What is Anthropology?

Application for declaring anthropology major.

students being instructed by Prof. Beyin

Anthropology is the study of what it means to be human: from the study of culture and social relations, to human biology and evolution, to languages, to music, art and architecture, and to vestiges of human habitation. It considers such fascinating questions as how peoples' behaviors changes over time, how people move about the world, why and how people from distant parts of the world and dissimilar cultures are different and the same, how the human species has evolved over millions of years, and how individuals understand and operate successfully in distinct cultural settings.

Anthropology includes four broad fields--cultural anthropology, linguistics, physical anthropology and archaeology. Anthropologists are careful observers of humans and their behavior, maintaining an intense curiosity: What does it mean to be human? Why do people behave in particular ways? What are the historical and environmental pressures that helped shape the experience and behavior of a specific group of people? What are universal facts of human life?

Please explore our site to learn more about the Department of Anthropology at the University of Louisville, or visit us on the second floor of Lutz Hall on the Belknap Campus.

Undergraduate Student Resources


Undergraduate Majors

Students interested in majoring in Anthropology now have flexibility to create their own path:

  • Archaeology - the study of the human past from an anthropological perspective.
  • Biological or physical anthropology - the study of human populations from an evolutionary standpoint.
  • Cultural or social anthropology -  the differing cultures of human populations. 

The Anthropology major at the University of Louisville includes:

  • 200-level and 300-level courses in each sub-discipline: Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Cultural Anthropology.
  • A Methods course in one sub-discipline. This is a key requirement and you should consult with your advisor prior to selecting one of the course options.
  • ANTH 475, Engaged Anthropology, because public engagement is a critical part of Anthropology. The course will enable majors to apply Anthropology to real-world situations.
  • ANTH 508, the capstone course that provides a fundamental understanding of the ideas that underlie Anthropology.
  • Our Flight Plan that shows several options for fulfilling 12 hours of elective courses.  Majors can choose supporting courses in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. 

In any case, students can put together a diverse portfolio of courses to meet the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.

While not a requirement, we strongly encourage majors to seek out internships (ANTH 401) and study abroad experiences to enhance their degree. Those interested in teaching should take ANTH 430 to gain practical experience in the classroom.

Anthropology majors should also seek out faculty mentors in the department to guide them through the curriculum and prepare them for various career paths.

Visit the UofL Academic Catalog website for a complete overview of the Anthropology (BA) degree requirements.


Why minor in Anthropology?

Minoring in Anthropology prepares students both for future careers and further study.  Because of its multidisciplinary nature, anthropology can bolster a wide range of different majors.  Some majors that may benefit from minoring in anthropology include; justice administration, biology, chemistry, fields related to health and medicine, as well as any of the social sciences.

The University of Louisville's Anthropology Department offers the following options for a minor in anthropology:


Apply Online

Application for declaring anthropology major.