Students tend to face some of the same situations. Here are some tips to help you hopefully finish the Anthropology Major--and your B.A.--smoothly.

The most important tip is to read the College of Letters and Science "Guide to Undergraduate Studies"--it can answer questions you may have and help you to avoid a lot of problems.

If there are any useful tips that you'd like to send out to other students, please send me an e-mail to let me know.

Tip #1: Get a umail account and get on the Anthropology e-mail listserv. I can't stress how important it is for you to open your umail account and get on our listserv. You can open the account by going to and you can have your email forwarded to another email account that you might have. On our list server you will get updated information on courses for the quarter, important deadlines, internships, any jobs that might be available in our department (which occasionally occurs). Also, sometimes when students lose wallets and other things, by looking them up in the computer we can send an email straight to them; this is also one reason why it's important to keep your phone number and address updated every quarter.

Tip # 2: Look to the Anthropology web site to find information that you need about anything in the department--most likely you'll find it there. If you need contact information for professors, look under "people" you can find the phone numbers, office location, e mail addresses of faculty, visiting professors, etc... If you need another copy of the major sheet, you'll find it there too. And of course, don't forget to look under the Anthropology Major News page, which is specifically for the undergraduate students.

Tip #3: Have grade disputes resolved as quickly as possible with the instructor. If you feel that you have received an unfair grade or a grade in error, speak with your T.A. and the course instructor ASAP to have the grade dispute resolved. Due to the nature of their work, frequently our faculty go on leave for one or more quarters, and a number of classes are taught by visiting professors. So when the instructor is not at UCSB, consequently, attempts to adjust grades cannot be processed in a timely manner, or in some cases, not at all. Save yourself time and grief by taking care of any grade problems as they come up.

Tip #3a: DO NOT have your parents call our office, come in, or try and fix matters for which you are responsible. This reflects badly upon you since you, as a college student, are now supposed to be an adult and take responsibility for your life. Let me also mention that it's not a great idea to have Mom or Dad sit in a classroom so that you can get into a class (yes, this happens). You can contact the professor via email or by phone to get into a course, if for some reason you can't be there the first day. Please note that unless we have your written consent we do NOT share any information with your parents, such as your grades, what your major is, etc... this is all confidential.

Tip #4: If you take an incomplete in a class, keep in touch with the instructor or professor. Again, frequently our faculty go on leave for one or more quarters, and a number of classes are taught by visiting professors. To avoid the unpleasant surprise of trying to turn in your completed work only to find that the instructor is gone, you need to maintain contact with him or her (maybe an email at least once during a quarter). Instructors are busy and can't keep a track of all the students they have. It is your responsibility to make sure to make sure that you finish the work in a timely manner with the instructor. If you need to file for an "extension for incomplete," you come to the Anthropology office (note: to file the original incomplete petition, you need to go to the Registrar for the form and submit it there).

Tip #4a: Please note that if you receive an incomplete or a NO Grade in a class, the grade WILL change into an "F" in 3 months unless the instructor of the course turns in a grade for you. So be sure that you complete all of your incompletes or drop courses that you stopped going to.

Tip # 5: If your academic performance is being severely and negatively affected by a personal tragedy, please do contact the College of Letters and Science. They will help you take the appropriate steps to withdraw from the quarter, etc.... Rather than doing poorly and receiving F's in your classes, it is perhaps in your best interests to withdraw from the quarter. Also, you might wish to seek counseling from the Counseling and Career Services.

Tip #6 : If you are doing poorly in a class, please seek help! This seems pretty obvious but you'd be surprised by how many students never speak to their professors or TAs. If you have questions or don't understand the material, ask. Remember, you are paying them to give you a good education. Also, don't forget about learning resources like C.L.A.S.

Tip #7: If you are planning on going to graduate school of any kind, get to know your professors and TAs so you can get good letters of recommendation. As the undergraduate advisor, I routinely write letters stating that students are in good standing for various applications. However, I will not write letters of recommendation for any type of graduate/professional school so do not even ask; they will not take such a letter of recommendation seriously. It is a sad situation when a student wishes to go onto graduate school or professional school, and yet because he or she has not formed any relationships with professors, cannot get solid letters of recommendation. I encourage you to get involved with research or independent studies (Anth 198, 199, or 199RA--please note that the university and department require about a 3.00 GPA for 3 preceding quarters in order to sign up). It is a good way to get to know professors and develop relationships with them. Graduate schools look very favorable upon those applicants with research experience and skills. If you've enjoyed a class with certain professors or are interested in what you read about their work on their web sites, approach him or her to conduct research under their guidance. Getting involved with the ASU is also a first step. (Side note: drop by Graduate Division for info on their workshops on how to get into grad school or come and speak with our Graduate Program Assistant if you are interested in the UCSB's program.)

Tip #7a: Get to know your professors and TAs. Again, even if you aren't interested in grad school, you'll need references for jobs and if you can a professor that you've developed a connection with as one, you will be better off.

Tip #8: Don't forget to get junior progress checks through the College of Letters and Science and senior progress checks through the Office of the Registrar. You can meet with an advisor there, or you can order these progress checks through the Registrar, too (and then meet with an advisor if you need help deciphering them). Remember, completing the Anthropology Major requirements is different than completing the requirements for the B.A. degree. Believe me, there are some students who think that they can graduate simply because they have completed the Anthropology major, forgetting that they have to finish a minimum of 184 units for the B.A. degree. At the Anthropology department, as the Undergraduate Advisor I can only help you with the major requirements.

Tip #9: Read through the College of Letters and Science "Guide to Undergraduate Studies." Although this tip is not specific to the major, it has a lot of useful information regarding procedures here at the University. For example, the specific process that you need to do in order to withdraw from a class after the official deadline, withdraw from a quarter, take a leave of absence and re-entry, etc... Closely related to this is Tip #10....

Tip #10: Never stop attending a class without officially dropping or withdrawing from the class. Why? If you stop going, you will get an F. The instructor will probably not give you a grade since you haven't been there. That "no grade" will turn into an F a few weeks after the quarter has ended.

Tip #11: Do not concurrently enroll at another college during the regular academic school year without getting prior approval from the College of Letters and Science. Although an infrequent occurrence, students have registered at UCSB and another college and thought that they could get credit for their work there. Unfortunately, when they do this, often the reason is they need the class to graduate. If they petition after the fact, it is not approved. Again, read carefully through the Guide to Undergraduate Studies--this is all outlined there.

Tip #12: If you have problems registering for classes (accessing RBT or GOLD), contact the Registrar's office, not the Anthropology Department.

Tip #13: Make sure that your courses will transfer to UCSB if you plan on studying else where for a quarter, whether it be overseas or somewhere else in the U.S. You can contact the Office of Admissions to find this out. Also, you will need to petition these courses to have them apply to the Anthropology major if you need them for major requirements. You can come to our office to fill out the petitions.


Back to UCSB Anthropology home page

Last updated: August 16, 2004 by DL