1. Background

Anthropology is the study of humankind from a holistic perspective. It provides a broad conception of human nature and human experience. The scope of the discipline’s interests effectively bridges the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences. Because of its broad concerns with all of the activities and varieties of humanity, anthropology offers courses useful to a wide range of undergraduate students.

This syllabus takes a broad view of anthropology, maintaining both a balance and integration among the four sub-fields (Biological, Cultural, Linguistic and Archaeological), which have traditionally characterized the discipline. Anthropology prepares students for dealing with the challenges of an increasingly international economy, trans-nationally connected communities, and multi-cultural citizenries. In addition, it helps students to hone and refine their analytical skills and critical thinking.

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology is designed to provide undergraduates of Anthropology with basic skills in critical analysis, writing, and cross-cultural understandings. The revised BA programme is in response to the increasing demand for anthropological training and skills to address current problems and challenges in Kenya, regionally and globally. With the recent trends in which ethnicity and human divisions have taken centre stage, anthropologists are called upon to provide a sober reflection and create awareness on the culture of peace in a diverse environment.

    1. Programme Philosophy

The programme is anchored on the philosophy of participatory and active learning. Engaging students and assisting them to discover the world and enhance their potential in all spheres of human endeavours is the hallmark of the Faculty.

Pedagogically, instructors are encouraged to use many different techniques to achieve the above philosophy. The techniques include hands-on activities, direct students’ participation, problem-based learning, material retrieval techniques, field experiences, tutorials, lectures, class presentations among others. The different approaches are premised on the fact that every course is a unique combination of students, who come to the classroom with different backgrounds, motivations and intellectual capacities, all of which present different challenges for the instructor. Over the years, the Department has discovered that the classroom provides the tutor with an opportunity to use the themes of Anthropology—Holism, Relativism and Social Justice – as a means of transforming the students’ lives, facilitating their own growth as scholars and, most importantly, as people.

In summary, the Department’s emphasis on the transformational nature of learning recognizes that students come into the classroom with different and diverse values and expectations and that much of what they take away from the classroom depends on their own experience. Anthropology itself, with its emphasis on understanding the WHY and HOW of the diversity of experience, instils in an instructor a strong sense that part of their mission is to promote these kinds of understanding in their students.

    1. Rationale of the Programme

The study of Anthropology and related Social Sciences disciplines has taken centre stage in most countries of the world in recent years. This has come about as a result of the many social ills that bedevil humanity ranging from the problems of institutionalized injustice, negative ethnicity, terrorism, extremism as well as all other forms of intolerance across cultures. The curriculum as reviewed takes on board a holistic approach to the study of human differences and helps the students in enhancing unity in diversity.

The curriculum has taken on board new and innovative courses that respond to the problems of contemporary nature while still maintaining the traditional anthropological study of culture. The new approaches emphasize the human rights-based understanding and the need for forging common fronts in dealing with the socio-cultural problems of the world. The stakeholders were involved in the review and their views were considered.


    1. Goal of the Programme

The goal of this programme is to training graduates of Anthropology who will be able to work in diverse environments providing the necessary cultural as well as holistic approaches to the understanding of human beings so that they can fit in the multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary environments and provide the necessary input to the creation of a peaceful world that values the different cultures.

    1. Expected Learning Outcomes

At the end of the programme, the learner should be able to:

  1. Apply the anthropological knowledge and skills gained to respond to challenges bedevilling humanity.
  2. Analyse exchange of current thinking in anthropological literature and cultural diversity.
  3. Apply multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural approaches to academic and policy issues.
  4. Conduct original research in the field of anthropology.
    1. Face-Face Mode

This is through lectures and tutorials using notes, electronic presentations, instruction manuals, group discussions, practical laboratory demonstrations and fieldwork.

    1. Open, Distance Learning, and e-Learning (ODeL)

The open, distance and e-learning mode of study will be offered off-campus using a multi-media approach, including a variety of self-instructional print and video conferencing materials.

Besides, there will be limited face-to-face instruction during residential training. The face-to-face instruction, which shall not exceed one-third of the instruction time.

    1. Blended

This is a hybrid of face to face with Open, Distance Learning and e-learning. Guest lecturers and speakers may be invited for specialized topics.

