Anthropology Program

Despite its relatively small size, the Anthropology Program at Marshall University incorporates a number of resources typically expected of much larger departments.  These include an Archaeological and Ethnological Laboratory, where materials from the MU Archaeological Field School are stored and analyzed.  The program also owns an extensive collection of ethnographic artifacts from all over the world (formerly of the Sunrise Museum in Charleston, WV). We support the work of the Oral History of Appalachia Collection, a vast oral history archive comprised of thousands of interviews conducted in Appalachia over the last 45 years. No other anthropology program in West Virginia has such resources, available for research to both students and faculty, in and out of state.

From the Greek anthropos (“human”) and logia (“study”), anthropology is the study of humankind. For anthropologists, there are few limits on the scope of our inquiry—from distant human origins to the immediacy of our present day.

Though relatively easy to define, anthropology can be tough to describe. Its subject matter is both extraordinary (mortuary practices of the Toraja) and ordinary (anatomy of the human foot). Our focus can be sweeping (the development of language) and minute (use-wear patterns on a prehistoric obsidian tool). As an anthropologist, you may study ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, intravenous drug use in urban Appalachia or corporate culture in a U.S. car manufacturer.

Anthropology provides an educational experience that people use to better understand and find their way in the increasingly complex and often divisive world that we live in today. Because of the integrative and holistic work anthropologists are doing around the world, the products and services people use every day are being designed better, limited environmental resources are managed more effectively, valuable cultural heritage and diverse languages can be preserved for future generations, and human lives are saved through improved healthcare delivery.

The anthropology program at Marshall University seeks to ensure that each student develops a solid foundation in the basic principles, theories and techniques of analysis within the discipline. The curriculum ensures that students are introduced to all four disciplinary subfields: social-cultural anthropology, physical-biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Since students majoring in anthropology vary in their interests and career goals, the curriculum allows for flexibility in developing individual courses of study, including opportunities for involvement in faculty research through course offerings and independent study.

Find the information on this page and more in the MU Anthropology Student Handbook.

Bachelors Major in Anthropology

To graduate with a major in anthropology, a student must take 39 credits of required core classes and electives as described below.  The required core of the anthropology major consists of 24 credits (8 classes):

  • ANT 201 Cultural Anthropology (Offered every term including summer on-campus and on-line)
  • ANT 322 Archaeology (Offered annually)
  • ANT 331 Physical Anthropology (Offered every other year)
  • ANT 361 Ethnographic Methods (Offered every year)
  • ANT 371 Linguistic Anthropology (Offered every year)
  • ANT 491 Theory in Ethnology (Offered every year)
  • ANT 492 Senior Seminar I (Offered every year in the Fall; a professional preparation course)  *Must be taken in sequence, i.e., followed Senior Seminar II
  • ANT 493 Senior Seminar II (Offered every year in the Spring; the Capstone course)

An additional minimum of 15 credits of electives must be chosen from classes with the ANT prefix.

A student with a particular anthropological interest that can be best served by courses without the ANT prefix may suggest a coherent selection of up to 9 credits from such classes to be counted towards the major as electives. A written rationale and plan for such a selection must be presented to and approved by the student’s academic advisor in Anthropology and the department Chair in the student’s junior year or, for those students entering the program at the junior level, at a time stipulated by the Chair

The major in Anthropology has three (optional) Areas of Emphasis: Archaeological Anthropology (AOE Code: LA11); Anthropology of Health (AOE Code: LA12); and, Sociocultural Anthropology (AOE Code: LA13).

Departmental Honors

The very best Anthropology students are encouraged to consider graduating with Departmental Honors. To graduate with honors in Anthropology a student must enroll in two subsequent 3 credit courses for a total of 6 credits over one year; a 3 credit ANT 485 Independent Study and ANT 493 Senior Seminar II (Capstone) will be the ordinary sequence, but if necessary the courses can be taken in the reversed order.

The prerequisites for obtaining permission to pursue the Honors in Anthropology option are: the student must be a declared Anthropology major in Junior or Senior standing, have a GPA in all concluded anthropology classes of a minimum of 3.5, and have a written agreement with a faculty member, who will act as the advisor. In the first term, the student will prepare a study plan and literature review for an independent research project; at the end of the term, this work must be presented to a committee of at least three faculty members who will together determine the grade.

