Are you interested in understanding the extraordinary diversity seen in human culture, behavior, and biology? Do you wonder how different and/or shared human experiences affect our views of the world? Are you curious about your own origins, both in the recent and deep past? Anthropology, the study of humans, addresses these questions. Courses offered by the Department of Anthropology span the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities to provide a broad understanding of human nature and diverse societies in the past and present. As a result, the Department of Anthropology enrolls more than 4,000 students in 50-60 undergraduate courses, and has approximately 350 undergraduate majors. A listing of our course offerings can be found on the year long course offerings. Multiple courses offered by the department fulfill Science Group (SC), Social Science Group (SSC), and Multicultural Group (American Cultures or AC, International Cultures or IC, and Identity, Pluralism & Tolerance or IC) requirements, as listed on the Course Descriptions page. We offer three concentrations that coincide with the three subfields represented here in our department – archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. Within each concentration students have the option to structure their curriculum around clusters of courses related to particular interests. Want to meet Anthropology students at UO? Join the UO Undergraduate Anthropology Club!
Concentration in Archaeology
Archaeologists study human societies of the past through the buildings, objects, landscapes, and trash they left behind. Archaeologists map abandoned cities, dig up ancient buildings, use high tech compositional analyses to find out where stone tools and pots were made, and reconstruct ancient diets through the identification of tiny fragments of animal bones & seeds. Students interested in archaeology typically start by taking World Archaeology (Anth 150) which surveys archaeological sites around the world or Principles of Archaeology (Anth 145) which provides an introduction to how archaeologists reconstruct past societies. At the upper division level, students take classes on the archaeology of specific regions, e.g., Africa, Northwest Coast, Southeast Asia or East Asia; on the research questions archaeologists explore world-wide, such as Food Origins, Ancient Cities, or Seacoasts; and on the methodologies/professional skills employed by archaeologists, for example Zooarchaeology, Archaeobotany, and Museums. In addition to regular courses, archaeology students are strongly encouraged to enroll in field schools or volunteer in archaeology laboratories in the Anthropology Department and/or Museum of Natural and Cultural History to gain hands-on experience with archaeological research. For further information, students are encouraged to contact relevant archaeology faculty. Students may also obtain additional information on undergraduate opportunities by contacting Advising and Mentoring.
Concentration in Biological Anthropology
Biological anthropologists study human biology from an evolutionary perspective in order to understand the origins of our own species as well as the underpinnings of human biological variation. This includes comparative studies of modern human populations inhabiting different environments, paleontological research conducted in the field and in museum collections, studies of non-human primates in their natural habitats, and cross species comparisons of human and non-human primate biology. The undergraduate program in biological anthropology offers a wide range of introductory and advanced classes that can be grouped into three different topical clusters – Human Biology and Health, Paleoanthropology, and Primatology. In addition to regular courses, individual biological anthropology faculty often offer independent study courses or research experiences to advanced undergraduate students. Those who choose the biological anthropology concentration will emerge with a background that will aid them in pursuing careers in pre-health, medical, and animal and wildlife fields. Students may also obtain additional information on undergraduate opportunities by contacting Advising and Mentoring.
Concentration in Cultural Anthropology
Cultural anthropologists seek to comprehend how and why people think, feel, and act in cultures all over the world, how cultural changes occur, and the role power plays in our lives. Research in cultural anthropology includes ethnographic methods as well as comparative and historical analyses. Topical interests among the faculty include globalization; gender; social movements; ethnicity; identity and representation; nationalism, heritage; migration, tourism; political economy; indigenous rights and human rights; expressive culture and performance; environment; medical anthropology; evolutionary psychology; and development. The undergraduate program in cultural anthropology offers a wide range of introductory and advanced courses that can be grouped into three different clusters – Inequality and Power, Engaging Communities, and Global Cultural Connections. Students who choose the cultural anthropology concentration gain a better understanding of themselves, their cultures, and their world-views and become empowered to work for positive change in their society and beyond. Check out our course offerings and come see us to learn more about cultural anthropology! Students may also obtain additional information on undergraduate opportunities by contacting Advising and Mentoring.