Anthropology program

mUndergrad minor

Are you interested in helping solve social problems?

With a background in anthropology, your future career could involve helping to eliminate poverty and inequality, bridging cross-cultural understanding or promoting environmental sustainability.

Cultural anthropology is the study of contemporary peoples and cultures worldwide. While an anthropologist's insights are desirable for the workforce, they also contribute to greater understanding of humanity — at all times and places.

In UWL's Cultural Anthropology minor, students learn to examine cultural and historical contexts to help solve social problems that matter to them. The program offers hands-on training and access to a wide array of cultural and international experiences. The end goal is to instill lifelong cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

What is anthropology?

Anthropology is a social science that examines humans and the human experience — both past and present.

It has four main subfields.

  • Cultural anthropology
  • Biological anthropology
  • Linguistic anthropology
  • Archaeology

Cultural anthropology examines contemporary human cultures around the globe and seeks cross-cultural understanding of all human groups.

I could not have been happier with my experience at UWL. As a high school history teacher, I frequently tell the students I teach about my time there, and I stress how important it is to pick a program that will challenge you and help you throughout your career. This program was instrumental in helping prepare me for a career I love.

Liz Thomas

Anthropology jobs

Anthropology regularly ranks in US News & World Report's Top 10 Jobs in Science. Companies and organizations are increasingly hiring anthropology students for their skills in building trust with people, in valuing diverse perspectives, and in examining the complexities of human problems around the world.

Students who study anthropology are typically interested in careers that solve social problems, such as developing policies and programs to eliminate poverty and inequality; providing culturally-relevant healthcare services; promoting diversity and inclusion in K-12 classrooms; working toward environmental sustainability; safeguarding human rights for vulnerable groups such as immigrants and refugees; campaigning for a fair and just economic system; and more.

Work settings

  • Humanitarian non-profit organizations
  • Corporations and business environments
  • State and local government
  • K-12 education
  • Research institutions
  • Public health and medicine
  • International development and relations
  • AmeriCorps
  • Peace Corps
  • Disaster aid
  • Community organizer/developer
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

What distinguishes UWL's cultural anthropology program?

Hands-on training in the field

Students in UWL's program learn a variety of anthropological methods in courses through internships and research assistantships, as well as independent research projects guided by cultural anthropology faculty. This training provides graduates with direct experiences in examining people’s behaviors, beliefs and values.

Collaborate with internationally-engaged faculty

UWL's program has attracted internationally-respected professors with specializations in Egypt, the South American Andes, Mesoamerica, the Dominican Republic, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and North America. Active research engagement provides a rich array of international experiences for students, providing them with practical anthropological, archaeological and ethnographic methods

World-class lab and technology

World-class laboratory facilities and cutting-edge technologies provide students with unmatched practical experience and technical skills applicable in archaeology, anthropology and an array of different professions.

International experiences

In UWL's program gives students a solid background for assessing, understanding and working with cultural differences. In addition to learning about the variety of human cultures within courses, students are encouraged to join faculty-led international programs or travel abroad with other UWL programs. 

Apply for scholarships, research grants

Scholarships are available for students including the Archaeology Scholarship, Maurice and Elizabeth Graff Scholarship and the Scott Carnes Memorial Scholarship. Many students also take advantage of the UWL Undergraduate Research Grant to help fund their own research in the U.S. and abroad.

Great skills for the job market

Increasingly companies and organizations are hiring anthropology students because they know how to build trust with people and help people understand that diversity is a benefit to their organizations. Anthropology graduates value people's insight and see change as a process that requires input from multiple groups — those with and without power. They also know that context matters; Just because a problem was solved in one way with one group does not mean that the same solution will work with another group with a different history, different politics, different beliefs, etc.

Diverse courses to choose from

UWL's program offers a wide variety of courses that focus on people's diverse practices related to food, medicine, language, childhood and adolescence, media, ways of making a living, politics, migration and immigration, religion and ritual. Courses also cover peoples and cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe and the former Soviet Union, and North America. 

Large department with diverse experts

Department faculty include seven full-time anthropologists and archaeologists. The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center employs an addition seven professional archaeologists. This size of faculty and staff is typical of much larger institutions than UWL, so the program has an extremely impressive array of diverse experts for an institution of UWL's size.

Alumni attest to program quality

Perhaps the best evidence of the quality of UWL's program is the extraordinary testimonials from graduates.

Sample courses