Picture of cave dwellings

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology studies humankind from a broad comparative and historical perspective:

  • The biological evolution of the human species and aspects of the biology of living human populations
  • The comparative study of living primates
  • The origins of languages and cultures
  • The long-term development of human cultures over many millennia
  • The social life of humans in groups – families, communities, and nations

Anthropologists attempt to describe specific cultural traditions, forms of social structures, languages, and specific transitions in human evolution and cultural history. They compare cultures and societies to assess what cultures are similar or different, and why.

Anthropology is at once a biological science, a social science, and one of the humanities.

How do I declare my Anthropology Major/Minor?

How do I declare a major or minor in anthropology? Which courses count toward the major or minor? What are the different subfields or concentration areas in anthropology? How do I get involved in research? The Undergraduate Advisor (UA) will be able to answer these and other questions about the anthropology undergraduate program. The UA is responsible for approving and signing all Declaration of Major forms, all transfer credits, study abroad approvals and credit evaluation/transfer and, most importantly, all petitions to graduate. All Northwestern undergraduates who are interested in the major, the minor, or who want to talk about anthropology at the undergraduate level at Northwestern are encouraged to meet with the UA. Office hours for the UA are by appointment. Please stop by or call the department (847-491-5402) to schedule an appointment.

The Director of Undergraduate Studies for Anthropology is:
Prof. Cynthia Robin

The Undergraduate Advisor for Anthropology is:
Prof. Erin Waxenbaum

Poster Session Fall 2015

Poster Session Participants Fall 2016

Learn more about studying anthropology at Northwestern

  • For first-year students
    Find reasons to study anthropology and explore study options.
  • Courses
    Read descriptions of undergraduate courses and find a current class schedule.
  • Majors and minors
    Undergraduates can major or minor in anthropology. We also offer a human biology concentration.
  • Senior theses and honors
    Anthropology majors can learn about undertaking an honors thesis.
  • Special academic opportunities
    Anthropology students are encouraged to pursue a variety of research and study abroad options.
  • Career paths
    Anthropology prepares students for a wide variety of professional fields.