    1. Provision of Learner Support Services
      1. Each student will have access to support study centres at the University of Nairobi
      2. Have access to online resources at the University of Nairobi.
      3. Make use of libraries at the University of Nairobi and related research institutions.
    2. Orientation

Immediately after registration, the students will be taken through the following important issues as part of the anchorage to University life:

  1. Introduction to the DAGAS and entire University of Nairobi structures;
  2. Orientation in ODeL delivery;
  3. Study, reading and computer skills;
  4. Time management and techniques in handling assignments;
  5. Mentorship, guidance and counselling;
  6. Challenges of social life in campus and where to get help.
    1. Minimum Admission Requirements

The regulations and syllabus shall apply to all candidates in Module I, Module II and Module III, wishing to study for the Degree of Arts in Anthropology.

      1. The general University of Nairobi entry requirements shall apply.
      2. Subject to Regulation 3.1.1, candidates with the following qualifications shall be admitted to the Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.
  1. Those who have a minimum aggregate of C+ (C plus) in K.C.S.E. or those with the equivalent of a K.C.S.E. from an Institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
  2. Those who have a minimum aggregate of C (C plain) in K.C.S.E. plus a Diploma from an institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
  3. Those with a minimum aggregate of C- in KCSE plus a certificate and a Diploma from an institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
  4. Those with at least Division II with a credit pass in English in ‘O’ Level (E.A.C.E. or K.C.E.) plus a Diploma from an Institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
  5. Those who have at least two (2) principal passes in ‘A’ Level (E.A.A.C.E. or K.A.C.E.) or its equivalent from an Institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
  6. Those with a Degree from the University of Nairobi or an institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
    1. Credit Transfer and Exemptions
      1. A candidate from a recognized University wishing to transfer to the BA in Anthropology programme at the University of Nairobi may be exempted from some courses already covered at his/her University if those courses are deemed relevant to the purpose of the programme and equivalent to identified related course units.  A University of Nairobi student who obtains a credit or credits from a recognized University or equivalent Institution may also be allowed to seek exemption from the relevant course units at the University of Nairobi.  The course units from which a candidate may be exempted shall not be more than a third (1/3) of the total prescribed course units required for the award of the BA in Anthropology degree.
      2. Where a candidate wishes to be exempted from any course unit, he/she shall follow the criteria set out below:
  1. The candidate shall send a formal application for exemption to the Academic Registrar, justifying his/her request and attaching evidence of the credentials, which would support such a request.   This would include a list of University of Nairobi courses for which the student is interested in getting credit; an official transcript indicating courses that may be equivalent; and descriptions and syllabi/outlines of the courses in which the applicant is seeking transfer of credit.
  2. The candidate shall undertake to submit himself/herself to an exemption examination set and administered by the Department, and approved by the Senate.  In any such examination, the pass mark shall be 50%.
  3. A candidate who has to take an exemption examination shall be required to pay to the University an exemption fee as may be decided by the Department.
  4. An exemption examination shall be assessed within three weeks of its taking place, and the Departmental Academic Committee shall make its recommendations to the Senate, which shall make the final decision.  The Academic Registrar shall communicate to the candidate the Senate’s decision.
  5. The Departmental’s Academic Committee may, for reasons of exceptional academic merit, recommend to Senate the exemption of an applicant from a core course or an elective course without being subjected to an exemption examination.
  6. Course units recommended for exemption should not exceed 1/3 of the total courses in the degree programme.
    1. Deferment of Studies

A student may defer his/her studies at any time, for a valid cause and with documentary evidence conveyed in writing to the Academic Registrar through the Director and may resume later after duly notifying the Director and Academic Registrar. During the entire period of deferment, the student shall be required to keep his/her registration current by paying such deferment charges as the Department may determine from time to time. The period of deferment shall not exceed two (2) consecutive academic years.


