What Is Anthropology?


Anthropology is the study of humans in all their diversity and of cultures of all regions of the world, past and present. It is based on first-hand field experience, whether studying a culture in a distant land, working on an archaeological dig, or observing non-human primates in the wild. The Rutgers anthropology faculty has carried out field research and has expertise in areas across the globe, including Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, North America, and South and East Asia.

Because anthropology seeks to understand humans fully, it is divided into four subfields:

  • archaeology
  • biological anthropology
  • cultural anthropology
  • linguistic anthropology

The Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick offers a wide range of exciting courses in each of these subfields. Through taking anthropology courses students broaden their familiarity with diverse ways of human life, both in the past and present.

The Department offers both an undergraduate and a graduate degree program.

Undergraduate students can pursue a major in anthropology in one of three ways:

Three undergraduate minors are available:

Training in the Graduate Program in Anthropology leads to the M.A. degree and the Ph.D. degree. The graduate program is divided into two broad core strengths: cultural anthropology and evolutionary anthropology.

The Anthropology Department learning goals are:

  1. Students gain knowledge that will allow them to identify, explain, and historically contextualize the primary objectives, fundamental concepts, modes of analysis, and central questions in their major field and will be able to demonstrate proficiency in their use of this knowledge.
  2. Students are able to demonstrate proficiency in the use critical thinking skills.
  3. Students are able to demonstrate proficiency using current methods in their major fields, including library research skills.
  4. Students are able to express themselves knowledgeably and proficiently in writing about central issues in their major field.
  5. Students are able to express themselves knowledgeably and proficiently in speaking about central issues in their major field.

The Anthropology Faculty at Rutgers are active scholars, committed to adherence to the highest standards of scholarly inquiry and to furthering anthropological knowledge through first-rate research and teaching. They are the recipients of numerous awards and grants, are widely published, and act as public intellectuals, engaging questions of pressing concern in the public sphere.