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Anthropology is the study of humankind in all places and at all times. It is a holistic discipline that is traditionally classified as a social science, but embraces the humanities and sciences as well. Anthropology in the United States is usually divided into four subfields: Archaeology, Cultural, Linguistics, and Biological. Anthropology majors may find careers in lab work, archaeology, museums, research, government, business, education, media, etc.

OC students wishing to major in anthropology will find a variety of courses to choose from and to prepare them for transfer to a university. Whether students want to specialize in a particular subfield of anthropology or are interested in anthropology in general, they can tailor their anthropology classes at OC to fit their educational goals.

To minor in anthropology, OC students can combine anthropology with another field of study. Anthropology, because of its holistic approach and emphasis on understanding cultural meaning and context, fits well with many disciplines such as health care, law, government, social work, business, banking, advertising/media, engineering, biology, environmental studies, psychology, art, education, etc.

Other majors and disciplines may require or encourage students to take anthropology courses. For example, nursing, dental hygiene, lab technician, and education majors are typically required to take cultural anthropology as a prerequisite for their programs. Education majors will also find linguistic anthropology beneficial. Students majoring in biology or other sciences frequently take physical anthropology to supplement their understanding of the natural world. And geology majors often find archaeology complementary to their major.

OC has an anthropology classroom that is used for both lectures and labs. It is located on the southwest corner of the Art building, Art 123. The anthropology program also owns a variety of materials for hands on experience in anthropology. These materials include a number of fossil replicas and tool kits.

Subfields in Anthropology

Archaeology is the study and explanation of past cultures. Archaeology uses field work and laboratory techniques to study the material remains of cultures. Archaeologists usually study early and historic cultures. However, many archaeological techniques may be used in studying contemporary issues such as waste management. Growing areas within archaeology include cultural resource management and contract archaeology firms. Archaeology is also often associated with museum programs.

Cultural Anthropology is the study of contemporary cultures. This subfield is sometimes called socio-cultural anthropology or ethnology. This subfield emphasizes cross-cultural comparison, examining and comparing political structures, religion, kinship, marriage systems, gender, economic systems, etc. Cultural anthropologists look for both common and unique features found among different cultures.

Linguistic Anthropology is the study of the interrelationships between culture and language. Linguistic anthropologists are interested in all languages, but typically focus on unwritten languages, the diversity of languages, and non-verbal communication. In addition to studying the extent that language shapes culture, linguistic anthropologists also seek to examine general trends in the evolution of language, when did language begin, is language a uniquely human characteristic, and many other topics.

Biological Anthropology, also called physical anthropology, is the study of humans as biological organisms within the framework of culture. Biological anthropology exams the relationship between biology and culture. Focal areas include the study of human evolution, the fossil record, the relationship of humans to other primates, human variation, health, and forensics.




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