The Anthropology Program is part of the Social Sciences Department and is committed to the highest possible standards in teaching and facilitating learning in a student-centered environment. Anthropologists study human origins, development, culture and behavior. They examine the customs, values and social patterns of different groups around the world, through on-site fieldwork. They also compare the languages, archaeological record and physical/biological characteristics of people in a wide range of societies. While some anthropologists focus on the prehistory and evolution of homo sapiens or investigate the lives of apes, monkeys and other non-human primates, others study current human concerns, such as overpopulation, violence, warfare, and poverty.
Anthropologists usually concentrate on one of four subfields: sociocultural, linguistics, biological/physical anthropology and archaeology. Sociocultural anthropologists study the customs, cultures, and social lives of individuals in groups in settings that range from non-industrialized societies to technologically complex communities in urban centers. Linguistic anthropologists investigate the history of, role of, and changes to, language over time in various cultures. Biological anthropologists research the evolution of the human body, look for the earliest evidences of human life, and analyze how culture and biology influence one another. Physical anthropologists, such as primatologists, study our nearest genetic relative species in order to learn more about our differences and similarities with other primates. Archaeologists examine and recover material evidence, including tools, pottery, cave paintings, the ruins of buildings, and other objects remaining from past human cultures in order to learn about the history, customs, and living habits of earlier civilizations.
Some possible careers:
Cultural anthropologist, interpreter, medical researcher, forensic anthropologist, archaeologist in a private consulting firm or government, primate researcher, and college professor.
Program Student Learning Outcome statement:
Students in the Anthropology Program will be able to:
- Show how the human archaeological past is revealed through the material remains left behind by now extinct societies.
- Explain that culture is a major component of human development.
- Describe why humans are biological creatures and are a natural development of evolutionary forces.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method as it pertains to anthropological investigation and conclusions.