BA Anthropology-N06 - 45 units  No. of units   TOTALS 
TUITION                 1.00                  15,000.00
EXAMINATION (PER UNIT @1000)                 1.00                     1,000.00
CAUTION - (ONCE)                       5,000.00
ICT SERVICES - (PER YEAR)                       7,000.00
MEDICAL FEE (PER YEAR)                       6,500.00
ACTIVITY-( PER YEAR)                       2,000.00
STUDENT ORGANISATION(PER YEAR)                       1,000.00
ID CARD ( PER YEAR)                       1,000.00
REGISTRATION (PER SEMESTER@2250)                       2,250.00
LIBRARY (PER YEAR)                       4,000.00
sem1                 4.00                  92,750.00
                  5.00                108,750.00
                  6.00                124,750.00
sems 2,4,6,8                 4.00                  66,250.00
                  5.00                  82,250.00
                  6.00                  98,250.00
sems 3, 5,7,9                 4.00                  87,750.00
                  5.00                103,750.00
                  6.00                119,750.00
Sem1                 6.00                124,750.00
Sem 2                 6.00                  98,250.00
Sem 3                 6.00                119,750.00
Sem 4                 5.00                  82,250.00
Sem 5                 6.00                119,750.00
Sem 6                 5.00                  82,250.00
Sem 7                 6.00                119,750.00
Sem 8                 5.00                  82,250.00
Grand totals       45.00     829,000.00

Candidates are expected to attend all the scheduled course lectures for which they are registered. There will be three modes of study:


  1. Full time (Module l)
  2. Part Time (Module ll)
  3. Distance Learning (Module lll)


The Full Time (Module l) is offered on week days during the day from 8:00 am to 5:00pm. Module ll is offered during day (8:00am to 5:00pm) and/or evenings week days (5:30pm to 8:30pm) and may include weekends where applicable from 8:00am to 5:00pm


The Module lll is offered off-campus using multi-media approach in distance education in the following ways:

  1. The main media of instruction are print and electronic study materials.
  2. The study materials are self-instructional.
  3. There is limited use of face-to-face lectures during the residential sessions.
  4. Face-to-face delivery mode does not exceed one third of the instructional time and students are required to attend any scheduled lectures/tutorials where applicable for the courses they have registered for.


Where a field trips is required, the duration will take between 1 and 5 days days

N11     The maximum period required for a candidate to study and qualify for the award of the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology shall be 24 Semesters.

N12     There shall be three (3) semesters in each academic year.  The third semester shall be optional.  A candidate wishing to complete the programme of study in less than four academic years may utilize the optional semester, but candidates must consult and obtain approval from the Director of the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies for the choice of appropriate course unit(s) before they can register.

N13     Students in Module II and Module III programmes may take fewer, but not less than two courseunits, than the prescribed courses during any semester of study but they must cover all the required courses before they can be allowed to graduate.

N14     During the First Level (Level 1) of study, candidates will be required to take ALLthe Twelve (12) course units offered in the Programme.

N15     During their Second, Third and Fourth Levels of study, course units with the following codes NAF 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405 and 406 will be compulsory.  The remaining courses units shall be offered as electives.

N16     After the First Level, students shall be required to take at each subsequent level not less than 6 (six) compulsory course units and 5 (five) electives.  Regulation N12 shall apply in the choice of courses.

N17     Each course unit shall be covered in

N18     A candidate who wishes to write a Project report as one of the electives shall be required, at the end of the Third Level, to undertake research in any area of Anthropology, and to write and present a Project report of between 15,000 and 30,000 words on the chosen area.  The Project report will be examined in the last semester of study.  A candidate must consult with the Director of the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies before the end of the Sixth Semester or soon after to decide on an appropriate topic for research.  Such a candidate, desiring to write a Project report must have an aggregate score of 60% and a score of 60% in NAF 301 in his/her third Level of Study.

