Four Fields Approach

Dr. Card and students outside performing a mapping exercise

Our teaching is rooted in the traditional American, four-field approach to anthropology. Every student receives an introduction to the theory and methods of archaeology as well as biological, linguistic and cultural anthropology. Students then choose their upper division classes from among our interdisciplinary "clusters," following their own unique interests.


Archaeology allows us to glimpse into the tangible world of our past. Through careful and meticulous field work, archaeologists extract materials from the earth, from pottery to stone tools, that offer material evidence of how people interacted with their environment at different times in different parts of the globe.

Biological Anthropology

By focusing on the biological aspects of human beings and their primate cousins, the field of bioanthropology investigates such topics as human evolution and adaptation, as we seek to understand what makes us biologically human. Often times we look to our closest animal relatives, a practice known as primatology, to learn more about ourselves.

Linguistic Anthropology

Linguists explore the whole range of human communication, from speech to gesture to electronic media. Linguistic anthropologists aim to see how human beings use language and other tools to communicate, understand and create their social environments.

Cultural Anthropology

Human beings live in worlds of meaning, inherited from the past but also continually recreated. By studying human beings within their own cultural environments, we learn how meanings are created, passed on, used and transformed. Cultural anthropology studies the interconnected processes that are part of every human being's existence, by studying how those processes influence the places in which we live, and the lives we lead.