First Year Courses

Welcome to Anthropology at Western!

This is the place to learn more about the different first year course options we offer, why you should consider choosing one or several of these options, and how they fit into Anthropology’s undergraduate modules.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at

Why take a first year course in Anthropology?

Anthropology may not be what you think it is. Even if you have studied a little Anthropology in High School, or have seen TV shows or documentaries featuring Anthropologists at work, it is likely that you have not yet been introduced to the great breadth of our discipline. Anthropology is not only the study of how processes of biological evolution have made us the species we are today, nor is it only the study of past human cultures and societies through archaeological research, nor is it only the study of the diverse ways in which people around the world live, organize, use language, and experience the forces of globalization. Anthropology is the study of all of these things, and more. For an up-to-date sense of the breadth of topics addressed by Anthropologists today, check out SAPIENS (

Students love our introductory courses. Instructors consistently receive excellent evaluations from students.

Taking an introductory Anthropology course will open your mind.

Anthropology is unique among disciplines in how we approach the human experience in the broad, holistic way that we do, focusing on how humans are simultaneously biological, social, cultural, and language-using beings. An introductory course in Anthropology will challenge you (in a good way!) to think differently about what makes us human and how we have come to be this way.

You will not be disappointed.

Student evaluation statistics consistently reveal that even students who enter our introductory courses with a relatively low “initial level of enthusiasm” come out of them with a profound appreciation for what they have learned. Put another way: if you are not sure whether you will get something out of an introductory Anthropology course, rest assured that you will!

First year Anthropology will stick with you.

We often hear two kinds of stories from students who have discovered Anthropology through an introductory course at Western. The first, commonly told by students who continue in one of our modules, is that experiences in first year Anthropology are what ignited a passion for the discipline. The second, commonly told by students who only took an introductory course with us, is that Anthropology was a favorite first year course, offering insights on humanity that have proven memorable and relevant beyond their time with us.

What if I'm not planning on pursuing Anthropology?

Not all students who take introductory courses in Anthropology will end up pursuing modules with us, and we don’t see this as a bad thing. In fact, we anticipate it by ensuring that our introductory courses will broaden and enrich students’ understandings of humanity in ways that will serve them well no matter what their particular interests or goals. Given the breadth of our discipline, an introductory Anthropology course is an excellent choice for students intent on pursuing modules in Arts and Humanities, Psychology, Sociology, Geography, History, Political Science, Economics, Biology, Health Sciences, Women’s Studies, and other areas that focus on different aspects of the human experience.


Which introductory anthropology course should I take?

1020 Many Ways of Being Human (1.0 course)

Anthropology 1020 will introduce you to the full breadth of Anthropology in an engaging full year (1.0 credit) non-essay course comprised of four six-week sections, each featuring lectures from specialist instructors and weekly tutorials.

An introduction to anthropology (the study of human beings, past and present) co-taught by specialists in biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. Students will explore anthropological approaches to and findings concerning: human evolution; variation and adaptation; diverse forms of social, political, and economic organization; culture; ritual; language; communication; identity; gender; health; social inequality; and globalization.

Two sections are offered in 2018/2019:
Section 001 - Mondays 1:30-3:30 plus one tutorial hour of your choice on Wednesdays.

Section 002 - Tuesdays 9:30-11:30 plus one tutorial hour of your choice on Thursdays.

Antirequisites: The former Anthropology 1020E, Anthropology 1025F/G and 1026F/G.

1025F/G Sociocultural Anthropology (0.5 course)

Anthropology 1025F/G will introduce you to Sociocultural Anthropology through one term allowing you the opportunity to supplement in-class learning with an independent writing project. An introduction to the basic concepts used in the anthropological study of non-Western social and cultural institutions that focuses on the unity and diversity of human experience. Topics include: kinship, economics, politics, religion, and the present-day conditions of indigenous societies. The ethnography of various peoples is discussed.

