Anthropology seeks to understand the nature and origins of human biological variability, cultural diversity and social formations through systematic exploration, scientific examination and the application of theory to human populations and their artifacts, including their social configurations, past and present.
Although anthropology has historically been most successful in the analysis of small sociocultural systems, its current challenge is to situate the direct objects of study in their global contexts in both space and time. The discipline draws freely on various fields of study in the humanities and in the social and natural sciences, and its diversity today is such that no single central mission earns a wide consensus. While training in the traditional four subfields of archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology and social/cultural anthropology are offered in the department, students are encouraged to specialize along tracks that cross these sub-disciplinary boundaries as they pursue the MA degree, the MS degree in biomedical anthropology or the PhD.
A central objective of graduate training in anthropology is the ability to develop an original research design and to communicate the research findings in a research paper, thesis or dissertation of publishable quality. To this end, all recipients of graduate degrees submit and defend formal written demonstration of their ability to apply appropriate analysis to an original research project, except for the MS degree for which an oral demonstration of ability is required.
Last Updated: 8/20/12