Anthropology is the holistic study of humanity – our cultures, biologies, and environments in both past and contemporary contexts. Our discipline can be practiced anywhere people are present, from urban centers to the most remote places on Earth. Professional anthropologists work at universities, crime labs, archaeological field sites, corporate offices, healthcare centers, and more. The Anthropology program at Southeast is founded on a four-field approach that incorporates sociocultural, archaeological, linguistic, and biological perspectives. If you are fascinated by diversity in human life ways, we invite you to explore the learning and career options available to anthropology students.
Archaeology is the study of past human cultures through material remains. Some archaeologists study how our earliest ancestors lived millions of years ago, while others study human culture in the more recent past. Remains of buildings, food, tools, ritual items, art, texts, and other aspects of material culture all contribute to the archaeological reconstruction and interpretation of the human past.
Cultural Anthropology is the branch of anthropology that specializes in describing, analyzing and understanding the variation among living cultures and the evolutionary processes which result in the vast array of human beliefs and behaviors. Cultural anthropologists’ methods include extended fieldwork, participant-observation, interviewing, and other qualitative techniques.
Linguistic Anthropology is the study of human communication and the ways that it influences and is influenced by culture and society. The ways that human languages are structured and used reveals much about who we are as a species, and how we identify ourselves and form groups. Linguistic Anthropology is founded on the idea that language and culture are inextricably connected – one cannot be truly understood without the other.
Biological anthropologists study humans as biological beings within a sociocultural framework. Some biological anthropologists studied human skeletal remains from archaeological or forensic contexts. Others study health, genetics, and other biological processes in living people. Although the nature of biological data collected and analyzed by biological anthropologists is diverse, it is always interpreted with reference to sociocultural situations.
Applied Anthropology is the practice of using the theory, methods, and insights of the various branches of anthropology to identify and address current social issues and problems. Applied anthropologists often work in nonacademic settings (governmental and nongovernmental organizations, advocacy groups and agencies, business, industry, etc.) and make use of the research from all branches of anthropology.
Choose 6 hours from electives below
Choose 12 hours from below (6 hours must be 300-level or above)
Choose 12 hours from below (6 hours must be 300-level or above)
Government entities are constantly faced with new policy and management challenges related to processes like population pressure and globalization. Federal, state, and local governments need anthropologists in order to effectively address the relationship of these issues to human health, culture, and the environment. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are not-for-profit charitable or service oriented organizations that draw attention and offer assistance to communities in need of services and programs beyond those provided by governments. NGOs operate at local, national, and international levels and are concerned with topics including human rights, development, community health, political action, and more. NGO policies, priorities, and programs benefit from the input of trained anthropologists.
Many anthropologists are employed in the private sector. Some own and operate their own businesses. For example, Cultural Resource Management (CRM) archaeologists do contract work for governments and private firms (such as construction companies) whose activities might impact archaeological resources. Other anthropologist working in the private sector applied to her knowledge of human culture to improve organizational ethos and corporate/customer relations in a way that cannot be accomplished through traditional survey and marketing approaches.
Some anthropologists work in institutions of higher education – including major research universities, four-year colleges, and community colleges – and are dedicated to training not only to next generation of professional anthropologists, but also introducing non-anthropology majors to human biocultural diversity. In many cases, the job responsibilities of an academic anthropologists are not limited to teaching. Research and community service can play large roles in the working life of academic anthropologists.
A series of credit-bearing internships has been developed over the years to allow successful anthropology students with good GPAs to practice their skills and hone their anthropological perspectives in situations beyond the classroom. Students have worked with government agencies (Conservation Departments, parks, state historic sites), NPR radio stations, Migrant centers, International Student Programs, community agencies, foreign university exchange programs, university offices, and other entities.
Southeast Anthropology students have studied in many countries around the globe – Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Panama, Morocco, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and others. The Anthropology faculty make every effort both to encourage students to study abroad and to ensure that the transition from country to country and institution to institution is as seamless as possible.
Each academic year a group of enthusiastic anthropology students reapplies for official recognition from the Office of Student Government to continue the Anthropology Club. New officers are elected, new activities are organized, and new fund raisers are planned. Past years have seen the Club engaged in conference trips, brown-bag lunch presentations, intramural sports teams, and field trips. All students are welcome – majors and non-majors – for social as well as academic activities.Learn More
A recently created mentoring program gives new students the opportunity to get advice and guidance from more advanced students in the program – courses to take, study tips, timing of graduate school applications, seeking funding for travel and projects, etc.Learn More
Art Building 202
Department of Anthropology
One University Plaza, MS 4150
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701