Anthropology is the study of the complete human experience- past, present, and future. Success in the 21st century requires an understanding of cultural diversity and evolutionary foundations of human behavior and biology within an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Anthropology is especially well suited to provide this perspective through its holistic approach to understanding humanity across time and space. The UNLV Department of Anthropology is committed to academic research and scholarship, the public interest, and graduate and undergraduate education in pursuit of this goal. With a comprehensive and well-integrated curriculum, we are committed to teaching and training students in a way that balances methodological and theoretical approaches in anthropology. Our department also significantly contributes to the mission of the university by offering courses and research programs that are relevant both locally and globally, and by providing an understanding of our shared humanity while acknowledging the remarkable diversity of human cultures around the world.
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Intellectual Breadth and Lifelong Learning
Anthropology provides students with a scientific framework integrating the basic tenets and principles of the natural and social sciences, humanities, and health and medical sciences. Given the inherent interdisciplinary nature of anthropology it provides students with an understanding of the rich and meaningful contexts necessary to formulate relevant scientific problems focusing on the study of human behavior in its multiple sociocultural aspects.
Students in anthropology study human behavior in biological, cultural, and social contexts, both past and present.
- They learn the basic tenets of anthropology and evolution (Encyclopedic knowledge).
- They study the different models of the social sciences to analyze individual and group behavior (Relativistic/pluralistic stance).
- They acquire knowledge about and understanding of the basic components of social and cultural living (Individual/collective reasoning). Thanks to the commitment of our faculty, students are trained in a way that balances practical empirical, and theoretical approaches in anthropology.
Inquiry and Critical Thinking
The anthropology department has faculty in several subfields (archaeology, biological, and cultural). Each subfield investigates sets of overlapping scientific questions using different techniques, tools, models and theories, making our program particularly well suited to help students to grasp the complexity of scientific knowledge. Each of the subfields uses quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as scientific inferences and deductions to gather data and to address research questions. Through carefully developed courses, our faculty transmits knowledge about data gathering, analysis, and the critical review of results to students. Students acquire enhanced skills to logically argue and to critically evaluate explanations of human biological, social, and cultural behavior.
Students in anthropology learn to do research to fulfill course requirements or, in collaboration with our faculty, to develop individual research programs in our in-house laboratories. This hands-on approach allows students to acquire both a general and discipline-specific competence in the comprehension and application of the scientific method. Students also learn how to use campus resources such as the university libraries in their research. The systematic communication of the results of the students' research through essays, term papers, and in-class presentations leads our students to acquire a set of invaluable communication skills for their future careers.
Global/Multicultural Knowledge and Awareness
Students in anthropology learn about the fundamental aspects of human behavior, both past and present. What makes us human? Is there a universal human nature? Human societies are vastly different — why and how so? What is culture? Are there multiple ways to define it? How can we explain and understand cultural multiplicity in our modern world? How can we make sense of humanity's cultural and societal past, and hence enlighten our vision of the present?
The diverse faculty members of the department have research programs that focus on these aspects of the human experience in various places around the world. In our program, students acquire and master three major pillars of the anthropological discipline:
- basic knowledge of human biology, cultural history, and geography (Encyclopedic knowledge
- understanding of the variations in human experience across time and space (Relativistic/pluralistic stance) and
- theories and models about societies' structures, institutions and organizational principles and their impact on individual behavior (Individual/group thinking). Students gain global and cultural awareness while learning skills to allow them to better understand our complex and modern global systems. Students are also encouraged to conduct fieldwork and/or to participate in field schools, providing them with additional skills to be successful in our increasingly interconnected world.
Citizenship and Ethics
The anthropology department provides students with invaluable knowledge about past and extant societies and provides insight into their political, economic and social institutions. This aspect of our curriculum:
- encourages students to appraise contemporary cultures within the USA and worldwide in a new light,
- expands their awareness of their personal place in society and the potential effect they can achieve in the world,
- provides them with the tools and skills to analyze complex issues such as identity, race, gender, and ethnicity, both in the American and international contexts, and
- provides our students with a framework with which to think about cultural diversity in ethical and responsible ways.
The following job titles are related to the field of Anthropology. Some may require study beyond the Bachelor of Arts level. This is not a complete list of possible careers for Anthropology graduates, but simply provides some suggestions of potential career options.
- Archaeologist Surveyor
- Cultural Affairs Director
- Resource Management Analyst
- Foreign Service Officer
- Forensic Scientist
- Service Conservation Officer
- International Development Specialist
- Management Consultant
- Military Officer Cultural
- Museum Curator Diplomat
- Peace Corps Volunteer
- Policy Research & Evaluation Analyst
- Regional Planner Forest
- Social Impact Assessor
- Social Worker
- Urban Planner Journalist
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology
Plans of Study