Skip to main content


Together, the Department of Anthropology’s programs and concentrations offer the undergraduate student one of the best introductions possible to our biological and cultural pasts and to our contemporary world. Anthropology majors thus develop the written and oral skills needed to live and work in a complex world marked by an accelerated rate of environmental, social, and cultural change. Anthropology majors also acquire general knowledge and skills valued within a large number of occupations and professions, including but not limited to professional anthropology.

Students planning a major in anthropology should inform the department’s director of undergraduate studies and should consult with the director of undergraduate studies on a regular basis once in the major. Undergraduate students may also be interested in courses within the Archaeology and Medical Anthropology programs, which are formally part of our graduate program.

*Please note that you may double-major in Anthropology and some other field. If you decide to enroll in anthropology as a second major, you should inform our department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Society of Undergraduate Anthropologists (SUA) is a student group on campus to bring together majors, minors and others who might be interested in anthropology.

From Academic Advising’s Fall into your Major

For more details about our course offerings for the academic year, please visit the university’s Undergraduate Bulletin.

Medical Anthropology

Learn what Medical Anthropology can do for pre-med students here!

Medical anthropology addresses the biological, cultural, and political-economic dimensions of health, illness, and healing historically and at present. Reflecting the multi-disciplinary character of its parent field of anthropology, medical anthropology deploys quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the body as a site of evolutionary processes and cultural symbols, and healing as interpretive processes at macro, meso, and micro levels.

This program provides students with the fundamental knowledge and exposure needed to pursue careers and post-graduate studies in fields related to global health, public health, allied health care and health and human services, medicine, dentistry, and other emerging disciplines.

For students seeking a career in the health professions, the program in medical anthropology complements training in the natural sciences. Courses in medical anthropology explore population variations in health outcomes due to the influence of culture. The curriculum also equips students with ways to understand the meanings people find in illness and healing and the moral stakes of medical decisions. Additionally, courses in medical anthropology give students awareness of the formal institutions and social relations that become the channels and limitations of technical knowledge about illness and healing.

Upon completion of the medical anthropology program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the relationships between humans’ health and historical, biocultural, and societal dynamics
  • Demonstrate understanding of the ways comparative cultural and historical experiences impact health-related values and practices, definitions of illness, and methods of healing
  • Demonstrate competence in reading, analyzing, and communicating social science research on health
  • Gain experience conducting and/or applying research using medical anthropology’s methods
  • Gain an understanding of medical anthropology’s relationships to the holistic, parent discipline of anthropology and its contributions to applied professional fields such as medicine and global health.

Research and Program Themes

  • Biomedical anthropology
  • Critical analyses of health development, NGOs, and humanitarianism
  • Critical studies of disability
  • Evolutionary developmental biology
  • Evolutionary medicine
  • Growth and development
  • Historical epidemiology
  • Human ecology
  • Life history theory
  • Political economies of health
  • Science as social forms of knowledge and power
  • State power, health care systems, and the boundaries of citizenship
  • Paleopathology