Bachelor of Arts | College of Arts and Science

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humans.  As a discipline, we integrate science, social science, and humanities perspectives to holistically understand what it means to be human. Individuals and societies are complex and dynamic, which means anthropology covers a lot of ground—including evolutionary origins, material artifacts, socio-cultural practices, language, worldviews, and cultural change over time. Anthropology explores human variation from its origins to the present.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Practical experience

Miami's program emphasizes innovative course experiences, critical engagement with materials, faculty mentoring, and hands-on skill development in a variety of research design and methods. Summer and winter terms provide opportunities for mentored student fieldwork in places such as the Bahamas, Lithuania, India, Ecuador, as well as locally in the Cincinnati area. To support these experiences, our students have been successful in being awarded grants such as Dean's Scholars, Undergraduate Summer Scholars, Undergraduate Research Awards, the Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award, and the Goldman Memorial Prize.

Intensive classes

For majors courses, there are no more than 30 students in each class, and some have as few as 12.

Lab experience

Students can work in research laboratories, including access to extensive skeletal and archaeological collections.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

Our curriculum is designed to foster student curiosity in the field, with over 30 upper level courses so that students can dive deep into their own interests in topics like artifact management, medicine, narrative, politics, primate behavior, and religion, or into world regions like Latin America, Native America, South Asia or the Middle East. Students also gain holistic training in the discipline with core courses that include labs to build skills in each of anthropology's four sub-fields:

  • Archaeology which explores human societies' past and present. Through survey and excavation, material science, and cultural traditions, archaeologists piece together how the past informs humanity's present.
  • Socio-cultural anthropology which studies and compares what people do, why and how they do things, what meaning they give to their actions, and what structural conditions shape local practices. Sociocultural anthropologists use ethnography and mixed methods in order to better understand and appreciate human diversity.
  • Biological anthropology investigates how evolutionary processes and environmental contexts affect the human body and its possibilities. It notably includes primatology, the study of non-human primates. Biological anthropologists examine anatomical, physiological, and behavioral variation to better understand human evolutionary heritage and potential.
  • Linguistic anthropology examines language and communicative practices as central to human coordination and interaction. Linguistic anthropologists detail how communicative practices within cultural settings define and narrate central human concerns with processes such as identity, power, and social change.

Because of our flexible curriculum, many students also pursue a second major, co-major, or minor.

What can I do with this major?

Miami Anthropology students develop a wealth of transferrable skills grounded in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Because of this, our majors are recognized as having distinctive training that is well-suited for dealing with people and problems in diverse career fields. Some enter graduate school for M.A. and/or Ph.D. training in anthropology, museum studies, public health, medicine, and other disciplines. Some head for service-oriented work for 1-2 years with influential organizations, such as Teach for America, Peace Corps, Food Corps, and City Year. Some work for governmental agencies and other public-funded organizations, such as the U.S. Dept. of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Smithsonian, and public zoos. And, some begin jobs by joining corporations and other organizations as experts in behavior, cultural diversity, communication, design research, and heritage preservation.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Anthropology
120 Upham Hall
Oxford, OH 45056