Undergraduate Anthropology Program

Anthropology studies what it means to be human, and how humans make meaning. Anthropologists look at people from all angles: how they come to be, what they create, and how they give significance to their lives. Anthropology explores, and sometimes questions, the distinctions between nature and culture, the human and the animal, "them" and "us". At the center of the discipline are questions of physical evolution and adaptability, material evidence for past life ways, similarities and differences among past and present peoples, and the political and ethical dilemmas of studying cultures. Anthropology is a rich and integrative discipline that prepares students to live and work effectively in a diverse and increasingly interconnected world.

The Anthropology undergraduate program incorporates three subfields of Anthropology: Anthropological Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology and Biological Anthropology. Students take courses in all three subfields in order to develop a multifaceted perspective on being human. Link to our courses to learn about classes offered in the department, where you can analyze "Culture through Food," study "Ancient DNA" and ponder "Primate Behavior." Explore "The European Conquest of the Americas" while developing skills in "Zooarchaeology" and honing your abilities to understand the complexities of "California Pasts" and "Black Queer Culture." Witness "India and Indian Diaspora through Film" while demystifying stereotypes of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America and other peopled places. We also offer opportunities for Field Studies in all three subfields.

Because anthropology offers critical perspectives on the diversity of human experience - and how to think, write and talk about it - it is an excellent major for students considering careers that involve communication, writing, and critical analysis of information and high levels of cultural interaction. Anthropology graduates pursue careers in fields such as activism, advertising, city planning, community development, cultural resource management, education, environmental consulting, forensics, journalism, law, marketing, medicine, museums, politics, public health, social work, systems analysis and writing. Students interested in research and teaching in Anthropology usually go on to graduate school, as professional employment in the field normally demands an advanced degree.

UC Santa Cruz is internationally recognized for faculty leadership in undergraduate education, and a substantial proportion of Anthropology faculty have received awards for excellence in teaching. To learn more about professors in the department, please visit our faculty page.

See Also