The Anthropology Department offers this combined major in partnership with Western's Woodring College of Education. Anthropology is particularly valuable for teachers, because it provides a broad understanding of human behavior, cultural diversity, and learning as a process of social interaction. Teachers today work with students of various cultural backgrounds and awareness of specific cultural learning influences, attitudes, motivations, and patterns of interaction is an integral part of working effectively and respectfully in diverse communities.

Through the required basic courses in Anthropology, majors will acquire an understanding of cultural context, the evolution of contemporary institutions, and both similarities and differences that are both the heritage and potential of humanity. With faculty advisement, Anthropology—Elementary students will identify topics for advanced coursework, including:

  • Diverse Cultures and Ethnic communities in the Pacific Northwest
  • The relationship of cultural and political realities to civic engagement
  • Linkages between cultural expectations and learning processes

This major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in Elementary Education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in Elementary Education offered through Woodring College of Education.

Beyond the Classroom

Western's Anthropology curriculum is designed to provide extensive opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences working with clients in community social-services agencies, and through participatory research. 


There are opportunities for field work and library research in each of the four subfields of Anthropology. The department engages in a series of funded projects, providing a wide diversity of research opportunities, and the library holdings include resources for those pursuing cross-culture and culture-area research. Archaeological field school surveys are conducted on alternate summers.


Students create internships that suit their specific interests to maximize their chances of long-term career success and satisfaction. Internships often include local museums and organizations, but can also be found outside the area or abroad.    

Anthropology Club

Western’s Anthropology Club is a group of students and faculty who promote interest in the discipline of Anthropology. The club plans and promotes speakers, trips, and events which relate to all four of the subdivisions within Anthropology. The main annual event is the planning and hosting of the Anthropology Conference, which is held in conjunction with Scholar’s Week.

Careers and Graduate Studies

While the Anthropology—Elementary major is tailored for students interested in teaching, graduates can apply their learning to a variety of graduate degrees and careers locally and internationally in both the public and private sectors. Opportunities may be found in teaching (public school, community college, and college), federal and state agencies, social services, applied health setting, museums, and international business. 


Sample Jobs

  • Elementary Teacher 
  • Education 
  • Attorney 
  • Researcher 
  • Politician 
  • Governmental Advisor 
  • Diplomacy 
  • Human Services

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.