Anthropology Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree

About Anthropology

Explore the study of people and cultures to excel in many fields.

At California University of Pennsylvania, you can fulfill your dream of studying people and cultures, past and present. In the B.A. in Anthropology degree program, you'll examine humanity from biological, communication, social interaction and archaeological perspectives. 

 Cal U anthropology students engage in hands-on research of artifacts and skeletons, experience all phases of archaeological fieldwork, learn about report and grant writing, write research papers, and present findings at local and regional conferences. You'll learn firsthand what the discipline requires. Plus, you'll gain valuable experiences to list on your resume, giving you an edge as you enter the workforce or apply for graduate school.

Choose from two anthropology concentrations: archaeology or forensic. Exchange and study abroad educational opportunities are also available.  

Gain a career advantage with Cal U's hands-on anthropology program.

Anthropology faculty members work closely with students to help them achieve professional and graduate school aspirations. The program also offers a strong sense of community, from fall events to welcome new students to the spring honors dinner, where all majors, minors and alumni are encouraged to attend.

Because of the anthropology degree's broad and holistic approach, you'll be equipped with the necessary tools to excel in a broad range of careers, from nonprofit organizations to the private sector. Anthropology may also be an ideal choice as a minor if you're obtaining a degree in  other social sciences, Earth sciences, biological sciences, education or humanities.


Concentrations: In the B.A. in Anthropology degree program, students can choose from two concentrations: archaeology and forensic anthropology.  Students who focus on archaeology learn the fundamentals of archaeological theory, and they complete such courses as Historic Sites Archaeology and Advanced Methods in Archaeology. Forensic anthropology combines archaeological search and recovery techniques with the laboratory skills of skeletal analysis to aid medico-legal death investigators in cases involving suspected human remains.   

Solid foundation: The anthropology program emphasizes an empirically based, comparative and cross-cultural perspective that's grounded in a scientific framework. As part of the College of Liberal Arts, the B.A. in Anthropology program ensures that you'll also develop effective writing and speaking skills, and learn to perform effectively in a wide variety of settings within a multicultural world.  

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Student-to-faculty ratio at Cal U.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in anthropology, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
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Degree Benefits

 All anthropology majors are required to take the archaeological field school course to acquire practical skills in excavation and artifact identification. Both concentrations offer lab method courses that entail extensive analysis of either bones or artifacts. Most other courses also include a significant number of experiential projects. Students are strongly encouraged to complete internships. Cal U students have interned at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, Westmoreland County Coroner's Office, Westmoreland Historical Society, and Monongahela River and Rail & Transportation Museum.

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Graduate Outcomes

 Cal U anthropology graduates typically go on for graduate degrees if they wish to become university professors or work as primary investigators for archaeological firms. They have attended such schools as West Virginia University, Ball State University, Duquesne University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Michigan Tech University. Currently, two graduates are in the master's degree program in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University. Other positions graduates have held include preservation specialist, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Village; education outreach specialist, Carnegie Museum of Natural History; consultant for the National Geographic show Diggers; and various contract resource management positions, which involve conducting fieldwork prior to the start of construction projects or doing survey work along a pipeline.

Anthropology (B.A.)
An anthropology students poses with human skulls.

Research Emphasis

In most classes, anthropology students are required to conduct research. Some projects are literature-based, while others have a larger hands-on component. Students are often asked to develop their own testable research hypotheses and write project proposals, using standards such as the National Science Foundation grant application as a model, and conduct the research. Students also may be asked to test a method developed on another collection/population and apply it to materials that are housed at Cal U. Students are rigorously encouraged to present their research at University events.

An anthropology professor shows an artifact to a student.

Professional Connections

Anthropology students can take advantage of study abroad opportunities, including spending a semester abroad or taking part in international archaeological digs. Anthropology majors have completed a semester in Spain and participated in archaeological digs in Sicily and Romania. The Anthropology Club is a very active group, raising money to help support trips to regional and state conferences. Students are encouraged to join the local chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, which meets in Cal U's lab. This connection enables students to get involved in digs, artifact analysis and networking with professionals. Additionally, anthropology majors are involved in faculty and independent research, symposiums, and community service projects.

Cal U anthropology students use ground penetrating radar.

Unique Opportunities

The anthropology program strives to develop student research skills, and success has been shown by students winning awards at the PASSHE STEM conference and the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology conference. A Cal U student also was selected for the highly competitive Natural History Research Experience Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Students have been involved in the search for a Revolutionary War-era road to a prisoner-of-war camp in York, Pennsylvania; the search for Teter's Fort, which aided in the Manchester Farm (near Avella, Washington County) being selected as one of the nation's most endangered historic sites in 2011; and in the excavation to find Wolff's Fort (Buffalo Township, Washington County).


B.A., Anthropology Courses

Students undertake comprehensive study of anthropology, and can choose to specialize in either archaeology or forensics.

Example Courses
  • Introduction To Anthropology
  • Fundamentals Of Biological Anthropology
  • Research Laboratory In Physical Anthropology
  • CulturalPolitics Of Food And Eating
  • Special Problems In Anthropology
  • Primate Societies And Behavior
  • Human Origins
  • Anthropological Thought
  • Anthropology Of Death And Dying

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B.A., Anthropology - Concentrations and Minors

  • Anthropology - Minor

Anthropology Faculty

Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson
Associate Professor

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Dr. Cassandra L. Kuba
Professor and Chief Forensic Anthropologist

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