Minor in Anthropology
The Anthropology Department at the University of Kansas
Anthropologists are concerned with the origin, history, and future of the human species. Our mission is to further our understanding of past and present human societies in their cultural, biological, and environmental contexts. As flows of people, ideas, money, and goods are crossing borders at unprecedented speeds, we are encountering human diversity now, more than ever before. The discipline provides students the knowledge and skills they will need to navigate these complex, multicultural, and rapidly changing worlds. Because we study what it is to be human, the field is one of the most wide-ranging of the academic disciplines.
There are four main subdisciplines of anthropology: Archaeology is concerned with studying the human past based on the material culture left behind. Biological or physical anthropology is concerned with human evolution and variation. Linguistic anthropology focuses on the relationship between language and culture, as well as the documentation of the history and evolution of languages over time and across space. Cultural anthropology is concerned with the many ways humans organize themselves to live together, questioning past and present patterns of meaning and power relationships on local and global scales. Anthropologists across all of the subdisciplines apply holistic, comparative, and evolutionary perspectives and a range of methodologies in their research. We are committed to fieldwork and the application of this knowledge to helping people better understand one another.
Why Study Anthropology?
Students have many reasons for wanting to major in anthropology. Some are curious about the origins of the human species. Others are fascinated the diversity of human experiences in ancient and modern periods. Some students intend to pursue international careers, where they will use languages and work in cultural contexts very different from those in which they were raised. Others plan to work in museums collecting and curating human cultural resources. Some wish to pursue graduate training in one of the field’s subdisciplines, while others seek to use their anthropological training as preparation for professional schools, including law, medicine, public health, journalism, business, and engineering. There are many professions where the broad scientific, humanistic, and multicultural knowledge available through the study of anthropology can be useful—in education, healthcare, law, social work, business, human resources, public affairs, cultural resource management, or laboratory research.
Anthropological Research Opportunities at KU
- KU Anthropological Genetics Research Laboratories: Beginning with the construction of a state-of-the-art aDNA lab in 2016, our facilities now include a contemporary DNA laboratory, and multiple teaching laboratories for molecular methods and traditional osteological and paleoanthropological classes. Our research foci are on human and non-human population histories and paleoecological reconstruction from sedimentary DNA. We prioritize ethical principles and cultural sensitivity in working in close collaboration with all partners.
- Archaeological Research Center: Located in historic Spooner Hall on the main campus, the archaeology laboratory offers research space and support to Anthropology faculty and graduate students, Archaeology staff, Museum Studies interns, affiliate curators and research associates and visiting scholars.
- Field Schools: Anthropology faculty offer field schools in archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. Undergraduates and graduate students have conducted independent and collaborative research in the United States, including Alaska; Mexico, Central, and South America; sub-Saharan Africa; and Asia.
For specific questions about our program, please contact us:
The University of Kansas
Department of Anthropology
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.,
622 Fraser Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
Phone: (785) 864-2630
Fax: (785) 864-5224