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Anthropology Program Goals

Anthropology studies human biological and cultural diversity through time and space. It encompasses all of humanity as well as our closest primate relatives, from the earliest prehistoric human ancestors to the varied societies inhabiting the world today. The Anthropology Program at MSU Denver is committed to enhancing student knowledge and appreciation of human beings as both a biological and a cultural species. Emphasizing a holistic approach, the program offers courses in each of the four traditional subfields of anthropology (cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology) and provides students with proven conceptual and methodological tools for observing and studying human collectivities, both ancient and modern. Faculty and students apply anthropological concepts and perspectives to pressing social issues and problems through laboratory and field courses, internships, and community outreach programs. Overall, the program aims to foster appreciation of human difference, past and present, as well as attune students to the relationship between daily individual realties and larger social institutions at the local, national, and global levels. Given this foundation, the overarching goal of MSU Denver's Anthropology Program is to prepare students for future life experiences, whether personal, professional, or educational, in increasingly diverse and multicultural social environments, thereby enabling them to participate more fully in the emerging global economy of the 21st century.


To achieve this goal, the Anthropology Program has established the following pedagogic objectives:

  1. Students are expected to learn a breadth of anthropological knowledge enabling them to recognize and restate the major components of the four traditional areas of anthropology: cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology, and to relate the interrelations between these subfields;
  2. Students are expected to apply anthropological perspectives, approaches, and knowledge in ways that enhance understanding of the diversity and complexity of the human species;
  3. Students are expected to develop facility with both qualitative and quantitative methods of analyzing anthropological data; students are expected to become conversant in the code of professional ethics associated with the conduct of anthropological field research;
  4. Students are expected to acquire problem solving and critical thinking skills;
  5. Students are expected to improve their communicative skills through written work and oral presentation;
  6. Students are expected to develop intellectual and practical skills necessary to prepare them for careers in anthropology, public or private business and industry, public service, etc.


To meet these programmatic objectives, the Anthropology Program provides the following:

  1. Introductory courses in all four sub-fields;
  2. Variable topics courses that explore thematic areas relevant to each of the sub-fields;
  3. Upper division courses that emphasize the depth of each of the sub-fields and provide students with opportunities to improve writing and oral presentation skills;
  4. Laboratory and field methods courses which emphasize pragmatic skills in anthropology;
  5. Courses geared toward majors and non-majors alike that satisfy college-wide General Studies and/or Multicultural credit requirements, while encouraging a comparative and holistic approach to the human species;
  6. Conscientious advising and personal attention given to each and every anthropology student.

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