Archaeology and Anthropology

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 Kate Grillo and Family

Anthropology is a holistic discipline that examines humans and the human experience in the past and in the present.  Anthropology is divided into 4 subfields that engage a different aspect of humanity:

  1. cultural anthropologists study the diversity of contemporary human cultures around the world;
  2. archaeologists use material culture to study human pasts;
  3. biological or physical anthropologists apply an evolutionary perspective to explore the diversity of contemporary human bodies as well as past, human-like species; and
  4. linguistic anthropologists analyze past and present languages.

The anthropology program at UWL is designed to provide a comprehensive historical and cultural perspective on contemporary human problems. We provide undergraduates with hands-on training in each of the sub-disciplines of Anthropology and offering a wide array of cultural and international experiences, with the end goal of instilling lifelong cross-cultural understandings. Our faculty research spans the globe and includes the anthropology of Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and the former Soviet Union. Courses in our program span all four subfields, including Language, Power, and Inequality; Pastoralists; Introduction to Physical Anthropology; Medical Anthropology; Rites, Rituals, and Ceremonies; and Anthropology of Food, to name just a few.

There are several other UWL departments that also offer minors which enrich our Cultural Anthropology Program. The International Studies minor draws from multiple fields and complements the cross-cultural perspective of anthropology. The Linguistics minor is offered by the Department of English, and provides students an interdisciplinary understanding of language that benefits anthropology students interested in language and other forms of human communication. Other complementary minors include history, foreign languages, area studies, geography, and biology. See the UWL Undergraduate Catalog for details on these minors.

Have you ever wondered if what you’ve been learning in other courses apply to people who live in Nepal, Mozambique, Bolivia, Egypt, Micronesia, or Mexico?  Because anthropologists study the diversity of human beings all over the globe, anthropology gives students an international perspective on human behavior.  This gives students who study anthropology a distinct advantage in our increasing global economy.  Prospective employers in a broad range of fields, such as education, business, health, and social service organizations, want to know that their employees understand what it means to work in a global world.  Anthropology will give you the foundation to understand the cultural, social, and historical complexities of human problems.  

U.S. News & World Report ranks Anthropologist among the Top 10 Best Science Jobs for 2018 (#5). The median salary for Anthropologists is $63,190, the unemployment rate is only 2.4%, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the fields to grow 3% between 2016-2026.

Anthropologists can be found in a surprising array of fields and careers as training in the field provides a great background for understanding, working with, and assessing cultural differences.  People working in all walks of life have used their training in Anthropology, including former President Barak Obama's mother. Anthropologists can be found in corporations, all levels of government, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. For example, studying Anthropology is good preparation for Medical School. Check out this podcast from Minnesota Public Radio, where UWL's Peter Stovall is told that a background in Anthropology sets students apart when applying for medical school (beginning at the 43:20 mark). 

Today there are four main career paths for anthropology graduates:
  • Local, national, and international non-profit organizations
  • Corporate and business careers
  • Government
  • Education

For more information, see our Resources for Students page.