every year. But please be aware, the requirements for MA level courses are typically more stringent than for undergraduate courses. For Economy, Culture and Power and for Language, Symbols and Society, there are typically courses offered in various other CUHK departments that can serve as equivalents. Again, please consult with the Dept. academic advisor. 

Minor in Archaeology and Minor in Cultural Heritage Studies
Anthropology major students can also declare minor in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Studies, please refer to your study scheme about the courses requirement in fulfilling the two minor studies.


Friday Seminars
The Friday Seminars Series brings the most up-to-date research in anthropology to the Department. It is open to the public, and all anthropology undergraduate students are encouraged to take part. Check here to see the update list of seminars for this year.


Virtual Museum
The Virtual Museum is an on-line exhibition of the Anthropology Department Collection, which serves as a teaching aid and a basis for research. This is a unique collection of items brought back from summer field trips over the years or from teachers’ own research. Some interesting exhibits include Tibetan masks, ethnic minority costumes and utensils, and archeological replicas. Just click on the VM icon at the bottom right of the Department Homepage and have a go.


Finally, enjoy the rest of your summer, and read lots of anthropology books!

Prof. Andrew Kipnis (abkipnis@cuhk.edu.hk) Undergraduate Academic Advisor

July 2023

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