The prerequisites for pursuing the second term of the honors option include: an “A” in the first term, a GPA in all concluded anthropology classes of a minimum of 3.5, and written permission by the advisor. In the second semester, the student will conduct the proposed research project and report her/his findings (the report will ordinarily be a written paper, but can be supplemented by presentations in other media – an exhibition, a film, etc.). At the end of the term, this work must be presented to a committee of at least three faculty members who will together determine the grade. The grade “A” for the work in the second term will be recognized on the students’ official transcript as “Graduating with Honors in Anthropology“.

NOTE: Students DO NOT need to be in the Honors College to pursue Departmental Honors in Anthropology.

Bachelors Minor in Anthropology

The undergraduate Minor in General Anthropology requires 12 credit-hours made of choices from two blocks of courses.  From Block I, students are required to choose two courses (6 hours) from foundational, sub-disciplinary courses: ANT 201; ANT 322; ANT 331; and ANT 371.  From Block II, students are required to choose any two ANT courses (6 hours) from either the 300 or 400 level that are not listed in Block I.  General Anthropology is intended to provide flexibility to explore introductions to four major sub-disciplines of the field and freely sample related upper-level courses in a way that accommodates students with diverse majors ranging from pre-medicine, pre-law, geography, art history, computer science, engineering, business, environmental sciences, to social work.

Block I. Required Courses (6 hrs.)

Choose two of the following Foundational Sub-disciplinary Courses.

  • ANT 201 Cultural Anthropology – Introduction to scientific study of culture with emphasis on cultures of small-scale societies.
  • ANT 322 Archaeology – Introduction to the methods and theory of archaeology.
  • ANT 331 Physical Anthropology – The study of human physical evolution, from the earliest hominins to the present day, based on the study of primatology, human genetics, and the paleontological record.
  • ANT 371 Linguistic Anthropology – Introduction to the theories and methodologies of linguistic anthropology and to language as a cultural phenomenon and form of diversity

Block II. Elective Courses (6 hrs.)

Choose two ANT courses from either the 300 or 400 level that are not listed in Block I.  Students should seek advice from the program and plan for Block II courses that build on choices made in Block I.

Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree – Anthropology Area of Emphasis

The Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree Program is a non-traditional program designed for the adult student. If you need a college degree to advance your career, if you have an associate’s degree and would like to build on that foundation, or if you are seeking intellectual growth or personal achievement, this may be the program for you. If you have earned college credit in the past, but your work or other responsibilities have prevented you from completing your degree, consider a RBA with an Anthropology Area of Emphasis of 18 credits (6 classes):

  • ANT 201 (Cultural Anthropology)
  • ANT 332 (Archaeology)
  • ANT 361 (Ethnographic Methods) or ANT 491 (Theory in Ethnology)
  • 9 additional hours at the 300-400 level.

Masters Degree Programs

Graduate Minor in Anthropology

A minor in anthropology is earned by taking at least 6 credit hours in courses at the 500- or 600- level in Anthropology as approved by the student’s advisor and the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Working with an Anthropology Degree – Careers in Anthropology

According to the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology, demand for college graduates with degrees in anthropology is high. In fact, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked anthropology and archaeology (a subfield of anthropology) as numbers five and six, respectively, on their list of Best Science Jobs.

Anthropologists often can be found in academic careers where they teach and conduct research in programs as varied as public health, ethnic and cultural studies, education and ecology. Our graduates also find rewarding corporate and business careers, where they are sought by some of the world’s most innovative technology companies for their ability to see the “big picture.”

Jobs in local, state and federal government may entail research by archaeologists that assess cultural resources affected by publicly funded projects, forensic anthropologists who consult for law enforcement agencies and medical anthropologists who work for the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization.

Finally, anthropologists contribute to community-based and non-profit organizations that provide essential services in areas such as education, historic preservation, tourism, community development, public health and natural resources.

The types of jobs held by graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology include:

  • Organizational development specialist
  • Community development worker
  • International and humanitarian aid worker
  • Diversity officer
  • Social media specialist
  • Social and market researcher
  • Media planner
  • Foreign service officer
  • Public health specialist
  • Museum/gallery curator
  • Park heritage interpreter
  • Social and cultural impact assessor
  • Cultural resource management worker

Read, watch, and listen to more about what you could do with a degree in anthropology by following this link. See two recent Marshall Anthropology Alumni reflect on their experiences in the program and its value to them as they begin their careers.  For students seeking information on graduate programs in anthropology, check out the eAnthroGuide Institution Search from the American Anthropological Association.

Check out some stories and learn more about the life-altering work of anthropologists.

Here are sites that aggregate some of the latest news in Anthropology and related fields:

The New York Times – Anthropological news articles in the New York Times.

