Quick Facts

Why Study Anthropology

If you think anthropology is limited to the study of stones and old bones, think again! Though anthropology does look at stones and bones, it also examines the politics, medicine, kinship, art and religion of various peoples and times. This makes the study of anthropology a complex task, for it requires an understanding of the basics of numerous disciplines such as geology, biology, art and psychology.

Regardless of the specific area being studied, the essence of anthropology is in the observation of different peoples and cultures—studying them as they really are instead of how you think they should or should not behave. It is only through this detailed study of all people that we gain the full picture of what it really is to be human.

Anthropology tries to bring the world’s peoples into human focus. Anthropologists don’t come up with a theory and see if people live up to it. They live with people and see what they do.

Careers for Anthropology Majors

While graduates of anthropology traditionally have found careers in museums, or teaching at the high school or college level, other possible career opportunities are emerging today. Because of a growing emphasis on Third World countries, international trade, and the changing international climate, businesses, governmental organizations and NGOs are interested in employees who have knowledge about foreign countries and cultures. This new international emphasis also makes anthropology a versatile double major—possibly for a business or economics student who is interested in international trade, or for anyone who plans to live or work in a foreign country.

Graduates of anthropological studies are also in demand for projects of historical preservation, or as industrial anthropologists to study a company’s structure and its people. Additional information on career opportunities is available from the anthropology department.

Additional Opportunities for Anthropology Majors

Anthropology Laboratory

The departmental lab emphasizes archaeological teaching and provides an excellent opportunity for students to apply scientific methods of hypothesis testing in the context of the social sciences. Among the goals of the program are to teach archaeological recording techniques, to develop an understanding of the procedures and mastery of the techniques of specific scientific instruments, and to familiarize students with the analysis of artifactual and paleoenvironmental data.

Summer Archaeological Field School

The anthropology department periodically offers a local archaeological field school during the summer months so that students can gain experience doing archaeological excavation and/or survey. There really is no substitute for being exposed to the excitement and routine of real-world archaeological field work!

Anthropology Club

Anthropology students meet on a regular basis to share their interests and to expand their knowledge of diverse peoples and cultures. Activities of the club include visits to museums, movies, lectures, and travel to local archaeological sites.

J-Term Courses Off Campus

In recent years courses have been taught on the Makah reservation, and in Mexico. These courses, and others now in the planning stages, offer students the opportunity to learn first-hand from experts about their own and other cultures.

Major Fields

Anthropology at PLU is composed of four fields:

  • Cultural anthropology studies living human cultures in order to create a cross-cultural understanding of human behavior.
  • Archaeology has the same goal as cultural anthropology, but uses data from the physical remains of past cultures to reach it.
  • Linguistic anthropology studies the interrelationships between language and other aspects of culture and how languages have changed over time.
  • Physical anthropology studies the emergence and subsequent biological adaptations of humanity as a species.

Course Requirements

Major: 36 semester hours, including 101 or 104, 102, 103, 480, 499; one course from those numbered 330–345; one course from those numbered 350–465; and eight additional hours.

Minor: 20 semester hours, including 102, and 101 or 103 or 104; one course from those numbered 330-345; one course from those numbered 350-499; and four additional hours in anthropology.

Course Offerings
For course requirements and other information, view the online catalog. »