Anthropology is the study of human groups, both ancient and modern, in their cultural and biological context. The field takes a global look at human cultures from prehistoric times to the present, integrating findings from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. Although anthropology is related to subjects like biology, classics, geography, history, psychology and sociology, the discipline is unique in its attempt to synthesize and compare knowledge about the human experience.
Anthropology offers perspectives and knowledge for a variety of careers. Graduates of anthropology are well-qualified for positions that require an understanding of the cultures and subcultures that exist in contemporary society. Career options include entry-level positions in fields such as education, city management, health care delivery, advertising, market research, foreign service, journalism, public relations, library work, government service and personnel management.
The undergraduate anthropology program leads to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Students of the program learn about the variety of cultures throughout human history, as well as in the present, and the meaning of human biological and cultural development. The various fields of anthropology—archaeology, cultural anthropology and physical anthropology—prepare graduates for advanced study or for a variety of careers that make use of knowledge of people and cultures. Basic course work for the major begins with three courses that introduce the principles of anthropology, including Introduction to Archaeology, Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Frontiers of Cultural Anthropology.
Laboratory work is an optional component of the program. In the physical anthropology laboratory setting, students are exposed to accurate reproductions of physical specimens as a means of comparing primate morphology and adaptation. Archaeology laboratory courses and a summer field school offer opportunities to learn hands-on skills and methods in the study of prehistoric societies. Students have the opportunity to earn course credit while doing field-work for ANTH 4350 (Archaeological Field and Laboratory Research) during the summer.
The Department of Anthropology offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees with specializations in the sub-disciplines of archaeology, biological anthropology and cultural anthropology. Students who acquire an advanced degree are equipped to transmit to others the knowledge, central principles, theories and research methods that have been developed in the discipline of anthropology.
Successful candidates will have a reasonable knowledge of the historical development of general anthropological concepts and theory and of directly relevant concepts and knowledge from related disciplines. In addition, successful candidates for the doctoral degree are expected to carry out and report original anthropological research within a circumscribed area of specialization. They are also expected to be capable of teaching the precepts of their specialty and guiding future candidates for the doctoral degree through a program of research training.
Departmental resources and facilities that support the educational process include well-equipped laboratories and access to the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, which is a primary resource for teaching and research. The museum houses extensive collections from the American Southwest and other areas of the world.
In addition, the department’s summer field school in archaeology uses sites throughout the southwestern U.S. and the Great Plains, giving students a unique opportunity to gain experience in archaeology, physical anthropology and cultural anthropology. The department sponsors other opportunities for students at the undergraduate level such as clubs, internships, study abroad programs, credit for teaching anthropology and graduating with honors in the major.