Science Daily – A collection of the latest scientific news articles in Anthropology, health, the environment, and technology.

Alltop: Anthropology – A collection of Anthropological news and blog posts.

Anthropology News – An Anthropology news website maintained by the AAA.

Get connected and find out more at the MU Anthropology Program on LinkedIn.

Quick Links

News and Views

Anthropology Links

RSS Anthropology News

  • Modern activities follow the contours of ancient Teotihuacan 20 September 2021
    A lidar mapping study shows ancient residents of Teotihuacan moved astonishing quantities of soil and bedrock for construction and reshaped the landscape in a way that continues to influence the contours of modern activities in this part of Mexico. The paper also shows how Teotihuacan's engineers re-routed two rivers to align with points of astronomical […]
  • South American musical instruments reflect population relationships 20 September 2021
    A new study provides a systematic review of musical instrument diversity in the archaeological and ethnographic history of the continent, suggesting cultural contact over long geographic distances, and cases of recent extinction.
  • Ancient DNA rewrites early Japanese history -- modern day populations have tripartite genetic origin 17 September 2021
    Researchers have extracted Ancient DNA from human bones to re-write early Japanese history by underlining that modern day populations in Japan have a tripartite genetic origin -- a finding that refines previously accepted views of a dual genomic ancestry.
  • Fossil: New species of otter discovered in Germany 16 September 2021
    Researchers have discovered a previously unknown species of otter from 11.4-million-year-old strata at the Hammerschmiede fossil site.
  • Climatically driven landscape evolution during warm periods 16 September 2021
    Scientists have researched the stability and development of landscapes in the Wendland region of Hanover during the past Eemian Interglacial (warm period) around 120,000 years ago. The Eemian is climatically comparable to predictions for the later 21st century. The basic research therefore serves to understand how landscapes respond to climate changes under natural conditions -- […]
  • Ancient bone tools found in Moroccan cave were used to work leather, fur 16 September 2021
    When researchers first started to look at animal bones from Contrebandiers Cave, Morocco, they wanted to learn about the diet and environment of early human ancestors who lived there between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago. But they soon realized that the bones they had found weren't just meal scraps. They'd been shaped into tools, apparently […]

RSS AAA News Feed

  • Metrics and Publishing an Article
    Published journal authors discuss what the spoken and unspoken metrics of publishing look like in anthropology. The post Metrics and Publishing an Article appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • Raising the Voices of Bilingual and Multilingual Educators
    Despite multiple inflexible structures and represented barriers, we were thrilled with the outcome of providing meaningful space for our honored guests at our CAE panel. The post Raising the Voices of Bilingual and Multilingual Educators appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • Hello to Tristes Tropes
    Just how bleak is the academic job market for anthropologists? Job ads over the past twenty years reveal some surprises and point to ways departments are seeking to change themselves and the discipline. The post Hello to Tristes Tropes appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • When Not to Resubmit
    Published authors discuss when to revise and resubmit and when to try a different journal. The post When Not to Resubmit appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • Feminist Lawyers Fighting for Gender Equality in Turkey from within and against the Law
    When employing written laws is vital to advance equity for women. The post Feminist Lawyers Fighting for Gender Equality in Turkey from within and against the Law appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • Responding to Revise and Resubmit
    Published journal authors discuss how they handle revisions and review comments to their articles. The post Responding to Revise and Resubmit appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • AAA Issues Guidelines to Mitigate Effects of Pandemic on Anthropologists
    As universities in the United States begin to return to normal operating conditions, a number of “uneven and potentially long-term effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic will need to be addressed, including expanding categories that count towards tenure or promotion and reinstating salary increases following a successful tenure review, according to guidelines recently adopted by AAA’s […]
  • Crafting and Publishing Theory Articles
    Published authors discuss ways to approach writing and submitting theoretical articles. The post Crafting and Publishing Theory Articles appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • Elliott P. Skinner Book Award Committee Announces Winner and Finalists
    An ethnography of piracy leads an excellent year of scholarship. The post Elliott P. Skinner Book Award Committee Announces Winner and Finalists appeared first on Anthropology News.
  • What’s So Funny about Ohio’s Vaccine Lottery?
    Jokes about Vax-a-Million have been near-ubiquitous in Ohio. How are its residents using this humor with and against each other, and to what communal end? The post What’s So Funny about Ohio’s Vaccine Lottery? appeared first on Anthropology News.

Contact Us

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Smith Hall 727
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755-2678
Tel: 304-696-6700
Fax: 304-696-2803

Jami Smith, Department Administrative Assistant