UMass Boston

Welcome to the Undergraduate Anthropology Program Website!

If you have any questions about the Anthropology Department or the Anthropology major and minor, please contact the Anthropology Department at

Undergraduate Resources

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is generally divided into four basic fields of study, all of which are represented in the curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Boston. 

  1. Cultural Anthropology is the study of change and continuity in the traditions, customs, beliefs, and behaviors of different groups and communities of people, as well as the social, economic, political, and environmental problems they engage with and seek to solve.  Always taking a comparative, cross-cultural approach, and using an ethnographic lens,  the field considers these issues in both local and global contexts.
  2. Biological Anthropology views humans as biocultural beings and focuses on human evolution, population genetics, health and disease, health disparities, the body itself, nature and nurture, human adaptation to diverse environments, and non-human primates. 
  3. Archaeology studies the human past mostly based on the recovery and analysis of the material record, especially artifacts and environmental remains but also written documents, which are then used to reconstruct past environments and cultures, and it also considers the role of the past in the present in the form of heritage. It can focus on deep time or more recent pasts, and most archaeologists in the department focus on what is often called “historical archaeology” of the last few centuries.
  4. Linguistic Anthropology studies the interactions between language, thought, culture, and society.

Visit “What is Anthropology?,” by the American Anthropological Association to learn more about the discipline.


Our Program at a Glance:

Our Mission:

Our Methods:

Our Research Themes:

Degrees Available:

  • Introduce students to a holistic, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to human cultures, histories, evolution, and bodies
  • Teach students to self-consciously embrace an awareness of cultural, social, and historical forces that shape the world and provide the analytical tools that make them intelligible
  • Bring anthropological perspectives and data to bear on social and environmental justice, systemic and structural inequality and racism, and the legacies of colonialism with a commitment to respect, diversity, and inclusion
  • Prepare students to bring an anthropological perspective to whatever career path they choose
  • Cultural preservation and representation
  • Indigenous people and the state
  • Urbanism
  • Transnationalism and immigration
  • Ethnicity and identity
  • Globalization and the environment 
  • Health disparities
  • Human growth and development

Also Available for All Majors:

  • Environmental Anthropology, Minor
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies, Minor

Our department offers courses specifically designed for the university's General Education distribution requirements, as well as courses that meet requirements in programs such as Native American and Indigenous Studies, School for the Environment, Latino Studies, Latin American Studies, History, Psychology, American Studies, Criminal Justice, Public Policy, Art, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

For more information, check out our department fact sheet.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Anthropology?

For more information on careers in anthropology and related fields, see below and visit the American Anthropological Association. We encourage you to check these important resources: “What You Can REALLY Do with an Anthropology Degree” and "What is anthropology and what can you do with that degree? (US News and World Report).” Be sure to talk to your professors and advisors about how to make the most of your time in our department and on campus to ensure future success in employment, community, and other pursuits after graduation.

You can do many things with an anthropology degree. Our alumni apply their learning to a wide range of fields, as captured in a series of alumnx videos on the Anthropology Department’s YouTube channel and as listed below:

  • Community development, as community organizers, community outreach workers and coordinators for community-based or grassroots initiatives.

  • Education, as teachers and administrators at the elementary, secondary, and collegiate level.

  • Environmental and cultural resource management, as guides, assistants, and researchers in the preservation of the environment, heritage, and the arts; and as consultants in ensuring compliance with both national law and local community desires in educating the public about sites and objects of historic, architectural, and archaeological interest.

  • Field archaeology, as field or laboratory technicians for private companies, public agencies, and universities in New England, throughout the United States, and in other countries.

  • Museums and heritage tourism, as researchers, curators, conservators, and guides at institutions such as the Boston Museum of Science, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, JFK Presidential Library and Museum, Plimoth Plantation, and Peabody Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology at Harvard.

  • Public health, as epidemiologists, health promoters, and researchers, whose training in biocultural processes, the body, and the health consequences of global phenomena such as war makes them uniquely qualified to study disease from biocultural perspectives and communicate information about disease prevention and management.

  • Public policy and law, as policy analysts, activists, legislative assistants, attorneys, and coordinators of policy change interventions, especially on topics such as human rights, immigration, rights, research and biomedical ethics, and cultural property.

  • Journalism, as reporters, videographers, and writers for documentaries and publications such as Cultural Survival Voices, Cultural Survival Quarterly, Boston Globe, Boston Parents Magazine, and Columbia Journalism Review.

  • Social service and advocacy/justice, as youth workers, health educators, nurses, international relief specialists, and supporters of Cultural Survival and similar organizations.

  • Business administration and management, as operations managers, programmers, senior accountants, warehouse managers, senior test engineers, project managers, and hospital inventory controllers. Many of our graduates own and operate businesses, such as bookstores, internet commerce firms, sporting goods outlets, restaurants, and landscape design companies.

  • Graduate study, as alumni with master's or doctoral degrees in anthropology and other fields at 50+ universities, including UMass Boston, University of Chicago, Duke University, Syracuse University, Cornell University, Brown University, Yale University, Rutgers University, New York University, Boston University, UMass Amherst, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Vermont, Brandeis University, University of Southern Maine, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Irvine, Arizona State University, University of Illinois, New Mexico State University, Columbia University, and (in the U.K.), Bristol University and Sussex University.