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology degree comprises the following course units;

  NAF 101       Introduction to Anthropology                                               

  NAF 102       Introduction to Ethnology                                         

  NAF 105       Introduction to the Study of Language         

  NAF 108       Fundamentals of Archaeology           

  NAF 110       Computer Literacy                                                     

  CCS 010      HIV/AIDS                                                                 


 NAF 103       Cultural Anthropology                                                           

 NAF 104        Physical Anthropology          

 NAF 106        Linguistic Anthropology                                            

 NAF 107       Elements of Development Anthropology                 

 NAF 109        Legal Anthropology                                                  

 NAF 111        Intercultural Communication                                     


 NAF 203        Introduction to Statistics for Social Sciences

 NAF 204        Family and Kinship                                                    

 NAF 205        Ecological Anthropology                                           

 NAF 209        Introduction to the Arts         

 NAF 211        Political Anthropology           

 NAF 215       Ethnology of African Societies         


NAF 201         Comparative Ethnology                                             

NAF 202         Demographic Anthropology                                      

NAF 206         Introduction to Gender Studies                                 

NAF 208         Urban Anthropology                                                  

NAF 210         Ethnicity and Cultural Identity                                             

NAF 214        Traditional Belief Systems                                         


NAF 301        Research Methods in Anthropology                                      

NAF 302         Ethics in Anthropology                                                          

NAF 303         History of Anthropological Thought 

NAF 305         Palaeoanthropology                                                               

NAF 307        Culture and Technology        

NAF 316         Primatology                                                                            

NAF 317        Gender in Cross-Cultural Studies                                          


NAF 304        Contemporary Theories in Anthropology                              

NAF 306        Economic Anthropolog                                                          

NAF 308         Medical Anthropology           

NAF 310         Anthropology of Tourism                                                      

NAF 312         Psycholinguistics                                                                    

NAF 314         Field Archaeology                                                                 

NAF 309         Human Growth & Constitution         


NAF 401         Applied Anthropology           

NAF 403         Anthropology of Developing Countries                                

NAF 405        Nutritional Anthropology                                                      

NAF 409        Museology                                                                             

NAF 410        Historical & Comparative Linguistics

NAF 414         Cultural Change & Development                                          

NAF 417        Cross-Cultural Studies           


NAF 402         Psychological Anthropology  

NAF 404         Culture & Communication                                                     

NAF 406        Gender and Development                                                      

NAF 408         Archaeological Conservation 

NAF 413         Universal Religions    

NAF 416         Anthropology of Infectious Diseases                        

NAF 418         Project Report

  At the end of each course, candidates will be required to sit for a 2 (two) hour written examination.

N20     A candidate shall not be permitted to sit for the University examinations unless he/she has attended lectures regularly throughout the semester and covered at least two thirds of the course.

N21     Assessment of each candidate’s performance shall be through Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs), Essays, Assignments and Term Papers and end of Semester examination.  For each course, Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs) shall account for 30% and the final written examination 70% of the total marks.  Candidates will be given at least two CATs.  The candidate’s end of semester CAT score shall be an average of the number of CATs given during the semester.

N22     The maximum score a candidate shall get in a course is 100% but, in order, to pass, candidates will require 40%.  These marks shall be translated into letter grades as follows: 70% - 100% = A, 60% - 69% = B, 50% - 59% = C, 40% - 49% = D, 39% and below =E.

N23     A student, who, for good cause supported with authenticated documentary evidence, fails to sit or complete an end-of-semester examination may be allowed to sit forspecial exampaper(s) concerned when the examination is nextoffered.

N24     A candidate who fails any end-of-semester examination paper on the first attempt shall be allowed two more attempts to sit and pass the paper in supplementary examination.  A candidate who fails a paper may, in consultation with the Institute, and upon approvalsubstitute that course unit with another unit of the same level from the Instituteprovided that it is not a core Unit.

N25     Subject to Regulation N23 a candidate who has up to, but not more than five failed gradesat any one time shall be allowed to proceed to the next level until they have sat and passed supplementary exams.Coursework marks shall not be taken into account.

N26     A candidate shall notbe allowed to carry forward more than 5 (five) failed grades at any one time.

N27     A candidate who has more than 5 (five) failed grades after three unsuccessful attempts at each of the units concerned shall be discontinued.

N28     To qualify for the award of the degree, a candidate must have studied for and passed in at least 45 (forty-five)course units, including compulsory common undergraduate course unit (where applicable).  Where a candidate has taken more than 45 units, only the best 44 shall be considered in the award of the degree provided that all compulsory courses are taken into account.

N29     The Final grade and the best 44 classification will be based on the average percentage marks obtained in all the courses taken during the degree programme.

N30     The classification of the final award will be based on the following: