What is Anthropology?
Anthropology has three main goals: first, providing a deep understanding of humans, both past and present; second, analyzing and organizing the knowledge gained and making it accessible; and third, engaging in the practical application of anthropology to various areas of contemporary human behavior.
Anthropology is a social science. It shares techniques and methods with other behavioral sciences and also draws upon physical and biological sciences and is unique among the social and behavioral sciences. Anthropologists obtain data primarily from field research and comparative cross-cultural studies in time and space. Thus, anthropology provides theoretical and empirical bases for development of hypotheses about human behavior, and for testing the breadth and application of such hypotheses.
The Anthropology Department provides training in four sub-disciplines: cultural anthropology, archaeology, physical anthropology and anthropological linguistics. Using ethnographic, ethnological and ethnohistorical tools, and information supplied by the four sub-disciplines, the anthropologist studies cultures and the processes of human development comparatively.
There are four major concentrations available:
- Biology Anthropology
A minor in Anthropology is also available. If you are a transfer student, please refer to our Transfer page.
NEW! Students are only eligible to declare an anthropology major if they have successfully completed any one of the following core courses: Anth 301, 303, 335.
A Brief Description
Cultural anthropology seeks to understand and describe each culture in its own perspective. Cultural anthropologists gather data through first-hand field study in other cultures and do cross-cultural comparative studies which provide crucial insights and understanding of the modes and patterns of human life.
Archaeology uses scientific field work and laboratory techniques to investigate past human societies and the processes and effects of cultural evolution through the study of material remains.
Physical anthropology focuses on anatomical, physiological and genetic differences in past and contemporary human populations, and analyzes their evolutionary and cultural implications.
Anthropological linguistics studies the interrelationships between human culture and language with special focus on unwritten languages, the diversity of world languages, nonverbal human communication, and contemporary cultural linguistic interactions.
Biocultural anthropology focuses on ecological, physiological, and demographic aspects of human biocultural variation within the frameworks of human adaptability and evolution. It studies the past for answers about our origins, our development, our physical diversity and our adaptability and explores the fundamental issues of human through a holistic approach that is interdisciplinary, international, and student centered.
Applied Anthropology draws on the methods and perspectives of Anthropology and applies them in an effort to alleviate current social, economic, and technological problems.