Mar 04, 2024  
2013-2015 University Catalog 
2013-2015 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Anthropology, Department of

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Acting Department Chair

Mitch Avila

Department Office/Website

McCarthy Hall 426


John Bock, Brenda Bowser, Robey Callahan, Barbra Erickson, Peter Fashing, Tricia Gabany-Guerrero, Steven James, Sara Johnson, Edward Knell, Joseph Nevadomsky, Nga Nguyen, Susan Parman, John Patton, Elizabeth Pillsworth, Karen Stocker, Carl Wendt


Anthropology is the scientific and humanistic study of humans, our ancestors and our nonhuman primate relatives. Anthropologists are interested in a wide range of human activities, including communication and language, economics, political organization, religion, the arts, philosophy, education, health and nutritional practices, social organization, marriage, child rearing and development, science and technology. Anthropology fosters the study of people from all over the world as they live now, and in the prehistoric and historic past. A major goal of anthropology is to understand people living in relationship with their environment. Through an integrative analysis of evolution, adaptation and variation in terms of biology, culture, language and behavior, anthropologists understand the totality of the human experience. In our department, the four subfields of anthropology emphasize: application of evolutionary theory to understanding behavioral and physiological interaction with their ecological, social and cultural contexts; cultural practices and beliefs; development and use of language and symbols; and evidence regarding these areas from past times. Faculty also focus on areas such as primate conservation, cultural resource management and applied anthropology.

The major in Anthropology is designed to prepare students for advanced degrees in Anthropology, as well as for positions in the private and public sector. Social service, marketing research, museum work, health professions, cultural resources management, primate conservation and international development are some of the areas that offer many opportunities for anthropology graduates.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The following learning goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a degree in Anthropology:

Information, Communication and Leadership Skills

  • Identify and access information resources and technology to research current issues in all four subfields of anthropology
  • Produce written communication that is characterized by clarity, insight, the proper citation of sources and strict adherence to the basic rules of grammar, syntax and spelling
  • Produce written communication that interprets information in an effective manner
  • Demonstrate leadership and teamwork in a diverse environment

Interpret, Analyze and Synthesize

  • Apply the holistic and comparative perspective inherent in anthropological knowledge to real world problems
  • Apply the principles of neo-Darwinism and evolutionary ecology to understand adaptation, variation, and evolution in the human lineage
  • Discriminate among anthropological theories on a continuum from universalism to relativism
  • Analyze the elements of cultural identity for a specific group
  • Interpret past human activity using anthropological theory and the principles of archeological fieldwork
  • Evaluate the effect of ecological conditions on human behavior and adaptation as well as the impact of human activity on the environment


  • Understand and apply professional and ethical standards in research design and implementation

Research Skills and Knowledge

  • Develop research question or problem statement within a theoretical framework
  • Compare and select appropriate research design and methods
  • Identify appropriate sampling frame
  • Perform data collection and analysis both quantitative and qualitative specific to all four subfields of anthropology

International Aspects of Anthropology

Anthropology is inherently international in scope, drawing on worldwide, cross-cultural comparisons for understanding culture and what it means to be human. We offer an inter-disciplinary perspective to promote an understanding of globalization and transnationalism. The department encourages study in different cultures and will provide, where appropriate, academic credit for participation in academic programs and supervised research abroad.

Programs and Courses Offered


    Bachelor of ArtsMaster of ArtsNon-Degree



      Courses are designated as ANTH in the class schedule.

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