What is ANTHROPOLOGY?
Anthropology may be defined as the scientific study of the human condition—an exploration of the biological, social, and cultural aspects of our species in the past, present, and future. Anthropology prepares students to be global citizens in a rapidly changing and multi-cultured world. Described as the most humanistic of the social sciences and the most scientific of the humanities, anthropology is unique among academic disciplines in its attention to the entire human condition and its holistic approach to the study of human life. Anthropologists apply the knowledge gained from this perspective to try to solve current domestic and world problems. Likewise, this perspective and the skills it develops are important to people working in the arts, social services, education, public affairs, business and politics.
Students who are interested in anthropology would like to better understand themselves and people who are different from them. They’re curious about human nature and human diversity. They want to learn more about what people around the world have in common and understand why people around the world live differently from one another. Students who have excelled at social studies, English, or biology in high school would likely enjoy anthropology.
Because of its wide range of subject matter, anthropology is organized into four subfields that share a common focus on humankind and form a unified academic discipline. Students in our program develop a general knowledge of anthropology and have the option to gain more specific in-depth knowledge in the subfield of their choice. Linguistics courses are offered through the Department of Linguistics.
The subfield options are:
Archaeological anthropology, involving the excavation, description,
analysis, and interpretation of extinct cultures.
Sociocultural anthropology, which focuses on the description, analysis,
and interpretation of existing cultures, and is interested in both particular
and universal features of these cultures.
Biological anthropology, which is concerned with human beings as biological
organisms from the past to the present.
By virtue of their common focus on humankind, these subfields form a unified academic discipline. Undergraduate students are expected to acquaint themselves with a general knowledge of anthropology while they gain a more in-depth knowledge in the subfield of their choice.