- Areas of Study
- About A&S
- Faculty & Staff
- Cultural Initiatives
- Research Initiatives
- Faculty and Staff
- Program Overview
- Program Requirements
- Course Descriptions
- Current Offerings
Our anthropologists pursue questions that involve the study of fossil and archaeological records, the interplay between historical, social and cultural factors in present day populations, as well as numerous aspects of the diverse cultural traditions and languages of world peoples (including ethnic and socioeconomic groups within the larger American society).
Subdisciplines of anthropology include:
- Sociocultural anthropology (the study of contemporary societies)
- Physical or biological anthropology (the study of human evolutionary biology and human variation)
- Archaeology/prehistory (the study of past human societies and cultural traditions)
- Anthropological linguistics (the study of language and its relationship with all culture)
Anthropologists receive training in all subdisciplines and take an "interdisciplinary approach" in their research and teaching. In recent decades, more and more anthropologists do applied work at home and abroad, in areas such as forensic science, medicine, law, international development, cultural resources management, and social services.
What Students Learn
Our program represents anthropology as a broad interdisciplinary field, integrating the methods, approaches and explanatory goals of the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. We are well situated to help meet national and regional calls to "globalize" the curriculum and to train an increasingly diverse student population. Our curriculum is explicitly shaped by our conviction that every student who graduates from our program should be able to recognize and articulate the holistic, integrative, and comparative nature of anthropology and its unique perspectives, with special awareness of the ethics related to research and fieldwork. Further, students should have a familiarity (through direct hands on experience) with the basic research methods and central tenets of our discipline. These tenets include:
- Cultural and biological diversity and evolution
- Ethnocentrism and relativism
- Issues of human rights
- Contemporary social problems
Emphasis in all of our courses is placed on communication skills, interpretation and analysis of evidence, as well as presentation of arguments and data.
We are dedicated to providing a strong, carefully integrated undergraduate (Bachelor of Arts) program within the College of Arts & Sciences that contributes directly to the central liberal arts mission of the University.
The Anthropology Department offers a broad spectrum of courses (ranging from large introductory, Essential Studies classes to smaller upper division courses) in cultural anthropology, archaeology & prehistory, and biological anthropology. Experiential learning is central to our curriculum.
We provide, in all of our courses, opportunities for laboratory analysis, interviewing and mini ethnographic fieldwork projects, archaeological and forensic fieldwork projects, and/or individual and team based research projects. Our faculty attempt to inspire curiosity; strongly encourage critical thinking; demand student competence in reading, writing and oral and graphic presentation; and require use of library, archival and scholarly electronic resources.
Our affiliated cultural resources management (CRM) research unit (called Anthropology Research) is recognized across the state and beyond for its contribution to North Dakota (and North American) archaeology. Anthropology Research specializes in prehistoric contract archeology. Its primary mission is to assist federal and state agencies and private companies to comply with various federal and state laws and regulations governing historic preservation and the proper treatment of cultural resources, including prehistoric and historic archaeological sites and historic architectural and engineering properties. The most important of these laws is the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and its implementing regulations. This unit serves an important role in training our students in archaeological field techniques through a summer field school and in providing professional field and lab experience, as well. Anthropology Research is a self-funding unit that relies entirely on outside grants and contracts for its funding.
The interdisciplinary Forensic Science Program (requiring or suggesting courses in Anthropology, Criminal Justice Studies, Biology, Sociology, Chemistry, Physics, and Anatomy) is designed to provide students from varied backgrounds with a curriculum in the general forensic sciences. This background prepares students for graduate work in the forensic sciences and/or for entry-level career opportunities in criminalistics and law enforcement.