Majors & Programs


Degrees Offered: BA Minor

Anthropology is a holistic science dedicated to the study of human cultural and biological diversity. Its five sub-fields are: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, applied anthropology, and archaeology. Anthropologists study human beings in all times and places from their biological make-up and material cultural adaptations to their institutions, behaviors and understanding about the world. Anthropologists investigate human variation and its biological basis by exploring modern human adaptations, our nonhuman primate relatives and the fossil evidence for human evolution. Anthropologists also examine human culture and the relationships between language and culture and, through the discovery of archaeological artifacts, interpret the development of cultures from their earliest origins to the present.

At Humboldt, students acquire a solid foundation in anthropology and are well prepared to enter and succeed in advanced degree programs. Some topics that our classes cover include colonization and post-colonial reality, the cultural construction of race and ethnicity, ritual and religion, gender and sexuality, economic anthropology, anthropology of development, cultural resource management, environmental archaeology, North American and Mesoamerican archaeology, evolution, nonhuman primate behavior and ecology, human biology, paleoanthropology, forensic anthropology, and evolutionary medicine. Students have the opportunity to participate in summer field schools and in internships as part of the major. The regional areas we cover include Asia (China, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), Africa, Oceania (Australia and the Pacific), North America and Latin America.

Students at Humboldt have an opportunity to make international or applied experience an integral part of their anthropology undergraduate degree. Many students have spent time at universities in China (learning the language and culture or taking courses in archaeology), in Costa Rica (engaged in field primatology), in Belize (engaging in field archaeology), or on international exchange or independent study programs. At Humboldt, archaeology students have the opportunity to participate in local surveys and excavations, and work with local museums, government agencies, and Native American Tribes. Students can receive up to 9 units of Anthropology major credit for one semester of international study or 12 total for 2 semesters. We will also help students identify courses they may use to satisfy GE requirements with international study. Faculty are always developing additional opportunities for international experience in England, Latin America and South Asia. Our students acquire a broad understanding of human nature and society and are encouraged to complete related courses in other disciplines. An anthropology degree gives students analytic and research skills that provide an ideal basis for employment in any field of international or national public service or community relations.