Three sections are offered in 2018/19:

1025F-001 - Fall, Mondays 7:00-10:00 p.m.   Syllabus

1025F-650 - Fall, Online through Distance Studies   Syllabus

1025G-001 - Winter, Mondays 3:30-5:30 p.m., Wednesdays 4:30-5:30 p.m. Syllabus coming soon.

Antirequisite: Anthropology 1020 (formerly Anthropology 1020E).

1026F/G Archaeology and Biological Anthropology (0.5 course)

Anthropology 1026F/G will introduce you to Archaeology and Biological Anthropology through one term allowing you the opportunity to supplement in-class learning with an independent writing project. An introduction to aspects of biological anthropology and archaeology which help us to understand the place of humankind in nature. Topics to be covered include heredity, human evolution and variability, archaeological method, the development of culture, the domestication of plants and animals, and the rise of civilization and the state.

Three sections are offered in 2018/19:

1026F-001 - Fall, Wednesdays  3:30-6:30 p.m.  Professor A. Waters-Rist  Syllabus

1026G-001 - Winter, Mondays  7:00-10:00 p.m.  Professor I. Colquhoun   Syllabus coming soon.

1026G-650 - Winter, Online through Distance Studies  Professor K. Oslen    Syllabus coming soon.

Antirequisite: Anthropology 1020 (formerly Anthropology 1020E).

1027A/B Introduction to Linguistics (0.5 course)

Anthropology 1027A/B will introduce you to Linguistics through one term allowing you to learn and practice the fundamentals of Linguistics (through lectures and tutorials) in preparation for further studies in either Linguistics or Linguistic Anthropology. Introduction to basic concepts and methods of modern linguistics. Topics include articulatory and acoustic phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. This course is a prerequisite for subsequent linguistics courses in the Department of Anthropology and/or the Linguistics program.

Two sections are offered in 2018/19:

Fall - Wednesdays 4:30-6:30 plus one tutorial hour on Wednesdays.

Winter - Tuesdays 3:30-5:30 plus one tutorial hour on Thursdays.

The syllabus for winter 2018 will be available closer to the term.

Antirequisite: Linguistics 2288A/B.

Students love our intro courses!

Our introductory courses consistently receive great evaluations from the students who take them. Here is a selection of comments taken from student evaluations of Anthropology 1020E in 2017-18:

"It is nice how for every type of anthropology you get an expert on that field so you get the best learning experience."

"Interesting Course! Highly recommend to first year students"

"I LOVED it!"

"One of my favourite courses this semester"

 "It is organized so well, it's easy to know what is required for each lecture and the study guides help a lot when it comes to retaining information."

 "Anthropology is an organized course and I appreciate having four different sections with different professors to keep it fresh and interesting."

 "I really appreciate that we are taught, albeit briefly, in all four areas of anthropology; this is extremely useful as we decide on our majors and have to make decisions pertaining to course selection."

"Very interesting. As a Health Science Student, I came into the course with minimal background and a lack of interest. This course was mind-opening and kept me engaged throughout."

"I really like the labs we do in the tutorials. I feel like they help give a good understanding of the course, and they're fun."

“I am in the science faculty (biology) and anthropology has always interested me; specifically biological anthropology. Although I am pretty much only taking this course to fulfill my essay requirement, it has brought such a great interest to me. It has made me reconsider my potential major of choice and I am now thinking of majoring in biological anthropology whether or not it be a double major with biology. It is definitely something I am considering. Thank you!”

“Very enjoyable and would recommend to any first years coming in, or second years like myself that need to make up a credit, was unsure going into the course but I am glad I continued with it.”

“Lots of group work and peer discussion made the concepts of the course easier to understand”

“I thoroughly enjoyed this course! This course so far has made me want to pursue anthropology next school year.” 

“This course is thorough and well organized. I appreciate that we have different professors for different topics in anthropology.” 

“This is a really interesting course. I do not major in anthropology and I could still understand and enjoy the course.”

“This course is definitely not what I expected. I was pleasantly surprised by the content we were taught. The labs were also super helpful and interesting.”

“I believe the evaluations for the course are very fair, and enjoy the layout of it.”

 “Great learning experience. Helps you grow as a person.”