A lecture by Luis Vivanco

We are especially committed to providing students with an understanding of different human populations and a sensitivity to cultural differences. We do this by offering a variety of courses in all four subfields: sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, physical/biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Our advising program, including the Teacher Advisor Program (TAP) of first-year seminars, emphasizes individual attention and a developing a lasting mentoring relationship between faculty and students.

In addition to the major, we offer a minor in anthropology that helps you develop a deep understanding of at least two of the four subfields. We feel a strong obligation to provide students who aren't concentrating in anthropology with a sense of the discipline and appreciation for the diversity of human kind.

A versatile degree

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Our approach allows you to explore the discipline through multiple lenses—what comes into focus is a unique perspective leaving you with many avenues to craft your own interests and research. Anthropology opens doors to many career paths: courses provide you with analytical, reasoning and problem-solving skills critical to success in business, research, education and other professions.

The Fleming Museum: an on-campus lab

The Fleming Museum on the UVM campus includes a collection of over 24,000 objects from all over the world – it’s a treasure house of artifacts presenting opportunities for anthropological research, independent projects, internships and work study positions. The James B. Petersen Memorial Gallery of Native American Cultures at the Fleming is a permanent anthropological exhibit exploring the material cultures and artistic traditions of indigenous peoples of North America, including Vermont, through art and artifacts from the museum's collections.

Hands-on field experience

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At UVM, you will gain practical field experience in courses such as Field Work in Archaeology, Methods of Ethnographic Field Work, Human Osteology and Archaeology and Laboratory Archaeology.

An international focus

Faculty members and students conduct research in places all over the globe, and influence the international nature of course offerings. Classes focus on a variety of cultures ranging from Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, China, Eastern Europe, Africa and South Asia.

Specialty topics based on current research

Anthropology is a living discipline, and faculty in our department regularly teach topical classes related to their ongoing research. Contemporary topics include Food and Culture; Anthropology of Media; Culture, Health and Healing; Street Children; Bioarchaeology of Identities; Language, Gender and Sexuality; Archaeology of the American Southwest; Language and Mind; and Heritage Management.

Anthropology reimagined

In the nineteenth century, American anthropology was organized into the four subfields we know today—sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, physical/biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. American anthropology strives to be holistic, a legacy championed by Franz Boas who once described four-field anthropology as a “sacred bundle.” American anthropologists have fought to defend this four-field legacy, and as a result dozens of American universities have anthropology departments with each subfield represented, including UVM anthropology.

Anthropology at UVM

The mission of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Vermont is to produce influential research in anthropology integrated with an outstanding undergraduate liberal arts education. Drawing on the interdisciplinary four-field tradition, we emphasize strong training in contemporary anthropological theory, research methods, and ethical practices, with the goal of preparing students to think critically and act as engaged citizens for the common good. Together as students and faculty, our scholarly community mobilizes anthropological knowledge to address questions of culture and its role in a diverse and changing world.

  • Our program introduces students to the distinct areas of anthropological knowledge, which gives them an opportunity to follow a path that corresponds most closely to their interests.
  • Specialized research within the subfields benefits from a holistic grounding in the larger questions and concerns that interest the whole discipline.
  • In recent years, some cutting-edge areas of research have emerged that cross subdisciplinary boundaries, such as biocultural research and ethnoarchaeology.
  • Students benefit from conversations faculty from different subfields have with each other about common and divergent perspectives.

Our vision

The Anthropology Department at the University of Vermont strives to be a leading undergraduate four-field anthropology program excelling in research on the diversity of humans and their cultures, providing students with a high-quality comprehensive education in anthropology grounded in the liberal arts, and addressing pressing human problems shared over time and space.

Program learning outcomes

Students graduating with a BA in Anthropology from UVM should be able to:

  • Provide an anthropological definition of culture and give examples of how culture shapes human life in diverse ways
  • Distinguish the ways in which anthropologists examine and analyze human diversity across time and space
  • Recognize how the four subfields of anthropology (cultural, linguistic, biological, archaeological) differ in focus, methodologies, and conceptual approaches
  • Demonstrate how an anthropological approach can be applied to a range of complex social issues in diverse settings
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas in anthropology and ethical principles in research and other practice
  • Develop and communicate anthropological research questions, access scholarly literature, and outline appropriate research methods and approaches