Program Description

The Department of Anthropology offers undergraduate students course work in the five anthropological subdisciplines: Ethnology, Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Applied Anthropology and Anthropological Linguistics. In addition, courses focus on contemporary disciplinary research, area studies and societal applications of anthropological knowledge.

By majoring or minoring in Anthropology, a student gains a better understanding of people’s behavior within cultural settings. Anthropology studies the varied nature of human experience in U.S. society and throughout the world. Through this study of people, their lifestyles, and how they adapt to cultural change, both present and past, a student is better prepared to comprehend human behavior. What distinguishes anthropology from other disciplines concerned with people is its holistic perspective or encompassing view, and its central concern with the concept of culture. The specific theme that connects the varied research expertise of our faculty is understanding the relationship between humans and their environment from a holistic perspective. Comparative and evolutionary, scientific and humanistic, Anthropology provides a unique opportunity for broadening and integrating one’s view of human existence. 


The Department of Anthropology, in the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, offers a major and minor in the discipline.  Majors may choose between the General Anthropology concentration, Biological Anthropology concentration, Applied concentration, or the Archaeology concentration. With additional applied work in Cultural Resource Management, the student will be awarded a certificate. The Indigenous Peoples of the Americas interdisciplinary minor is also housed in Anthropology. Click the links below to find specific requirements for each concentration.

Goals of the major concentration in General Anthropology include an understanding of cultural heritage along with a general overview of the significance of cultural change, whether that change be ongoing, from the past, or anticipated in the future. Acquainting students with the cross-cultural perspective and cultural pluralism also are major goals of the General Anthropology concentration.

The major concentration in Archaeology is designed to provide the undergraduate student with a strong background in general anthropology, archaeology and cultural preservation. It stresses anthropological theory, archaeological methodology, field research, data collection, area studies and applications of the field to cultural resource management. In the face of rapid population expansion and increased development, public concern has grown to protect the quickly diminishing cultural resources related to our ancestral and traditional heritage. In addition to the concentration, the department offers a certificate in Cultural Resource Management to those students who complete the program and demonstrate competence in applied aspects of the field.

The major concentration in Biological Anthropology is designed to provide the undergraduate student with a strong background in general anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology and research methods. It stresses biological anthropology research methodology, field research, data collection and statistical methodology.

The major concentration in Applied Anthropology is designed to provide the undergraduate student with a strong background in general anthropology, applied anthropology and research methods. It stresses applied anthropology research methodology, field research, data collection, statistical methodology and service learning. One of the pillars of an applied anthropology focus is to stress community engagement and application of anthropological theoretical framework to the field.

The Minor in Anthropology complements a major in other disciplines and professional programs such as biology, health sciences, art, communications, history, philosophy and the other behavioral sciences. Students have the opportunity to develop a focused minor in consultation with an advisor in specialized areas such as medical anthropology, New World cultures, physical anthropology, cognitive anthropology, etc.


Upon completion of the B.A. in Anthropology, students will be able to…

  1. Summarize the evidence and processes of world cultural development and the basic sub-disciplines of Anthropology
  2. Understand basic anthropology theory and methods and can explain how these relate to the conduct of fieldwork and research
  3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of specific cultures
  4. Apply fieldwork techniques to collect, generate, and analyze anthropological data
  5. Demonstrate critical thinking skills and be able to write effective essays and papers on anthropological topics
  6. Apply anthropological concepts to the world of work and in everyday life
  7. Critically assess and interpret findings on the human condition from a holistic anthropological perspective
  8. Use the concepts and methods of Anthropology to enhance multicultural interpersonal relationships in work and everyday life
  9. Display respect for other ways of life and an understanding of ethnocentrism


Students will find classes in the following areas useful to the appreciation of anthropological course work: history, ancient civilizations, art history, biology, geography, earth science, foreign languages and social studies.

Transfer students with previous course work in anthropology should consult with an advisor to determine which courses are transferable for lower and upper division units towards completion of the major or minor.