Anthropology is the study of human beings in their full diversity. Its goal is to understand social action in different societies, and explain it in terms of its natural, social, political, economic and cultural contexts. In pursuit of this goal, anthropologists deal with both rural and urban spaces. They examine everyday practice, social and religious movements, the functioning of legal systems, conflicts, or the activities of state and international organizations, and explore how local cultures are embedded in regional, national, and global spaces. Characteristics features of ethnographic research are its comparative perspective and the methods of participation and observation employed. Field research, which often takes a year or more, remains a fundamental component of anthropology as a scientific discipline. At bachelor level, students engage with basic theories and methods, as well as specific topics and fields of research. The regional focus lies primarily on Africa and Oceania.

Focal areas of teaching and research

The regional focal points of the University of Basel’s program in anthropology are Africa (primarily West, Central and East Africa), followed by Oceania (most notably Melanesia), Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Alongside general anthropology with its theories and methods, core teaching areas include political anthropology, visual culture, medical anthropology, anthropology of religion, ethnicity, identity and migration. Research focuses on visual culture, political anthropology and medical anthropology. The Institute of Social Anthropology cultivates strong interdisciplinary and international ties, and cooperates with institutes located in several African countries and Indonesia. All teachers are also involved in research groups and projects, ensuring lively exchangebetween research and teaching.

The bachelor program conveys the fundamental theoretical and methodological approaches of anthropology and its history. Topics include evolutionism, structuralism, and fieldwork. Students gain insights into specific fields of research and subjects within anthropology, in fields such as urbanization, culture, law or gender. Finally, they deal with the ethnographies of specific regions, exploring and comparing different social milieus and groups in these regions.

Program structure

A bachelor’s is the first degree a person can earn. It requires a total of 180 credit points (CP). The Bachelor's Degree Program in Anthropology is one of two subjects studied, each worth 75 CP. Free electives (30 CP) are also included. One ECTS credit point equates to approximately 30 hours of work.

Bachelor of Arts (180 CP)
75 CP
Degree subject of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
or extra-faculty
75 CP
Free electives
30 CP
Two degree subjects

Combination of subjects

Students can choose a subject offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or a subject from another faculty as their second bachelor’s degree subject. Combinations with disciplines that deal with societies and their cultures or aspects thereof (such as art or language), their norms (law), history or natural environment are especially recommended.

Students are free to choose any free elective. These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of their degree subjects, gain an insight into other degree subjects offered by the University of Basel, or acquire language skills.

Bachelor’s admission requirements

The Student Administration Office at the University of Basel is responsible for admitting students to bachelor’s programs in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is based on the admission regulations of the President’s Office:

  • with Swiss educational qualifications, 
  • foreign educational qualifications, or
  • as a visiting student (not working toward a degree at the University of Basel)

Holders of a Swiss federal Maturität certificate will be admitted to all bachelor’s degree programs.

If you have any further questions, please consult the information provided here.

Registration dates

Students must register for their bachelor’s or master’s degree program within a specified timeframe – even in cases of delayed registration.

Information events

The University of Basel organizes regular information events for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Details can be found on the events page of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Some subject areas also offer their own separate information or welcome events. Please consult the page for the relevant subject area for event dates and locations.

Bachelor’s examination & degree

Students who have obtained 60 CP per subject area and have passed the seminar papers required for the degree are permitted to register for the bachelor’s examination. To prove that they meet the requirements, they must provide their module allocation or automatic assessment email.

FS 2019 SS 2020 FS 2020 SS 2021
Registration forms (degree subject / program) available from expired 03.02.20 01.09.20 01.02.21
Registration period expired 10.03. - 26.03.20 29.09. - 15.10.20 09.03. - 25.03.21
Examination expired 09.05. & 16.05.20 05.12. & 12.12.20 08.05. & 29.05.21
Notification of grades expired 03.07.20 22.01.21 02.07.21
Inspection of examination papers and degree application

expired 04.08. - 20.08.20 26.01. - 11.02.21 03.08. - 19.08.21
Graduation ceremony -- 10.10.20 17.04.21 09.10.21

Subject to subsequent changes.

Continuing on to a master’s degree

Teaching committee