Thematic Specialization Areas
Graduate students who have a research interest in one of the following four thematic specialization areas can tailor their graduate studies to focus on their research interest through enrolling in one of these Graduate Specialization programs in Anthropology. However, please note that choosing a Graduate Specialization is optional; graduate students are not required to enroll in a Graduate Specialization. Instead, graduate students can choose to follow the Plan A (Thesis Option) or Plan B (Portfolio Option) found under the link “Master’s Program Requirements”, on the Graduate Programs/Home web page.
Health and Well-Being
Drawing broadly from Anthropology’s (and also Geography’s) broad and holistic perspectives on human well-being, we examine the manner that human health and wellness are influenced by sociocultural (past and present), environmental (spatial), and also biological (as well as ‘biocultural’) forces. This departmental focus corresponds closely to current faculty research interests, including: Globalization and health; Health disparities (related to ethnicity, poverty, and the like); Health and development; The cultural context of biomedicine; Environment and health (including environmental disasters); Mind-body health and healing (specifically, processes related to psychocultural stress and relaxation); Alternative and Non-Western medicine; Culture and mental health (including ‘positive’ mental wellness related to happiness and life satisfaction); Health and gender; Health in ancient environments and societies; Nutrition; Health and disease in the context of human evolution and adaptability. The department offers a master’s specialization in The Anthropology of Health and Well-being.
Humans and the Environment
Humans evolved under changing environmental conditions and humans continue to affect and be affected by the environment. Human evolution and paleoecology must be studied together. Today’s human population increases and other human drivers of global change have large impacts on human ability to mitigate and adapt to change. Vulnerability of peoples and societies undergoes change associated with political, economic and social processes. The Anthropology faculty look at how past and present human activities influence the environment and how ecological processes affect human evolution and the human condition today. The faculty also look at how various processes (e.g., disease, policy) transform the human condition. The department offers a master’s specialization in Humans and the Environment.
International Development and Globalization
Processes of economic development and community (defined as an improvement in the basic aspects of life) here and abroad affect human welfare. In an increasingly globalized world issues of international development are central to the work of anthropology. Our faculty who pursue issues of development are specifically focused on the issues of food security, environmental and economic sustainability, and paths to economic growth and human achievement. Our faculty, who are focused on problems of globalization, also address the conflicts and dilemmas posed for peoples caught between the promises of globalization and the realities of localization, conflicts that give rise to new social movements, and to less visible manifestations of cultural resistance. The department offers a masters specialization in International Development.
Professional Methods and Techniques
Methods and techniques in anthropology and geography are integral to anthropological research, and are emphasized throughout our graduate program. All students are trained in a broad array of methods designed to prepare them for academic careers in anthropology, qualitative survey and social science research, field excavation, cultural resource management, natural resource management, GIS and spatial analysis, and/or public interpretation. Our faculty guide graduate students in developing skills in a wide range of methods and techniques used by professionals in applied anthropology, federal and state natural resource agencies, and other arenas of social, historical, biological and spatial research about humans. These include qualitative research and interview protocols, quantitative analysis, GIS and remote sensing, archaeological field survey, historic archaeological methods, culture and heritage resource management, and paleoanthropological methods. The department offers a master’s specialization in Professional Methods and Techniques.