Bachelor of Arts | College of Arts and Science

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the complete study of humanity. Because people are so complex, anthropology covers a lot of ground—people's origins, customs, languages, social and religious beliefs, and changes over time. These changes can result from human biology and genetics, personality, surrounding environment, or culture. Anthropology looks at all of these aspects of humanity, from prehistoric times to the present.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Practical experience

Miami's program gives you opportunities for fieldwork and international experience in several areas. During the summer, you can get practical experience through excavation of local prehistoric sites. You can also study abroad in India and the Bahamas.

Small class size

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

Special facilities

Students can work in research laboratories in archaeology and physical anthropology.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

For thorough training, you will take courses in all of the following major areas of anthropology before you focus on a specific concentration:

  • Archaeology studies and interprets human societies and cultural patterns of the past. Based on excavated data and known traditions, the archaeologist tries to provide a fuller picture of the past by interpreting what can still be found.
  • Socio-cultural studies how people relate to one another in the patterns and interactions of human social settings. Anthropologists want to know what people do, why and how they do things, and what meaning they give to their actions and to others.
  • Physical or biological studies how culture, heredity, and environment affect the human form. Two Miami primatologists have focused their careers on studying chimpanzees, and many of their students have assisted by observing primate behavior in area zoos. As a result, one recent Miami graduate was invited to work in Africa for a year with Jane Goodall, the internationally known primate expert.
  • Linguistics examines the relationship between language and culture. One Miami professor works with the Miami Indian tribe in this area. Some students have combined an anthropological focus with linguistic studies in English or a foreign language.

We encourage you to work out an individual program of study with the help of a faculty adviser. Because of the flexible requirements, many students also get a second major or a major with a teaching certification.

What can I do with this major?

Because of the broad exposure to the natural sciences and humanities as well as the social sciences, anthropology majors are recognized as having a background which is well-suited for dealing with people and problems of the business and industrial world.

Some graduates go directly into anthropological careers, such as museum work. With an archaeological focus, you may work for a private agency that surveys land where buildings or highways are being constructed, checking for signs of older civilizations and moving the remains. Other students immediately enter graduate school, since a doctoral degree is needed for many positions with universities and museums in teaching and research positions.

Eventually, 30 to 40 percent of our graduates go on to graduate school—some in law, medicine, community planning, government, and social services. Recent Miami graduates are working in health care, occupational safety, travel services, foreign market research, ethnographic photography, multinational business, personnel, and foreign service.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Anthropology
120 Upham Hall
Oxford, OH 45056

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